Category Archives: Kenai

Alaska News Roundup for January 14

  • Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) has filed a bill that would prohibit imprisoned couples from getting married while both partners are incarcerated. This extends to both same and heterosexual couples. My little bird said this was simply a move to beef up Lynn’s street cred amoungst his more conservative constituents as this is an election year and he is now facing a primary with Uber conservative Anchorage Assemblyman Bill Evans.
  • Pew Research Center found in their most recent poll of 541 people that while most (47%) are ok with trading their purchasing privacy via retail loyalty cards for occasional discounts, that abruptly changes when confronted with what the company does with that data and how it could be used against the consumer.Technology

 

  • The Kenai City Council’s 10+ year-old big plans for Millennium Square are finally getting the dust brushed off them and is set to be officially presented to the council in February. The Peninsula Clarion reports that the square will incorporate both scenic beauty and economic driving retail space.
  • Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) is continuing his fight against high gas prices in Alaska by requesting an investigation into possible antitrust issues. Whoa!

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Alaska News Roundup for December 23 & 24

  • Sitka could have the proud distinction of an experimental pot buffer zone between cannabis businesses and schools. This will be up for a vote with the Sitka Assembly next week. The Juneau Empire explains what exactly a “buffer zone” is and it is supposed to work.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner has an engaging editorial on the budget that basically boils down to, “Hey legislators, put on your big girl panties and get your job done.”oPW3V1uhRL2YIYaYglj7_tumblr_nk7eysuwpJ1qiavcao1_400

 

  • While it was reported earlier that Alaska has seen its straight 7 month increase in laid off O&G employees, the Peninsula Clarion has some good news involving the sector: North Slope spending will continue as ConocoPhillips is excited about its future GMT-1 oil project and Doyon’s onshore staging will see its rig in place this spring while the Cosmopolitan O&G field will be getting LOTS of love from a number of energy companies.

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Alaska News Roundup for December 22

  • Mat-Su legislators have looked over Gov. Bill Walker’s budget plans and are sharpening their scalpels now that as Rep. Wes Keller (R-Wasilla) put it, “ The easy cuts have already been made.” The Frontiersman has the details on what exactly this power block has in mind for the upcoming legislative season (hint: income taxes aren’t likely).
  • In sad trombone news, APRN broke the news that the Fairbanks News Miner AND the Kodiak Daily Mirror have been sold to a non-profit foundation. Gone will be the razor sharp criticisms that have become part of the News Miner’s charm. Oh, and they won’t be able to endorse candidates, while gleefully explaining why the other candidate isn’t cool…for more “balanced” reporting.
  • The Dispatch confirms the whispers and rumors; O&G jobs are up for a 7th straight month, though Alaska overall unemployment hasn’t changed since September.
    unemployment

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Alaska News Roundup for December 16

  • The Taj McHawker is increasingly becoming a political “hot potato” (Rep. Lance Pruitt‘s (R-Anchorage) words) and with reelections just around the corner…it comes as no surprise to many that APRN is reporting that the Anchorage LIO will most likely have a new address really soon. Interested in the legislative hearing on this issue? Head on over to 716 W 4th Avenue for the Saturday 9:00am meeting.
  • The Peninsula Clarion reports that Kenai Mayor Pat Porter is proposing to put the kibosh on commercial cannabis with the town’s limits through a marijuana moratorium that will get a public hearing AND subsequent vote on January 6, 2016 during a Kenai City Council
  • Kake and Petersburg really, REALLY want a linking road to connect the two cities, though the proposed project would cost an estimated $37 million dollars and there is some serious controversy surrounding the issue so…this Magic 8 ball shows :magic 8 ball

 

  • Tundra Drums has the details on the proposed tax increases to help offset the costs of running/operating Alaska’s 247 rural airports. The nutshell would see a $0.10 per gallon in jet fuel and aviation gas taxes if Gov. Bill Walker gives the green light.

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Alaska News Roundup for December 15

  • Mark your calendars Anchorage because some of the feistiest legislators we have are coming together to host an End of Year Town Hall with (drum roll please) Gov. Bill Walker tomorrow night! That’s right, Sen. Bill “who needs sleep” Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), Rep. Max “parliamentarian wizard” Gruenberg (D-Anchorage), and Rep. Gabrielle “multitasking master” LeDoux (R-Anchorage) have ensuring interested parties get the chance to speak directly with the governor about the budget and other issues considered vital. It is happening December 16 from 6:30-8:00pm at the Creekside Park Elementary School.
  • Here are some pictures of Sen. Click Bishop’s (R-Fairbanks) and Rep. Adam Wool’s (D-Fairbanks) recent Politics and Pizza constituent meeting. My little bird tells me that 60+- people showed up and the focus of concern regarded the budget and its current/potential impact on the local economy.Click and AdamP1000251

 

 

  • The stomach churning Alaska Department of Corrections report doesn’t appear to have brought about the changes many were hoping as the Dispatch breaks the news that instead of using this as a turning moment in Alaska prison history…the Attorney General is advising prisons to NOT DOCUMENT THE FACTS of inmate’s deaths. Really.

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Alaska News Roundup for November 26

  • Happy Thanksgiving! When things just aren’t coming out the way it looks in the cookbook, Some Life has compiled baking fails to remind you that you’re not alone.food

 

  • Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (the federal court’s who’s job it is to ensure that the NSA works within the law) has just gotten five new lawyers to serve as special standing advisers. To whit privacy advocates and the American public responded with:CheeringCrowd

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Alaska News Roundup for November 23

  • North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower’s days in office are quickly getting a tick-tock sound as Barrow residents have officially started a recall petition. The Arctic Sounder reports that the group is not backing ANYONE and just wants Brower gone.
  • The Peninsula Clarion reports that the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter, and Soldotna Mayor Pete Sprague bribed offered the Board of Fisheries $60,000 in service savings if they kept their Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting on the Peninsula until 2017 instead of moving to Anchorage.   City managers and mayors of the Kenai Borough, Homer, Seldovia, Soldotna, and Seward are also supportive of this financial incentive.
  • The National Journal explains the latest (and currently unpublished) Pew Research Center’s poll on the makeup of religious Americans and found something VERY interesting: white Christians are no longer the majority! In fact, as you look at the results by generation…more and more consider themselves unaffiliated. This will become increasingly interesting in future election cycles stump speeches and the shifting dynamic of religion in daily life.
  • In a move that has shocked, horrified, elated, and bemused MANY of my little birds…(drum roll please) the State Pot Board has taken a step toward allowing Amsterdam style pot cafés within the state!!! As APRN’s Zachariah Hughes explains, this would be a first for the entire country.

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Alaska News Roundup for November 2

  • Infrastructure funding and water regulation over minor waterways under the Clean Water Act will be the main points of contention focus this week in Congress.
  • While Sen. Lisa Murkowski made the time to congratulate Soldotna’s own Anna DeVolld on her winning essay about the US Capital Tree and right to light the tree all the way in Washington, D.C., the same could not be said about Little Anna’s own Sen. Peter Micchiche or Rep. Kurt Olson.Murkowski

 

  • Saxman is getting their wish in will once again be designated as rural and be regranted the ability to hunt with subsistence allowances by the of the Interior AND Kenai, Wasilla/Palmer, Homer and Ketchikan’s areas will be returning to their pre-2007 nonrural boundaries!

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Alaska News Roundup for October 28

  • Tonight’s Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting won’t be just one involving updates on Financial Reports or what to expect during this year’s Trick or Trunk (though it will be a part of it), but also a continued discussion on whether to create an official City of Ward Cove!Ward Cove

 

  • Who knew that North Pole’s Mayor Bryce Ward was such a history nerd? The proof is in the pudding…err…the proposed 2016 budget that includes a brand new full-time position for an archivist though the Fairbanks News Miner explains it won’t be all white gloves and light sensitive work for the new hire.
  • Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to increase traffic ticket fines by implementing an inflation-based fee scale as a means to fill the muni’s fiscal gap. Assemblyman Bill Evans isn’t having any of it and has submitted an ordinance to prevent Mayor Berkowitz’s plan. The Dispatch has the details on this growing story. This public hearing on this issue is scheduled for November 10.

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Alaska News Roundup for October 16

  • OH YEAH! The AFN is happening right now in Anchorage and yesterday’s opening ceremony saw lots of amazing moments, but one of my little birds was really, really excited about AFN President Julie Kitka’s (!) speech because her little girl “now wants to be president too instead of Elsa.”TShirt

 

  • Kenai’s Prop 1, the ability for candidates to run for designated seats, officially failed by SIX votes and the faces on the Kenai City Council will remain the same, per the Peninsula Clarion.
  • The Ketchikan City Council held a hearing where the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the city and the Ketchikan Professional Firefighters Association and to award a contract with Cal Worthington Ford Lincoln for a Ford F-450 XL truck.

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Alaska News Roundup for October 8

  • Today’s THE day in state legislative meets healthcare at the State Reform Health Policy Conference in Anchorage!! Everyone is going to be there. From one of the Big Three ( Valerie Davis of HSS (!)); to the battling of opinions on the state’s healthcare direction with Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole), Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) explaining their vision at the 1:45pm panel; and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) sharing their vision. The biggest surprise of pre-event excitement from many of my little birds is regarding the 9:30am panel with Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) to discuss reforming Medicaid. Lots of fans, he has.Seaton

 

  • Could the Permanent Fund Board garner a “Pope-like” figure or more likely a “PF Czar”? That is the latest question wafting out of every Alaskan’s favorite state entity, though the hunt for a regular Executive Director is the main focus for the state with my little birds liking candidates Alexander Slivka and Angela Rodell the most out of the short list.
  • Congratulations Felix Wong and Stephen Bradford on their individual wins for a seat at the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly dais!
  • Kodiak Island Borough now officially can claim Kyle Crow, Mel Stephens and Dennis Symmons as part of their Assembly team.
  • Heads up Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) and Rep. Kurt Olson (R-Soldotna): the Kenai Peninsula Borough School districts has their official legislative marching orders for you and it’s all focused on protecting their access to funding. But that doesn’t mean individual input isn’t still being requested. There are lots of locations to be a part of the Oct. 15 budget development meeting.
  • Neither Mat-Su Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss nor his challenger Vern Halter is conceding the race until the vote count is finalized, per the Frontiersman.
  • Anchorage is in talks with Conoco Phillips to buy back some of their leases in the upper Cook Inlet for ML&P to control, though as APRN explains…”any purchase will have to first be approved by the [Anchorage] assembly.”

    Cook Inlet

    Photo Credit of APRN

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is beginning to see the light at the end of her hard-fought battle to lift the 40+ oil export ban with The Hill reporting that the White House has been making noises that point to a possible signature!
  • Palmer is one town that won’t be selling commercial pot as the town voted 318 to 266 to ban this particular economic sector from opening shop and paying taxes, per the Dispatch.
  • The Western Director and Senior Attorney for NRDC wrote an op-ed for Huffington Post where he made his case for why the recent independent study that found that the relationship between the EPA and anti-Pebble groups was improper, was nothing more than a PR Stunt from a “cash-starved” Pebble Partnership.
  • Mayor-elect Karl Kassel is not wasting time in beginning his transition to full-on mayor. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that he is already taking applications for positions within his administration and has a basic idea of the changes he wants to make.
  • Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) is not one to let injury slow him down and that was evident last night at the latest UAA College Democrats meeting where he gave a “barn-burning” speech against the current oil tax structure.20151007-Rep-Gara-at-UAA-College-Democrats-Meeting-1

 

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan is backing a new bill regarding illegal immigrants and Politico explains the legislation’s aim and who else is getting on the bandwagon.
  • Quinnipiac has just released their latest poll that shows of the 2016 swing state US Senate races, only Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) vs. Ted Strickland (D) is a toss-up, though Democratic challengers in Florida are gaining traction.
  • Rep. Don Young tweeted his support on H.R. 538 that would give Alaska Natives the ability to utilize their lands without “heavy hand of federal government”.Rep. Young

 

  • Doyon, Limited is expanding their O&G exploration within the Nenana basin with plans to drill their 3rd exploratory well in the summer of 2016, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • APRN explains the state’s DNR decision on Alaskans’ rights over natural resource use and why PacRim Chuitna Coal is not amused.
  • While the numbers are still being finalized, it appears that yesterday may have shattered voting records for the past ten years in Fairbanks!
  • The Frontiersman has an excellent piece about Mat-Su Assembly candidate (and future powerhouse) Maria Serrano and her tenacious spirit that took her from simply a name on a ballot to a formidable challenger despite her 19 years.
  • In happy fun time news: the Juneau Empire reports that while the original partnership between the Vincent de Paul Society and GMD Development went belly-up with their plans to bring affordable housing to the capital city, there is still forward movement to ensure the project grows into fruition.
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Alaska News Roundup for October 7

  • The fiscal pinch your wallet’s been feeling is indeed real. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development conducted a study on median incomes and discovered that Alaskans are making $4,000 less than they did in 1989. It gets worse as the YWCA Alaska explained in an interview with KTUU, 60% of low wage earners are women and of Alaskan families they make up 40% of the primary providers.
  • The Seward City News has the breakdown of the Seward/Lowell Point voting results. The Seward City Mayoral election went to Jean Bardarson and the three Seward City Council seats went to Sue McClure (!), David Squires, and Deborah Altermatt.
  • Alaska Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe is retiring next summer. Justice Fabe was the first female Chief Justice and has served the state since 1996. Her wisdom and devotion to our state will be a loss to our justice system.giphy

 

  • In the Mat-Su, the results in the borough’s mayoral race are considered to be too close to call. Right now, Vern Halter is winning by 4,269 votes with incumbent Mayor Larry DeVilbiss accruing 4,090 votes. Rosemary Vavrin has 317. The Frontiersman reports that there are still 2,000+/- absentee, questioned and special needs votes to count.
  • Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) showed his support for now Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor-elect Karl Kassel in an Instagram. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that Kassel won with 57% of the votes.kawasaki

 

  • Juneau saw a major upset in their political status quo last night, as Mayor Merrill Sanford was beat by challenger Greg Fisk with a 66% Ouchie. True to both men’s diplomatic reputation, they shook hands after their race was called.

    outgoing

    Photo Credit of the Juneau Empire

  • Fairbanks was full of voting fervor with the slightly contentious item of a 5% commercial pot sales tax being approved by a whopping 84% and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly saw all three incumbents winning their reelection bids. Congrats Lance Roberts, Kathryn Dodge, and Van Lawrence!
  • The Kenai Borough Assembly races were won by Gary Knop (District 1), Brandii Holmdahl will replace term-limited Sue McClure’s seat for District 6, and Willy Dunne for District 9.
  • Nikiski was not having any of the law enforcement service area idea with a wide margin of rejection (541 against to 399 for), per the Peninsula Clarion.
  • KNOB reports that Nome will be getting a new mayor in Richard Beneville.
  • Bethel is ok (sort-of) with having a liquor store (57% yea votes), but was adamantly against having a bar (61% no votes). Over in the Assembly side of life, Mayor Rick Robb won re-election, as did Leif Albertson. They are joined by political newbies Nikki Hoffman and Alison Welch.
  • Over in Soldotna, the grocery tax initiative passed with flying colors and the Soldotna City Council got back incumbent Paul Whitney (331 votes to Fred Sturman’s 218), while many feel the race between Linda Murphy (265 votes) and Dan Nelson (254) are too close to call.
  • The Wall Street Journal explains what the commissioned independent report on the relationship between the EPA and the anti-Pebble Mine groups means to the pending court case on this issue as well as what to expect going forward.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is not amused with the changes the US Forest Service has made to the dock project at the Anan Wildlife Observatory near Wrangell and Ketchikan. KSTK explains the changes and why this once popular project has quickly lost its allure.
  • In when will the hit stop coming news: The Juneau Empire reports that the state will further cut the ferry schedule down by 32% or more specifically…four docked ferries.
  • In light of the fiscal crisis Alaska is facing, many legislators are calling for more budgetary cuts and setting the stage for a massive showdown for the upcoming regular Session. The Dispatch has the details on what they want to cut.
  • Over on Capital Hill, Senate Democrats are vowing to keep Net Neutrality waivers out of the federal government-funding bill that MUST BE PASSED by December 11, per The Hill.
  • A sure sign that 2016 will be unlike any previous presidential race, Gallup is pulling themselves from the presidential polling game and instead will be focusing their resources on better understanding how Americans feel about issues.
  • Here are some pictures of voter turnout from across the state:
    matsu

    Photo Credit of Rep. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer)

    voting

    Photo Credit of the Fairbanks News Miner

    sitka

    Photo Credit of Sitka Sentinel

    nome

    Photo Credit of KNOM

 

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Alaska News Roundup for October 5

  • This week in Congress, expect plenty of grandstanding, verbal fireworks, and hurt feelings over choosing the NEW GOP LEADERSHIP! Also on tap will be passing the annual defense bill and on Friday…the House will vote on lifting the export ban on crude oil (though The Hill doesn’t think it will pass). 
  • Sen. Peter “perfectly dignified” Micciche (R-Soldotna) spoke to at a recent Kenai Peninsula Borough meeting in Moose Pass (yes, Assemblyperson Sue McClure was there!!) to discuss Capital Improvement requests. Know who else was there? The hard working Rick Smeriglio of Seward City News fame.
  • KTOO has the details on GCI’s TERRA project that is expanding the 21st century’s version of the printing press (our beloved Internet) to rural Alaska beginning throughout the YK Delta and Western Alaska region.

TERRA

 

  • Alaska Political Leadership, please come to the white curtsey phone. Wired has some interesting news about how drones are now being used to hack wireless printers.
  • The Nome Common Council is in a tough position over a tugboat confiscation due to unpaid port fees of its previous owner. While the council approved the necessary $52,640 contract to demolish the eyesore, the amount is still too high for the City of Nome because the unexpected problem was not included in the budget, per the Nome Nugget.
  • Bernadette Wilson of Bernadette Live fame has new segment called “Rumor Has It” and my little bird tells me that a certain Anchorage-based News Station is so impressed with its buzz that they are interested in bringing her onboard.
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  • Get the lowdown on Soldotna’s four city council candidates from the Peninsula Clarion. They also have information on their sole mayoral candidate, Pete Sprague.
  • $7,000,000,000.00 is the current expected amount it would cost the state to buyout TransCanada Corp…but could also see $400 million a year in additional revenue. It’s a complicated issue and thankfully the Juneau Empire explains both sides of matter.
  • The City of Ketchikan approved the license agreement between the City of Saxman and themselves for the use of the old Fire Station 1 by the renowned Saxman Carvers.

Saxman Carvers

 

  • Ready all about where the Mat-Su Borough Assembly candidates stand on various issues in the Frontiersman.
  • Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) wrote an impassioned op-ed in the Dispatch over the upcoming Special Session 3.0 and how Gov. Bill Walker’s communication style is not of the two-way street variety.
  • In that’s awesome news: KUAC-FM and the Daily News Miner are joining forces to get Interior Alaskans more and higher quality news in the form of a weekday newscast on KUAC with the Miner’s Tom Hewitt.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski was this year’s recipient of the Alice Awards (an award named after a kick@ss Suffragette and reserved only for other trailblazers) along with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

Murkowski

 

  • The fight over Pebble Mine and the tasty seafood it could endanger is mentioned in a food critique column in Pennsylvania’s Centre Daily Times.
  • The Nome Nugget gives an expansive critique over the differences (and there are many) between the various candidates running for office.
  • The Seward City News details last week’s Chamber of Commerce’s candidates forum for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Regular Municipal Election (say that five times fast) and what to expect from the individual candidates. While Kenai Assemblyperson Sue McClure’s (!) tenure is coming to a close due to term limits, she is running for City Council along with Deborah Altermatt and Councilmember Dave Squires.
  • Power has been restored in Fairbanks, just in time for tomorrow’s elections. That is great news, though voting by lantern would have made for awesome visuals…cold, miserable voting conditions…but awesome visuals none the less.
  • Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s 2016 budget reflects his New Era promise of more police and less waste with a $1.8 million lower budget than former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan’s 2015 version. APRN reports on the major takeaways.
  • One of my little birds told me that Les Gara (D-Anchorage) was seriously hurt at a local coffee shop. While this was not a case of a “Battle over Cronuts”, here’s to a speedy recovery!

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  • Homer’s City Manager and City Council held a standing room only meeting over potential options for raising desperately needed funds. The Homer Tribune explains how the crowd took the ideas ranging from a seasonal sales tax, raiding the tax $ for roads and trails, to an increase in property taxes.
  • Meet the candidates vying for the two open seats on the North Slope Borough Assembly. They are from a wide-ranging background and their stance on issues is just as varied.

Herz Tweet

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News Roundup for October 2

  • The vibrant Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly candidates for District 1 did not disappoint one of my little birds. Apparently Robin Davis was the most polished of the group by being able to quote previous experiences and numbers on budgetary items. While David Wartinbee’s fish knowledge was “impressive” and Gary Knopp was “on fire”. The candidate that didn’t get positive reviews?   That would be Assemblyman Kelly Wolf for not even showing up. Naughty!
  • The Cordova Times reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office was awash in 8,000 postcards from United Tribes of Bristol Bay members encouraging her to support their efforts against Pebble Mine or any other similar mine that could affect the Bristol Bay watershed.
  • Guess who can be found in Japan Times? That would be Alaska’s own Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks)!! The article goes on to explain that while attending a conference as part of a US delegation in Kyoto, he has continued to work toward strengthening the relationships between Alaska and future Japanese LNG buyers.Kawasaki

 

  • For Kenai Peninsula Borough voters, Proposition 4 is a $4.4 million bit of consideration. What’s at stake? The ability for Central Emergency Services to replace outdated or past its usefulness tools like a ladder truck and other vital emergency equipment. The Peninsula Clarion explains both sides of this ballot issue.
  • Tempers and a tempestuous history between Mat-Su Borough Assembly candidates Randall Kowalke and Doyle Holmes made for continued fireworks as the Dispatch furthers the Frontiersman’s original story.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 30

  • In that was quick news: Roselynn Cacy has become candidate #4 for the now open Senate District L seat Southwest Anchorage. This is expected to be old had for Casey as she ran for the seat back in 2012, but as the Dispatch reports, this time around she will first have win the Democratic primary against long-time campaigning Forrest McDonald. Jeff “I’ve never met a Speedo I couldn’t rock” Landfield and Natasha von Imhof have their own primary battle for the GOP bid before the final face-off in November 2016.
  • Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! The lucky coffee-drinking Juneau residents just got luckier with the announcement that Coppa, GonZo, and the Rookery are going to match discounted coffee prices to October 6th’s voter turnout. As the Juneau Empire reports that last year’s turnout was 29% and that would have meant 29 cents off a cuppa.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski might have come a long way baby as the ONLY Chairwoman of a full committee, but according to Politico…this is probably as far as the GOP will allow her (or any other GOP Congressional women) to ascend.
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  • The Peninsula Clarion covered the latest Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Seat 1 candidate debate between incumbent Kelly Wolf, Gary Knopp, Robin Davis, and David Wartinbee.

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