Category Archives: Palmer

Alaska News Roundup for January 13

  • Some of Newtok’s village leaders have refused to leave their offices after losing a power dispute, but US District Judge Ralph Beistline has authorized the AK State Troopers to forcefully remove the former leaders. The New York Times has the detail on this modern Trail of Tears
  • Whoa!! Check it: the voter rejected 2013 Kenai Comprehensive Plan is going to be used anyway as the basis for the revised version in 2016. While the Peninsula Clarion refrained from inflammatory language on this move…Kenai’s electorate will probably not be so demure.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seat buddy caught the eye of Politico, Inside Alaska Politics, and anyone with an appreciation for successful fashion risks (is there anything that Sen. Lisa Murkowski CAN’T pull off?)Murkowski

 

  • The Anchorage Caucus were busy little bees last Saturday as constituents voiced their concern (and at times outrage) over the fiscal situation Alaska is facing. One of my little birds noted that MANY Republican legislators were late to their own meeting AND looked “more bored than interested in doing their job.”

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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 12

  • While the House is off till next week, the ongoing saga over Who. Will. Be. The. Next. Speaker. Of. The. House. contines with Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) spokesperson playing coy and saying that there isn’t any anticipated news this week and to “Enjoy you Columbus Day”.

 

  • Take heart Interior Democrats! While the owners of your beloved Drinking Liberally hang-out have changed, Big Daddy’s will continue serving their delicious BBQ and libations with ease. From the Fairbanks News Miner’s take, it is simply a matter of new name on the door.

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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 September 16

  • Today is THE DAY for oral arguments between the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the state over the constitutionality of municipalities being forced to pay toward their local public schools’ costs.
  • Hilcorp wants to lay pipe. Ok, more like they have asked DNR for permits to drill exploratory wells near Ninilchik, but my interpretation of the Fairbanks News Miner story is way funnier.
  • In good news/bad news: The good news is that the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the state’s justice system last Tuesday (yay!). The bad news is that the Pew Charitable Trust’s presentation during the hearing pointed to incarceration lengths as the reason for the state’s prison population explosion and not due to an increase in individual inmates, per APRN.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 10

  • Congratulations to Nathan Wallace on his appointment by the Palmer City Council as their new City Manager! The Frontiersman attended the public Meet & Greet and painted a pleasant picture of the evening and camaraderie between Wallace and council members.

    Nathan Wallace

    Photo Credit of the Frontiersman

  • Don’t get too excited about the mondo money heading into the state coffers from the LNG pipeline so sayeth the State Legislative Joint Resources committee via KTVA. While the Peninsula Clarion explains that the reason for the delay is to give the stakeholders (i.e. Alaskans) a better investment by reformulating the pipe diameter and also paying a whopping $100,000 a month to an OUTSIDE consultancy.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is getting major props for her work on two pieces of legislation. One bill permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the other concerns the Voting Rights Act Restoration.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 4

  • The latest Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly report is out by the ever-endearing Sue McClure!! In a nutshell, $3 million was approved to fund the Central Peninsula Hospital project to include the ability to treat cancer and the area’s aging population. Their annual meeting will be in Homer on September 15.
  • Rep. Don Young was suspiciously absent during Pres. Obama’s tour and APRN found out where he was “hiding”. Hint, he was at his traditional August bolthole in Fort Yukon enjoying the joys of an August break with his enchanting newly wed.
  • The US Labor Department has released the unemployment rate for August 2015 with good news! The jobless rate fell to 5.1% and we are now consistently making pre-Great Recession rates.

    August Unemployment

    Graphic Credit of US Bureau of Labor & Statistics

  • The Mat-Su Borough Assembly did in fact cobble together enough votes to veto (at 5/2) Mayor Larry DeVilbiss’s veto on a 55% excise tax on vapes, e-cigarettes and their corresponding products. As the Frontiersman explains, they will remain in the same tax category as traditional tobacco products.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 31

  • WELCOME MR. PRESIDENT!!!

 

  • Sunday might have been a day of rest for many, but not for Alaska’s political wonks! The Peninsula Clarion was on hand to capture giddy preparations going into effect for Anchorage’s big day (today) for when the president makes his grand appearance. Former Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) and former Juneau Mayor Fran Ulmer were interviewed.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner has the skinny on Gov. Bill Walker flying on Air Force One with the president to Alaska. THE BIG QUESTION is whether the governor might snag a box of presidential M&M’s for one humble political blogger (hint, hint).

    m&M

    Yummy & Spiffy @ the same time!

  • Seward had not one, but TWO presidential helicopters tackling the finicky winds of Resurrection Bay and testing approaches in preparation of Pres. Obama arriving in Seward Tuesday.
  • One of my little birds made a rather blue joke about seeing lots of legislators packing meat over the weekend in the valley. Turns out that the truth was rather banal. 20+ state legislators and a few commissioners toured one of the state’s biggest slaughterhouses, Mt. McKinley (maybe time to rethink the name) Meat and Sausage, in an attempt to wrangle state funding going into FY17. There were more than a few visitors that looked rather queasy during the tour.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 24

  • In wicked awesome news: AFN is handing out FREE (yep, that’s right FREE) tickets to attend Rising Together; Welcome President Obama to Alaska at the Alaska Airlines Center next Monday. The president and senior staff have been invited, but confirmation of their attendance hasn’t been made public. Want to get your hands on some this awesomeness? You still can, but you have to pick up the remaining tickets between 1:00-4:00pm today only (you’ll get a flag too!). AFN Offices/1577 C Street/Suite 301/Anchorage, AK.Obama Visit

 

  • Today in 1912, Congress passed a measure that created the Alaska Territory and began the process toward statehood with establishing the Parcel Post delivery by the USPS the following year.
  • The Nome Common Council will vote today on whether to make their six member panel the de facto local commercial pot regulatory authority, per the Nome Nugget.
  • The Homer Tribune has the details on the candidates vying for Mako Haggerty’s open seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. Fritz Creek’s Willy Dunne and Dawson Slaughter will be going toe-to-toe in this race. My little bird tells me that the seat is Dunne’s to lose, but Slaughter is known for his charisma and could prove to be a fierce adversary.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 12

  •  There are THREE new candidates for the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly races!! Mayor Merrill Sanford has filed for another term, while both Robert Percival AND Jason Puckett are running against incumbent Assemblyman Jerry Nankervis for the District 2 seat.
  • In ewww, but totally awesome news: Wired gives an update on the human poo àdrinking water and electricity machine that was designed as part of The Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. Turns out that with the two school bus size machines work to produce water that is indistinguishable from traditional tap water. Might be something of interest for our Honey Bucket/off the electric grid villages in Alaska to investigate since it is already in use in Senegal to great success.
YouTube Preview Image

 

  • The pot tax percentage is quickly becoming a hot topic with the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly as the question of whether it should be 5% or 8% is now being given its own special meeting set for August 20, per the Fairbank News Miner.
  • Oil prices are now at their lowest level in more than 6 years with $43.08 a barrel, per CNBC.oil

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Alaska News Roundup for July 13

  • This week on the Hill, prepare for some more No Child Left Behind madness, California drought talk (my little bird tells me that nothing more is expected on this issue), the House will examine federal pipeline safety rules, and Hillary Clinton’s quickie drop-in photo op speech to House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday. Fun, fun!
  • The Mat-Su Borough would like to alter subdivision rules to which the powerful local business block is like, “Umm…No.”
  • SNL Metals & Mining (no, this isn’t that SNL) unveiled a report that quantified how expensive it is for mining companies to go through the permitting process (Kensington gold mine is cited beginning on pg. 14).Graph

 

  • Erin’s Law might be a new law in Alaska, but Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage) and Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) explained to APRN how the work on this issue has just started.
  • Uncle Ted’s Senate work is being preserved in the basement of UAF where they are currently off limits to the public.   🙁   The Dispatch’s Dermot Cole waxes poetic on the historical importance of his political legacy and why restructuring a $1 million grant for digitizing the documents is in the best interest for all.

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Alaska News Roundup for June 1

  •  Our Washington Delegation better eat their Wheaties because The Hill reports that this week will be a full one. The Senate will be focusing on the USA Freedom Act while the House will be voting on funding the Justice and Commerce departments, fishery management actions as well as the USA Freedom Act.
  • Seeking Alpha is kind of rubbing salt into Alaska’s wounds with an article detailing Alaska’s past ten years of oil production, the current situation and our lackluster future as an oil producing state. Great assortment of graphs and maps though.OnG

 

  • The City of Palmer has shown its linguistic prowess by rejecting a ballot measure to outlaw pot businesses (except those that sold industrial hemp products) on the grounds of it needing to be reworded. The Mat-Su borough measure is being evaluated and is being supported by Mayor DeVilbiss. The Frontiersman has the details.
  • Peninsula Clarion expounds upon the Patriot Act’s death rattle. Both Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan voted “Aye” on Cloture on the Motion to Proceed HR2048. Sen. Murkowski explains the reasons behind her vote.

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Alaska News Roundup for May 22

  • Happy Birthday to a Senator so cool, she even shares a birthday with Morrissey!

    Birthday

    Happy Birthday Sen. Murkowski!

  • Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) wrote a fiery op-ed in the Dispatch that held nothing back against the majorities. The first three words alone is coffee spitting worthy, though his side of the budget debacle are as informative as it is entertaining.
  • One of my little birds was aflutter over the “risqué” jokes City and Borough of Juneau’s Assemblyman Jesse Kiehl made during his marijuana regulations update at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.
  • APRN has the transcript of the gavel bangin’ that went on down at the Anchorage LIO with the sine die of Special Session part I and the commencement of Special Session part II.
  • The Mat-Su Borough Assembly accomplished something the state legislature hasn’t: passed a budget. Even though the Frontiersman explains that the borough budget keeps the mill rate under 10 and either maintains or increases services, Mayor Larry DeVilbiss’ is planning on a veto because it’s simply not Tuff Enough.
  • The uproar over the majorities intention to raid the Permanent Fund has gotten to at least six of the House majority members because the Fairbanks News Miner reports that Rep. Jim Colver (R-Palmer), Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham), Rep. Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak), Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome), Rep. Gabriele LeDoux (R-Anchorage) and Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) signed off on a letter to Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) saying they didn’t want to be any part of this action.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan used words during a Senate Armed Services hearing over the current war strategy that my little bird described as “worrisome” and “bordering on warmongering”. APRN’s take seems to align with that observation.
  • Mike Dingham’s last Dispatch op-ed obviously didn’t sit well with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan because “he” made another public statement, this time in the comment section. HT to @Nat_Herz.Comment

 

  • Alaska’s Special Assistant on Arctic Policy, Craig Fleener, spoke at the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society Conference in Juneau on the importance flexible hunting and fishing rules for rural communities adjusting the changes brought upon by climate change. KCAW has the details on his speech.
  • The Baker Hughes News crunched the numbers and found that the number of O&G rigs has continued to drop from last year’s 1,857 to the current 885. Good news? Bad news?
  • The FCC wants the US Court of Appeals for DC to make a quick ruling on the new Net Neutrality rules, and they want them NOW!
  • The Washington Post explains the connection between Saudi Arabia’s decision to flood the crude oil market and the potential layoff of Alaska’s state employees (with graphs!)Chart

 

  • The Seward City News has the US Fish and Wildlife Services proposed changes for Kenai National Park’s Public Use regulations. Most proposals seem pretty straight forward until the 7th bullet point. Prohibition of gun use in Alaska will surely raise an eyebrow…or two.
  • Palmer’s City Manager has submitted his resignation to begin on September 1. The Frontiersman relays the Palmer City Council’s public understanding of this unexpected move.
  • Anchorage Assembly Chair Dick Traini wants public smoking rules on cigarette usage to include marijuana, per the Dispatch.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner explains the implications on Alaska’s elections if voting reform for Alaska Natives by the US Department of Justice goes through.
  • KTUU shares the good news that the border crossing between Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, British Columbia will once again be open 24 hours a day.Hyder

 

  • Think Progress has listed 6 of the “Craziest Arguments” made by politicians over keeping national parks…nationally owned. Rep. Don Young and Sen. Lisa Murkowski both made the dubious list.
  • EPA Region 10 Administrator, Dennis McLerran, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, where he explains why the EPA should be careful regarding Pebble Mine.
  • The Fairbanks North Star Borough got busy last night and passed the resolution in support of the state purchasing FNG and appropriated $21,720 for state training and equipment for the borough’s air quality program.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan was quoted by The Hill acknowledging the “moving parts” in vote whipping over keeping NSA’s program to spy on American citizens. The final tally is expected to occur Saturday.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski was part of the 18-12 members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to approve a bill that allowed VA doctors to advise patients about medical marijuana, per Al Jazeera America.
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Alaska News Roundup for April 24

  • My little birds in Juneau tell me that frustration and anger are the two emotions wafting through the capital hallways. The Fairbanks News Miner Matt Buxton and APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez tweeted pretty accurate summations:Buxton ParaphraseGueiterrez
YouTube Preview Image

 

  • Alaskans should rejoice over the news coming from ISER! The Dispatch explains that the state can use up to $2.3 billion (yes, with a “B”) of the Permanent Fund earnings toward the deficit without hurting Alaskans’ PFD!

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