Wired has you covered with all the information you need to prep for New Year’s reveries and how too minimize tomorrow’s ouchie…with Science!
Either Alaska is going to see a $110 a barrel crude again or we are going to see more taxes, per Gov. Bill Walker (looking rather smart in a cross-weave tie) during his CNBC interview.
Pres. Obama’s decision to allow the NSA to collect communications between Israeli government officials and members of Congress did not sit well with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has requested the pleasure of NSA Director Michael Rogers’ presence to explain themselves.
Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage) is not seeking re-election for his uber safe (for Republicans that is) seat this fall. Let the bloodbath for the GOP primary for House Seat 28.
This week on Capital Hill, Congress is going to be scrambling to avoid another government shutdown (and increase the ire of their constituents) while tackling the highway funding and even throwing in some energy debate for good measure, per The Hill.
Southeast is sure to be doing a happy dance with the news that AKDOT is going to be pumping $30+ million into improvements of the Ferry System. The projects includes small ones like a new terminal building complete with functioning sanitation (!) for Kake and for Angoon; replace mooring dolphins (sorry, not what you think) and increase passenger bridge safety in Ketchikan; to Haines’ mondo project that will completely replace the current end dock for ferries.
Unalaska’s City Council was hard at work grappling with the ramifications of the Pot Board’s recent decisions and though not all issues ended with a decision, it’s part of an ongoing community discussion. Not so on the issue of too many taxicabs as that number has officially been lowered to 18, per KUCB.
The State Pot Board’s inclination to allow cannabis cafes has given the state its first potential location in Fairbanks. The Fairbanks North Star Assemblydiscussed the possibility at their last meeting and while many members were not amused with the prospect, Fairbanks seems to at least be rational about the good vs. bad.
Wired has some great background on a new bill before Congress that INCREASES (pretty non-existent) Americans’ rights to digital privacy. The bill would require state and local law enforcement to obtain a warrant BEFORE they can use stingray surveillance devices. Wonder where our Congressional Delegation will side on this issue?
Ninilchik Tribal Council is going full-throttle on taking care of its community by beginning the steps toward an area-wide peninsula public-transit system complete with a transit hub to ensure access for all to medical and public amenities. The Peninsula Clarion reports that the estimated annual operating budget of $200,000 and an initial start-up cost of $1.2 million that would go toward the purchase of buses, drivers, insurance, etc.
Learn all about the Mat-Su Borough’s new Mayor Vern Halter in a LIVE radio interview with APRN today from 2:00-3:00pm. Call 1-888-353-5752.
One of my little birds shared this photo from a Politico photo essay of “When Halloween and Washington Mixed”. There was some slight confusion of why Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s nephews were so…”bulky” and thought it might be due to the “caribou diet”. Nah, her security guards were geared up for Halloween Alaska style: complete with snow gear UNDER the costume.
The State Pot Board might be on track to satisfy all the policy requirements of the 2014 ballot initiative cum law but the Juneau Empire reports that one rather important aspect is still unsolved: where can visitors/tourists legally consume the now legal cannabis?
TransCanada is probably doing a happy dance about the AK Senate’s vote to buyout the company’s stake in the LNG pipeline from the Peninsula Clarion’s take on the event.
Fairbanks Mayor Karl Kassel gave an administration defining speech to borough employees last Tuesday where he stressed substance over flattery. The end goal according to the Fairbanks News Miner? “I want to end the Super Bowl of local governments.” Then maybe a trip to Disneyland?
Health insurance rates will continue to go up for 2016 as to will subsidies, but the Dispatch explains what the state is doing to help those found in the unenviable situation of earning too much to receive subsidies and have to purchase their healthcare through the Marketplace Exchange.
The AP has a pretty expansive list of how states evaluate their teachers using testing results. Alaska is part of a large contingency that uses test scores as a key factor in teacher evaluations.
Rep. Charisse Millettshared this great picture of the female House Majority members (though where is Rep. Louise Stutes in this female empowerment photo?).
Take heart Democratic Party because Politico charts a path to winning back the House…if Donald Trump or Dr. Ben Carson wins the prime spot on the ticket.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly was all like a Human Beinz song at their last public meeting where they decided to take a stand against homeowners buying or selling from being forced to connect to the South Tongass Service Area’s public water system and approved all of Mayor David Landis’ Assembly appointments without a fight.
Anti-Pebble groups are petitioningAKDNR to investigate Pebble Mine backers to ensure they have the met current reclamation requirements with deadlines so the state isn’t left paying for any cleanup that isn’t done after mining is complete, per the Dispatch.
The City of Juneau is but a few short, sweet months away from handing out 12 individual $6,000 grants to homeowners to build an accessory or MIL apartment to help boost Juneau’s housing market. For those interested, the Juneau Empire has the requirements for the grant money and why this is a widely considered a good use of limited fiscal resources.
Sen. Lisa Murkowskitweeted this fascinating Waterworldesque picture of Alaskan waterways regarding the controversial EPA water rule under debate this week on THE hill.
The House Oversight Committee gave REALLY bad marks to federal agencies on their compliance with properly managing and securing their IT systems. The Department of Energy, Education, and NASA all received “F.” The State Department got a “D”and Homeland Security got a “C.” The best marks of a “B” went to the Department of Corrections and General Services Administration, per The Hill.
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.
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.
This week on The Hill, it will be all about the Pope Francis love fest. The Senate will be taking up a ban on 20+ week abortion bill and the defunding of Planned Parenthood (which is expected to fail).
Hold the presses; Governor Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker met with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy while making inroads with potential Japanese LNG buyers!!
Photo Credit of Gov. Bill Walker’s FB
Taxes is not a “four-letter word” in Seward. That was the takeaway of the Seward City News after attending the 20+ public discussion about Alaska’s fiscial situation and potential remedies including bills proposed by Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage). One of my little birds noticed Sue McClure’s absence from “her kind of meeting.”
In potentially clap-worthy news: Southeast’s <3 for their ferries is legendary. Their Canadian neighbors feel the same. So much love for this mode of transportation has created an opportunity for Canadian based West Coast Launch to potentially begin once-a-week ferry runs in the winter and twice-a-week in the summer from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Ketchikan beginning in the summer of 2016.
Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River), Rep. Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake), and Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) think there are simply too many Alaskans in prison and have started proposing changes to the state justice system in order to see at least a 25% decrease in incarcerations.
Here they come to save the day! The State of Alaska has agreed to wire part of Cook Inlet Energy LLC’s tax credit payment to the tune of $6.4 million early so the energy producer doesn’t go into bankruptcy, per the Peninsula Clarion.
FINALLY!! The state ferry system has something to celebrate (happy dance time). APRN reports that the LeConte ferry not only saved six men after their skiff overturned in the choppy waters off Rocky Island, but this bit of derring-do didn’t even alter the ferry’s expected arrival time too much.
Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) wants the governor to investigate the curious situation where when “oil prices go up the price for gas also goes up but when oil prices fall we don’t see that same decrease in gas prices.”
Have no fear Rep. Kawasaki because the Dispatch reveals that Alaska’s oil and gas system is already on the governor’s mind with plans to reduce the state’s gas tax credit program following Sen. Cathy Giessel’s (R-Anchorage) special legislative hearing on the very issue.
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).
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.
President Obama will be visiting Seward, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Anchorage, via the Seward City News, Juneau Empire, and historical inference. There may be more places announced in the coming days (fingers crossed!)
Alaska might be beside themselves with glee as Mr. President visits next week, but as the Washington Post points out…he isn’t the first. Their article lists the previous presidents that have visited the Last Frontier, where they traveled and for how long. Biggest surprise? FDR fishing in Juneau while wearing a suit and fedora!
Photo Credit of the FDR Library
The Ketchikan City Council race has one more candidate in Charles “Chuck” Slagle. My little bird is looking forward to his fundraisers as Slagle is known for his smoked fish.
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.
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.
The latest Borough Assembly Report by one Sue McClure is HERE! It is complete with news on Mayor Navarre’s official trip to Japan, upcoming public hearings, ballot proposition summaries for the Oct. 6 election and so much more.
One of my little birds took umbrage at yesterday’s Roundup by pointing out that Sen. Dan Sullivan “is following in [former Sen. Mark] Begich’s footsteps” regarding the move to rename Mt. McKinley à Denali. Fair enough.
Image credit of CQRC Engage
Medicaid Expansion appears to have the stuff to become Gov. Bill Walker’s legacy issue. After the joint state senate/house’s decision to sue the governor over the legality of his decision, there was a flurry of press releases each making it quite clear where the battle lines are currently drawn: Senate Minority via Sen. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage); House Minority via Rep. Sam Kito (D-Juneau), Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage); House Majority via Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla), Rep. Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River), Rep. Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole).
Gov. Bill Walker’s efforts (including Sen. Pete Kelly’s (R-Fairbanks) statement about “a system that’s broken”) to expand Medicaid caught Reuters notice.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough mayoral race just went from exciting to epic when Rep. Tammie Wilson’s (R-North Pole) filed her letter of intent for the seat with APOC yesterday. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that she decided to run due to an increased amount of borough regulations. Her new opponents (Doug Isaacson and Karl Kassel) remained diplomatic.
Ready your popcorn for this race!
Getting a spiffy new icebreaker isn’t in the cards for Alaska, but the possibility of renting one is still on the table, per APRN.
The Dispatch delves into the complicated morass of commercial cannabis within the state.
It is good news for Sen.Lisa Murkowski’s quest to lift the export ban on crude oil! Politico explains how yesterday’s Iranian nuclear deal only gives her supporters more leverage to “get’er done.”
In light of yesterday’s historic Iranian nuclear accord, one of my little birds sent me this touching YouTube video about how we are more alike than different.
For Mat-Su residents planning on taking a dump run, prepare to pay a little bit more now at both the local transfer stations and the borough landfill because the Mat-Su Borough Assembly has passed rate increases. The Frontiersman explains that beginning July 1, it will cost $6 to dump (2) 33-gallon garbage bags and getting rid of more will trigger extra fees.
Mark your calendars for July 15 because the Dispatch reveals this will be the day Gov. Bill Walker explains how his administration will be moving forward with Medicaid expansion.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski lead a block of senators in urging the director of NSA to keep them abreast of international security implications of expanding US energy output while the issue of lifting the 40+ year old crude export ban is being bandied about Congress, per Business Insider.
Hey Kodiakians! Want to run for Mayor or City Council? Well, today’s your lucky day because you totally can! Mayor Pat Branson, Council members Gabriel Saravia and Richard Walker’s terms end this October and Kodiak needs you!
You’d be a perfect candidate. Take the plunge!
The OPM data hack has now officially affected 22.1 million people and The Hill reports that there is a bill that would give these victims identify theft protections for the rest of their lives.
Barrow is about has happy about Shell’s offshore drilling as Seattle, but instead of protesting via kayaks they are planning on a beach vigil to “gather in unity for the safety of the Arctic Ocean.” For those interested in participating the Arctic Sounder reports that it will be held on July 18 at Nalakuataq.
APRN reports that while the ship containing federally required blowout response equipment is heading to Oregon for repairs, Shell does not anticipate an interruption in their 2015 drilling schedule.
Alaska is synonymous in many minds with polar bears, Palin and men-lots and lots of men. The Washington Post has a captivating breakdown of not only where men out number women in total population, but also by age group. For Alaskan men seeking a female counterpart between the ages of 30-34…you’re really out of luck.
While cannabis is legal in Alaska, where you can open-carry your greenery is getting a bit more complicated in Anchorage as the Dispatch explains that a proposed ordinance by Anchorage Assembly Ernie Hall and Amy Demboski will ensure that weed can only be kept in the trunk of your car.
Fairbank’s commercial pot district is slowly materializing with the Fairbanks News Miner expecting the Fairbanks North Star Borough to finalize the zoning ordinances in time for business owners to purchase commercial permits from the state in time for summer 2016.
Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), Rep. Dave Talerico (R-Healy), Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole), and Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks) will be speaking at the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce about the previous legislative session as well as their forecast for 2016.
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Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) admitted that the House Majority is planning on raiding the Permanent Fund to KTVA in a move to fund the state budget without having to work with the House Minority on current sticking points.
Energy & Capital explain the reasons Sen. Lisa Murkowski is pushing for the oil export ban now with graphs and charts!
Rep. Sam Kito (D-Juneau) showed his mischievous side Tuesday when he tried to block adjournment of the expected gavel bangin’ technicality that was the official legislative floor session. Things quickly became heated and the Dispatch captured the whole episode in detail.