Category Archives: Sitka

Alaska News Roundup for December 28

  • This week on Capital Hill will see a ton of bureaucratic procedures (and fingers crossed, parliamentary maneuvering!!) by the Senate to prevent lifting Iran’s sanctions.
  • Alaska’s own William Scannell was recently highlighted as part of Qatar Foundation International’s I Speak Arabic international program that aims to increase the number and proficiency of Arabic speakers. The site is full of interesting facts, resources and kits for teachers, parents, and students.

 

  • Sen. Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak) continued his charm offensive regarding the budget crisis while speaking with Homer constituents recently. By all accounts (his fan club is growing), he is quickly becoming the state’s Shepherd through the Storm and should be utilized by the governor on budget discussions throughout the state.

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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 21

  • Congress is out for the week! Get ready to see your Twitter feed explode with constituent meeting photos.
  • One of my little birds is not amused that Gov. Bill Walker has yet to issue a statements on President of the Alaska Railroad Workers Union Local’s indictment for embezzlement since the AKRR’s board is appointed and managed by the governor.gov

 

  • The Nome Common Council debated the merits of commercial cannabis and possible transportation methods of the plants all the way to Nome as the FAA has made it clear that via the air is not an (legal) option.
  • The Pentagon is “considering” stepping up their cyber fight with ISIS, to wit Anonymous responded, “Good luck with that.”
  • Congrats (?) to Fritz Krusen on his official title as interim president for AGDC. This comes after the surprise-ish removal of former Dan Fauske and several other members of the board over the course of the year. One of my little birds now jokingly refers to the AGDC board as “a carousel of names.”
  • Politico makes the case that Alaska owes a giant, “Thank you” to Andrew Lundquist for the Arctic drilling that has happened with the state.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan voted against the omnibus spending bill, Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted for it, and Rep. Don Young made his views on the bill quite clear.
  • Have no fear Alaska; BlueCrest is still wicked interested in drilling in Cook Inlet.
  • Nome’s Superior Court Judge Timothy Dooley has the dubious distinction of being added to Jezebel’s Big Time Small-Time Dicks Hall of Shame for his recent comments during the sentencing of a man that was JUST convicted of RAPING A 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL, “From what I’ve read, this was not someone who was — I hate to use the phrase ‘asking for it.’ There are girls out there who seem to be temptresses, and this does not appear to be anything like that.” The Nome Nugget reports that the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct calls for a public censure of Dooley.Judge

 

  • The Legislative Council has tabled the controversial Anchorage LIO issue…for now as Council Chair Sen. Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak) explained that breaking the lease on the building wasn’t an accurate depiction by the media. APRN skillfully reveals the juicy details of this soap operaesque saga.
  • Point Hope is busy doing a happy dance, as they were the recent recipients of a $2.89 million grant for transportation improvements and construction by the US DOT.
  • The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly Newsletter is out and full of awesomeness like the fact that the construction on the landfill is going well, the controversial zoning revision of RV’s was postponed and (drum roll, please) Barry Altenhof was appointed to the City Seat of the City and Planning Committee…just in time to tackle the RV issue.
  • The Frontiersman gives an update on the controversial Mat-Su veterans’ monument
  • Former Gov. Sarah Palin surprised many with a delightful spoof of Tina Fey’s 30 Rock TV show by bringing in some well known politicos (including the current mentor of Sen. Dan Sullivan). Vanity Fair breaks down the video.

Palin

 

  • The Peninsula Clarion bids a misty eyed “adieu” to their publisher, Vitto Kleinschmidt, as he has stepped down to begin a new chapter in his life. Kleinschmidt is credited for bringing stability and strengthening the journalist prowess of the Clarion while under his mantle. Morris Publishing Group’s vice-president of operations Deedie McKenzie will serve as the interim publisher.
  • Big game hunting just got more expensive as the Dispatch reports that the raise in fees is due to a long-time deficit of $1million+ that stemmed from rather messy accounting.
  • The PFD voter initiative just got a mondo supporter in the form of power player Doyon, Limited CEO and President Aaron Schutt, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • Jim Gottstein can now add a new label of “Whistleblower” to his already full roster of titles. This one is courtesy of APRN for his role in bringing the the Anchorage LIO debacle to light.
  • Legislative staffers are one step closer to easier housing during their time down in Juneau as the Juneau Empire reports that the city and borough’s accessory apartments program has officially been launched!
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Alaska News Roundup for December 14

  • This week Congress is going to do whatever it takes to avoid having to stay in DC any longer than necessary and that means playing nice across the aisle to get the Omnibus spending bill passed, pass a strengthened customs enforcement bill, and maybe…just maybe…pass a few political nominations.
  • Ready your calendars you lucky Unalaska residents you because your city council will be shortly announcing an agenda free, survey free public forum at City Hall so all parties can freely discuss their stance on allowing commercial pot (and the lovely tax stream it could become) onto the island. KUCB also reports that after a nail biting vote by the Unalaska council members, Wayne Chin was voted in as the newest Museum of the Aleutians Board of Directors after Mayor Shirley Marquardt had to cast the deciding vote.
  • One of my little birds just loved (like fangirl level of love) Rep. Don Young’s recent speech on the House Floor where he expounded upon the importance of the 2nd amendment.
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  • The Homer City Council totally earns a gold star for hard work after finishing a marathon public meeting where they not only passed their $20+ million budget (potential legislative lobbyists should contact them…they are in the market), but they also decided to table the seasonal sales tax till May while making noises that the seasonal tax might become a permanent year-around tax.
  • Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan’s administration has been found guilty of super sloppy accounting with the city’s Centennial celebrations budget. The Dispatch reveals that a recent audit found close to $100,000 in outstanding bills that have forced Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to ask the Anchorage Assembly to cover at least $69,000 of the bills. Assemblyman Bill Starr is requesting a forensic accountant to look into the matter.

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Alaska News Roundup for December 9

  • The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly confirmed the new Mayoral appointments for several local boards and one of my little birds was proud as punch for Ed MaHoney and Mark Anderson on their positions as the newest members of the Citizens Board of Equalization.
  • GCI is gathering its soldiers and preparing their battle plans for a storm on the state capital to figure out a solution to the state’s budget crisis. Considering who’s already on tap, the odds are ever in their favor.GCI Lobbyists

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Alaska News Roundup for December 4

  • One of my Washington little birds was not amused by Rep. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) recent FB posting on her official state FB page where she referred to people in attendance (possibly Sen. Pete Kelly (R- Fairbanks) and Chief of Staff to Sen. Dan Sullivan as well) as “homies.” “It is an insult to her elected position and to the people in attendance to use such a term. They are not hanging out at Coots on their own time and this is not her private FB page. She was attending an official event with professionals. This lack of decorum is disgusting.” Fair/unfair?Homies

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Alaska News Roundup for December 2

  • If you’ve bought your little ones a VTech electronic “learning” toy in the past few years AND utilized their “Learning Lodge” app store database to store all of your kiddo’s creations…congratulations because you’re probably amongst the 5 million people who’s customer accounts got hacked. So along with any stored names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, security questions, answers, IP addresses, mailing addresses, and download history…your kids’ photos could now be added to the Internet’s child pornography racket.
  • Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) appears to have a bit of bad news: he now officially has a contender for his reelection next November in Ketchikan Assemblyman Bob Sivertsen.   Sivertsen had filed a Letter of Intent back in August, but filed the official “I’m bonafide” paperwork on Monday of this week. Interesting to note is that his Deputy treasurers are fellow Assemblypersons (and local rainmakers) Dick Coose and Judy Zenge.Sivertsen

 

  • The Oil Tax Credit Working Group’s report is out and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) is diplomatically not amused.

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Alaska News Roundup for November 5

  • The brewing battle over Bethel’s liquor store permit has yet to be resolved and the contentious issue is spilling over into other matters before the Bethel City Council including conflict of interest vote by Councilwoman Nikki Hoffman. The Dispatch has the popcorn worthy details of the hearing.
  • The full text of the TPP trade deal has been released (thanks New Zealand government) to both horror and applause. Wired points out that Congress will be voting a straight-up “yea” or “nay” in 2016 as there is VERY little wiggle room on altering the multi-nation agreement.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is quite chummy with her House Energy Committee Chair cohort by joining forces (and donor lists) to form a joint fundraising committee that will allow them to raise a lot of $, but only have to divvy up the funds between themselves. International Business Times has the details of the ramifications of this Washingtonesque Friends with Benefits.

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Alaska News Roundup for October 30

  • Anchorage parks are taking a page from the Handmaid’s Tale and plan to use pictographs instead of words on trails and maps, per the Dispatch. Really, this is actually happening. pictures

 

  • The City and Borough of Sitka’s recent assembly meeting was very busy indeed between the reappointment of Dan Jones to the Gary Paxton Industrial Board, Eric Skousen to the Port and Harbors Commission and Tami Parker Song to the Planning Commission; the finalization of the raw water contract for $1,000,000; and Mayor McConnell signing a coalition letter to Pres. Obama in support of continued climate action.
  • Juneau’s City Manager Kim Kiefer’s planned retirement for December 2015 has been extended to April 30, 2016 because of the 33 applicants for her soon-to-be-vacant job…not one was determined worthy of her mantle. The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly will begin anew in January with the hopes of finding someone by the end of February.

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Alaska News Roundup for October 26

  • This week on Capital Hill, expect more drama than an Italian opera…so sayeth The Hill. The House is expecting to officially decide on their new Speaker (i.e. Rep. Paul Ryan), deal with the November 3 debt limit deadline, add an additional financial Band-Aid to Highway funding, reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and…FINISH THE CYBERSECURITY INFORMATION SHARING ACT (CISA) on Tuesday. Here is why you should be interested if you use Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and Google and why the digital security field is not amused with FB.
  • Congratulations to Tom Begich (now also known as the luckiest man in Alaska) on his betrothal to the always-engaging Sarah Sledge. One of my little birds told me that it was a quiet affair with only a few select friends and family in Anchorage.
  • It seems that not all is honkey-dory down in Bethel regarding the ABC board’s licensing of Bethel Spirits issue. The Tundra Drums reports that the October 22 meeting was hastily withdrawn and set for a yet to be determined date. The official reason given was that “necessary entities” were not given the obligatory 20 days notice. My little bird told me that there is MUCH more going on behind closed doors and this is expected to turn into a “big deal.”

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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 September 21

  • 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!!

    Kennedy & Walkers

    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.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 14

  • Grab your red bull and comfy chair because this week on THE HILL is going to be long and full of potential fireworks! The Hill explains that congress will be all about Planned Parenthood funding, the Iranian Nuclear Accord and monetary sanctions on frivolous
  • The Juneau Empire flexed their eloquence muscle in their latest editorial over the September 5th City and Borough of Juneau Assembly closed doors meeting over the fireweed field zoning issue. Their fury and contempt definitely make this worth a read!
  • In wicked awesome news: the USDA has approved grant money (Nunam Iqua, $112,800, Eek, $4.38 million; Kwethluk, $2.21 million and Akiachak, $6.38 million) for Y-K villages to improve rural water systems with not just pre-existing facilities, but training, technical assistance and development of future ones as well, per the Tundra Drums.

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