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Alaska News Roundup for November 12

  • The latest State Senate candidate to become official (she filed her Letter of Intent with APOC back in September…but that doesn’t mean anything really) is Anchorage’s Hilary Morgan who will be running against campaign workhorse (and kitchen timer queen) Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage). Morgan is a well-respected community leader who has steered the YWCA’s as their CEO and by the looks of her kick-off party invite…a lot of the Democratic Party’s establishment’s support (i.e. help with finding donors).Morgan

 

  • The way Alaska campaigns can raise money could soon be changing as three Anchorage area residents and the Anchorage chapter of the Republican Party have filed a federal lawsuit against the $500 individual limit to a candidate, $500 individual limit to a group, $3,000 individual limit from out-of-state peoples to a campaign and a $5,000 limit to a political party within a calendar year. KTUU has the details.
  • In pinch me, I must be dreaming news: Sitka’s Highliner Coffee, Backdoor Café and Homeport Eatery all offered FREE COFFEE on Monday to anyone that submitted a comment card on the severely reduced ferry schedule. By the end of the day there were 200 happily caffeinated people, DOT had 200 more opinions on their schedules and the Peninsula Clarion had a delightful article.

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Alaska News Roundup for October 15

  • The City of Ambler is making the news circuit for 1) voting out ALL FIVE of their Assembly members, 2) deciding that the results were invalid due to a lack in absentee ballots on election day, and 3) making a NEW election day for November 3! Seriously!
  • The end of an era occurred with the Seward City News’ last publication of Sue McClure’s Borough Assembly Report. As she has been term-limited out of her borough seat, McClure has now moved on to the Seward City Council (!) and fingers crossed…will continue her joyfully wonkish reports from her new dais location.giphy-6

 

  • Ready your credit card for Candy Bouquet because the absentee votes have been counted for the Kenai and Soldotna races and the Peninsula Clarion has the exciting news!   Linda Murphy and Paul Whitney both won their re-election bids for their respective Soldotna City Council Kenai City Council incumbent Bob Molloy also retained his seat, though Mike Boyle’s race between Jim Glendening was much more of a squeaker with a win by only 17 votes.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 18

  • It’s here! The latest in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly news by the one and only Sue McClure!
  • Rep. Don Young will be among many high-level guests attending the Wolf Trap Ball this Saturday where the basic (i.e. the paupers’) ticket price begins at $750 all the way up to $50K for table sponsorship. This year’s theme tips their hat to ancient Rome in honor of the host: Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero. And yes…there will be a conga line.Conga Line

 

  • Governor Bill Walker might not officially announce our PFD amount till Monday, but the New York Times kind of beat him to the punch with the announcement of record payments of more than $2,000 per recipient.
  • Former Sen. Mark Begich is moving on up to Hilltop Public Solutions as their new advisor in cultivating strategic partnerships within Alaska power networks and increase their
  • Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s might have been tirelessly working on getting federal-level assistance with the transboundary mine conflict, but as KCAW reports, the International Joint Commission will not be taking up the issue. This comes shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry declined a meeting with Mallott while he was visiting Alaska.
  • Despite the White House coming out against the 40+ year-old ban on oil exports, The Washington Post thinks the odds are looking more and more promising for Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s pet project by explaining what the average American needs to know how this would impact our economy.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 11

 

  • The Fairbanks News Miner sheds some interesting light on the Denali Borough as the home to the state’s oldest population with 1/3 of the population ranging from 50-69 years old compared to just 9% of the state’s entire population.
  • Another OUTSIDE law firm will be receiving money from the legislature, this time at a cap of $350,000 to study Medicaid expansion and reform. The Dispatch reports that the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee has hired Virginia-based The Menges Group.
  • The Alaska Republican Party’s Vice Chair, Frank McQueary, wrote an op-ed in The Hill where he explains what Obama missed during his trip to the Last Frontier.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 9

  • 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.
YouTube Preview Image

 

 

  • 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.

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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 September 3

  • There is something very special about this picture by Andrew Harnik if several of my little birds have emailed it to me with their own individual take.Obama vs. fish

“The symbolism of man’s effect on the planet is right there”

“At least it wasn’t on a blue dress.”

“Even Alaska’s fish love Obama”

“I wish I had been that fish so I could’ve peed on his boots to.”

 

  • The LA Times gives an Outsider’s view of the president’s trip to Alaska. Complete with rebuke (fair/unfair?) toward the Alaska GOP’s twitter feed, the shock that Pebble Mine could even be a possibility, and a tidy wrap-up invoking previous presidential visits.
  • If Pebble Mine wasn’t on Pres. Obama’s environmental radar before his visit to Alaska, it is now! Reuters admits that while he did not directly address the controversial mine issue during his tour of Dillingham…he did say, “There are other threats [other than climate change] to this environment that we’ve always got to be alert to.”
  • Get out your popcorn and a non-work electronic devise to read this Anchorage Press retelling of their experience covering the GLACIER conference. Warning: the excitement is infectious and the language can be rather blue. Enjoy!

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Alaska News Roundup for September 1

  • The Dispatch has the details about the bromance that will be Bear Grylls and President Obama on an episode of the Running Wild with Bear Grylls.
  • One of my little birds found this comic equal bits funny and true.Cartoon

 

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski and staff are probably doing a happy dance with the news that the president and the nation are FINALLY waking up to the importance of Alaska having more than two icebreakers. Politico points out that Russia has forty.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 28

  • The Anchorage Superior Court room was packed yesterday to hear the oral arguments over the Legislative Council’s lawsuit against Gov. Bill Walker’s executive powers to expand Medicaid. Everyone was there, that is, as APRN pointed out…except the Outside lawyers representing the Legislative Council. They deigned to SKYPE into the hearing from their spacious offices in Washington, D.C.
  • Downtown Anchorage is going to be experiencing major road closures during President Obama’s visit to our largest city. The Dispatch has all the details of where and when the closures take affect, who’s affected and alternative routes…but generally speaking stay away from downtown Monday. Take a sick day, play hooky and bask in the glow that is this historic presidential visit.

    anc map

    Image Credit of the Dispatch

  • Think again about getting any juicy details about President Obama’s upcoming visit to Seward because as the Seward City News (and your humble blogger) found out…city officials are NOT sharing.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 20

  • The Anchorage Assembly is now going to try to ban smoking & vaping in the open outdoors by starting with fining $50.00 for doing so in Town Square (you know, the open public park that belongs to all!). The Dispatch shares that this proposed ordinance would be introduced on August 25 and public testimony will happen on September 15.
  • Gov. Bill Walker was not alone in giving aide in the Sitka recovery efforts. As this Sitka Sentinel picture shows, community support is in abundance.Sitka

 

  • One of my little birds forwarded on the news that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and 2016 presidential hopeful will be in Fairbanks Tuesday.
  • It seems that only the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly understands the importance of Fox well since both the state and the feds turned their noses up at potential ownership. The only sticking point is that the popular watering hole would cost an estimated $50,000 a year in maintenance…which the assembly will use as a factor in their decision.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 19

  • 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.

    Begich

    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).

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Alaska News Roundup for August 18

  • The state’s constitutional right to privacy doesn’t trump local-option restrictions, so sayeth the State of Alaska’s appeals court-via the Peninsula Clarion.
  • Tonight Fairbanks North Star Borough residents get to voice their thoughts, concerns, and disenchantment over the proposed commercial pot zones at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly’s public hearing on the issue, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line need to be put into time-out for being wicked naughty! It turns out that these three cruise ship companies have each been found guilty and fined an “undisclosed amount” by the State of Alaska for illegally dumping “emissions” into Alaska’s waters.

 

  • One of my little birds was touched that Sen. Lisa Murkowski ignored an aide’s desire to leave after yesterday’s public hearing on federal/state involvement to listen to her concerns.
  • Despite being in the middle of a revenue shortfall, Mat-Su Borough Assembly is considering a proposal that would cut even MORE revenue from their current tax structure by exempting property owners from paying property taxes if they lease space/buildings to charter schools. The Frontiersman estimates that the loss could be roughly $171,936.76.

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