Category Archives: Wasilla

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.”

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

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

  Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

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

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

Alaska News Roundup for November 16

  • Our Washington delegation should be doing their downward dog and plenty of breathing exercises in order to get through this upcoming week in Congress. Not only are they supposed to pass renewed transportation project funding, deal with the issue of penalizing undocumented immigrants who reenter the US after being deported, have one more go at repealing parts of ObamaCare, BUT ALSO taking on the Federal Reserve with audit threats. Whew!! Next week: Turkey Day Vacation.
YouTube Preview Image

 

  • Want to make your voice heard on the Ferry schedule debacle? Today is the day for the Alaska Marine Transportation Advisory Board’s meeting beginning at 10:30am. Interested parties should call (800) 315-6338 and use conference code 39051.
  • Nikiski Mayor Mike Navarre and Borough LNG Special Assistant Larry Persily conducted a public hearing on the pipeline project last week and while it made one of my little birds happy that this issue was finally being conducted by an elected official and not by the LNG pipeline staff, Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) could not be found amongst the crowd to much chagrin.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

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!

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

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.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

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.
facebooktwittermail

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

 

facebooktwittermail

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.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

Alaska News Roundup for July 31

  • In can this possibly be real new, the Homer Tribune reports that after Buccaneer Resources declared bankruptcy and left many local businesses in a financial lurch, after demanding businesses to give back half a year’s worth of expenditures Buccaneer paid for use of their services; the O&G company is now demanding the City of Homer do the same! Buccaneer Resources is requesting re-payment of $17,457 the city has already earned and received payment for “dockage, wharfage, supplying water and storage and other city fees.” Really!!
  • It’s Christmas in July for many Fairbanks area ski and dog mushing clubs as the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly voted to give five of these clubs a free snow machine each! The Fairbanks News Miner that it isn’t all rainbows and glitter as the borough has decided to stop paying for the maintenance and insurance on the machines on behalf of the groups as liability has become an issue.rainbows

 

  • Regulate not ban is the mantra by the Ketchikan Marijuana Advisory Committee to the Ketchikan Assembly.
  • Wasilla gets a special bubble to fill on their October ballot this fall. The Frontiersman relays the Wasilla City Council decision to put before the voters the question of whether to keep the sales tax rate at 3% (with an anticipated $6 million that would prevent a city-only property tax) or let it drop back down to its expected 2% now that the revenue has been collected to build the new library.
  • Shell is back to drillin’ in the Arctic as of 5:00pm last night. This is the first time since the 2012 debacle that Shell’s presence has been felt.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s mondo energy package has gotten tons of ink since she first announced her legislative intensions back before Breakup. Most of the focus has been on the bipartisan effort, but APRN reveals that there are actually 2 bills: and one…not so much.

    Evil Twin

    The tale of the good twin/bad twin anew.

  • Man, the hits keep coming for the North Slope Borough with Fairbanks News Miner reporting that the borough just settled with the EPA for $445,000 over alleged hazardous waste violations between 2012-2014.
  • Greenpeace USA has been found in contempt by US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason and received a fine of $2,500 an hour beginning yesterday at 10:00am AKST until all the Oregon bridge protesters have removed themselves. The Juneau Empire reports that the fine escalates until $100,000 per hour by 10:00am on August 2. Ouchie!
  • NBC News obtained a secret NSA map that shows the 600+ companies and government agencies that have been hacked by the Chinese beginning in 2009.Hackers

 

  • Both Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan voted for the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act-though only Sen. Murkowski got mentioned by Real Estate Rama.
  • Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole) wrote an op-ed in the Dispatch where he makes his case as to why Gov. Bill Walker’s Medicaid expansion might violate state law by citing state code and SCOTUS rulings.
  • While the 2016 primaries are roughly a year away, Jeff Landfield and Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) are getting into a social media feud ala Drake and Meek Mills. The Dispatch details the beef and accusations’ being bandied about while the Democratic Senate Challenger, Forrest McDonald, has wisely remained out of it.
  • Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has appointed his new Director of Public Transit: Jody Karcz. She brings with her 30+ years of direct work within the muni’s public transportation department as well as a private citizen with transportation-related organizations/programs. Congrats Jody!

    karcz

    Former Labor Com./Sen. Click Bishop (R-Fairbanks) on far left. Photo Credit of AK Labor Department

  • Hillary Clinton has mentioned her all time favorite job as a worker on Alaska’s slime line a few times while on the campaign trail as a way to make her more relatable to voters. It turns out that this life-changing job lasted only 1 week after she was let go for asking too many questions. She went onto getting another job.
facebooktwittermail

Alaska News Roundup for July 3

  • While none of our Washington delegation are sponsors to bills that fund and implement Erin’s Law in states where it’s been adopted, KTOO reports that they “were looking forward to reviewing the bill.”
  • Alaska no longer has a dog in the same-sex marriage fight, per APRN.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner reports that with only one meeting under its belt the state Pot Board wants 4 changes to the law including the allowance of c cannabis clubs, an update to the criminal code, clarification on the difference between a personal grow and an illegal operation, and giving villages the ability to completely opt out of commercial marijuana sales.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

Alaska News Roundup for June 30

  • Ready the fire extinguisher because when Alaska’s statehood birthday cake will now have 57 candles!

    Cake Suck

    You’ve Come a Long Way Baby! 

  • Juneau’s Gastineau Apartments is turning out to be their city’s version of Dante’s Inferno. The longer this story enfolds, the deeper the pockmark it has become on the municipality. No longer just an eyesore, the Juneau Empire reports that the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly is now having to take 8 million in dedicated funds from a different project to put toward the demolition of the apartment complex’s remains because it is looking highly unlikely that the property’s owners will cough up the dough.
  • Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla) threw shade at the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. for hosting a golfing tournament during working hours while the state is in a budget crisis. To which the corporation returned her volley with a simple statement to the Dispatch.
  • APRN takeaway from Arctic Geopolitics is not all sunshine and unicorns. You have been warned.
  • The Hill explains why SCOTUS’ ruling on redistricting will likely alter the makeup of 2022’s congressional seats, but APRN reports that it will remain status quo on the federal side…. not so much state side.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

Alaska News Roundup for June 29

  • Tonight’s Wasilla City Council meeting will decided if the 1% sales tax increase becomes permanent and to approve a temporary 2-3% tax to raise the needed $15 million for the new Wasilla Library. The Frontiersman has the details.
  • The GOP is girding their loins, sharpening their quills and readying their rhetoric for the regulation battles ahead. The Hill reports that dietary guidelines, the carbon pollution reductions, E-cigarette oversight, calorie count menu labeling requirements, and union election laws will be getting extra attention in the coming weeks.
  • Gov. Bill Walker signed two of Rep. Cathy Munoz’s (R-Juneau) bills into law over the weekend. The first incentivizes affordable housing through municipal tax exemptions. The second creates the first new tax in well over a decade. HB158 creates a 1% per gallon tax that will go toward funding the Hazardous Substances Prevention and Response Fund.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan was spotted at a recent Indo-American Community Services meet & greet. According to my little bird, he was all smiles, but was still mastering the art of working the room while his more senior congressional colleagues demonstrated “how it’s done”.
  • Budget cuts hit the Alaska Marine Highway hard with 3 of the 11 strong fleet being docked for the majority of 2016. APRN reports that several Southeast communities won’t have ferry access for about a month with more cuts on the horizon.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

Alaska News Roundup for June 17

  • The Homer City Council hosted a presentation by the Navy over their intended summer exercises in the Gulf of Alaska (including the use of bombs, toxic chemicals and high-power sonar). The Homer Tribune reports that the presentation did not quell the ever-increasing hostilities of the community toward this exercise. The Homer City Council will vote during their next meeting to pass a resolution (to join many other coastal communities) against the current planned exercises and for the time frame to be moved to the fall.
  • The Fairbanks North Star Borough mayoral race is heating up!  Today, FNSB Assemblyman Karl Kassel will launch his bid to be the borough’s next mayor, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • Sue McClure’s riveting Borough Assembly Report is HERE!
  • Sen. Charlie Huggins’ (R-Wasilla) convict legislative aide has in fact remained on the state’s payroll despite her 2014 fourth-degree assault charge and subsequent Outside treatment that has lasted for months. The Juneau Empire not only reports that her legislative pay will stop at the end of this month but also why Deborah Grundmann remained on the payroll for so long without working.
  • Kodiak City Council has approved the proposed re-design of the new fire station and a reassessment on the condition of the “old” library to no more than $100K. They also have given borough residents permission to legally use fireworks (just not within city limits) between June 15-July 15 and December 26-Jan1.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail

Alaska News Roundup for June 8

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan got slapped with FEC campaign fines of about $3,000 due to omissions of Outside donations. APRN reports that more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from before and after the August 2014 primary went unreported during the notorious 48-hour rule.
  • This week on Capital Hill, the annual defense policy authorization is the focus of the Senate and the House will continue to work through the 2016 spending bills and (fingers crossed) the president’s controversial trade agenda, per The Hill.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration has recently added Craig and Ketchikan to their Tsunami Ready program!

    Map

    Graphic Credit of NOAA

  • CNN/ORC teamed up again for another national poll. This time, the focus was on how Americans trust in how SCOTUS will handle gay marriage and ObamaCare. Of the 1,025 adults contacted, 52% approved of the job SCOTUS is doing. Regarding gay marriage (49%) and healthcare (50%), they got less favorable results.

Continue reading

facebooktwittermail