Alaska News Roundup for December 22

  • Mat-Su legislators have looked over Gov. Bill Walker’s budget plans and are sharpening their scalpels now that as Rep. Wes Keller (R-Wasilla) put it, “ The easy cuts have already been made.” The Frontiersman has the details on what exactly this power block has in mind for the upcoming legislative season (hint: income taxes aren’t likely).
  • In sad trombone news, APRN broke the news that the Fairbanks News Miner AND the Kodiak Daily Mirror have been sold to a non-profit foundation. Gone will be the razor sharp criticisms that have become part of the News Miner’s charm. Oh, and they won’t be able to endorse candidates, while gleefully explaining why the other candidate isn’t cool…for more “balanced” reporting.
  • The Dispatch confirms the whispers and rumors; O&G jobs are up for a 7th straight month, though Alaska overall unemployment hasn’t changed since September.
    unemployment

 

  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is gearing up for some of that lovely commercial cannabis tax money now that they have officially adopted 3 ordinances. The gist is that pot shops will be open the same business hours as package stores and will work under a conditional use permit for zoning regulations.
  • One of my little birds was pleased as punch to share the good news that Barrow’s own Ahvaiyak Richards received the Award for the Humanities (the page hasn’t been updated from last year’s awardees, but still lots of good info) from the governor in recognition of her efforts in expanding the Inupiaq language.
  • The City and Borough of Juneau will go ahead with a special mayoral election on March 15 as they ensured the city could afford the potential $35,000+/- cost to solidify newly departed Mayor Greg Fisk’s
  • Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) was his ever charming self during an interview with KRBD where he accomplished the unthinkable…he made our current budget crisis seem not so scary!
  • If you own a business in Alaska, ready your #2 pencil because the State of Alaska is going to be sending you a survey so the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development can get a better feel for the business climate from region to region. The Peninsula Clarion reports that there will actually be two separate surveys: one for O&G focused businesses and one for everything else.
  • The Anchorage Assembly has voted to bail out the $69,000 accounting mess from the city’s Centennial celebration under former Mayor Dan Sullivan’s office. The Dispatch has the backstory, what Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has to say about the situation, and who’s owed money.
  • Politico has a great roundup of this year’s best political cartoons.Cartoons

 

  • In that’s not cool news; Virginia has decided that Alaska’s concealed carry permits (and frankly, the 24 other states that offer the same ability to wear a gun) just aren’t stringent enough to pass their muster and will no longer be recognized, per The Hill.
  • Anchorage has seen a drop in traffic tickets (15% in September, 34% in October, and 25% in November) when compared to the same months in 2014. While the Anchorage Assembly found it alarming, Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) did just have a baby so…that would help to explain some of the drop in tickets.
  • Kenai City Council is allowing commercial cannabis, but will be tightly overseeing the businesses in what the Peninsula Clarion considers to be even stricter than state law.
  • Former House Representative candidate Sam Combs has written an op-ed in the Dispatch where he admonishes the legislature on their wasteful spending. Sounds like the perfect platform from which to announce your 2016 candidacy…fingers crossed.
  • Another ripple effect from the state’s budget cuts is now being felt by the Association of Village Council Presidents as they had to lay off 30 of their employees due to the economic crisis.
  • Think Alaska’s housing situation stinks? Want to help change it AND earn some $50,000 in the process? Well, AARP and the AARP Foundation are hosting two separate award competitions (Re-Defining Home and Aging in Place) to address affordable housing and accessibility for the growing 50+ years old portion of the population.
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