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 The Tundra Drums reports that the October 22 meeting was hastily withdrawn and set for a yet to be determined date.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.”

  • The Mat-Su’s Borough Assembly race between Randall Kowalke and Doyle Holmes is quickly becoming Florida ’00 with 21 days since the election and still no winner in sight. The Frontiersman explains that there was a three-hour investigation into the election results that ended without a clear decision and it will now be up to the Mat-Su Borough assembly to decide who will be District 7’s new assemblyman.
  • The Nome Nugget (and a mondo cutout of the beloved late rep. Richard Foster…father of current Neil Foster (D-Nome)) covered the swearing in ceremony of Nome Common Council’s newest members: Lew Tobin and Stan Andersen. Though one of my little birds told me that the swearing in ceremony of the new Mayor Richard Beneville was sweet and filled with laughter at the minor procedural mistakes while he donned a Nome sweatshirt with pride.
  • Of the 6,000 federal drug felons that will be given early release on November 1, Alaska will receive only 5. Delaware at 4 and Guam at 2 were the only states/territories that are scheduled to get fewer releases, per ABC News. The state receiving the highest number? That would be Florida at 295.
  • Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), and Rep. Steve Thompson told the Dispatch’s Nathaniel Herz (and anyone that read the Senate Majority’s press release) what they want, what they really, really want for Special Session 3.0.
  • The Bureau of Land Management gave Conoco Phillips the green light to drill for O&G in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The first time this has ever been done. The Peninsula Clarion has the details.
  • Gallup is back with a poll that discovered Tea Party support is at the lowest level ever at 17%. The level of self-described opposition has remained relatively steady, but the amount of individuals that don’t consider themselves as neither a supporter or an opposer is at an all-time high of 54%.
  • Tonight in Seward will be one very tumultuous session for the Seward City Council. It will begin with a high note as Sue McClure (!), Deborah Altermatt, and David Squires get sworn in as New/Returning councilpersons. Then the Seward City News anticipates the smiles to quickly fade as the city’s $1.3 million budget shortfall will be addressed with potential solutions including taxes, city employee pay & benefits freeze, and more.
  • Ready your sock full of pennies because Anchorage’s Hillside has the beginnings of an incredibly interesting 2016 state house race between Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage) and former ABC Board Director Shirley Cote. Both are renown for their take-no-prisoners philosophy on winning.
  • The Juneau Pot Board tabled the proposed 8% tax on commercial pot sales as fears it would raise the price for pot too high and encourage people to go back to the black market, per the Juneau Empire.
  • Gov. Bill Walker sat down with KTUU’s Austin Baird to give a “history lesson” on Alaska’s O&G.
  • With the election of former Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman Karl Kassel to the mayoral seat, there is now a vacancy that needs to be filled. The Fairbanks News Miner has the details for interested parties. Don’t delay, because my little birds tell me that the short list is already being prepared.
  • If Alaska buys out TransCanada’s stake in the LNG pipeline, it apparently won’t be a big Ouchie on our state’s finances.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner gave outgoing Mayor Luke Hopkins a glowing review of his tenure as the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s mayor from 2009-2015.
  • The hits keep coming to Sitka with APRN’s revealing that one of their five docks will be closed due to the state’s budget cuts.
  • Say it ain’t so! It appears that the Homer Tribune’s website has been suspended!
  • Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks) has raised his four fingers and spoke impassionedly on the House Floor about the Fairbanks Four.



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