Alaska News Roundup for August 31



  • Sunday might have been a day of rest for many, but not for Alaska’s political wonks! The Peninsula Clarion was on hand to capture giddy preparations going into effect for Anchorage’s big day (today) for when the president makes his grand appearance. Former Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) and former Juneau Mayor Fran Ulmer were interviewed.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner has the skinny on Gov. Bill Walker flying on Air Force One with the president to Alaska. THE BIG QUESTION is whether the governor might snag a box of presidential M&M’s for one humble political blogger (hint, hint).


    Yummy & Spiffy @ the same time!

  • Seward had not one, but TWO presidential helicopters tackling the finicky winds of Resurrection Bay and testing approaches in preparation of Pres. Obama arriving in Seward Tuesday.
  • One of my little birds made a rather blue joke about seeing lots of legislators packing meat over the weekend in the valley. Turns out that the truth was rather banal. 20+ state legislators and a few commissioners toured one of the state’s biggest slaughterhouses, Mt. McKinley (maybe time to rethink the name) Meat and Sausage, in an attempt to wrangle state funding going into FY17. There were more than a few visitors that looked rather queasy during the tour.

  • Flint Hills Resources is not amused that the state DEC isn’t interested in “revisiting” the required levels of sulfolane polluted water cleanup at their North Pole refinery, so they have decided to contest the department’s decision and are asking Larry Hartig to review their issues personally. The Dispatch has the backstory, what’s at stake and the health impacts of NOT removing sulfolane from neighboring 300 homes that use the polluted groundwater.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski thanked the president for renaming Mt. McKinley to Denali. To wit the Mudflats responded with a funny tweet of their own.
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  • Alaska DOT has sent out their cyclical yellow cards to political candidates about state billboard laws and those nasty fees that get assigned to naughty rule breakers. Both Fairbanks North Star Borough mayoral candidates Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole) and Karl Kassel told the Juneau Empire that common sense is the rule for campaign season-that is until the weekend of decision. J
  • The Fairbanks North Star Borough is getting ready to off load 130 acres of land near the Murphy Dome Road area for commercial development/general development. The land has been split up into five tracts and interested buyers should attend the public meeting this Wednesday at 7:00pm at the FNSB admin center.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry arrived yesterday where Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, First Lady Donna Walker and General and Military and Veteran Affairs Commissioner Laurie Hummel greeted him. One of my little birds noticed that Sec. Kerry seemed a little more engaged while talking with Gen. Hummel than the other greeters.Kerry & Laurie Hummel


  • Climate Change. That will be the focus on the many speeches Pres. Obama will be giving during his barnstorming tour of Alaska. APRN has the details on what to expect sprinkled throughout his visit, including his plan to empower the Denali Commission to oversee Kivalina’s relocation.
  • The Nome Common Council saw a huge uptick in last week’s meeting because it was the final vote on some seriously controversial issues: imported commercial cannabis, firearm restrictions and utility rate increases. The Nome Nugget has the details.
  • Sitka’s old Harrigan Centennial Hall is no more as the Sitka Sentinel reveals that it is getting a face-lift to the tune of $11.4 million.


    Photo Credit of the Sitka Sentinel

  • The Mat-Su (and Alaska as a whole) got some love from the National Endowment of the Arts during a conference where the national chairwoman spoke about the cultural and artistic importance of Alaska’s art, per the Frontiersman.
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough residents will get to determine whether or not to raise sales taxes on non-prepared foods, wildfire response and generating funds from Cook Inlet oil companies on their October 6 ballot. My little bird told me that there is a 50/50 chance of the sales tax issue getting passed, but the wildfire measure is sure to pass.
  • Alaskans might <3 their moose, but that doesn’t seem to extend to the beleaguered Alaska Moose Federation (or its high price tag in state funds), which is partly why a new Executive Director isn’t all that surprising. The Dispatch reports that current president & owner of the MatSu’s EDC, Don Dyer, has taken over the reins as the federation’s new ED.
  • Tomorrow, Alaska will be another state in the union to expand Medicaid as the Juneau Empire reports that Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner struck down the Alaska Legislative Council’s attempt to prevent Gov. Bill Walker’s use of executive privilege. This is by no means expected to be the end of it. All parties agree that this case is heading to the Alaska Supreme Court.
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly candidate Dawson Slaughter went gangbusters during his interview with the Homer Tribune as he explained that his focus was to reduce the costs of living for everyone in the borough.
  • 13 states (including Alaska) might have won the battle of getting a court ordered block of a recent EPA rule that allows the federal government to take possession of waterways, but they haven’t won the war…yet. The Juneau Empire shares the news that the EPA is moving forward with their new power as everyone awaits the October 1 oral arguments in New York.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski spoke at the Glacier Conference Welcome Reception while looking resplendent in a breathtakingly beautiful kuspuk.Murkowski

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