Alaska News Roundup for September 21

  • This week on The Hill, it will be all about the Pope Francis love fest. The Senate will be taking up a ban on 20+ week abortion bill and the defunding of Planned Parenthood (which is expected to fail).
  • Hold the presses; Governor Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker met with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy while making inroads with potential Japanese LNG buyers!!

    Kennedy & Walkers

    Photo Credit of Gov. Bill Walker’s FB

  • Taxes is not a “four-letter word” in Seward. That was the takeaway of the Seward City News after attending the 20+ public discussion about Alaska’s fiscial situation and potential remedies including bills proposed by Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage). One of my little birds noticed Sue McClure’s absence from “her kind of meeting.”
  • In potentially clap-worthy news: Southeast’s <3 for their ferries is legendary. Their Canadian neighbors feel the same. So much love for this mode of transportation has created an opportunity for Canadian based West Coast Launch to potentially begin once-a-week ferry runs in the winter and twice-a-week in the summer from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Ketchikan beginning in the summer of 2016.

  • The Nome Nugget reports that the Nome Common Council finalized several things after many internal debates and recesses: they gave the upgrade of City Hall’s public service counter area bid to Councilman Randy Pomeranz’s company (lots of upset little birds about that one), the promotion of Bryant Hammond as the new City Clerk and the appointment of Megan Alvanna-Stimpfle to the Nome Port Commission.


    Photo Credit of KNOM

  • KCAW has an example of how the state’s budget cuts are quietly changing Alaska with a story about Sitka’s Community Schools program going from public funds (and public oversight) to being controlled by a private contractor.
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre wrote an op-ed in the Seward City News that focused on the importance of working together as a state to get through this fiscal crisis without allowing it to tear our communities apart.
  • Alaska’s unemployment rate decreased from July’s 6.7% to August’s 6.6% while the national average was 5.1% for August.


    Image Credit of Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • The Frontiersman has the blow-by-blow of last Thursday’s Mat-Su Borough candidate forum for three assembly districts and for the biggie seat: mayor.
  • Want to know where the next Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor stands on commercial cannabis? Robert Shields likes a 5% sales tax, but not on medical marijuana. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole) likes pot sales tax, but wants to limit the number of commercial businesses. Cory Jackman is more upset about how the issue was being handled than to state an actual position (i.e. government should stay out of regulating pot). Karl Kassel supports commercial cannabis zoning and a sales tax. The Fairbanks News Miner has you covered with backstory and a more detailed version.
  • Pope Francis will be addressing Congress this week and Politico delves into the expected messaging on abortion and where up-for-re-election GOP congressional members lye on the issue. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is specifically mentioned for her unknown stance on late-term abortions.
  • Halloween is right around the corner and political wonks have their choice of “sexy” 2016 presidential candidate costumes to choose from. For the GOP’ers, there’s “sexy” Trump and for the Dem’s, there’s “sexy” Biden…or be wicked awesome and wear an actual suit.

    Image Credit of Yandy


    Photo Credit of Mediaite










  • $91,000 is the price tag for legislators and staffers to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit in Seattle last August. The Dispatch breaks down the costs per legislator and their office.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is worried that charging $5.00 in fees to see Mendenhall Glacier’s Photo Point Trail “uninviting”, per APRN.
  • PFD recipents will be $2,072 richer in a few weeks!


    Photo Credit of the Dispatch

  • Mark your calendar for the next Homer City Council on the 23rd. The Homer Tribune reports that items like introducing an internet sales tax to raising property taxes in order to eliminate the $1 million budget gap.
  • Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries Division just lost an institutional knowledge bank in Director Jeff Regnart after it became public about his retirement. Have no fear Alaska fisheries because the Arctic Sounder reports that he will still be around as a consultant with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

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