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.

  • The Peninsula Clarion has the agenda for the Joint House and Senate Resources Committees meetings that ends later today.
  • KTOO has the skinny on the brewing controversy over one of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s bills that fully funds Native-run hospitals’ contractors as well as funding for fighting wildfires. The sticking points are that the bill also includes language to do a land swap of a section of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to build an 11-mile road AND redefining national rules on WOTUS.
  • The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Board of Equalization became the ultimate judge in the battle royale between the FNSB and Corvias Military Living over property tax assessment. The verdict? Corvias lost and the property tax assessments for the 900 Eielson homes are at $139 million and not the $17 million they asserted as the true value. The Fairbanks News Miner reveals that the borough had initially offered a tax break to about $580,000 and Corvias baulked.
  • Big Brother is watching and there is a bipartisan effort in the US Senate to ensure that when drones are used for this purpose, it is only after a warrant is obtained. The Hill has the details.
  • In good news, bad, sad news: KTUU reveals that Alaska is #1 in the US for gun violence. That’s the bad news. The sad news is that state epidemiologist Deborah Hull-Jilly explains that the majority of the gun related deaths are due to suicide and not due to homicide. Good news? Alaska is at least one of the 32 states that participate in the CDC’s NVDRS program to track statistics so we as a state can reduce the number of fatalities.
  • Ramadan begins tonight and the Washington Post explains why Alaskan Muslims will have to fast 9 hours longer than Cape Town, South Africans.
  • Erica Martinson with the Dispatch captured Rep. Don Young’s known verbosity from a recent House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing over governance of offshore drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
  • The Sierra Club threw some serious shade toward Sen. Lisa Murkowski over the proposed $539 million cut to the EPA’s 2015 enacted budget by implying to Politico that Murkowski is a liar. Ouchie!
  • The Fairbanks Daily News Miner has the updated information on the new Fairbanks North Star Borough’s zoning for sex-related businesses. One of my little birds got a chuckle over the use of “buffer”, “strip club” and “any sexually related businesses” within the rather short article. 
  • The governor signed a bill to end film tax subsidies and just like that, the program died, per APRN.
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