Alaska News Roundup for September 4

  • The latest Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly report is out by the ever-endearing Sue McClure!! In a nutshell, $3 million was approved to fund the Central Peninsula Hospital project to include the ability to treat cancer and the area’s aging population. Their annual meeting will be in Homer on September 15.
  • Rep. Don Young was suspiciously absent during Pres. Obama’s tour and APRN found out where he was “hiding”. Hint, he was at his traditional August bolthole in Fort Yukon enjoying the joys of an August break with his enchanting newly wed.
  • The US Labor Department has released the unemployment rate for August 2015 with good news! The jobless rate fell to 5.1% and we are now consistently making pre-Great Recession rates.

    August Unemployment

    Graphic Credit of US Bureau of Labor & Statistics

  • The Mat-Su Borough Assembly did in fact cobble together enough votes to veto (at 5/2) Mayor Larry DeVilbiss’s veto on a 55% excise tax on vapes, e-cigarettes and their corresponding products. As the Frontiersman explains, they will remain in the same tax category as traditional tobacco products.

  • Dust off the suitcases, legislators because the Dispatch reveals that Gov. Bill Walker is giving October 22 as the date for Special Session 3.0 with locale still officially unknown. Sen. Dennis Egan (Juneau-D) told Nathaniel Herz that it will be Juneau and that “we can handle it.”
  • One of my little birds sent me two things regarding the 2016 presidential race: the recent Gallup poll that shows Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT-I) margin of favorability going gangbusters over Hillary Clinton and one of his new social media campaign ads.
    Bernie Sanders Gallup

    Graphic Credit of Bernie 2016 Supporter

    Bernie Sanders

    Image Credit of Bernie 2016 Supporter, Red Arrow added by Inside Alaska Politics

  • APOC has claimed another campaign finance lawbreaker in the Moose Foundation’s founder. Although Robert “Moose” Henrich has been fined $1,120.00 for his 2014 senate bid against Sen. Gary Stevens (Kodiak-R), the Dispatch has it on good authority that nobody knows where Henrich is in order to collect.
  • Uber got their financial knuckles rapped by the Alaska Dept. of Labor the tune of $77,925 in fines for being quite naughty by not paying workers’ compensation insurance on their Anchorage drivers.
  • The Juneau Empire has an excellent and detailed explanation of the issues involved in Alaska’s lawsuit (with 12 other states) against the federal government’s ability to confiscate tribal land back into federal land at will.
  • Despite the enormous amount of press coverage President Obama received during his trip to Alaska, he broke the cardinal rule of PR tours: talking to the local press. APRN vents the press-corps’ pent-up frustration about receiving the cold shoulder from the Commander-and-Chief.
  • Kotzebue’s Penultimate Mayor of Awesome: Mayor Maija Katak Lukin not only went straight back to work after emergency surgery, but played hostess with the mostess to Pres. Obama. Her charm even won her the keepsake of a lifetime…her very own selfie with the president while securing a spot in HIS car on the ride over to Kotzebue’s school.

    Maija Lukin

    Photo Credit of Mayor Maija Katak Lukin

  • The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly was all like, “Nope” to the proposed west Fairbanks cell tower and sent the issue back to the Planning Commission for another proposal, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • Sen. Cathy Giessel (Anchorage-R) will be hosting a working group within the state legislature to study the current oil and gas tax credit structure (that paid out $628 million in 2014) due to the increasingly loud opposition in light of the state’s budget problems
  • The Mat-Su borough’s life in mono-monofill will be decided within the walls of the Palmer Courthouse of the administrative appeal on the controversial landfill proposal, per the Frontiersman.
  • While most media outlets give a nice recap of what Pres. Obama did during his trip to Alaska, CNN International focuses on what he didn’t do (at least through former Gov. Sarah Palin’s eyes); tour any of the oil exploration sites or discuss the potential dangers of Russian and Chinese military.


  • Break out your happy dance because the Mat-Su borough FINALLY unloaded the debunked Susitna ferry to the Philippine Red Cross. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that this move made $1.5 million and saved an additional $30,000 a month in maintenance, moorage and insurance fees.

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