Optimism for Alaska in 2018

As Alaskans, there's no doubt we face significant challenges, including high crime rates, domestic violence and sexual assault, thousands of Alaskans struggling with addiction, and a continuing recession that has left too many without jobs.

Tax hike for cruise industry dropped amid Alaska concerns

The cruise industry has dodged a tax increase after Alaska's U.S. senators helped strike the provision from the tax bill that passed the Senate. The bill approved early Saturday includes other provisions that Alaska Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan hailed as significant for Alaskans, including allowing oil and gas drilling on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

GOP Inches Closer To Opening ANWR To Drilling

Legislation to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration advanced out of a Senate committee on Wednesday, largely along party lines. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, joined with GOP lawmakers to pass ANWR legislation in a 13-10 vote.

Alaska senators tell Trump they want mountain’s name to stay

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said the Alaska mountain came up during an hourlong meeting he and fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski had with Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in March. Sullivan said during a weekend speech to the Alaska Federation of Natives that Trump asked if the senators thought the name change from Mount McKinley to Denali should be reversed, the Alaska Public Radio Network reported .

A look back at the original Alaska Purchase

Wednesday marks the 150th anniversary of the US taking possession of Alaska following the 1867 purchase of the territory from Russia. The idea of an "Alaska Purchase" saw a renaissance last month, when the phrase was borrowed to describe the possibility of sweeteners in the GOP health care bill meant to woo Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Trump’s sellout of American heritage

The last runs of heavenly wild salmon are trickling in this month, the buttery coho with flesh the color of fall foliage. After that, we'll have to settle for mostly farmed and frozen fish until next spring - no substitute for the real deal.

An Interview with Alaska Governor Bill Walker


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On August 25th, Governor Bill Walker, our second Alaskan born governor, arrived in Seward to spend some personal time here with his wife Donna in celebration of their fortieth wedding anniversary and to take part in the Lost Lake Run benefiting those with cystic fibrosis; a cause that is close their hearts as their daughter-in-law has cystic fibrosis. The governor mentioned that he likes to take the opportunity to thank those that participated in the run while raising money for a good cause.

Zinke calls to Alaskans draw look by watchdog

The Interior Department's internal watchdog is examining phone calls to Alaska's Republican senators from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke seeking support for the GOP health care bill. Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall said her office was launching a "preliminary investigation" of Zinke's July 26 calls to Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan.

Trump’s threat deserves swift kick

Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan speaks at a town hall meeting at Bartlett High School in Anchorage on Saturday, May 20. Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan speaks at a town hall meeting at Bartlett High School in Anchorage on Saturday, May 20. How dare you, Mr. President, from your Twittering perch in distant Washington, threaten a senator from Alaska - or any senator - with damage to her state's share of public interests because she voted not your views but her own carefully considered views on a matter of concern to Alaskans. Apparently you think that Alaskans are so attuned to top-down dictatorial styles of government that they will punish Sen. Lisa Murkowski at the polls at your direction.

Man kills wife on Alaska cruise because she laughed at him, FBI says

A Utah man killed his wife aboard an Alaska cruise and told an acquaintance who later walked into the couple's blood-splattered room that he did it because she laughed at him, the FBI said in documents released Thursday. Kenneth Manzanares of Santa Clara, Utah, was charged with murder after he was found with blood on his hands and clothes, and with blood spread throughout the cabin on the Princess Cruises ship Tuesday night, according to a criminal complaint by FBI Special Agent Michael L. Watson.

Alaska Senate tees up income tax and votes it down

The Alaska Senate on Friday rejected the House's income-tax proposal in a 15-4 vote - an emphatic statement of opposition to a key deficit-reduction measure that also underscored how far apart the two chambers remain after nearly four months in Juneau. Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, talks with members during a break from the Senate debate on the House income tax proposal Friday at the Capitol.

Officials from Arctic nations meet amid drilling concerns


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High-level officials from the world's eight Arctic nations will meet in Alaska amid concerns about the future of the sensitive region after President Donald Trump called for more oil drilling and development. Among those expected to attend the meeting of the Arctic Council beginning Thursday in Fairbanks are U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met Wednesday with Trump and Tillerson in Washington.

Alaska lawmakers are following a budget path that’s ended in gridlock …

The Alaska Legislature's budget process for the past two years has ended in gridlock and partisan sniping, then long overtime sessions. Halfway through the Legislature's 90-day session, the Republican-led Senate and the largely Democratic House majority are still drifting apart, with senators pushing for a spending cap and steep budget cuts as the House advances an income tax proposal and increased oil and gas taxes.

Alaska governor asks Trump to throw his weight behind Alaska LNG project

Alaska's governor is asking President Donald Trump to lend his support to what he termed an "ideal" megaproject - the $45 billion Alaska gas pipeline - as the president moves ahead with his $1 trillion plan to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. In a Feb. 7 letter addressed to Trump, Gov. Bill Walker also includes the ultimate federal wish list to help expedite the Alaska LNG project that seeks to sell huge reserves of North Slope gas to Asian utilities.

Alaska lawmakers convene session expected to focus on budget

Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, right, listens to a reporter's questions during a news conference discussing the Senate Majority's budget priorities ahead of the start of the Alaska legislative session Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in Juneau, Alaska. The state's multibillion dollar budget deficit is expected to dominate this year's session.

Tillerson might help Alaska’s gas project despite brittle relations with governor

Alaska could benefit if Congress confirms ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson as the next secretary of state despite Tillerson's tense relations with Gov. Bill Walker over Alaska's gas line project, some Alaskans believe. That's because the Alaskans hope that Tillerson, regarded as a no-nonsense deal-maker, will shift his focus away from the interests of ExxonMobil's shareholders to national needs that include energy security, presenting an opportunity for hydrocarbon-rich Alaska.

Spain’s ‘El Gordo’ lottery sparks celebrations across Madrid

The Mississippi fire marshal says investigators don't see politics as the motivation for the burning of an African-American church that was also spray-painted with the words "Vote Trump" a week before the... The Mississippi fire marshal says investigators don't see politics as the motivation for the burning of an African-American church that was also spray-painted with the words "Vote Trump" a week before the presidential... By The Associated Press The Alaska Volcano Observatory has issued its highest level of alert for aviation after what it says was a brief explosion of a volcano on the Aleutian Islands.

Obama Said to Use 1953 Law to Restrict Offshore Oil Drilling

President Barack Obama is preparing to block the sale of new offshore drilling rights in most of the U.S. Arctic and parts of the Atlantic, a move that could indefinitely restrict oil production there, according to people familiar with the decision. Obama will invoke a provision in a 1953 law that gives him wide latitude to withdraw U.S. waters from future oil and gas leasing, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced.

Permafrost shrinks as warming climate accelerates pace of change

The man he selected to lead the transition for the Environmental Protection Agency and shape climate policy for the next administration is like-minded. Trump adviser Myron Ebell, trained in philosophy and politics, has spent his career trying to create political uncertainty about the scientific consensus on climate change and preserve the status quo for the fossil fuel industry.

Agencies seek dispersant avoidance guidance

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are seeking public input to identify coastal areas around the Alaska Peninsula and southern Alaska where the use of chemical dispersants in response to oil spills should be avoided.....

Alaska’s U.S. Senate candidates don’t agree on much

The final debate between Alaska's U.S. Senate candidates Thursday night revealed three ideologically divided candidates, and one attempting to campaign in 2008. An Alaska Public Media Debate for the State showed the candidates - Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Libertarian Joe Miller, independent Margaret Stock and Democrat Ray Metcalfe - divided on key issues: Supreme Court, abortion, and how to get along in Congress.

Alaska Gov. Walker’s approval takes a hit post PFD-veto, but he’s still above Legislature

Even after his partial veto of Alaskans' Permanent Fund dividends, residents still are giving Gov. Bill Walker better grades than the Alaska Legislature for their responses to the state's budget crisis, according to a new Alaska Dispatch News poll. Walker's ratings suffered after his veto sliced this year's dividends to $1,022 from $2,052: Fewer Alaskans gave him an A or B grade, and more gave him Ds and Fs.

U.S. State Dept has interest in upstream Canadian mining projects

The U.S. State Department has taken a positive step to recognize the concerns some Alaskans have with upstream Canadian mining projects, but the issue is far from resolved, according to the members of Alaska's congressional delegation. Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield wrote in an Oct. 6 letter to the delegation that the State Department is actively engaged with Canadian officials to protect the watersheds that bisect the U.S.-Canada border along Southeast Alaska.

Alaska state agency apologizes for debate tweets aimed at Trump


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An Alaska state agency is apologizing after political comments aimed at Donald Trump were posted on its official social media site. KTOO reports that the posts to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Twitter account occurred during Monday night's presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, including one that referred to Trump as a "red-face mansplainer."

Midair collision kills 5 people in Alaska

Five people were killed when two small airplanes collided in midair Wednesday over a remote section of Alaska, the Alaska State Troopers reported. It's not known why the midair crash happened about 376 miles west of Anchorage, said Allen Kenitzer, with the Federal Aviation Administration office of communications.

New AG has tightrope to walk for lands-into-trust path

Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth is working with stakeholders on the lands-into-trust issue after Gov. Bill Walker decided not to appeal a recent court decision allowing the transfers. Photo/Elwood Brehmer/AJOC New Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth has been given a tricky assignment by Gov. Bill Walker: forge a compromise on lands-into-trust, a contentious issue that is developing around the legal status of certain Alaska Native lands.

Beyond The Spin: Alaska Village’s Demise Is More Complicated…

By Bering Land Bridge National Preserve - Shishmaref- Erin edit, CC BY 2.0, The Alaskan village of Shishmaref has voted to relocate because global warming puts its residents at risk of being washed away - or at least that's the simplified narrative environmentalists and the media peddle. Shishmaref, a small town of nearly 600 people just north of the Bering Strait, has become a poster child for global warming.

Who is on Tuesday’s Southeast primary ballots?

Southeast Alaska's House districts are 33, 34, 35 and 36. The Senate districts, which each include two House districts, are Q and R. Southeast Alaskans heading to the polls Tuesday will find few legislative candidates on their ballots. That's because the region's four House and two Senate districts have no primary contests .

Voices of Alaska: Get out and vote

The right to vote is a foundation of our democracy and exercising that right is important. This year more than 19,000 Alaskans have registered to vote and most of them did it via our new online service.

Coast Guard: 46 people rescued from sinking boat off Alaska

Two Good Samaritan vessels rescued 46 people Tuesday night who abandoned their sinking fishing boat in the Bering Sea off Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard said. There were no reports of any injuries as the crew members were transferred from life rafts to the merchant ships, in a fairly calm seas, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Steenson said.

Coast Guard: 46 abandon ship in Alaska waters, await rescue

Two Good Samaritan ships were helping rescue 46 crew members who abandoned a sinking fishing vessel in Alaska's Aleutian Island chain, Coast Guard officials said Tuesday. There were no reported injuries to the crew members, who had donned survival suits and then huddled in three large life rafts awaiting rescue after the 220-foot Alaska Juris started taking on water late Tuesday morning.

Governor, can we have that cup of coffee?

Are campaign promises empty promises that no one expects candidates to keep? Have we become that cynical? Running as the "unity ticket" in 2014, Bill Walker and Byron Mallott promised to improve the state of Alaska's tribal relations.

Murkowski, Sullivan give ‘non-endorsement endorsement’ for Trump

Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are playing the Washington, D.C. word game of the moment, in which they say they are supporting Donald Trump for president, but not endorsing him. There is no real difference between support and endorse, but Murkowski and Sullivan would love it if the former could signify a bare minimum level of approval, like a "D" in political science class.

Unions protest change in Alaska oil tanker escort contract

Two maritime unions with 250 Alaska jobs at stake have begun a campaign to stop the operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline from switching to a nonunion company for escorting oil tankers safely out of Prince William Sound, where the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in 1989. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

Calendar

Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski , Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska. The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.