PNWER Legislative Leadership Academy and Economic Forum
This week a group of Alaska legislators from the house and senate joined their colleagues from other states and Canadian provinces in Alberta. The event was hosted by the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, or PNWER. This particular forum focused on energy issues and specifically energy deliverability and crisis management. Officials from Alberta were particularly insightful on this matter, having dealt with the tremendous flooding in the province earlier this year.
Part of the success of PNWER events is the focus on a format that has working groups made up of different experts and legislators to openly and freely exchange ideas. The working group at the forum was hosted by my good friend Montana Senator Cliff Larsen and myself. There is a growing collaborative effort amongst other legislatures in the United States and Canada to create an advanced system of reciprocating licenses and certificates. This would enable highly skilled workers to cross the borders of provinces and even countries if they are in demand. For harsher climates with pressing needs and not an abundant supply of technicians, this can make an enormous difference.
The keynote address by Dr. Ian Brodie of the University of Calgary was a telling recounting of the historical ties between Canada and the United States. Next year will be the 200th anniversary of peaceful relations between us and our Canadian neighbors. Dr. Brodie was very insightful into how Canada both is at times frustrated and amazed at the ability of the United States to transform its political system.
Pick, Click Give
Mark your calendar: January 1st is right around the corner! Please show your love for Alaska by supporting the charitable activities that enrich our quality of life. Starting January 1st, we can give a little (or all) of our Permanent Fund Dividend to over 500 of our favorite causes when we apply online. There is something for everyone. Search by issue, hometown, or simply start typing the name of the non-profit you wish to support. Pick. Click. Give. is a uniquely Alaskan way to give back to the place we call home.
Make a Wish Turns San Francisco into Gotham
By now you have probably already seen this. But it is amazing and worthwhile to share. Last week, the city of San Francisco banded together to become Gotham City for a day. This was done not to promote a new movie for Christian Bale, but to make the wish of a 5 year old leukemia survivor named Miles Scott. Miles has battled the cancer since he was almost two, and as of this summer his leukemia is in remission. With the help of the Make a Wish Foundation, Miles celebrated in a big way.
With the help of Batman, Miles got to be Batkid for the day, and they had a full schedule. Stopping the Penguin and the Riddler, saving a kidnapped woman and the mascot for the Dan Francisco Giants, and foiling the robbery of some precious jewels made for some excitement. What was so wonderful was how the city, the police and public officials and countless volunteers pitched in. They worked together to celebrate the tenacity and courage of this brave little guy.
The Arc of Anchorage Opens Five Homes in Five Years
New Home Opening in District 24
Five years ago, the Arc of Anchorage began a really ambitious project. Having made accessible housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities a priority, the Arc and its partners decided it was going to build five homes in five years. Instead of purchasing a home and remodeling it to meet the needs of its residents, the Arc partnered with local businesses, the Rasmuson Foundation, the NeighborWorks and the Municipality of Anchorage to build the homes.
Tonight, an open house is scheduled for 5:30 at the newest residence for Arc clients. With wide hallways, restrooms that are completely accessible regardless of the level of disability, and an open floor plan truly enhance the quality of life for the residents of these homes.
If you would like to know more about how to work with the Arc of Anchorage, or if you wish to see these wonderful new homes, please contact the Arc at 777-0340.
District 24 School Events
Kasuun Elementary Asking for Classroom Volunteers
Kasuun Elementary is asking for volunteers to assist teachers in their classroom. The type of activities one would do include reading with students as well as applying their various skills in small group settings. If you have a background in science or engineering or even mathematics, you could be asked to help in the lessons for STEM subjects with classroom teachers. Letting the homeroom teachers know your background can be very helpful in using your professional skills and interests to integrate them into a lesson plan.
You do not need to have a college degree in order to help, nor do you need to be a parent for a Kasuun student. All that is required is your photo id and a willingness to help out in your community. If you are interested in making a difference in helping teachers and students at Kasuun, please contact the school at 349-9444
Service Cross Country Ski Team
After a slow start to their season due to a lack of snowfall, the Cougar ski teams are raring to go hit the trails. On December 7th, Service will host its first race on the best trails in Anchorage. Please join us in getting out and supporting these incredible athletes.
If you are unable to make it to the races, there is another way to show your enthusiasm for this awesome program. If you take your quality used sports and fitness equipment to Play It Again Sports on Spenard, you can contribute to the cross country ski program. Simply let the wonderful staff there know you are donating these items to the Service XC Ski Booster Club. Proceeds from those donations will go help these young women and men on the trails. Not only do you get a tax deduction as well as a coupon for the next time you shop at Play It Again Sports, you will also have more room in your garage and home!
The Service XC Ski Team will also be helping you with waxing your skis this Saturday in the cafeteria. From 11-3, you can attend a free wax clinic. This will include proper wax removal and applying techniques, as well as which waxes are for which temperatures.
Come see some future kingpins as they take on Eagle River today at 3:15pm at Jewel Lake Bowl. The Service rollers and bashers then face Chugiak at Center Bowl on December 5th at 3:15pm.
Service Drama Club
Come see how the arts are alive and thriving thanks to the talented members of the Service theater community. Next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the Service Drama Club will be putting on a performance of David and Lisa, Each night the play will begin at 7:00pm in the school theater. Tickets are 5 dollars at the door.
admin @ November 21, 2013
Joint Judiciary Committee Hearing in Fairbanks
As we shared with you earlier this year, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have held a series of hearings dealing with the corrections budget as well as sentencing guidelines. What is generating this discussion is the numbers: Alaska’s budget for incarcerating individuals has gone up substantially over the last ten years, as has the prison population. At the current rate of incarceration, the Goose Creek Corrections Center, which has not even opened, would be at capacity by 2016.Even more startling is the percentage of non-violent offenders who are jailed, which is well over half the prison population.
Yesterday in Fairbanks, we heard from individuals representing South Dakota and Montana. These states contend with alcohol related crimes and a growing costs towards imprisoning convicts. The success that South Dakota has had in terms of reducing the amount of alcohol repeated offenses has been remarkable and something Alaska can learn from. With finite public resources, the priority in public safety needs to go towards violent criminals that harm others, especially the vulnerable. While not endorsing a culture of addiction, treating it in a way that gives people who have made mistakes a chance to reenter society as productive members is good for communities and a sensible investment.
Senator John Coghill’s Senate Bill 64, which would restructure sentencing guidelines, is one possible solution. You can read the text of the bill as well as the sponsor statement by clicking on the lick below. If you have any questions about this bill or the work of the judiciary community, please contact our office at 269-0222 or Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov
Education Summit in Boston
Earlier in October we had a wonderful opportunity to attend an education summit in Boston. Hosted by Governor Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, this year’s event brought over 1,000 participants from across the United States and the world. We had the opportunity to hear from Governor Bush as well as former United States Solicitor General Ted Olson, former United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on how they see changes to the United States’ education system.
In the work groups there are some exciting developments in rolling out educational opportunities to all kids regardless of distance and other obstacles. The head of EdX showed how students anywhere in the world can take world class courses from schools such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mozilla is working on a new open badges concept that gives a diverse choice in courses for children and adults to continue to take courses that are endorsed by employers such as Lockheed Martin or educational institutions.
The great takeaway is that there are many brilliant and earnest people that are coming together to help craft an education system for the 21st century. That means rethinking how education is delivered and how technology can be a critical component to providing equal opportunities for students to succeed. It also means collaborating with other states to get their perspective. Now, more than ever, our country is a series of laboratories that are finding innovative solutions to making our schools the best in the world. Alaska can be at the forefront of this.
Graduating from the PNWER LEHI Institute
The Pacific Northwest Economic Region, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the University of Idaho and the United States Department of Energy created the Energy Horizons’ Institute. It is designed to teach legislators in energy infrastructure and energy deliverability. Looking into bringing cost effective and stable energy to Alaskan communities requires understanding how different energy sources are developed and brought into towns.
The Institute delved into topics that included the challenges of installing transmission lines, the costs of power generation, the ability to integrate regional grids, and power consolidation and cost streamlining. The goal is for legislators from around the country to learn from these experts in the energy field and each other, absorb that institutional knowledge, and contribute to the crafting of implementing their state’s energy policy.
Along with Representative Chris Tuck, our Alaska delegation graduated from the LEHI Horizons Institute in Washington D.C. It was a fantastic and enriching experience for us to learn the technical, legal, political and financial considerations to any energy related project in our state.
House Education Taskforce
As of this writing, the House Taskforce on Sustainable Education is meeting for the third time. On this occasion, we are holding hearings with the House Finance Subcommittee for the Department of Education and Early Development. Yesterday we heard from Education Commissioner Mike Hanley and his Deputies about how schools are funded, built and maintained.
This morning we heard from Gerry Kovey, a member of the Taskforce and a former Superintendent of a school district, as well as a former Education Commissioner. Mr. Kovey gave a presentation on the use of residential schools throughout Alaska, its history and how it is being implemented today.
Working on this project with both members of the public as well as the legislature has been really rewarding. This is an opportunity to listen and to absorb the tremendous amount of information related to the challenges school districts throughout Alaska face, and understanding what is the state’s role in that picture.
The Taskforce plans on meeting for one more set of hearings before the beginning of the legislative session. As always, we welcome your insights into the issue of education. Please contact our office if there is something you want the Taskforce to consider.
District 24 Schools and Activities Updates:
This week Service High School is hosting the Cook Inlet Conference Volleyball Tournament. From November 5th-9th you can watch the best teams in south-central Alaska compete against each other in a double elimination setting. Come cheer on our Lady Cougars. Tickets are just $5. And next week will be the Alaska State Volleyball Championships hosted at Chugiak High School, from November 14th-16th. To learn about when Service is playing these next two weeks, please contact our office or Service High School 742-8100.
Don’t forget if you have a child attending any of the neighborhood schools in District 24 there is a Parent Teacher Association that meets monthly. The upcoming meeting schedule for November is below:
Trailside Elementary will meet November 7th from 3:45pm-4:45pm
Kasuun Elementary will meet November 12th from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Abbott Loop Elementary will meet November 12th from 7:00pm-8:00pm
Service High will meet November 12th from 6:00pm-7:00pm
admin @ November 5, 2013
State Final this Saturday
Well Cougar fans, this Saturday the 2013 football season comes to a conclusion. As expected, our Service Football team is in the state championship game once again. Having dispatched cross-town rivals Dimond 47-27, Coach Kern and his boys look set to dole out some revenge against West. This year has been a particularly exciting one from the fans’ perspective. Huge offensive plays and stunning defensive stands have contributed to a spellbinding, if turbulent, three months of football. This final fixture’s stage is set for a matchup that has all the trappings to be a classic.
Come join the Service High fans this Saturday at 4:00pm at the Anchorage Football Stadium. Don’t forget to come decked out in your green and gold.
District 24 School News:
We are heading into November and the start of the holiday season. This is an incredibly busy time of year, but please do not forget that your local Parent Teacher Associations are still meeting, finding ways to support our local students and teachers. Below is the list of the upcoming meeting locations, dates and times for next month:
Hanshew Middle School PTA meets November 4th from 3:45pm-4:45pm
Trailside Elementary School PTA meets November 7th from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Abbott Loop Elementary School PTA meets November 12th from 7:00pm-8:00pm
Kasuun Elementary School PTA meets November 12th from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Service High School PTA meets November 12th from 6:00pm-7:00pm
admin @ October 25, 2013
2013 Alaska Women’s Summit
Next week, something very special for the first time is happening in Alaska. Women leaders in business, community involvement and public policy are coming together to discuss the state of women in Alaska. There is a lot of room for improvement. Violent crime against women, especially in terms of domestic assault, is higher in our state than anywhere else in the country. Access to essential services and maternal health also needs to be addressed. And this says nothing of the unique challenges rural Alaskan women must contend.
On October 17th and 18th at the Alaska Pacific University Campus, the first Alaska Women’s Summit will convene. Coordinated by State Senator Lesil McGuire and facilitated by our senior United States Senator Lisa Murkowski and Alaska First Lady Sandy Parnell, the summit will be a combination of presentations and small group sessions by women leaders in our state. This is an exceptional opportunity to hear from figures such as Janet Weiss, the President of BP Alaska, and the CEO of YWCA of Alaska Hillary Morgan. Our office is very fortunate to be able to participate.
Below is a link to the Summit’s website, where you can register and see the schedule. If you have any questions about the Summit, contact our office at 269-0222 or you can email us either at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
District 24 School Events
Winter of Warmth at
Abbott Loop Elementary
We are pleased to announce that the Abbott Loop Elementary PTA’s drive to get winter weather clothing to children now has drop off sites in District 24! You can donate mitts, hats, snow pants and other cold weather gear at Abbot Loop Elementary, the Carr’s Quality Center on Abbott Road or the Kaladi Brothers coffee shop on Brayton Drive. We also have a donation box in our office at 716 West 4th Avenue, Suite 620. Collections will continue until October 31st.
All items being collected will be sold on November 2nd for $1.00 a piece at Abbott Loop Elementary. 90% of the proceeds will go to fund school activities through the PTA. The remaining 10% is being donated to AWAIC (Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis). The parents and teachers have been working extraordinarily hard for this to succeed and they’re getting a lot of deserved attention and support. Below is a link to the story that KTUU did on the clothing drive.
Please consider helping our district school students stay warm. If you wish to donate and have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 269-0222 or email us at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Fall is here, and winter is around the corner. What better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons than at your children’s local elementary school fall carnival. The two Fridays before Halloween is when Kasuun, Abbott Loop and Trailside will all have events stacked with fun and games for parents and students. Appropriate costumes are welcome. The dates and times for the fall carnivals in your area are:
Trailside Elementary: October 18th 6:00pm-8:00pm
Abbott Loop Elementary: October 25th 6:30-8:30pm
Kasuun Elementary: October 25th 7:00pm-9:00pm
This is a fundraising opportunity for these school’s Parent Teacher Associations. The local PTA’s are huge supporters of providing resources to teachers and students for many activities and needs the district cannot supply. If you wish to donate a prize to one of these carnivals, please contact our office at 269-0222 or email us at either Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Service High Football
State Tournament Quarterfinals
It’s hard to believe the regular season has already ended. But here we are into October, with our Cougars having their quarterfinal matchup of the state tournament against Chugiak, which means they are just three games from a state title. If you haven’t been able to make any of the previous games, don’t worry. Playoff time is the best time to come support your local high school. The intensity will be an experience you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
The match is this Saturday, October 12th, at 2:00pm at Dimond High School. The local paper made a typo and accidentally listed the venue somewhere else. If you need directions, email our office at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Open House for East 64th Road Project
This month residents of District 24 will have the opportunity to attend an open house to view the initial road plan for East 64th Avenue. The goal is to reconstruct East 64th Avenue between Laurel Street and Norm Drive to bring it up to the Municipality’s standards. This includes regrading the road, rectifying drainage issues in the area, as well as improving pedestrian access on the streets.This project was made possible by funding from the Legislature. The event will have members of the engineering team from CRW Engineering as well as the Municipality of Anchorage on hand to present and answer questions.
The open house will take place on Wednesday, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00pm at the Northern Lights ABC Library. You can view the website of the road project by selecting the link below:
If you have any questions about the open house or the East 64th Avenue road project, please contact our office at 269-0222 or email us either at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
admin @ October 11, 2013
Congress Passes Travesty Wells Funding:
President Obama to Sign Bill Sending $50 Million to Clean up Arctic
This has been two years in the making. Today our office received a special phone call from Senator Lisa Murkowski. Senator Murkowksi told us that Congress passed the Responsible Helium and Stewardship Act. In that law, fifty million dollars will be dedicated to clean up the worst of the Travesty Wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. President Obama has indicated that he will sign the bill into law, opening the path for at last an expedited remediation process.
Thanks to Senator Lisa Murkowski for working with members of Congress such as Senator Ron Wyden of Oregan and Representative Doc Hastings of Washington to pass this bill. Success such as this proves how lucky we as Alaskans are to have such an amazing senior Senator. Thanks also to Commissioner Cathy Foerster of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for having the tenacity and endurance to never let this issue sink below the surface.
It is accomplishments such as this that proves words matter. Back in 2011, when our office sponsored the first resolution condemning the deteriorating conditions of these sites and the sclerotic process on remediation, forseeing Congressional approval was seen as very remote. But with the support of the entire legislature, the Governor’s office and each member of our Congressional delegation, something real was achieved. It took three sessions, but patience does pay dividends. The Arctic will become more pristine and agencies that have been reluctant to act will have no further excuse.
Finally, thanks to all Alaskans who wrote their legislators, their Congressional delegation, the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management. We as Alaskans, through the enactment of this law, send a clear message: we love our environment and will do what is necessary to protect it.
To see Senator Murkowski’s press release, please click on the link below:
Washington D.C. with Rep. Ben Nageak
Earlier this month we wrote about how our office was travelling to Washington D.C. with Rep. Ben Nageak and members of the Alaskan Native community. Our purpose was to lobby for cleaning up contaminated lands and buildings that had been constructed by federal agencies and then conveyed to the State of Alaska as well as Native corporations. Anyone who has ever been to the Capitol knows that schedules, no matter how well planned, can be thrown into the air because of circumstance.
Sadly, on the morning of September 16th, we woke up to the sound of sirens coming in all directions. Less than two miles away, the tragic shootings at the Washington D.C. Naval Shipyard had occurred, claiming the lives of twelve victims and the shooter. Helicopters and emergency response vehicles swarmed overhead. The Senate recessed early out of an abundance of caution. That same day we showed our respects at the Navy Memorial. It was incredibly moving to see so many people walk to this location and give pause for a moment in silence and reflect on the sacrifices of others, and for us all to acknowledge our unified grief as a nation.
The business of making the rounds through the United States Senate and House of Representatives is daunting to say the least. Tens of thousands of square feet worth of office space and hallways, combined with layers of understandable security measures leads to a lot of speed walking. This brings up an important piece of advice we learned the hard way: bring comfortable shoes. Once in the office of the Congressperson or Senator, you often have less than fifteen minutes to introduce your group, your reason for the meeting, answer any questions and exchange contact information. You will meet with members of Congress and their staff from landlocked states, Gulf Coast areas, the Northeast and Great Lakes among many other regions. They are meeting literally dozens of groups a day.
One important lesson from all these meetings: Congress does care when you come in person. Being inundated by lobbying groups, think tanks and other professionals can be exasperating for anyone. Having residents of our state make a trip of over 4,000 miles to meet with members of Congress makes a huge impression. Whereas most meetings will be conducted with staff, we had the opportunity to meet with many Senators, Representatives, high level officials with the Department of Interior and even the White House. A great example of this was meeting Washington Representative Doc Hastings, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Chairman Hastings is a great champion on Alaska issues and will always lend an ear to what our state is lobbying for.
We are also very fortunate to have a very involved Congressional delegation. Both Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Congressman Don Young spent a tremendous amount of their time working with us to lobby for these necessary changes to the issue of contaminated lands. The relationships they have with their colleagues will be invaluable as we continue to push for a solution for Alaskans on this issue.
So what is the next step? We have already introduced House Joint Resolution 15 in the Alaska House of Representatives, which asks Congress to pass legislation making the federal government financially responsible for cleaning up the mess it created. Senator Donny Olson is carrying the Senate companion bill. Below is a link to see a copy of the resolution:
If you would like to know more about the resolution, about contaminated lands and the effort to clean them up, please contacto our office at 269-0222 or email us at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Community Forum with the
Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education
Our office is proud to represent the legislature on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. Next week will be a meeting of the Council to discuss many different topics, including legislative priorities. But what is particularly important is that on October 2nd, between 6:30-8:00pm at the Embassy Suites Hotel in midtown Anchorage, the Council wants to hear from you. On that day, the Council is hosting a community forum where the goal is to get as much input as possible from all residents of the state. The focus for the forum is on employment services. We will be discussing how to get Alaskans with disabilities into the workforce to have a succesful career, and fostering a culture that celebrates this success.
If you cannot make the forum in person, you can call the toll free phone number at 1-866-356-1755 and enter code #849003085 to participate. Our goal is to get as much involvement from the community as possible. Please contact our office with any questions that you may have about this forum. And the Council is always looking for members. If you know someone who you think would be great as a member of the Council, please contact us or the Governor’s Council directly at 269-8990.
Open House for
Viburnum, Oakwood and Burlwood Drives
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has completed the preliminary design for the reconstruction of Viburnum, Oakwood and Burlwood Drives. The open house is your opportunity to review the plans and ask the project manager questions before the design is finalized. The project was funded by a grant from the Alaska Legislature. This road will improve the neighborhoods by rebuilding the roadbed and replacing all pavement, adding new curbs, gutters, storm drains and footing drains, and adding new street lighting.
The open house will be held next Tuesday, October 1st, from 6:00-8:00pm at the Independent Baptist Church, located at 1801 East 68th Avenue. If you have any questions about the open house, please contact our office and we will be sure to get that information out to you.
PTA Needs Your Help with the Hawk House
If you have a student at Hanshew Middle School, then the PTA would appreciate your help. Hanshew has the Hawk House, similar to the Cougar Cache at Service High School, where students can purchase snacks and drinks during lunchtime. The proceeds from the Hawk House go the school’s PTA budget. Volunteers are needed. To sign up, there is a nifty new way to see what slots are available and immediately get scheduled. Using VolunteerSpot, you can sign up online by following these steps:
- Click on the link http://vols.pt/e85E2P
- Enter your email address: (You will not need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
- Sign Up: and choose your spots-VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders.
If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please contact the Hanshew PTA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Abbott Loop Elementary PTA Keep Kids Warm
We wrote earlier this month about the Abbott Loop PTA trying to get winter weather clothes out to kids and their families who can purchase these items for $1. Details about the drop off sights in the neighborhood are being finalized. In the meantime, our office can accept any clothing donations. To donate, please come by our office at:
716, West 4th Avenue,
Telling Students “I Know I Can”
This fall, the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education is teaming up with elementary schools across the state and need your help. If you have achieved a successful postsecondary education either through apprenticeships, specialized occupational training from military service, vocational or college programs, then you are being asked to come work with 2nd and 3rd graders. Volunteers would read the book I Know I Can, which tells the story of a bunch of animal characters trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up and how college fits into those plans.
After discussing the story, each student will be given a special postcard which asks them to identify what they want to be when they grow up. When they children complete elementary school, the postcard gets sent back to them, reminding them about their goals.
This is a wonderful program to inspire our young students. If you are interested in volunteering your time, please contact Shelly Morgan, the K-12 Specialist for the Commission, at 269-7972 or you can email her at email@example.com
District 24 Sports:
Cougar Football Back on Top!
This last Saturday was a nail biting, big play generating game between the two best football teams in Alaska. Our Service High Cougars faced South High in a rematch of last year’s State Championship Finals. When the clock finished ticking down to 0, Service had reclaimed the top seed in the Cook Inlet Conference by defeating South 37-36. What was even more impressive was that Service entered the second half 19 points down, only to grab victory in a very physical matchup.
C.J. Toomer threw for 435 yards and 4 touchdowns. Nahshon From caught two of those touchdowns, for a total of 215 yards. Armend Aliju caught the other two touchdowns and amassed 86 yards of receiver offense. And as the final moments of the game drew near, the Cougar defense made a stout goalline stand that denied South a last minute win. If this is the way the rest of the season goes, then there should be no doubt Service will soon have a third consecutive Cook Inlet Conference Crown and a second state title in three years. Go Cougars!
admin @ September 26, 2013
Education Taskforce Update:
Finding Energy Savings for Alaska’s Schools
The House Sustainable Taskforce on Education is meeting once again on September 30th and October 1st. Our office’s goal has been to focus on the component of energy costs to education. This past week, we met with members of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to follow up on the great presentation they gave at the Taskforce’s first meetings at the end of August. We also met with the Chief of Operations, the Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Maintenance and Operations for the Anchorage School District. It was a very insightful experience that demonstrates the dedication and attention Anchorage’s schools are receiving to save money through energy conservation.
In the coming weeks, we will get the opportunity to learn more about how the school district maintains its facilities from the professionals themselves. We will also get to look into the immense data on public facilities the Alaska Energy Authority, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center have compiled and are analyzing for the benefit of the public.
If you would like to know more about the Taskforce, or if there is something you wish to contribute to the discussion, please contact our office at 269-0222 or email us at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akle.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Alaska Gasline Development Corporation’s New Board Members
Governor Sean Parnell on Friday, September 13th, appointed five new members to the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC). The appointments of Drue Pierce, Albert Bolea, John Burns, David Cruz, Richard Rabinow, as well as Labor Commissioner Dianne Blumer and Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell are another step towards getting Alaskan gas to market. The new membership demonstrates substantial experience that combines public sector institutional knowledge with the acumen of years putting big scale industrial projects together.
Drue Pierce is a former Alaska Senate President and federal gas pipeline project coordinator. John Burns is a former Alaska Attorney General. Messrs. Bolea, Cruz and Rabinow have between them over 100 years of experience in oil and gas development as well as project infrastructure planning and construction.
We wish these new members to the AGDC board success
“State of Reform” Health Policy Conference
Alaska has healthcare needs unlike any other state. Legislators, business leaders, insurance companies and healthcare professionals need to come together and deliberate how best to solve some of the most pressing issues. Costs of healthcare, the deliverability of services to remote communities and the mental health laws in Alaska are just some of the many sources of discussion at the “State of Reform” Health Policy Conference. The event will be held on Friday, October 4th, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. Our office was fortunate to have been invited to participate in one of the panels.
If you wish to know more about the conference, please see the link below or contact our office at 269-0222. You can also reach us by email at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akle.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Alaska Native Leaders Symposium in Fairbanks
On October 21st and 22nd, we will be joining Alaska Native leaders of village, regional and tribal corporations along with economic development directors to discuss topics pertinent to the future of Alaska’s aboriginal community. Regions of our state have yet to experience necessary economic development. Energy needs have been and continue to be an everyday reality that leads to difficult decisions for families. Far too many women and children are exposed to domestic violence. These are just some of the issues that we will contend with in a spirit of collaboration and a shared wish to make Alaska better for all Alaskans.
If you wish to know more about the Alaska Native Leaders Symposium, please contact our office at 269-0222 or email us either at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akle.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
District 24 Sports Update:
Cougars Look to Repeat as CIC Champs Once More
Already into week 5 of the season and what a great start for the Cougars Football Team. The boys are going to take on South this Saturday. This is a game that always leads to fireworks, and the Cougars are sure to impress with their phenomenal offense and dominating defense. After the convincing victory over Eagle River, Service is currently ranked 2nd in the Cook Inlet Conference. Hard to believe the State Championships are only a month away. Let’s get out and watch some great fall prep football!
But there is not just football. Service Cross-Country Running is making great use of our trail systems in south-central this past month. October 5th is the Cross Country State Championships, which will be hosted at the Bartlett High School Trails. These young ladies and gentlemen will be running in some pretty chilly weather, let’s give them our support and make it down there to root for them.
District 24 Schools Update:
The following dates and times for PTA meetings in October for District 24 schools are below:
Trailside Elementary is having a PTA meeting on October 3rd, from 2:15-3:15pm
Hanshew Middle School is having a PTA meeting on October 7th from 3:45-4:45pm
Service High is having a PTA meeting on October 8th from 6:00-7:00pm
Kasuun Elementary is having a PTA meeting on October 8th from 6:30-7:30pm
Abbott Loop Elementary is having a PTA meeting on October 8th from 7:00-8:00pm
Keeping Kids Warm
The Abbott Loop Elementary PTA is collecting cold weather clothing for children and adults. All items donated that are fit for reuse will then be sold for $1. Currently, the PTA is asking local businesses to set up donation bins. Until then, our office is available to accept clothing. The goal is to get children, and even their adult family members, the clothing they need for winter. Once the locations of the donation bins are known, we will be sure to let you know.
If you wish to donate, or have a business that will post a donation bin, please contact Abbott Loop Elementary PTA President Cassie San Miguel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to contact our office to participate in this program at 269-0222 or email us at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akle.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
admin @ September 16, 2013
We are teaming up with Rep. Benny Nageak, Alaska’s Arctic Representative, and members of the Alaska Native Village CEO Association for an important trip to Washington D.C. Across Alaska, hundreds of contaminated sites exist with huge amounts of PCB’s, arsenic, mercury, asbestos and other carcinogens. Millions of dollars are spent every year hauling out toxic wastes from around the state that are near cities, towns and villages. What’s more, those footing the bill for the majority of the clean-up are not the ones responsible for the mess in the first place. These sites were either constructed by federal departments and agencies, or overseen by them.
The Department of the Interior reported to Congress that it had six recommendations for addressing this issue. Since then, nothing has happened from that end. We are going to ask Congress and members of the administration to address this remediation process. Those recommendations need to be implemented, which is what we are also asking. Alaskans care about their environment, and we want communities in lands that are healthy and safe to fish, hunt, explore and generally thrive. What our trip will essentially entail is a request for those responsible for these contaminated facilities to clean them up.
Thanks to the efforts of our Congressional delegation and our Alaska Legislature these two years, substantial funding is finally underway to clean up the travesty wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. This is just a reminder that persistence pays off. We will be applying that same determination this next week.
Below are links to the stories on those contaminated sites that was covered by both Channel 2 and Channel 11. Also included is the Compass Piece in the Anchorage Daily News on this issue. Please let us know your thoughts on this matter by contacting our office at either Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Anchorage Daily News:
Advocating Passage of the FAIR Act
Part of our trip to D.C. will also be advocating for passage of Senate Bill 1273, called the Fixing America’s Iniquities with Revenues Act (FAIR Act). Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana have co-sponsored this legislation, as has Alaska’s other Senator Mark Begich. Currently, any oil and gas revenues that come from federal offshore development do not get shared with the states whose coastlines have those resources. The FAIR Act would remedy that by having coastal states share up to 27.5% of revenues earned from Outer Continental Shelf drilling and a further 10% if states set up a fund dedicated to either alternative energy or conservation.
This bill would introduce fairness into the revenue sharing system. Under the current regime, onshore development of oil and gas on federal lands result in states receiving half of all revenues. Offshore development, by contrast would result in no revenues going to coastal states and communities under the current system. The FAIR Act would rectify this imbalance.
Also affected by the FAIR Act is renewable energy. Revenues from alternative energy development on federal onshore lands have no revenue sharing component. The FAIR Act would change this to renewable energy revenues being shared equally between states and the federal government. There is a growing base of support from both parties, including Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon, the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
As members of the state with more coastline than the rest of the United States combined, our trip will be to marshal support for this important bipartisan legislation. Below is a link to the text of the FAIR Act. If you wish to know more about this bill, please contact our office at 269-0222 or email us at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Link to the text of S. 1273 (aka The FAIR Act)
September is National Preparedness Month
Last week’s windstorm warning turned out thankfully to not materialize for much of Anchorage. Unfortunately, we cannot count on the weather being so friendly, especially in the middle of winter. September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross of Alaska has some great information to help you and your family read yourselves in case of any emergency. Some really simple and important recommendations include:
*Make a Plan: Talking with family members about what to do in the event of a disaster is critical, especially when people are not all at home. Generally, two emergency meeting places should be agreed upon: one near the home and one away from the neighborhood in the event of a major event. An emergency contact outside the area should be listed, in case the telephone lines and internet capabilities of the community are down. In cases of evacuation, there should be a plan for where to meet and what roads to take if the main streets are inaccessible. If there are pets, they need to be included in the plan.
*Build a Kit: The rule of thumb is to have enough dry food and potable water for three days for the entire family. But in Alaska, where 90% of our food comes on a barge, it is a good idea to have a week’s supply of water and food if possible. But a kit is not just food and water. Having a generator, a battery operated radio that can charge cellular devices and first aid equipment is also necessary, as well as some extra all weather clothes.
The Red Cross has phone apps that make it easier than ever for your family members to have a plan and find out what is needed in your personalized kit. The links to their website and suggested items are below.
Red Cross Link to Making a Plan:
Red Cross Link to Apps:
Red Cross Link to Building a Kit:
For more information, please visit the Red Cross website:
PTA Meetings and Open Houses in District 24:
The new school year is here and we have a whole bunch of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings and a few open houses this week! Please see below for the dates and times for your school’s meeting.
Service High School is having a PTA meeting Tuesday, September 10th from 6:00-7:00 pm and an Open House on Wednesday, September 11th, from 6:30-7:30 pm.
Hanshew Middle School is having an Open House in the multi purpose room on Tuesday, September 10th, from 6:30-7:30 pm.
Abbott Loop Elementary is having a PTA meeting Tuesday, September 10th, from 7:00-8:00 pm.
Trailside Elementary is having a PTA meeting Thursday, September 12th from 3:45-4:45 pm.
Kasuun Elementary is having a PTA meeting and an Open House Thursday, September 12th, from 6:00-7:30 pm.
O’Malley Road Update
The Executive Board members for the Hillside community councils will meet with Alaska Department of Transportation (ADOT) officials this week. The purpose of the meeting will be to go over proposed design changes to Phase I of the O’Malley road project. Below is a link to the ADOT page on the road project. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact our office at 269-0222 or email us at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Link to the Alaska Department of Transportation’s O’Malley Road Project website:
admin @ September 10, 2013
District 24 residents please take care! It’s already been a year since the last severe windstorm took out so many powerlines. Hopefully this is not a repeat of that. But it never hurts to be prepared: make sure there’s no patio furniture that can fly off, BBQ grills are secured, flashlights have extra batteries stored and ready to go, cell phones fully charged and fill the generator if you have one.
Here is a link to a story on the Anchorage Daily News website about the approaching storm.
For the most up to date forecast on the windstorm check out the National Weather Service Alaska website.
Have a safe end to the Labor Day weekend.
admin @ September 2, 2013
Working with Texas to Improve our Justice System
On July 25th, the Alaska Legislature’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing in Wasilla. We were fortunate to have a very special guest from the Lone Star state of Texas. Former Texas Representative Jerry Madden was one of two lawmakers who saw the costs of prisons skyrocketing and public safety not improving, and decided to do something about it. Texas reformed its sentencing guidelines for non-violent offenders, and improved prison rehabilitation programs. Since then Texas has actually closed some of its prisons thanks to a now shrinking population. What’s more amazing is that crime rates have fallen, and fewer released prisoners are reoffending and entering the prison system.
We spent the day hearing from veterans of Alaska’s justice system. Former Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court Walter Carpeneti for instance talked to us again about “smart justice,” focusing on violent criminals while giving those who made mistakes a chance to reenter the community. Some of the facts we heard were astounding: non-violent offenders are now over 60% of our incarcerated population. At the current rate of prison growth, our brand new Goose Creek Facility will be over capacity in 3 years and it’s not even open.
Rep. Madden was able to offer our committees feedback while we went over Senate Bill 64 by Senator John Coghill. This bill would reevaluate our sentencing guidelines for non-violent offenders and offer incentives for them to receive treatment and rehabilitation so they are better prepared to return to their communities with a chance to succeed. This will be a very important issue next session.
The next Joint Judiciary Committee hearing on this topic will be November 4th at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.
We appreciate your feedback on our prisons, our sentencing guidelines and what can be done to improve them. Please contact our office at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov. Our office number is also 269-0222
Below is a link to the webpage from the legislature that has the copy of Senate Bill 64, as well as all the presented documents from the hearing.
Below is a link to the Op-Ed in the Anchorage Daily News related to the hearing topic:
Putting People First with the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education
This year Governor Parnell honored our office with the appointment to the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. We started the year off with getting House Bill 88 passed unanimously through the legislature and signed into law, which replaced the “r” word in state statutes with “intellectual and developmental disabilities.” When Governor Parnell signed House Bill 88 into law at the groundbreaking of the new athletic facilities for Special Olympics Alaska in May, Alaska joined more than 40 other states that now use “people first language.”
But as self-advocates and members of the Council continually and justifiably remind us, words are not enough. Council Members and school districts throughout the state have been working with us on issues related to focusing on employment for people who have disabilities. We are also learning about seclusion and restraint policies for students with disabilities, and ways those policies can be improved for the benefit of students, educators and parents.
The next meeting of the Council is October 2nd-4th. We will make sure to share more details about the meeting the closer we get to the date.
The Governor’s Council is always looking for members and volunteers. If you or someone you know wishes to contribute their time by serving other Alaskans, please visit the link to the Council’s website below or contact our office at 269-0222, or email us either at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Below is a link to the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education website:
Funding Education for Alaskans Now and Tomorrow
This last session the legislature passed House Resolution 8, creating a House Taskforce on Sustainable Education. Co-Chaired by Representatives Lynn Gattis and Tammie Wilson, the mission of the task force is to “Make recommendations to the State House on public education funding after examining the efficiency and effectiveness of public education delivery” As the Co-Chair of the House Special Committee on Energy, our office is really concerned with the cost schools pay to keep the lights on and what can be done to reduce those burdens. We were very fortunate to be selected to the task force.
This week on August 28th and 29th the task force had its initial meetings. We heard extensive presentations on school finances from David Teal, the Director of Legislative Finance, as well as Deputy Commissioner for Education and Early Development Les Morris. We also were very fortunate to have the experts from the Alaska Housing Finance Authority walk the task force through the many drivers of energy costs in schools both on the road system and in the most rural areas. Having audited 38% of our public school buildings, AHFC suggested that adopting several, many very simple energy measures could result in energy savings of 20-35%. That is tens of millions of dollars that can go right back into the classroom for students and teachers. It was really an exciting two days.
Over the next few weeks our office and task force members are going to meet with officials from the Anchorage School District, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, the Alaska Energy Authority and more organizations. Our goal is to have as complete a picture as possible to answer the question “what does it cost to keep the lights on and the school warm for kids and teachers?”
District 24 is an amazing place to be because there are so many people with knowledge about our education system. Please, if you are interested in contributing to the task force contact our office at 269-0222 and by email either at Representative.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov.
The next meeting of the task force will be September 30th-October 1st from 9:00am-5:00pm at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office, 716 West 4th Avenue.
Below we have included materials that were presented over the past two days. In addition, Rep. Mike Hawker’s Education Task Force Final Report from 2007 is also linked:
Task Force Meeting Documents from Day 1
Task Force Documents from Day 2
2007 Final Report of the Education Task Force Chaired by Rep. Mike Hawker:
PNWER Summit Recap
The Pacific Northwest Economic Region, or PNWER, was founded in 1991. It is an organization created through statute in each of the legislatures of territories, provinces and states that are members. The goal of PNWER is to foster economic and community relationships for peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Members of PNWER include Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Each year, PNWER members such as legislators, energy officials, tribal representatives and many others come together in an annual summit. They discuss and attempt to resolve issues such as food security, meeting energy demands, infrastructure challenges, resource development and management and many others.
PNWER also has the Arctic Caucus, which is a working group consisting of Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories to come together and address specific issues related to our shared environment. Some successful outcomes include the 2005 Cross Border Initiative. Alaska and its Canadian counterparts share reciprocity for licensing in fields such as engineering and other occupational certificates. This helps skilled laborers move to find work easier in Arctic climates that require a specialized knowledge base.
This year, the annual summit was held here in Anchorage from July 14th-19th. We were on the welcoming committee to make a hospitable environment for the more than 600 visitors to Alaska. For many state and provincial officials, this was their first time to our state. The responses were overwhelmingly positive, as Alaskan hospitality from all our local businesses really showed and was gratefully appreciated.
Our office was very fortunate to co-chair a work session on energy with Montana State Senator Cliff Larsen. Former Alaska Senate President Drue Pearce and Federal Pipeline Coordinator Larry Persily presented on topics that included LNG Export Potential for Alaska and the viability of Outer Continental Shelf Drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. At the conclusion of our work session, we developed several action items. Among the more notable ones was working to develop an Arctic Chamber of Commerce.
The next meeting for PNWER will be its annual legislative leadership academy in Banff, Alberta, Canada, from November 13th-16th.
The link to the PNWER action items are below. If you wish to learn more about PNWER and how Alaska benefits, please contact our office at 269-0222 or email us at either Representative.Charisee.Millett@akleg.gov or Vasilios.Gialopsos@akleg.gov
Link to PNWER Home Page:
Link to action items from the 2013 PNWER Summit in Anchorage:
District 24 Updates
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and Kinney Engineering released its report on design alternatives for left turn access to Chelea Street and Commodore Drive. As promised, here is a link to the report:OMalley-Chelea LT Analysis Report Final 8-28-13
The report is lengthy but it has a lot of good information on several design options. Public comments on the report and its design alternatives are due by Friday, September 27. The hillside community councils will hold a meeting in September and is likely to endorse one of the designs. We will be sure to let you know when that meeting will take place.
At last night’s Abbott Loop Community Council meeting representatives from Kinney Engineering gave a brief presentation on the report. The study identified three preferred alternatives. The one that received the highest recommendation was to build roundabouts at the intersection of O’Malley and the New Seward Highway but it was also the most expensive alternative. A ballpark number for the roundabouts is eight to ten million dollars.
The council also got an update on the construction of a new playground at Abbott Loop Community Park. The city parks department will break ground next spring so the kids should be swinging and climbing by mid-summer. Crews recently cleared Meadow Park of overgrowth and brush making the park look much nicer to use. Ryan Stencel from the Anchorage Soil and Water Conservation District gave a progress report on trail repairs in Ruth Arcand Park.
At the September 26th meeting the annual election for council officers and directors will be held. If you would like to get involved and run for a seat email your nomination to Al Tamagni at email@example.com
The world of smartphones and tablets forces us to keep up as well. Our office has set up a series of social media outlets to keep you informed on our comings and goings, community related events and another venue to contact us. You can see our Facebook page: Representative Charisse Millett, or follow us on twitter @RepMillett. Any suggestions on improving these new formats are gratefully welcomed.
District 24 Sports
With the new school year upon us we have the beginning of another exciting season of prep sports. And who better to kick it all off than our defending Cook Inlet Conference Champion Service Cougars Boys’ Varsity Football Team. The gentlemen begin their path to another championship this Saturday, August 31st, at 1:00 at Anchorage Football Stadium. Their opponents will be the Bartlett High Bears. Should be a great day on the turf!
To support our local football team, please follow the link to the Service High Boys’ Football Facebook page below:
But don’t forget there are other great sports getting started. Ladies flag football and our cross-country running are up to full steam! For schedules of all our prep sports, please follow the link below:
Before we go, be sure to check out the new photo slideshow viewer on our blog. It is still undergoing some tweaks and more photos will be added in the days to come.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!
admin @ August 30, 2013
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Fighting Cancer Every Mile
The fight against cancer has taken so many forms over the years but for me there is one that really stands out for its commitment and determination. Each year a few dozen people generously donate two months of their life by hopping on their bicycles to pedal more than four thousand miles from Austin to Anchorage to raise money for cancer research.
Known as the Texas 4000, it is the longest charity ride in the world. Representative Mike Hawker and I were at the finish line in Kincaid Park on August 9 to greet the bikers and present them with a legislative citation honoring their hard work and sacrifice.
Hope, knowledge, charity and understanding are what this event is all about. To learn more check out the Texas 4000 webpage: http://www.texas4000.org/
O’Malley Road Reconstruction
We have an update to pass along about the O’Malley Road reconstruction project. Last month the Abbott Loop Community Council joined three other councils in asking the Alaska Department of Transportation to make changes to the design for phase one from New Seward Highway to Livingston Street.
The department hired a private engineering firm to come up with design alternatives that improve business access and address traffic issues on Commodore Drive. The results of the analysis should be out next week. We will pass them on to you as soon as we have them.
FYI – In September road crews will begin repaving Birch Road between O’Malley and Huffman and that could create a weekend closure.
Mark Your Calendar
The schools in District 24 will hold their open house events for students and parents on the following days:
• Abbott Loop Elementary – Monday, August 19 at 5:00 p.m.
• Trailside Elementary – Monday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m.
• Hanshew Middle School – Tuesday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m.
• Service High School – Wednesday, September 11 at 6:30 p.m.
• Kasuun Elementary School – Thursday, September 12 at 6:00 p.m.
The Abbott Loop Community Council is set to resume business after its summer break. The next meeting is Thursday, August 29th, 7 p.m. at Abbott Loop Elementary School. These meetings are where proposed development projects are reviewed, neighborhood issues are addressed and ideas are encouraged to improve the quality of life in the area.
Thanks for reading by blog!
admin @ August 19, 2013