Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Join us for a Crime Townhall!

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

On Monday, September 25th, our office will be joining community members, public safety and others to share ideas and experiences regarding crime in our city. After the passage of SB 91, the current recession and with the onslaught of our state’s devastating opioid crisis, the crime rates in Anchorage, and Alaska on the whole, are out of control. We all deserve to feel safe in our neighborhoods, and know that our families and workplace are secure.

 

We will be at the Abbott Loop Elementary School Multi-Purpose Room from 6:30PM to 8PM

Bring a friend, a neighbor, and your story. We want to hear from you!

Contact the Office of Rep. Charisse Millett

Email: rep.charisse.millett@akleg.gov

Phone: 907-269-0222

1500 West Benson Blvd. Suite 408

Update for September 15th, 2017

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to a fun fall weekend! Below is an update on goings-on in our office and around town.

 

Criminal Justice in the Special Session

Our office was pleased today to see that the Governor decided to include Senate Bill 54, a bill which rolls back some of the dangerous sentencing changes made by Senate Bill 91 last year, to his special session call. This means that beginning on October 23rd, legislators will be allowed to hear, vet and hopefully vote on this bill, which had stalled in the House State Affairs Committee earlier this year.

Here are a few highlights of the bill:

  • Re-imposes jail time for repeat theft offenders
  • Re-imposes jail time for C-level felony offenders
  • Fixes sex trafficking laws to close loophole for traffickers
  • Requires that a violation of release conditions be considered a misdemeanor crime

While this bill does not roll back all of the changes made by Senate Bill 91, it is a first step towards increasing crime deterrence. There are still some worrisome and dangerous changes to our laws that our office believes need to be re-examined and altered if we want to see offenders brought to justice, and we will continue to work during this special session to see those passed. We will keep you posted as more comes to light about the Governor’s agenda for the special session and ways we can improve our terrifying crime rate.

 

Roundabout Closures on Dowling

From the Department of Transportation:

Beginning 8:00pm Friday, September 15, the roundabouts along Dowling Road near the Seward Highway (as well as the Seward Highway exit ramps) will be closed through 5:30am Monday, September 18. Please plan to follow detour routes via Tudor Road and Dimond Boulevard/Abbott Road.

Be alert to daily lane closures and delays from 9:00am to 3:30pm and from 8:00pm to 5:30am along Dowling Road and its roundabouts.

Work will occur during the day and at night. There will be lane restrictions and lane closures as well as sidewalk closures and detours due to curb ramp work. The roundabouts at Dowling Road and the Seward Highway will be completely closed (including the ramps) two separate weekends, from Friday evening till late Sunday evening. More specific dates will be shared as soon as available.

 

Great Open House at Hanshew!

We just wanted to take a minute to thank Hanshew Middle School Principal Brain, her amazing team of staff, and the Hanshew PTA for putting on such an inviting and informative Open House last night! It was a truly amazing showcase of all of the work they have put into making this a fruitful school year both for students and parents. One of the many things that Hanshew does so well is include and empower their parents – evidenced this year by monthly Parent Nights and a really valuable website full of amazing resources. Check it out here: http://hanshew.asdk12.org/parents/

Keep up the amazing work, Hawks!

 

Anchorage Museum Opening

The Anchorage Museum recently unveiled the result of their hard work and the contributions of local organizations, foundations and artists in their new wing. The Rasmuson Wing, Art of the North gallery and Discovery Center will be holding their grand opening this weekend. This expansion includes some of Alaska’s most treasured pieces of art, and some spectacular new additions, and is truly an awe inspiring experience. Bring the kids for a great educational opportunity or simply take the time to relax and browse on your own!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our update! We hope that as we inch closer to this special session, and just in general, you stay in touch! Please don’t hesitate to call or email with questions or concerns.

 

Have a great weekend,

Update for September 8, 2017

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Good afternoon and Happy Friday! We’ve been enjoying the beginning of fall this week and taking some time to enjoy the new colors popping out on our trees around town. Our thoughts and prayers have also been with our fellow Americans in the Lower 48 who are experiencing horrifying natural disasters, and persevering despite truly unimaginable obstacles.

 

Assistance To Those In Need

In Alaska, we are intimately aware that the world we live in is incredibly fragile, and that our communities can be turned upside down overnight by natural disasters. If you are interested in helping those whose lives have been impacted by recent hurricanes, fires and life’s unexpected hurdles, you can donate to the American Red Cross or Salvation Army who both offer assistance in disaster situations:

http://www.redcross.org/

http://www.salvationarmy.org/

 


PTA’s Back in Action

Now that the school year is in full swing, the Elementary, Middle and High Schools in our community have ramped up their Parent Teacher Associations (PTA’s). Our office has been thrilled to attend these meetings at our schools. Likewise, we are continually amazed by the dedication and passion of the parents and staff who are our PTA champions. PTA’s are a vital form of support for our schools – providing assistance for staff, enriching educational experiences for students, and helping those in need. To learn more about your PTA, you can visit these links:

Abbott Loop Elementary

Hanshew Middle

Kasuun Elementary

Rilke Schule

Service High

Trailside Elementary

These organizations do so much for our schools. Consider joining this year!

 

Thank You for Your Service

Yesterday, two inspirational and dedicated service-members were honored by the Anchorage Police Department. Officer Christopher Zenyuch and Alaska Air National Guard Airman Arvin Ting showed amazing bravery and service to our community during a February 8th stabbing. They both deserve our immense gratitude. Below is a description from APD:

Everyday our officers put their lives on the line to keep Anchorage safe. In the early hours of February 8th 2017, that bravery and dedication helped save someone’s life and catch a criminal at the Carrs grocery store in Muldoon. As an armed suspect was attempting to flee the scene after stabbing a female, Airman Arvin Ting with the Alaska Air National Guard, intervened and prevented him from running towards the victim and escaping.

As the suspect turned around, there was Officer Christopher Zenyuch ready to arrest him. He then tried to escape again and Officer Zenyuch caught him. The suspect put up a fight but he was no match for Officer Zenyuch. Despite being violently attacked with a dagger by the suspect, Officer Zenyuch, along with his team of officers, arrested the man. When it was all over, Officer Zenyuch suddenly realized the suspect had sliced his hand, forehead and stabbed him during the take down. After his injuries healed, Officer Zenyuch returned to duty.


Officer Zenyuch was honored today by his teammates with the Police Shield Award. He joined the APD family last summer. Airman Ting was also honored today with the Citizen’s Award for Valor.

 

We are incredibly proud both of our dedicated police officers and citizen heroes. Thank you for your bravery.

9/11 Remembrance Day

This coming Monday will mark the 16th anniversary of the fateful September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. That day changed the entire course of our nation, and the lives of millions of Americans forever. To those who lost loved ones that day, rest assured their lives and stories will never be forgotten. We deeply thank the men and women throughout the country who rose up after those horrific attacks to defend our freedoms abroad, and to rebuild here at home.

To remember and honor the fallen, Congress designated 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Since 2002, the nonprofit organization 9/11 Day has been organizing and engaging in tremendous charitable service on 9/11 annually, as a way to remember and honor the victims and survivors of the attacks.

Connecting with 9/11 day organizers and volunteers is easy. Simply check out the Corporation for National and Community Service’s website located here: https://www.serve.gov/site-page/september-11th-national-day-service-and-remembrance

 

Seward Highway Update

Another update from the AK DOT is in regarding the ongoing project along the Seward Highway. Check it out below.

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which now acts as the northbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction.

Work will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through mid-October, in order to expedite the construction process.

 

We hope you have a safe and relaxing weekend! Please stay in touch with any questions or comments.

 

Update for September 1, 2017

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Good afternoon and happy September everyone! We hope you have some fun plans in store for what is shaping up to be a great Labor Day weekend! Moose and caribou hunting seasons are now open in many areas of Alaska, the State Fair is in high gear and there are still Silvers to be caught down on the Kenai!

 

Kenai River Classic

Last week, I had the privilege of participating in the 25th Annual Kenai River Classic fishing event put on by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA). Many great Alaskans, including business executives, policy shapers, and government officials attended the excellent event, which late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens helped co-found.

We were able to catch some world famous Kenai River silver salmon, and help raise funds for habitat restoration and fisheries education programs. A huge thank you is owed to the entire KRSA Board of Directors, staff, and countless volunteers who helped make this event a “splashing” success!

 

Construction Update

Contractor and DOT crews are still hard at work on the Seward Highway project between Dowling and Dimond. If you are having trouble accessing side roads or with directions in the project corridor, please feel free to give my office a call! We are here to help you out!

See the weekly project update from the Alaska Department of Transportation below:

Wednesday, August 30

Weekly Update

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which now acts as the northbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction. Work will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through mid-October, in order to expedite the construction process.

 

Game Time!

Our Service High boy’s football team is gearing up for a big game against hillside rival South High. Tomorrow evening, at 5pm, the Varsity boys will be playing the Wolverines at South High (13400 Elmore Rd, Anchorage, Alaska 99516).

Likewise, the girls’ varsity flag football team is playing against East tomorrow morning at 11:30am. They will be taking on the Thunderbirds at East High School (4025 E Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage, AK 99508).

If the weather forecast holds, it should be a spectacular day for some fall football!

Get out there and cheer on our Cougars!

 

Special Session in October

The news hit yesterday that Governor Walker intends to call the Legislature back into a fourth special session of the year, to deal specifically with measures to raise taxes. We expect the Governor to call us into special session on Monday, October 23, 2017.

As of today, we don’t know the particulars about the type of tax (or taxes) the Governor will propose. However, by the end of September we should have an understanding of what he envisions.

Stay tuned on this developing situation. My office will certainly want to hear how you feel about the tax proposals when they are unveiled.

 

———

Thank you so much for your interest and engagement! We hope you stay in touch via phone, email or social media!

 

All my best,

 

Update for August 25, 2017

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Communication with the Police Department

The Anchorage Police Department is working to bolster opportunities for community connection with their new Community Relations Unit. According to the department, the new team’s main mission is to better connect APD with Anchorage residents and organizations. My office encourages you to take advantage of this new tool by emailing Communications Director, MJ Thim, mthim@muni.org, with questions or requests from your organization or yourself.

There are other ways to stay in touch with our city’s police department, including:

  • NIXLE: A text and email alert system updated by Anchorage public safety. Alerts come in quickly regarding fires, crimes, missing persons, major road closures, public safety incidents and what your police department is up to. Sign up for Nixle today!
  • Crime Mapping System: The online crime mapping system is a great way to know about reported crime in your area. Community Crime Map allows you to see what kinds of crimes are occurring in your community. To check out the online APD Crime Mapping site visit: http://communitycrimemap.com/
  • Non-emergency Line: If you have information to share with the police department that doesn’t require an immediate officer response, APD has a non-emergency line: 907-786-8900, press “0” to speak with a dispatcher.

My office is here to help find further ways to increase safety in our community. If you see ways that we can better work together to keep our roads and neighborhoods more secure, I want to hear them! Please stay in touch.

 

Safety Around Schools

As parents, students and just about all of us already know, Anchorage schools are back in session! This means that as we drive along our roads, there are kiddos making their way to and from school, and our awareness of our surroundings needs to increase. School buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, and harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

It’s critically important for drivers to slow down (especially in school zones with flashing yellow lights) and pay attention before and after school.

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Have a great semester and stay safe!

 

Seward Highway Update

Construction should continue, weather dependent, along the Seward Highway for roughly another month and a half. Crews are expected to be working 7 days per week, 24 hours a day, so please be aware of the construction zone speed limits. Alaska DOT’s most recent update of the large project, is below. We thank DOT for their ongoing outreach.

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts as the southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which now acts as the northbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction.

By the end of 2017, the necessary bridge, walls, box culverts and storm structures will be constructed to reopen the Seward Highway to motorists. The 2018 construction season will focus on the 76th Avenue/Lore Road connection, as well as improvements to the frontage roads and ramps. This project is expected to be complete in June 2019.

 

Spotlight on Cougar Volleyball!

Today and tomorrow our Lady Cougar Volleyball teams will be competing in Chugiak in their first meets of the season! We are consistently in awe of these strong, smart student athletes and their commitment to their sport and to their community. We look forward to their Spike Out Breast Cancer event every year, which raises money for breast cancer research and support. Look out for these upcoming meets:

Aug. 25-26: Chugiak Invitational

Aug. 29: Service at Chugiak

Sep. 5: West at Service

Sep. 8: East at Service

Sep. 9: C-1 and C-2 Tournaments

Sep. 9: JV Tournament

Go Cougars!

 

State Fair!

Corn dogs, cotton candy, giant pumpkins, concerts, lumberjack shows and roller coasters – it must be State Fair time! Yesterday kicked off the annual State Fair held at the Palmer State Fairgrounds. As always, the nearly two-week long fair boasts an incredible line up of food, exhibits, concerts, entertainment and fun for the whole family. My office looks forward to making our way out there to enjoy some of the amazing Alaskan grown products our farmers have produced! To see the whole line up of events and fun check out the State Fair’s website here: http://www.alaskastatefair.org/site/#alaska-state-fair

 

 

Update for August 11, 2017

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Celebrating Peak-Baggers

We are so proud of Service-grad and neighbor Peter Mamrol and his climbing partner Lars Arneson! On July 22, 2017, the two Anchorage-born climbers set a new record for crossing the Front Link-up of the Chugach Mountain Range, clocking in at 18 hours and 10 minutes. The first to do so in under 22 hours, Lars and Peter were able to traverse 44 miles, top 12 peaks, and climb a total of 20,800 feet.

Alaskans through and through, Lars and Peter both grew up as outdoorsmen, running and skiing their whole lives, including during their college careers. Both had summited various peaks in the Front Range previously, though neither had completed the range until their record-setting adventure. Along with the beauty of our mountain ranges that all Alaskans enjoy, our state is proud to celebrate those who have the perseverance and initiative to master these peaks. Congratulations to these young men, who inspire us to push beyond our limits and revel in our great Alaskan playground.

 

Anchorage Crime Stoppers

Are you familiar with Anchorage Crime Stoppers? We have all seen the signs around our city, but few know the resources at their disposal to help keep us all safe. Crime Stoppers relies on cooperation between the police, the media, and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals. If you have information about a crime you witness, see on the news, hear about from neighbors, or see in a Nixle alert, you can provide a tip on the phone or online.

Crime Stoppers encourages members of the community to assist local law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime by overcoming the two key elements that inhibit community involvement: fear and apathy. Crime Stoppers provides a telephone number and web tips to encourage citizens to provide vital information to law enforcement agencies to fight against crime. This site is NOT monitored 24-hours a day. If the tip you are providing is life threatening, call the Anchorage Police Department immediately, dial 911. Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward if the information given leads to the arrest of a wanted felon or solves a felony crime.  A tipster’s initial call or web tip must be made to Crime Stoppers to be eligible for the reward. Tipsters working directly with police are not eligible for a reward through Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers relies on volunteer directors and tax deductible contributions from the public in order to operate the program.

For more information, visit: http://www.anchoragecrimestoppers.com/sitemenu.aspx?P=howitworks&ID=124

Nextdoor

Another great tool for staying aware of what is happening in your neighborhood is the app/website Nextdoor. Essentially, Nextdoor is a private social network for people to connect with those who live close to them. In our office we love using Nextdoor to learn of fun events happening in the neighborhood, staying abreast of criminal activity, recommend services and good to our neighbors and help track down lost pets!

This piece of technology is a great way to become more engaged with your surroundings, watch out for your neighbors and likely make some new friends! We encourage you to download the app and sign up for this great tool!

 

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

It’s that time of year again when the leaves began to change colors, the air gets a little cooler and our beloved Service Cougar Football players hit the field! This is opening weekend for our boys in gold & green. We couldn’t be more excited for them to get back on the gridiron and secure their first victory! Both the JV and Varsity teams play this Saturday, August 12th, against Colony High. We’ve got home field advantage to start off the season, with the JV game beginning at 1pm and the Varsity game kicking off by 4pm.

Get out there and cheer on the home team! To keep up on their season, follow the team on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ServiceCougarFootball/

Go Cougars!!

 

Community Council

The Abbott Loop Community Council will be hosting its August meeting at the end of the month. On August 31st at Abbott Loop Elementary the Council will gather from 6:30-8:30pm and discuss pressing matters such as road construction, Municipal issues, and other neighborhood concerns. For additional information contact: Bruce Roberts, President brucearoberts@hotmail.com or 907-952-9969.

 

Continued Construction

Our favorite road project keeps plugging along. It appears DOT and the contractor, Quality Asphalt Paving, will be continuing to work 24/7 into mid-October – or until the snow comes! Below is their weekly update:

Wednesday, August 9

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which now acts as the northbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction.

Update for June 7, 2017

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Hello from Juneau on the 21st day of Special Session. Apologies for the gap between our updates, but as you may have read or heard in the news, there has not been very much movement here in the Capitol. This has honestly been a very frustrating time, and tensions are certainly very high. However, I do remain hopeful that compromise can be found and that we can avoid a government shutdown.

Constituent Coffee: Thank You!

Thank you so much to the 35 people who were able to make it to my constituent coffee over Memorial Day Weekend! It was so wonderful to sit down and talk with friends and neighbors about some of the issues we’re faced with here in Juneau. I enjoyed hearing updates from our community on what’s been happening in Anchorage this spring. It was additionally helpful to witness firsthand the construction work along on Brayton and surrounding areas. I heard from many of you that the signage and directions offered by the Department of Transportation’s team has been helpful. Please keep me posted if improvements still need to be made.

If you weren’t able to make it, I hope you’ll stay in touch about ideas and concerns you might have. My office is here for you!

Special Session Update

Like I said before, there has not been very much action here in the Capitol. This week we have had one meeting of the Conference Committee on the budget, and expect to have at least one more before Friday. These meetings will hopefully settle the budgets for 4 out of 18 departments, which chips away at the outstanding items for a full budget to be passed. This progress makes me hopeful, but still leaves a lot of work to accomplish before the special session is over.

Outside of the budget, the only committee action has been a solely informational House Finance meeting (held today) on the differences between the House and Senate’s oil tax legislation. During this time, many legislators have chosen to be home while they wait for progress. One of the questions I’ve been asked a fair amount is whether my colleagues and I are taking per diem while we are not in Juneau. I, for one, have not taken per diem while I’ve been away from the Capitol, and will continue not taking any per diem when not working in Juneau.

Governor’s Proposal

I appreciate the Governor putting forward a plan that he and his team knew would not be embraced with open arms. I don’t agree with everything in his package, nor does anyone in the Legislature at this point. Though I do think he demonstrated to many in this building that compromising means having tough conversations that might not get you everything you want. As evidenced by responses from some after his plan was presented, there are still legislators who believe a “win-win” is them getting exactly what they want, and never having to give. Is the Governor’s plan going to be accepted whole-cloth? Probably not. But what it does prove is that it is possible, if hard work is done, to come up with a settlement.

From Service to the Moon!

NASA recently announced the selection of 11 new astronaut candidates for the class of 2017, out of a record 18,300 applicants. Among those 18,300 was long-time Alaskan Robb Kulin, a graduate of Service High School in 2001! To read the full story about this exciting news for Robb and his family, click here!

Way to go Robb! You make Alaska incredibly proud and we know you’ll succeed in your future trainings and missions!

Hanshew Teaching Duo Shines!

Principal Nancy Brain of Hanshew Middle School recently provided my office this news alert regarding two outstanding teachers in our community:

Great news – a Hanshew teaching duo are 2017 Denali Award Recipients. The award is the highest District honor given to employees.

Individually they are great teachers, but together they are like lightning in a bottle. That’s how Hanshew Middle School Principal Nancy Brain describes teachers Katie Weidemaier and Leah Dubber.

Weidemaier and Dubber took the initiative to start two new eighth-grade pre-AP courses at Hanshew. Working together, they wrote a course curriculum infusing AP strategies into eighth-grade language arts and social studies. The content focuses on high-level reading, writing, research, and text analysis.

Weidemaier is described as a visionary language arts teacher who continually seeks new ways to engage her students and expand their learning. She works closely with multiple state and community organizations to further educational opportunities at her school. She has been instrumental in developing the middle school debate program at Hanshew and across the District.

Dubber continually takes advantage of learning opportunities to engage and challenge her students. Each year, her students compete in the “We the People” Middle School Invitational. This program provides an avenue for students to learn the historical and philosophical foundations of our country’s ideas about the creation of the Constitution.

A parent said, “At a time when schools are being asked to do more with less, these two astonishing teachers engage, inspire, and stir passion for knowledge.”

Leah and Katie are two of the most creative, hardworking, student-centered teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Nancy Brain

Principal, Hanshew Middle School

Way to go Katie and Leah! You make District 25, and our community proud!

Seward Highway Progress

Below is the weekly update provided by the Alaska Department of Transportation on the Seward Highway Dimond to Dowling project.

ROAD CLOSURE: Brayton Drive is CLOSED to all traffic, from Dimond Boulevard to 68th Avenue. Residents can access the northbound Seward Highway by using Sandlewood Place and Lore Road as an alternate DETOUR route. In addition, Sandlewood Place, Meadow Street and 68th Avenue should be used as a Brayton Drive business access DETOUR route.

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

FUTURE TRAFFIC PATTERN: Beginning Friday, June 9, northbound Seward Highway traffic will be shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which will now act as the northbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction.

  • Work will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through mid-October, in order to expedite the construction process.
  • To receive email updates about this project, email SewardDowlingDimond@spawnak.com.

 

Juneau Update for May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Special Session in Juneau

After butting up against the Constitutionally-mandated 121-day deadline, the Legislature was called by the Governor into a special session in Juneau.

These are the items Governor Walker would like to see passed this special session:

  • Broad-based tax, like an income tax
  • Motor fuels tax
  • Permanent Fund Restructure
  • Oil and gas tax credit reform
  • Operating, Capital and Mental Health Budgets
  • A bill related to the prescription and monitoring of opioids

This has been a particularly frustrating legislative session, filled with gridlock and lack of compromise. However, I view this special session as an opportunity to set aside our differences and tackle the issues on which there is agreement. I am hopeful this special session results in meaningful progress towards fiscal solutions for Alaska, a sustainable budget, changes to our tax credit system, and a cap on future government growth. We will keep you posted as the session moves forward!

Office Changes

My office, going into the summer and fall, will be undergoing some changes. In light of budget constraints facing our state, I will be reducing my staff by 1/3. Grace Abbott and Hans Rodvik in my office will be staying on and will continue to work hard to help us get our work done, answer your questions, and brainstorm ideas to help our community and Alaska. They are ready and willing to pick up a little extra slack, as many of us are doing right now, and are just as enthusiastic of public servants as ever. Stop by the office and introduce yourself, or give us a shout at 465-3879!

Ridesharing for Alaska

Before the end of the extended regular session, I was incredibly proud to vote in favor of bringing transportation network companies, like Lyft and Uber, to our state. Both residents and visitors have been asking the Legislature to bring Alaska into the 21st century and allow these companies to operate here. Our state faces any number of transportation obstacles, and we can use all the help we can get in improving access to rides. Thank you to everyone who wrote us in support of this job-creating policy – we received more letters, emails and calls in support from constituents on ridesharing than any other issue this year! I am excited to see the increased transportation opportunities that this bill will bring to Alaska, as well as the new employment opportunities. Start downloading your favorite ridesharing app today!

Education Funding

Many of you, both in District 25 and outside, have been asking the Legislature to pass a budget that funds education to at least last year’s level. I can tell you that personally, I agree. While our budget climate requires reductions and changes be made to the way our state spends, a successful future depends on our providing for education. I believe if we ensure some stability for districts this year, educators and administrators will be better enabled to produce efficiencies and improvements in education delivery. Without the stress of reducing their workforce this summer, districts can focus more on addressing budget challenges and innovating to reduce the effects of reduced revenue on classrooms.

In no way do I believe that those who would like to see our education budget reduced this year want to diminish outcomes or depreciate our public schools. We have a budget crisis on our hands, and looking through our school districts’ budgets, there appear to be more ways that spending could be scaled back or duplication reduced. It is simply my personal belief that if we hold school funding as harmless as possible this year, our results will be better down the road. I will be advocating for this position both in my caucus, and to my colleagues in the House and Senate. Please reach out with any questions or ideas on how we can improve our students’ experiences.

Abbott Loop Community Council

This Thursday, the 26th at 6:30pm the Abbott Loop Community Council is holding its May meeting. The meeting will take place at Abbott Loop Elementary, which is located 8427 Lake Otis Parkway. Community Council meetings are a great way to meet more of your neighbors, and get to know what is going on in your local area! I encourage you to go and look forward to seeing you at the next meeting when I’m home from Juneau!

School Is Out!

The last day of school for all Anchorage School District schools, is this Wednesday May 24th! I hope everyone has a safe, fun and productive summer! Congratulations to all the students who had another successful year!

Update for May 2, 2017

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Update from the Capitol

We’re now in Day 106 of the Legislative session. Things are a bit slow going as we continue to inch towards the session’s 120-day constitutional deadline. There will be meetings all of this week going over certain implications of revenue generation plans, and other bills will continue to be heard in committee. If you’re interested in following along, the Legislature has good resources and tools on our website www.akleg.gov. There you can watch live meetings, see the daily schedule of hearings, and find a list of bills that will be considered on the House and Senate floors. We encourage you to check it out!

As always, if you have questions or thoughts you’d like to share on any issues before the Legislature or in our community, please feel free to give our office a call or send an email.

 

Cougars in the News

We were so proud to see the Service Boys’ Soccer team highlighted in the paper last week! Check out the story on their victory over Juneau!

https://www.adn.com/sports/high-school-sports/2017/04/26/cougars-pounce-on-juneau-for-nonconference-soccer-win/

Community Events

The next two weeks in our community promises to be a busy time. This Thursday, May 4th at 4pm, Trailside and Kasuun Elementary will be holding their PTA meetings. Next week our Service Cougars and Hanshew Hawks will have their PTA meetings. The Service PTA gathers on Tuesday the 9th at 6pm, while the Hanshew PTA meets on Monday the 8th at 6pm. Looking forward towards the end of the month, the Abbott Loop Community Council has its monthly meeting planned for Thursday May 25th, from 6:30-8:30pm at Abbott Loop Elementary.

 

Earthquake Safety

Yesterday morning, residents of Juneau and those of us working here in the Capitol City, were awakened by not one, but two earthquakes with magnitudes over 6.0. We are so grateful that no one was hurt and that infrastructure remained intact, but mornings like this serve as a good reminder that here in Alaska, earthquakes are never out of the question. To give you and your family some peace of mind, you can take measures to prepare for emergencies like an earthquake. The Red Cross has some good information, as does the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on how you can prepare for an earthquake.

Seward Highway Project Update

As of last Wednesday, Homer Drive is CLOSED to all traffic, from Dimond Boulevard to 68th Avenue. 68th Avenue will remain open during this time to traffic, and the Old Seward Highway will act as a main business access and DETOUR route. To stay apprised of what is happening with the project click here to subscribe to DOT’s newsletter email list.

Update for April 24, 2017

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Go Cougars!

A little soccer spotlight this week! District 25’ers should be celebrating our Service Lady Cougar Soccer Team, finishing last week’s games with a 10-1 win over Bartlett, a 4-1 win over East, and a tie-game with Dimond. We are beyond proud of these talented, motivated student athletes, and have a lot of hope for their continued success. They also have a great Twitter page, which you can use to stay up to date on games and schedules – follow @SHS_WSOC. Good luck ladies!

 

Budget Update

Here in Juneau, we are still waiting on the House Majority to name their conference committee members to begin the budget negotiation process. If you aren’t familiar with conference committees, they are committees comprised of members from the House and Senate that meet to go over differences and strike compromise when the two bodies have passed different versions of a certain bill.

In this case, the House and Senate both passed different budgets, and thus will have to work together to find common ground that both bodies can agree upon. For a conference committee on the budget to begin, House leadership must name their members. For 13 days we have been waiting for the House Majority to appoint representatives, and are hopeful action will be taken soon. Passing a budget is the Legislature’s one constitutionally mandated duty, and Alaskans are relying on us to provide essential services to protect safety and health.

 

Public Testimony on Income Taxes

The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee is holding public testimony on House Bill 115 – the income tax bill supported by the House Majority and Governor. Public testimony is slated for 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Below is the information on how to make your voice heard!

Senate LABOR & COMMERCE Committee  

Apr 25, 26, 27 at 5:00 PM

HB 115 INCOME TAX; PFD PAYMENT/CREDIT

Statewide Public Testimony —   — Public Testimony Limited to 2 Minutes   

  Please Sign-in at Your Local LIO No Later Than 6:30pm

Contact by Phone: 907-465-4968

From my perspective, implementing an income tax is premature and unnecessary when we know the budget can be balanced and a stable revenue stream can be used without taxing Alaskans and hurting our already struggling economy. As policymakers, we have been told time and time again that tipping the scale too much and implementing too many changes this year could drive our state further into a recession. I believe we need to have a thoughtful approach – balanced spending reductions, asset restructuring and a tighter spending cap. An income tax is just too heavy a burden on Alaskans and businesses this year.

 

House Bill 111 – Oil Taxes and Credits

Last week, the Senate Resources Committee held public testimony for the first time on the version of HB 111 that passed the House. Alaskans spoke loud and clear: they do not want taxes changed or raised on our state’s most vital industry that has been in a downturn since 2015 due to low oil prices. 47 Alaskans spoke against HB 111, while 11 spoke in favor of it. Many commented on the fact that SB 21 is clearly working (even with low prices): if trends hold – production through TAPS will have increased two years in a row (something that hasn’t happened since the 1980s), new fields have been discovered, and major investments have occurred since 2013. The picture below is from ConocoPhillips, showing the activities that company has engaged in following the passage of SB 21.

Consultants testified that raising taxes at low prices – a large piece of HB 111 – would negatively impact investment levels, production and jobs for Alaskans. Oil from new fields, such as those discovered by Caelus, ConocoPhillips and Repsol costs $10-20 more per barrel to develop, than oil from legacy fields like Prudhoe Bay. Increasing government take (which accounts for all taxes/royalties a company pays) as HB 111 envisions at all prices between $50- 110 per barrel, will only make it harder for companies to bring new production online.

Projects like Smith Bay, Pikka, Willow and Nuna would increase production by hundreds of thousands of barrels, create thousands of high paying jobs, and generate billions of dollars in new revenue for the State. SB 21 has helped make these projects viable, while HB 111 threatens to undercut or outright stop them. I believe Alaska should keep our competitive tax structure in place, and do all we can to increase production – not focus on short term cash grabs by changing our tax regime again.

 

School Happenings

This week, students from both Trailside and Kasuun Elementary will be participating in spring cleanup days. The Knights will be tackling their campus clean up on Friday, while the Timberwolves will be coming in on Saturday to spiff up their school. It’s great to hear about active, engaged and thoughtful students who care about the well-being of their schools!

Also, at Trailside it’s Staff Appreciation Week! Our deepest gratitude goes out to the hard working teachers, support staff and administrators who make Trailside the great school it is. You all do an amazing job and make our district a wonderful place. Go Timberwolves!

 

The DEA is coordinating this effort to safely dispose of your prescription medications!