Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Christmas Greeting!

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

This week, my office would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and extend our warmest holiday greetings to you in this season of joy, hope and love. We hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Have a blessed weekend, and may your Christmas be a memorable one!

All my best,

December 15 Update: Lower Hillside Town Hall Tomorrow!

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Our update this week is rather short. We simply want to invite you to our Lower Hillside Town Hall, which we are hosting with Representative Chris Birch and Senator Kevin Meyer, tomorrow morning!

Please drive safe on your way home this evening and throughout the weekend. We hope to see you in the morning!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update! We really appreciate your engagement.

Our office number in Anchorage is 907-269-0222, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We are listening.

Warmly,

Thanksgiving Update!

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Good afternoon,

We hope you had a wonderful, albeit chilly, weekend and are looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving. Our office will be closed in observance of the holiday, and hope that you get time to surround yourself with loved ones.

Special Session Adjourns

Today, the 4th Special Session adjourned, and the Legislature returned to interim status. During this special session, the Legislature considered and passed one of the items on the Governor’s agenda, the criminal justice bill, and did not pass the remaining item, a payroll tax.
As we’ve detailed in previous updates, the criminal justice bill, Senate Bill 54, passed both the House and the Senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature before it can become law. While some concerns about certain provisions of the bill arose before the bill’s passage, it appears that the Department of Law has reached a solution moving forward.
The next time the Legislature convenes will be for the regular session on January 16th, 2018.

Lend a Hand This Thanksgiving

Are you and your loved ones looking for ways to share the blessings of this holiday with those in need? Here are a few opportunities for you to participate in around town:

  • Beans Cafe: Drop off items like store bought pies, whipped topping (in cans), marshmallows, canned vegetables and breakfast meats. Please deliver directly to Bean’s Cafe at 1101 E. 3rd Avenue.
  • Food Bank of Alaska: Always accepting food items at their location on 2121 Spar Avenue in Anchorage
  • AWAIC: Consider donating gifts for women and children experiencing abuse. Email ruawaic@awaic.org for more information.
  • Salvation Army of Alaska: Help prepare and deliver meals to Older Alaskans on Thanksgiving Day. Click here for more information.

Heading into this holiday season, many opportunities exist for you to donate your time and resources. We will keep you posted in the coming weeks!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update! We really appreciate your engagement.

Our toll free number is 888-269-3879, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Warmly,

Special Session Update for November 14, 2017

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Good afternoon!

 

We hope you had a wonderful weekend, and are staying warm while enjoying this beautiful weather! We wanted to send out a quick update on the ongoing special session, and let you know what our office is up to moving forward.

 

Last week, the House and Senate agreed on changes to Senate Bill 54, the criminal justice bill before the Legislature, and passed the bill on to the Governor. We learned this week that Governor Walker intends to sign the bill into law. To learn more about what provisions the bill contains, and what changes were made during the special session, click here.

 

After agreeing to the House’s changes to Senate Bill 54, the Senate moved to adjourn from the special session. However, it takes both the House and Senate jointly adjourning to actually end the special session, and the House Majority decided that they wanted to keep the session going. The House is not holding any meetings or conducting any legislative business, but by not concluding the special session, the House also requires that in addition to two of their members, two members of the Senate remain in Juneau until they allow the session to conclude. The statutory end date for the special session is a week from today.

 

Our office, however, is back in the district to continue to work on community issues and ideas for the coming legislative session in January. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you around Abbott Loop, and hope that you’ll keep sending your ideas and questions our way!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our update.

 

Have a great week,

Veterans Day Update

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Honoring Our Veterans

This week’s update is short and simply focused on those men and women who have sacrificed, sometimes it all, for us as Americans. Saturday, November 11, 2017, marks the 63rd anniversary of Veterans Day. However, before the day was called Veterans Day, November 11th in the U.S. was recognized as Armistice Day – which formally recognized the end of World War I.

As Alaskans, we have a deep and special appreciation for the men and women of our Armed Forces. Veterans make up slightly more than 10% of Alaska’s total population, which allows our state to proudly boast the title of having the most veterans per capita of any state.

This weekend our office encourages you to sincerely thank the veterans of our country. Thank them for their tremendous sacrifice. Thank them for being willing to face unimaginable dangers so we don’t have to. Thank them for defending our precious freedoms from enemies who seek to take them away. Especially thank our disabled veterans and their families for having incredible courage and strength to live vibrant lives while battling injuries that many times stay with them forever.

If you are looking to attend events that further honor our veterans, below are two that might be of interest to you and your family.

 

 

Special Session Update

Look for an update early next week regarding the 4th Special Session and changes made by the House to Senate Bill 54!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update! We truly appreciate your engagement.

Our toll free number is 888-269-3879, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Send me an email at rep.charisse.millett@akleg.gov if you have any questions or concerns!

Kindly,

Special Update on Crime Bill for November 7,2017

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Good afternoon,

 

Last night around 1:00am, the House passed an amended version of Senate Bill 54, the criminal justice reform bill. From when it passed over from the Senate, this bill has had over 19 changes, ranging from toughening sentences for felons to increasing referrals to treatment. I wanted to be sure that you had information on the bill, what it includes, and how it will change parts of our criminal justice system.

 

To be clear, this bill is not perfect or a complete solution to our state’s rising crime rates. While it does augment sentences, increase supervision of offenders and increase judicial discretion, it will not stem all criminal activity overnight. Personally, I voted to repeal Senate Bill 91, along with many other amendments that did not pass, and still believe that to fully ensure the safety of our community, we need to reset our criminal laws and front load the safety nets we know are necessary to see positive returns from our justice system. Drastic changes to our criminal laws should always be preceded by tools for law enforcement, prisons, prosecutors and judges to be able to make sure the changes work. This was not the process for Senate Bill 91.

 

Moving forward, Senate Bill 54 is a step in the right direction and I will continue to fight to see criminal deterrence and public safety prioritized in our laws. I am not done working to see Senate Bill 91’s flaws rolled back.

 

Click here to read more about Senate Bill 54.

 

So, what happens now? The Senate now has to agree to the House’s changes to Senate Bill 54, and the Governor still has to sign the bill into law. If the Senate doesn’t agree to our changes, we enter into a Conference Committee to debate and find compromise on the bill. I will keep you posted as this process and special session continues.

 

Thank you so much for staying engaged, and I hope that you’ll continue to send your ideas and questions my way, rep.charisse.millett@akleg.gov.

 

Best,

Update for November 3, 2017

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Special Session Update

Here in Juneau, the focus has been on continued work on Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), the crime bill. Last night, the House Finance Committee finished their amendment process, and included in the new draft of the bill provisions to increase sentencing and monitoring of sex offenders, lower the felony theft threshold (now thefts of over $750 become felonies), add caseload caps for probation and parole officers, and more. This weekend, all members of the House will have opportunities to discuss and offer further changes to the bill on the House floor.

As SB 54 is debated on the floor, I will be working to see that recommendations by our law enforcement and criminal justice practitioners are brought to the forefront, and discussed by the House. When our police and prosecutors are telling us that they need more tools to keep our communities safe, you know that our law must change.

I am glad to see the direction that amendments have taken so far, but to further deter crime and bolster law enforcement during this period of increasing instability, more work still needs to be done. Areas of focus for me will be rolling back dramatic sentencing reductions made in SB 91, ensuring that only those who truly present no threat to society are released from jail, further strengthening laws related to crime, and ensuring that our justice system is communicating and working effectively. We also need to be working as a Legislature to further establish the safety nets our communities need to turn around the lives of those with substance abuse issues.

There is another item on the Governor’s special session agenda outside of crime: his new tax plan. The Senate has been holding hearings on this bill. I suspect the House will return to reviewing it once work on the crime bill is completed. During the evaluation of this new income tax, I will be asking for information on its impacts on Alaskan households, businesses, and our overall economy. Nothing we do as a Legislature should adversely impact our already struggling economy, and I will be fighting to make sure that Alaskans have a voice in this process.

Our office will be keeping you posted as this special session continues. Please keep reaching out to our office with all your questions, ideas and concerns!

 

PTA Meetings Galore

Next week is an incredibly busy time for our schools! Four different schools are having their PTA meetings during the first half of next week. Abbott Loop parents and teachers will gather on Monday the 6th at 3:45 p.m. in the Library. On Tuesday we find a full slate of meetings. Dedicated parents will meet up at 3:45 p.m. in the Trailside Library. At 4:00 p.m. parents from Polaris K-12 will convene at the school, followed by Hanshew’s PTA meeting at 6:00 p.m. in their Library.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters

On November 9th, at 5:30 p.m. Big Brothers Big Sisters is inviting the public to attend a live, as well as silent, art auction featuring local artists, with all proceeds going to benefit the youth in our community.

Their event, “Dream Big Anchorage,” is going to be at the Fox Hollow Chalet (11801 Fox Hollow Chalet Anchorage, AK 99516). More information about this wonderful event and organization can be found at their website here!

 

End of Season Gathering!

Our tough and hard-working Service High School football team is throwing an end of season celebration! The event will be at the school on November 13th at 6:00 p.m. See below for details about the event! Go Cougars!

Honoring Veterans Day through Music

The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra has put together an amazing looking event to honor our veterans. On November 11th at the Atwood Concert Hall they will be paying tribute to the incredible men and women who have served our nation. Through symphonic photo-choreography, the Anchorage Symphony and others will commemorate the 100th and 75th anniversaries of WWI and WWII respectively. To learn more about this event click here. 

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update! We really appreciate your engagement.
Our toll free number is 888-269-3879, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Just click on the links below. We are listening.
Warmly,

Update for October 20, 2017

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Special Session Begins Monday

As you probably know at this point, the Governor has called the Legislature into a 4th Special Session to consider his new tax bill and Senate Bill 54, which makes a few changes to the criminal justice overhaul (Senate Bill 91) passed last year. The Special Session will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, and hearings on those bills will start thereafter. Here is the schedule that we have so far:

  • House State Affairs Committee: Senate Bill 54 Oct. 23 at 12:30 p.m.
  • House Judiciary Committee: Senate Bill 54 Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.
  • House Judiciary Committee: Senate Bill 54 Oct. 24 at 9 a.m.
  • Senate Finance, Judiciary Joint Committee: Crime and Justice Policy Review Oct. 23 at 3 p.m.
  • Senate Finance, Judiciary Joint Committee: Crime and Justice Policy Review Oct. 24 at 10:30 a.m..
  • House Finance Committee: To Be Announced Oct. 24 at 1:00 p.m.
  • House Finance Committee: To Be Announced Oct. 25 at 1:00 p.m.
  • House Finance Committee: To Be Announced Oct. 26 at 1:00 p.m.
  • House Finance Committee: To Be Announced Oct. 27 at 1:00 p.m.

If you’d like to watch or listen to any of these hearings, you can visit akleg.gov and click on the “Live Now” tab. We will keep you posted as the Special Session moves forward.

 

Anchorage Homelessness Survey

As part of the Anchorage Community Plan to End Homelessness, several organizations working to address homelessness (e.g. Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, United Way of Anchorage, Municipality of Anchorage) have developed a survey to understand the Anchorage community’s impressions of homelessness and to gauge the willingness of people surveyed to tackle the issue.

You can help by taking this survey – 10 minutes of your time will provide invaluable information. This information will be used to determine how we can work together to make homelessness as rare and brief as possible.

All information will remain confidential.

Also, if you want to share this through your personal networks, social media pages, etc., please do so – and take it yourself. It’s open through Nov. 3rd.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/plantoendhomelessness

 

Keeping Your Vehicle Safe

We’ve officially entered that time of the year where it’s become necessary to start our cars early in the morning to warm up! However, leaving your car running and unlocked with the keys in it makes it a prime target for thieves. Given the substantial increase in car thefts, and the compounding issue of winter closing in, our office wants to make sure you take the right steps to keep your vehicle from being stolen.

One of the best options to ensure your vehicle heats up and remains safe while running without you in it is to have an auto start/remote start installed. For those who don’t know, an auto start or remote start is a “a radio-controlled device, which is installed in a vehicle by the factory or an aftermarket installer to preheat or cool the vehicle before the owner gets into it. Once activated, by pushing a button on a special keychain remote, it starts the vehicle automatically for a predetermined time.”

The great benefit of an auto start is that your vehicle can start and run, and remain locked at the same time. Furthermore, most auto starts shut your car off if someone gets in and taps the breaks without having the keys in the ignition – hence stopping a thief who breaks in thinking they can get away with your running vehicle.

In Anchorage, a considerable number of businesses exist that install auto start devices for reasonable fares. An entry level auto start will run you anywhere from $200 to 275, while auto starts that are operated from your smart phone likely cost $500 or more.

We encourage you to research and find an auto start that best meets your needs and budget. If an auto start is not attainable the next best thing would be to lock your vehicle while it warms up, and have a second set of keys handy to unlock it when you’re ready to head to work!

 

New Route Along the Seward Highway!

Working in conjunction with contractor QAP, the Alaska Department of Transportation is working diligently to complete as much work along the Seward Highway and impacted access roads before the snow hits. DOT’s weekly update of the large project is below with new information regarding traffic patterns.

Road Closure

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has transitioned onto the newly constructed southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic is now on the newly constructed northbound Seward Highway. Note that this traffic configuration is temporary and only in effect through the winter. Additional work to complete the project will occur next year.

What You Need to Know

  • To receive email updates about this project, email SewardDowlingDimond@spawnak.com 

Special Accommodations Contact:

Those people who reside in construction zones and may require special accommodations should call the DOT Highway Construction Engineer at 907-269-0450 (TTY 907-269-0473).

Update for October 13, 2017

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! We hope you’ve had a lovely week, and are looking forward to a restful and relaxing weekend.

Senate Bill 91 Testimony and Survey!

As you most likely are aware, over the past two months Anchorage has been full of opportunities for residents to share and discuss experiences and solutions regarding crime. One of the most prevalent topics of discussion is whether to repeal, change or maintain Senate Bill 91 (SB 91). Our office has been so grateful to attend and participate in many of these community dialogues, and to have heard from so many in Anchorage. Most recently, we attended the Anchorage Assembly’s public testimony meeting regarding SB 91, and listened to over 100 people from across the city.

However, we want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak up and share their thoughts. Therefore, we have created a very brief survey on SB 91. Please take a minute to respond to the 2 quick questions on the survey, and if you’d like to share more, give us a call or send us an email!

 

Tip-A-Cop

 

Burgers, bottomless French fries and the opportunity to support Special Olympics Alaska? Now that sounds like my kind of lunch/dinner!

Join Special Olympics Alaska and Red Robin for Tip-A-Cop on Thursday, October 19 at BOTH Red Robin locations in Anchorage (Dimond & Tikatnu) for lunch or dinner (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.).

Local law enforcement personnel and athletes will be serving and raising money for Special Olympics Alaska athletes statewide. Come thank them for their service and give ’em a tip! 100% of the donations will benefit Special Olympics Alaska athletes statewide!

 

Securing Your Property

As our office was walking the District again this week we noticed many trailers, motorcycles, plows, boats, ATVS, campers and snow machines without locks or chains, and sitting in driveways or yards totally unsecured. Unfortunately, given the rash of vehicle and large ticket item thefts in town, it is no longer wise nor safe to leave your property (especially expensive pieces of cherished equipment) unsecured.

We want to help you prevent having your Alaskan toys, which you worked hard for, stolen and trashed. Hence, we strongly encourage everyone who has a trailer, ATVS, snow machines, boat or any other large expensive piece of equipment stored at their home to immediately get heavy duty locks and chains to prevent its theft.

Below are some different examples of locks/theft prevention systems you and your neighbors should employ to protect your property.

 

Farmer’s Markets Wrapping Up

This weekend, take a break from your pre-winter chores and check out the final harvest from our great local farms! Most farmer’s markets in Anchorage will be wrapping up this Saturday, but still have amazing veggies, meats and other delicious offerings to share. For a list of, and information about the markets around town, check out this recent article:

https://www.adn.com/alaska-life/food-drink/2017/10/03/dont-miss-the-last-weekend-of-the-year-for-several-popular-farmers-markets/

Identifying Nuisance Properties

For those of you dealing with consistent crime in your neighborhood, specifically crime activity located at individual properties, we want to share with you a tactic described to us by a man who attended our crime townhall. After witnessing countless drug deals, cars coming at all hours of the night, people passing out in vehicles in front of the home, stolen property always circulating around, and trash and junk accumulating at a house across the street from him, this man began to call APD continuously and report the criminal activity at this property.

After the 8th call and response to a property, APD can begin assessing $500 fines (per visit) against the homeowner. This strategy helped motivate the landlord of said “problem property” to evict the current tenants and clean up the place. This type of similar occurrence has been reported on.

If you are experiencing such an issue in your neighborhood, don’t give up and think that nothing can be done! Give this strategy a whirl, and as always stay safe and report crimes to APD.

If it is not an emergency, call 907-786-8900 and press “0.” If it is an emergency call 911.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our update! Please don’t hesitate to call or email with questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend,

 

Update for October 6, 2017

Friday, October 6th, 2017

It’s another beautiful Friday in Anchorage! Our office hopes your fall clean up, Halloween preparations and school year are going well!

This week we were out in the District once again dropping off safety information cards at people’s homes. If you haven’t yet found one of these yellow flyers at your home, don’t fret! We will be back out in the District next week, so long as the weather cooperates, delivering the flyers.

 

 

Below is some more information about our week and events around the District.

 

Cougar Football Playoff Time!

Our Service Football team will be hitting the gridiron hard tonight as they line up against the #1 ranked Chugiak Mustangs in the quarterfinals of the State playoffs! The game is tonight at 7 p.m., at Chugiak High School (16525 Birchwood Loop Road, Chugiak, Alaska 99567).

We hope the Varsity boys can pull this one off, and get one step closer to the State Championship game! Go Cougars!

 

Vehicle Thefts

As we are all unfortunately aware, vehicle thefts in our city have exploded over the last few years. A recent story noted that from January through August of this year, 2,018 cars have been stolen, while just two years ago 652 cars were stolen during the same period. This level of serious crime is unacceptable and our office is working to address it.

As a way to help keep an eye out for stolen vehicles, the Alaska Department of Public Safety produces the Alaska Vehicle Hot Sheet found here. If your vehicle, or a friend or family member’s vehicle, has been stolen you must absolutely report it to APD or the Troopers. If you happen to locate a stolen vehicle you should do the following: immediately call the police and follow their instructions, do not chase or engage the driver, and do your best to stay a safe distance away from the criminal as you do not know how dangerous they may be.

 

PTA Meetings

Our office always finds it so gratifying to attend the local PTA meetings at our schools. Yesterday, we attended Kasuun’s PTA meeting and learned about all the incredible events parents and teachers plan and host for the kids. Whether it be the Run-A-Thon, movie nights, fundraisers or the Fall Family event, we were very impressed with the dedication and hard work of all those involved. If you’re not a member of your local PTA we strongly encourage you to join!

Next Thursday the 12th, we will be at Trailside Elementary for their PTA meeting. The meeting will be held in the Library, and begins at 6 p.m.

 

Construction Update

Snow is on the mountains now, and that means construction season is coming to an end. We appreciate the hard work being done by contractors and DOT employees to complete as much work as possible, before the snow really flies, along the Seward Highway, Brayton Drive and other important roads in our District.

To see a more in depth description of the Seward Highway/Dimond/Dowling project click here.

Below is the weekly update from DOT regarding this important project:

Road Closure

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Northbound Seward Highway traffic is now on the newly constructed northbound Seward Highway. The Lore Road northbound on-ramp to the Seward Highway is CLOSED until ramp construction is complete. Please follow signs for DETOUR routes and be aware of NEW TRAFFIC PATTERNS. Note that this traffic configuration is temporary and only in effect through the winter. Additional work to complete the project will occur next year.

What You Need to Know

  • 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 

Project End Result

The Alaska Department of Transportation, in cooperation with QAP, is working to expand the Seward Highway from Dimond Boulevard to Dowling Road, reconfigure highway ramps and frontage roads, extend Sandalwood Place, construct a new grade separation at 76th Avenue and build new box culvert crossings for Little Campbell Creek. This project is expected to be completed in June 2019. 

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our update! Please don’t hesitate to call or email with questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend,