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Update for August 18, 2017

Update for August 11, 2017

Update for August 4th

Update for July 28, 2017

Update for August 18, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Education, Public Safety, Service High School | Comments (0)

Happy Friday! We hope you’ve had a great week and have been staying dry and warm during all of this bleary weather. Should we believe the forecasts that Saturday will be sunny? Here’s hoping!

 

First Day of School!

This is the last weekend of summer for our ASD kids! The official start to the 2017-2018 school year is Monday August 21st for all grades except Kindergarten, which starts the following Monday August, 28th.

We hope everyone has a wonderful final weekend of summer vacation and that the beginning this new school year goes well. To our amazing ASD teachers we wish you all the best!

 

APD Ride Along

Our office was truly grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in a ride-along with the Anchorage Police Department and Officer Marcos Weinrick this week. Riding in a patrol car during the 3PM to 1AM shift, our staff member, Hans, was able to get a first-hand look at some of the duties, responsibilities and experiences our APD officers face every day. Not only was Officer Weinrick an amazing educator, explaining the day-to-day of an officer patrolling our community, but is also an exemplary public servant, keeping our city safe. Our office has participated in these ride-alongs nearly every year, and we consistently gain incredible insight into the challenges and successes of our police force. One of the constants this year has been the requests from law enforcement for reform to Senate Bill 91, the recent criminal justice overhaul bill. Our officers need more tools, not fewer, to assist victims and hold offenders accountable – especially those they witness offending over and over again. Our office is committed to working on ways to make their jobs easier and our community safer, and look forward to future ride-alongs – including Rep. Millett’s next week!

Thank you to APD for letting us participate and for your continued service and sacrifice. A special good luck to Officer Weinrick as he recovers from his knee injury and pursuit of joining the K-9 Unit!

 

 

Sports in Full Swing

Our Service Cougar sports teams are really beginning to heat up! On Saturday a variety of meets and games happening that are sure to be full of action, competition and celebration.

Football: The C & JV game will kick-off at 1pm, while the Varsity game starts at 4pm.

Swimming: At 10am, the entire swim team is headed over to Bartlett High for the Big 8 Invitation.

Cross Country: Our amazing runners will be venturing down to Soldotna to participate in the Tsalteshi Invite at Skyview High. The race is expected to get underway at 12pm.

 

 

Weekly Seward Highway Update

The Department of Transportation has some new information on the progress of the ongoing construction on the Seward Highway:

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.

 

 

Late Summer Events

The website Visit Anchorage has an incredible amount of fantastic events located all throughout our city. Follow the link below to see a sample of what is taking place over the next week in town – click here!

Art exhibits! Brewery tours! Exploring a fish hatchery! Food trucks! Get out there and have some fun!

 

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

 

All my best,

 

admin @ August 18, 2017

Update for August 11, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Anchorage Schools, General, Public Safety, Roads, Service High School | Comments (0)

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.

admin @ August 11, 2017

Update for August 4th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Anchorage Schools, Announcements, PTA, Roads, Trailside Elementary School | Comments (0)

Happy Friday to you from Anchorage! We hope school registration this week went well for you and your family!

Over the next few weeks a great number of events are happening throughout the District and around Anchorage. We hope to see you at some of them – as there is nothing better than interacting with the community we all love.

 

Anchorage Greek Festival

The 23rd annual Alaska Greek festival is right around the corner! The festival, which is always a favorite of ours to attend, will be happening August 18th through August 20th. All the festivities will be occurring at The Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church located at 2800 O’Malley Road in Anchorage. Come enjoy the great food, fun and people all for free!

For more details of the event click here. Opa!

 

Grown Local, Shop Local!

The South Anchorage Farmers Market (SAFM) is still going strong for another few months as we continue to have good weather. There are endless amounts of delicious, fresh and economical produce and seafood at the market for your choosing!

If you’ve got time on Wednesdays, stop on by anytime from 10am – 4pm behind the Dimond Center/in front of the Dimond Center Hotel to get your fill. Likewise, for a more family oriented outing we recommend heading over to the Subway/Cellular One Sports Center (on the corner of O’Malley & Old Seward) on Saturdays from 9am – 2pm. For more info, or to take a look at all the amazing Alaskan vendors at the market click here!

 

Back to School Nights

During the final week before school kicks back up, both Kasuun Elementary PTA and Trailside Elementary PTA are hosting back to school gatherings at their respective schools. On August 17th from 4:30pm – 5:30pm at Trailside Elementary, the PTA is hosting a back to school night. Students and parents will be able to find out which teacher they have been assigned starting at 3:30pm, and then get to meet their teachers out on the playground at 4:30pm.

At Kasuun, the PTA is putting on a back to school ice cream social on August 18th. The social will be from 3pm – 5pm at the school. Similar to the way Trailside is conducting their social, students and teachers get to see their class list, mingle with PTA board members and have some tasty ice cream!

 

Construction Update

The Seward Highway project from Dowling to Dimond remains underway. This week DOT provided another overview of traffic patterns and ongoing work.

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.

 

Thank you so much for your engagement, and we hope you’ll stay in touch!

 

All my best,

Charisse

admin @ August 4, 2017

Update for July 28, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Schools, Budget, Hanshew Middle School, Kasuun Elementary School, Roads, Service High School | Comments (0)

Good afternoon and happy Friday! It’s been a few weeks since our last update, so we hope that you and your family have been able to catch some fish and enjoy this beautiful Alaskan summer!

As we head into this weekend, Alaskans can be relieved to know that the Legislature has completed the capital budget.

Capital Budget Passage

Yesterday, the House and Senate convened in Juneau for the 3rd Special Session of the year to pass a Capital Budget, SB 23. Passing this budget was essential to continue work on critical road and safety projects, along with meeting other infrastructure needs. The capital budget, like any bill that passed the Legislature this year, is a product of compromise. Many left many feeling they did not get everything they wanted. However, to receive federal funds and continue maintenance and construction projects, passage of this bill was necessary.

Here are a few highlights of this year’s Capital Budget:

  • Funding for the Community Assistance Program, for a total distribution of $38 million
  • Funding for the Public and Community Transportation State Match
  • Funding for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs and shelters
  • Funding for increased public safety patrol of the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood
  • Funding for deferred maintenance projects 

Road Safety

As we enter August, and the slowdown to summer construction season we all must remain aware of the construction zones throughout our city and state. DOT has provided us with another update to the ongoing project along the Seward Highway. Here’s what they had to say this week:

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

School Registration

The upcoming 2017-2018 ASD school year is right around the corner (sorry kids!) and you know what that means: registration! In person registration for our schools is as follows:

  • Service High: August 1st through 3rd, 8am – 11am & 12pm – 3pm
  • Hanshew Middle: August 1st through 3rd, 8am – 11am & 12pm – 3pm
  • Kasuun Elementary: August 1st through 3rd, 9am – 3pm each day. Likewise, click here for the full school supply list for all grades!
  • Abbott Loop and Trailside are both August 1st through August 3rd, however they don’t have times set yet though we assume they will likely be similar to Kasuun. Abbott Loop does have its supply list up!

Fast and Female!

We are so blessed in Alaska to have so many strong, smart, accomplished Alaskan women in sports to inspire our young athletes. We are additionally lucky to have such amazing influencers and athletes committed to helping young women stay confident in their participation in sports through the Fast and Female program. Born out of the idea that girls drop out of sports at 6x the rate of boys in their early teens, and the top reason for their mass exodus from physical activity is the experience of a lack of social belonging, Fast and Female provides programming designed to keep girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens. This past Thursday, Fast and Female USA President Kikkan Randall hosted fellow athletic inspirations at the Alaska Rock Gym and led girls in instructive and fun activities to help show them that they have a place in sports. The day looked absolutely fabulous, and the girls looked enthusiastic and thoroughly engaged.

Thank you so much Kikkan for leading this program and inspiring kids and adults alike! To learn more about Fast and Female, and help the young gals in your life get involved, visit www.fastandfemale.com

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update, and for staying engaged as we work through the issues facing our state. Please continue to reach out with your questions, ideas and concerns. We’re here to serve you!

All my best,

admin @ July 28, 2017

Update for July 5th, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Schools, Budget, Energy, Fiscal Plan | Comments (0)

Good afternoon! We hope this finds you resting a bit and catching back up after a great 4th of July weekend. There’s nothing like a little Alaskan sun to help remind you of all of the amazing gifts we are blessed with in this state. We hope you and yours got outside, had some fun and stayed safe this holiday weekend. Our eternal gratitude belongs to those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe in this country, and protect our freedoms. Thank you so much to those who have served.

For our office, coming back from the weekend means coming back to work on our remaining item on the Governor’s special session agenda: oil and gas tax credits. This week’s newsletter will include an update on where we’re at, where common ground exists, and what’s going on this summer!

 

Oil and Gas Tax Credits

As Senate President Kelly points out in his op-ed this morning, there is substantial agreement in the Capitol about addressing, and ultimately ending, the state’s current system of paying cash for oil and gas tax credits. While we’re proud to witness the successes of SB 21 and the growth in oil production, our states current deficit simply doesn’t allow the room to pay out these cash-credits.

How much are tax credits costing our state right now? $1 million per day. That is money that we could be putting towards state troopers, road maintenance, public health, and other critical services.

Ending the cash credit program does not mean we’re in the business of crippling our industry partners or shortsightedly hurting Alaska’s biggest source of revenue. Our tax structure remains competitive with the rest of the world and includes tools to help smaller producers get revenue- and job-generating projects online.

With the price tag of $1 million per day, we have to act on ending cash payments as soon as possible! House Representatives Josephson and Tarr are the chairs of the conference committee, in whose hands the tax credit legislation currently is held. Our office, along with many others, is working to encourage them to hold a meeting as soon as possible to take action of this critical bill, and end this long special session. It is encouraging to know that compromise exists on this bill, but that only matters if these two Representatives actually let it get to the floor for a vote. We will keep you posted as progress occurs!

 

Budget Update

It was certainly a relief to finally be able to vote on a budget to continue the states essential services, and see it signed by the Governor last week. A government shutdown would have been crippling to our private and public sector, and I’m glad to have that uncertainty and risk removed from the equation. However, this budget isn’t perfect, and our work on providing for a sustainable path for Alaska’s future is not yet done. While the compromise budget does in fact fund government through the fiscal year, it takes an unmaintainable amount from our savings account, leaving very little left for any future downturns.

So, what happens next? The Legislature this year came to general agreement that our state can be using our current assets in a better, more profitable manner. At risk if we do not pass some kind of asset reform are Alaska’s credit rating – which is currently trending down –, economic stability, and our ability to fund essential services, like public safety and health, in the future. With the current price of oil below $50 per barrel and the recession it is causing in our state, we truly need to put a fiscal plan in place. Work this summer needs to focus on where we can come together on a fiscal plan, which at this point has centered on reforming the use of the Earnings Reserve account. Our office will be continuing to concentrate on this idea, and ensuring that working Alaskans and our private sector economy do not bear the brunt of any plan passed by the Legislature.

 

Seward Highway Project Update – Dowling/Dimond

Traffic from folks getting out of town this weekend certainly highlighted the ongoing construction on the Seward Highway. Below is the most recent update we’ve received from the Dept. of Transportation:

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.

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: 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.

 

Kindergarten Prep

Do you have a soon-to-be kindergartener at home? The Anchorage School District is hosting events this summer to help parents prepare their student and themselves for what lies ahead in the coming school year, and what you can do this summer to help get ready! Starting school can be a big transition for families and having some tools can help you feel more prepared for this change.

Check out their Kindy Roundup website to find out more: https://www.asdk12.org/parents/kindyroundup/

 

School Lottery Program

The Anchorage School District is also still accepting applications for participating in the school lottery program. Up until July 27th, you can apply for your student to attend elementary, middle and high school programs including language immersion, high school medical and engineering specialties, and charter schools. We have some incredibly special programs in Anchorage that can give your student new and interesting opportunities in their education.

Learn more by visiting https://lotapp.asdk12.org/apply/

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update, and for staying engaged as we work through the issues facing our state. Please continue to reach out with your questions, ideas and concerns. We’re here to serve you!

 

All my best,

admin @ July 5, 2017

Update for June 7, 2017

Posted in: Announcements, Budget, Fiscal Plan, General, Hanshew Middle School, Service High School | Comments (0)

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.

 

admin @ June 7, 2017

Juneau Update for May 22, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Anchorage Schools, Education, Fiscal Plan, General | Comments (0)

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!

admin @ May 22, 2017

Update for May 15, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Schools, Budget, Education, Fiscal Plan, Kasuun Elementary School, Service High School | Comments (0)

Update on Alaska’s Fiscal Options

The past few days have seen a lot of movement on some important issues here in Juneau. Perhaps most importantly, we have finally seen the beginning of the budget negotiation process. The House and Senate met on Monday to organize the Conference Committee on the budget, which will be the group that will reconcile differences and come up with budget solutions that can garner enough support to fund government. I continue to believe there are many smart reductions and efficiencies to be found in our current administration, but will also be focused on reducing the effects of this downturn on our public safety and schools. It is our one constitutional obligation to pass a budget, and while I’m disappointed that this has taken so long to begin, I’m encouraged that movement is taking place.

We also saw significant progress this weekend on a plan to help our economy recover from its current recession. For months, there has been close evaluation and discussion of implementing an income tax to help pay for government. We’ve heard testimony from experts and from Alaskans on how taxing income during a recession would affect our state. After this lengthy debate, the income tax bill was voted on by both the House and Senate, and was unable to get enough support to pass this year. I remain focused on working to implement a sustainable plan to provide essential safety, health and education services this year. However, we have been told that an income tax would have burdened working Alaskans too heavily during a time where incomes are dropping and unemployment is at a high, and am thus glad to be able to move past this policy and onto better solutions. It is time to focus on other policy discussions that can unite us, rather than divide.

We are quickly approaching Wednesday’s constitutional deadline for this legislative session, and I am hopeful that my colleagues in the Majority will allow for a laser focus on the issues that are most pressing to Alaskans. We need to get our work done and find that common ground that Alaskans have been asking for these past 117 days.

Graduation and Final Weeks of School!

Today, Service High Seniors get to walk across the stage at the Sullivan Arena and accept their Diplomas! Congratulations to all of the hard-working graduates who have made it thus far in their educational pursuits! I know you will all do well during the next step of your journey, and hope that you know that you have a team of cheerleaders in our community who will be there to support you as you continue to work towards achieving your dreams.

The last day of classes for all ASD schools is May 24.

Over at Kasuun Elementary it’s a busy time as well. The 6th grade band and orchestra are having their final concert of the year on Thursday, May 18, at 9:30am. The school talent show is taking place on Friday, May 19, at 1:30pm. Field Day is the following Monday – with grades 4-6 in the morning, and K-3 in the afternoon! Looking ahead to next year, 1st grade will start at the same time as grades 2-12 on August 21, 2017 while preschool and Kindergarten kick off one week later on August 28th.

Construction Continues Along Seward Highway

The Alaska Department of Transportation sent out its weekly update for the Seward Highway Dimond to Dowling road project. Below is the DOT’s update from May 10th:

“ROAD CLOSURE: 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.

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.

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

Beginning the evening of Saturday, May 20, southbound Seward Highway traffic will be shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which will now act as the southbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45MPH throughout the construction zone.

Beginning Saturday, June 10, 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 45MPH throughout the construction zone.

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

Drive safely everyone and slowdown in construction zones this summer!

admin @ May 15, 2017

Update for May 8, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Anchorage Schools, Education, Kasuun Elementary School, PTA, Roads, Service High School, Trailside Elementary School | Comments (0)

Cougar Crossover Ceremony!

Last Friday was a special day at Service High! The annual tradition of Crossover Day, when the entire student body gathers to transition or “crossover” into the following grade year, took place. Each class of students sits in the bleachers until seniors move to the gym floor, juniors take the seniors place and so on. The ceremony is a time of great fun, special recognition, reflection and celebration. My staff member, Hans, presented legislative citations to a large number of Service High School students & athletes for their outstanding accomplishments! Pictured are members of the Varsity football team selected to the Cook Inlet Conference team, and some selected to the All-State team!

These are truly amazing kids with incredibly bright futures! Wish I could have been there!

Go Cougars!!

 

Construction Continues Along Seward Highway

The Alaska Department of Transportation provided its weekly Seward Highway Dimond to Dowling project update on May 3rd. The update was as follows:

ROAD CLOSURE: 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.

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.

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

Later this season, Seward Highway traffic will be rerouted to the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads. 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 these weekly updates related to this major project click here to subscribe.

 

Our Deepest Thanks

We in our office just wanted to take a minute to thank the wonderful, capable and super-human Mary Rosenfield for her service to the PTSA at Service High. Mary has gone above and beyond during her time as President, juggling her life, family, PTSA duties and Lady Cougar Volleyball responsibilities with true professionalism and heart. We are going to sincerely miss her leadership and could not be more grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Mary. She will be missed by anyone and everyone who had the chance to work with her, and we wish her all the best. We’re now very excited to have Sharron Johnson step up and take the reins!

Likewise, Principal Michael Day of Kasuun Elementary has announced his resignation after nine tremendous years of humble and steady leadership. Mr. Day has been an honest and competent Principal over his near decade of service to our community. We are truly going to miss him, and wish him and his family the absolute best on their new endeavor with the Yukon-Kuskokwim School District. The people of Koyukuk are truly blessed to be gaining such a reputable educator! Best of luck Mr. Day! To read Mr. Day’s farewell letter click here. For parents with children at Kasuun, here is the new Principal advisory process developed by ASD.

 

admin @ May 8, 2017

Update for May 2, 2017

Posted in: Anchorage Schools, General, Hanshew Middle School, Kasuun Elementary School, PTA, Roads, Service High School | Comments (0)

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.

admin @ May 2, 2017