Big Lake, Alaska News, Weather, Events, And More

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Saturday, March 17 2018 @ 02:15 AM AKDT


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Alaska Joins Multi-State Challenge to Stream Protection Rule

Alaska NewsAlaska joined Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Missouri, Montana, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming in filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia today challenging the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule based on both the process by which it was developed as well as the content of the rule. Issues raised by the states include allegations that the rule exceeds the federal agency’s statutory authority, infringes on states’ constitutional sovereignty, and is otherwise arbitrary and capricious. At the same time, Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth joined several other attorneys general in sending a letter to Congress urging it to consider using the Congressional Review Act to remedy this problematic rulemaking.

“Within the last few weeks, federal agencies have taken multiple actions that impede responsible resource development in our great state,” said Governor Bill Walker. “This is one of the worst. I sincerely hope that Congress will use its power to overturn it. If not, we are filing the lawsuit to fight it.”

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State opposes BLM use of unproven technology for state land entitlement

Alaska NewsA decision issued today by the federal Bureau of Land Management to terminate a critical agreement with the State of Alaska and abandon the proven method for surveying the State of Alaska’s land entitlement reneges on promises made in the Alaska Statehood Act, according to Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack.

The BLM and the Department of Natural Resources have worked together for 53 years under a memorandum of understanding that guides the transfer of federal lands to the State of Alaska under the statehood act. Recently the BLM pressured the State to agree to adopt satellite-based technology and abandon the placement of physical monuments to identify land ownership. Unfortunately, BLM cannot demonstrate that this technology works.

DNR agrees with BLM that this new technology has potential and is committed to testing and potentially adopting it in the future. However, the technology has technical problems and is not ready to be deployed. Given those technical issues, there is no evidence to back up BLM’s assertions that this technology will cut the time and cost of land transfers, or increase the quality of land surveys.

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Alaska sees 34 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2016

Alaska News Motor vehicle traffic fatalities are on the rise this year in Alaska, and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) would like to remind travelers to drive with care as the holidays approach.

As of Nov. 21, Alaska has had 75 traffic fatalities in 69 fatal crashes in 2016, according to the ADOT&PF Alaska Highway Safety Office. This compares to 56 fatalities in 53 fatal crashes for the same date in 2015.

Traffic fatalities are on the rise nationally, as well. Preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show traffic fatalities rose by 10.4 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015.

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2016 Alaska fire season numbers well below normal

Alaska NewsDespite an early start to Alaska’s 2016 wildfire season, the number of acres burned this summer ended up well below normal levels.

A total of 558 wildfires burned 500,095 acres in Alaska this summer, making it the 36th largest fire season on record dating back to 1939, according to statistics from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center in Fairbanks. During an average Alaska fire season, there are about 500 fires and approximately 1 million acres are burned.

While Alaska’s fire season got off to an early start, heavy rainfall in the Interior in June and July slowed fire activity during what are typically the two of the busiest months of the fire season. In terms of acres burned, 2016 didn’t compare to 2015, when 768 fires burned more than 5.1 million acres in Alaska, making it the second-largest fire season on record in the Last Frontier.

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Governor Declares Erosion and Flooding Disaster for Matanuska River

Alaska NewsAnchorage – Governor Walker has just declared a disaster in support of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s request for state assistance regarding the erosion and threat of flood along the Matanuska River.

“I want to make sure Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents who are alongside the Matanuska River have the necessary resources to protect their homes and property, therefore I have verbally declared a disaster which means relief operations will begin immediately.” said Governor Walker.
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Governor Walker Lowers Flags in Honor of Orlando Shooting Victims

Alaska NewsANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker ordered all Alaska flags to be lowered today in honor of the victims of this morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. This order follows directive from the White House to lower all United States flags to honor the victims of today’s attacks, which is reported to be the nation’s worst since September 11, 2001.

“Many of us are still in shock after this morning’s attack in Orlando,” said Governor Walker. “This terrible act of violence has claimed more than 50 lives, and the effects reach beyond Florida. We here in Alaska stand with our fellow Americans against this act of terrorism.”

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Governor Walker praises Senate for passing Permanent Fund Protection Act

Alaska News“I thank members of the Senate for taking this important vote to put Alaska on the path for a sustainable future. We recognize the concern some have raised about the need for balance, which we have addressed through the remaining pieces of the New Sustainable Alaska Plan. Restructuring the Permanent Fund is the cornerstone of this plan, and a significant portion of it, but make no mistake—the work to put Alaska on a sustainable path is far from over. I applaud the Senate for taking this bold step.” –Governor Bill Walker
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Bidding open now for DNR's annual land auction for Alaskans

Alaska NewsThe Department of Natural Resources is inviting Alaskans interested in owning a piece of the Last Frontier to participate in the 2016 Annual State Land Auction. This year’s land offering includes road-accessible and remote parcels ranging from the Southeast Alaska coastline to Interior river corridors. Of the 248 parcels available, 100 are new to the auction this year.

Alaska residents may submit sealed bids in person, by mail, or online between 10 a.m. on March 25 and 5 p.m. on July 6. Apparent high bids will be announced on July 13. Bidders may purchase up to two parcels in this auction. Free brochures are available at DNR’s Public Information Centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks and the DNR Land Counter in Juneau. Individuals are encouraged to visit DNR’s recently-updated Land Sales site at

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Alaska Joins Settlement with Moneygram

Alaska News(Anchorage, AK) The Department of Law today announced a settlement with MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. resolving a multistate investigation involving wire transfers used in schemes to defraud consumers. In addition to Alaska, 48 states and the District of Columbia participated in this settlement.

MoneyGram agreed in the settlement to maintain and continue to improve a comprehensive and robust anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent consumers from suffering financial losses from fraud-induced wire transfers. The company will also pay $13 million dollars to fund a nationwide consumer restitution program and for the states’ costs and fees. An independent settlement administrator will review MoneyGram records and send notices to consumers who are eligible to receive restitution under this settlement. Generally, consumers who are eligible for restitution previously filed complaints with MoneyGram between July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009 regarding fraud-induced transfers sent from the U.S. to foreign countries other than Canada.

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Happy Marmot Day!

Alaska NewsMarmot Day is an Alaskan holiday established to celebrate marmots and Alaskan culture. Although local festivals have been part and parcel of frontier life for decades, Marmot Day became an official holiday on April 18, 2009, when the 26th Alaska State Legislature officially passed Senate Bill 58. Marmot Day is celebrated on February 2, replacing Groundhog Day with a holiday honoring Alaska's marmots. From Juneau to Anchorage to Fairbanks, and all the cities in between, Marmot Day has become an Alaskan institution.
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Marijuana Establishment Regulations Effective on February 21

Alaska NewsLast week, Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott filed the marijuana establishment regulations according to the provisions of AS 44.62.040 –44.62.120. The effective date for the regulations is February 21, 2016. The full notice is available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System.

"My compliments to the Marijuana Control Board and the staff of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office” said Chris Hladick, commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. “This was a huge regulations project to complete on a tight timeline. The board met over a dozen times over the past six months to discuss each article of the regulations in depth, always taking public comment and the interest of the health and public safety of the citizenry of Alaska into careful consideration.”

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ADOT&PF Monitoring Overflow on the Dalton Highway

Alaska NewsThe Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) is monitoring the Dalton Highway from Mile 395-405 due to an emergence of overflow near the road. This is the same location where ice developed last spring and caused unprecedented flooding on the Dalton Highway.

At this time, the overflow is minimal and does not threaten the road or traffic. ADOT&PF, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, with climate data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are monitoring and in the process of evaluating the extent of the overflow. Remote markers and sensors have been installed along the road corridor, and satellite imagery is being used to help identify where the overflow is traveling.

ADOT&PF crews are building snow berms and installing burlap fences. The burlap wicks water up then freezes in place, to form overflow ice barriers adjacent to the road.

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Labor Department Releases State, Borough and Place 2015 Population Estimates

Alaska NewsAlaska’s population increased slightly – by 271 people – from July 2014 to July 2015, based on population estimates released by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Of Alaska’s 29 boroughs and census areas, 11 grew between 2014 and 2015. The largest population increases were in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (1,801) and Kenai Peninsula Borough (348). The Municipality of Anchorage lost the most people over the period (-1,458).

Among the state’s six economic regions, Anchorage/Mat-Su gained the most over the period (343) followed by Northern (277), and Gulf Coast (220). Southwest (-232), Interior (-172) and Southeast (-165) regions each had small losses. Net migration accounted for all of the region-wide losses, while natural increase – births minus deaths – was positive and fairly steady.
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AMHS Releases Summer 2016 Schedule

Alaska NewsThe Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) today announced the release of its summer 2016 schedule which covers May through September. The release of the schedule coincides with the implementation of the new reservations and manifest system.

Reservations for the summer schedule are currently only being accepted through the Juneau Reservations Call Center by calling 800-642-0066. Online reservations for the summer schedule will be available in the coming weeks.

Sailing schedules can be reviewed online at prior to contacting the call center. Reservations for the remainder of the winter schedule through the end of April are still available online.

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Restrictions Placed on Travel and Hiring

Alaska NewsGovernor Bill Walker today ordered restrictions on executive branch travel and hiring as part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce state spending. This action formalizes what many state departments and agencies have already informally begun to do. Travel and hiring considered essential to protect the life, health and safety of Alaskans will be among the only exceptions.

“As we work toward plugging the $3.5 billion hole in our budget, it is critical that state employees continue to take every step possible to ensure we are being good stewards of our resources,” Governor Walker said. “As we worked on our fiscal plan, the comment my team and I heard most from Alaskans is that we must continue to rein in spending. Much thought and discussion have gone into each cut we have made and will make. Many agencies and departments have already implemented these cost-cutting measures. The announcement I’m making today establishes a consistent standard and process across the administration. These restrictions on hiring and travel alone won’t fix the deficit, but it’s an important step.”

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