Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Saturday, January 20 2018 @ 01:39 AM AKST

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Governor Releases 2017 Budget Legislation

Alaska NewsDecember 15, 2015 ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker released the FY2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017) appropriation and revenue bills today as part of the Walker-Mallott Administration’s New Sustainable Alaska Plan. Rolled out last week in Anchorage, the plan addresses the state’s $3.5 billion budget deficit using a combination of spending cuts, new revenue, wealth management and investment.

Governor Walker also released the Alaska Permanent Fund Protection Act (APFPA) today, which re-plumbs funding for state services to stabilize the state’s budget. The Governor’s fiscal plan calls for continued cuts, implementing the APFPA, and adopting broad-based taxes and fees.

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Alaska Criminal Justice Commission Applauded

Alaska NewsANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker thanked the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission for releasing its extensive report on justice reinvestment strategies for the state today. In the report, Commission members provide data-driven recommendations for the upcoming legislative session to protect public safety, control corrections spending, and invest the potentially vast savings from averted prison growth into probation, parole, and other community practices that cut crime and reduce recidivism..

“I thank members of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission and the Pew Charitable Trust for taking the time to put forward this valuable information,” said Governor Walker. “I look forward to reviewing the report and learning more about the research and data that went into these recommendations.”

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Administration Rolls Out Fiscal Plan

Alaska NewsDecember 9, 2015 ANCHORAGE—Governor Bill Walker unveiled the New Sustainable Alaska Plan, the administration’s blueprint for the state’s economic future, and the budget for fiscal year 2017. The New Sustainable Alaska Plan retools how government powers the state economy through continued spending cuts, wealth management, new revenue and investment.

“This is a major paradigm shift in how the State of Alaska conducts business,” Governor Walker said. “That’s because we cannot continue with business as usual and live solely off of our natural resource revenues. Never before has the state faced a deficit so large that we are draining more than $9 million from savings every day. Fortunately, those who came before us had the wisdom to set aside money for a rainy day. Well, it’s raining now. But the good news is we have a very large umbrella and some other very handy tools to weather this storm. But we all have to pull together to make this work.”

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DEC Issues $18,050 Penalty to Matanuska - Susitna Borough and E&E Construction for Violations of the Construction GP

Alaska NewsThe Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has settled Clean Water Act claims against the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and E&E Construction for $18,050. The claims relate to violations of permitting requirements designed to control pollution in storm water runoff at construction sites.

During a routine inspection of the Talkeetna Library and Community Center construction project in May 2015, DEC inspectors found the Borough and E&E, as owner and project manager, had failed to meet their duties to implement measures in the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and maintain Best Management Practices (BMPs) applicable to construction sites. Specifically, they failed to keep required inspection reports, a corrective action log, training log, grading and stabilization log, and rainfall log. Without this required documentation, DEC was unable to evaluate their compliance with conditions of the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Construction General Permit.

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Flags Lowered for San Bernardino Victims

Alaska NewsGovernor Bill Walker today ordered all Alaska state flags to be lowered in honor of the victims of yesterday’s tragic shooting in San Bernardino. This action follows a proclamation by President Barack Obama to lower all United States flags in honor of those who were killed in this tragic event.

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy and today we are grieving with the community of San Bernardino,” said Governor Walker. “This senseless act of violence robbed victims’ families and friends of a lifetime of memories with their loved ones.”

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Governor Attends Briefing on Syrian Refugees

Alaska NewsNovember 17, 2015 ANCHORAGE – Today Governor Bill Walker joined other U.S. governors in a briefing with officials from the White House, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. State Department to learn about policies and procedures related to admitting Syrian refugees into the United States. The call was coordinated with the National Governors Association in an effort to educate governors on the process of bringing foreign refugees into the country, and address their concerns on the topic.

“I heard from White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other federal officials today about the stringent vetting process that foreign refugees go through before ever entering the United States,” said Governor Walker. “While I understand the issue of allowing refugees into our country and our state lands solely with the federal government, I will remain focused on making sure the vetting process we were briefed on today remains the most stringent refugee vetting process in the world.”

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New Leadership for Department of Corrections

Alaska NewsNovember 16, 2015 ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker announced new leadership for the Department of Corrections today. Walter Monegan III was named Interim Commissioner of the state agency, which oversees the confinement of inmates living in correctional facilities, halfway houses, and community jails across Alaska. This announcement comes in conjunction with the release of Governor Walker’s administrative review of the Department of Corrections and its facilities.

“The core values of this administration include public trust, respect, and community service. Everything we say and do as an administration must reflect these values, and that begins with the leadership in every department,” said Governor Walker. “I have asked Walt Monegan to step in as the Department of Corrections Interim Commissioner to help us get our house in order, and begin DOC on a path to build public trust and restore integrity.”

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State Dept. Gives Green Light for Philippines

Alaska Newsby Patty Sullivan, MSB

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is not prevented by a federal agency from selling the Susitna ferry, a former Navy landing craft prototype, to the Philippine Red Cross. Mat-Su Borough Attorney Nicholas Spiropoulos informed the Assembly of the news this week after months of drawn out discussions with different federal agencies.

The State Dept. said the ship is not subject to U.S. Defense Department controls but is subject to an export provision under the Dept. of Commerce. The sale agreement will bear restrictions on the resale of the ship because the origination of goods is the U.S., Spiropoulos said.

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Governor Appoints member to APFC Board

Alaska NewsOctober 27, 2015 JUNEAU - Governor Bill Walker announced the appointment of Attorney General Craig Richards to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board of Trustees. A governor-appointed board of six trustees sets Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation policy. Alaska law provides that the APFC Board be comprised of four public members, the Commissioner of Revenue and one additional cabinet member of the governor's choosing.

“Attorney General Craig Richards has practiced in the fields of public finance and project development for the majority of his career,” said Governor Walker. “I have no doubt he will be a valuable asset to the Permanent Fund board because of his long history of financial experience in Alaska.”

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Flags Lowered for Former First Lady

Alaska NewsGovernor Bill Walker joined Alaskans in mourning the recent loss of Alaska First Lady Michael Margaret Stewart, the former wife of Alaska Governor Steve Cowper.

“Donna and I send our most heartfelt condolences to the Stewart and Cowper families for the loss of someone who has touched so many lives. Donna and I are praying for Michael’s family, and anyone who had the great pleasure of calling her a friend.”

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Board of Forestry to meet November 12

Alaska NewsThe Board of Forestry will meet in Anchorage and by teleconference on November 12 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. to discuss statewide forestry issues. The public is invited to attend the meeting.

Topics for the board meeting will include:
• Fiscal Year 2016-17 forestry, forest practices, and monitoring budgets and options for implementation of the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act with budget reductions,
• Status of 2015-16 legislative and regulatory proposals related to negotiated timber sales including small negotiated sales under 11 AAC 71.045(e);
• Coastal forest management including reports on national forest planning, Roadless Rule implementation, the Mental Health Trust land exchange, The Working Forest Group, and the Conversion to Young Growth project;
• Wetlands permitting and mitigation;
• Southeast State Forest Management Plan;
• Wood energy in Alaska and state timber sales for wood energy projects;
• Reforestation standard recommendations for Interior and Southcentral Alaska;
• Forest sustainability certification, and
• Division of Forestry program updates.

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Wildlife Recovery to Pre-Spill Levels Leads State of Alaska and United States to Forego Claims Against Exxonmobil Under Reopener

Alaska NewsANCHORAGE – The Alaska Department of Law and the Department of Justice announced that they are bringing to a close the federal and state judicial actions against ExxonMobil Corporation and its corporate predecessors regarding the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. The Prince William Sound harlequin ducks and sea otters thought in 2006 to have been impacted by lingering subsurface oil have recovered to pre-spill population levels. Over time, the exposure to subsurface oil has diminished to the point that scientists believe it is no longer of biological significance to the ducks and otters. Accordingly, the governments have decided to withdraw their 2006 request to Exxon to fund bio-restoration of subsurface lingering oil patches.

The March 1989 grounding of the tanker vessel Exxon Valdez on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilled nearly 11 million gallons of North Slope crude oil that ultimately contaminated some 1,500 miles of Alaska’s coastline. It affected three national parks, four national wildlife refuges, a national forest, five state parks, four state critical habitat areas, a state game sanctuary and killed enormous numbers of birds, marine mammals and fish and disrupted the lives and livelihoods of Alaskans who rely on those resources.

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AMHS Seeks Public Review of Summer 2016 Schedule

Alaska News(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The proposed Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) schedule for the summer 2016 season, which runs May through September, is now available for public review and comment. The proposed schedule can be accessed through a link on the homepage at http://FerryAlaska.com or directly through the following address: http://dot.alaska.gov/amhs/share/schedule/considerations.pdf .

All state agencies, including the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, are working with reduced budgets due to low oil prices. The proposed AMHS summer schedule aims to maximize ferry service to Alaskans within the available operating budget.

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Gov. and Lt. Gov. Meet with Obama Officials

Alaska NewsOctober 8, 2015 ANCHORAGE—Governor Bill Walker returned to Alaska today after a day of meetings in Washington, D.C., with key Obama administration officials. Governor Walker requested the meetings shortly after Shell announced on Sun., Sept. 27, that it would halt its efforts on Arctic development. Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott remained on Capitol Hill today to continue meetings with federal officials.

“It’s important that Alaska maintain an open line of communication with federal officials,” Governor Walker said. “On the heels of last week’s news of Shell’s withdrawal from Arctic exploration, compounded by low oil prices and production, it is imperative that Alaskans take hold of our destiny. We are more than capable of fixing our own problems; we can self-heal—but we must have access to our resources.”

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United States Supreme Court Accepts Alaskan’s Case Opposing Federal Regulatory Overreach

Alaska NewsThe Department of Law is pleased that the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Sturgeon v. Masica, et al., a case in which Alaska filed an amicus brief asking the Court to take a stand against federal regulatory overreach. The Court will now consider whether Section 103(c) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) prohibits the National Park Service from exercising regulatory control over State, Native Corporation, and private Alaska land physically located within the boundaries of the National Park System.

“This case raises a question of exceptional importance to the State, Native Corporations, and the people of Alaska,” said Attorney General Craig Richards. “The right to regulate and manage Alaska’s resources is an essential component of Alaska’s sovereignty, and Alaska has a compelling interest in preserving our right to manage our state’s resources free from unchecked federal control.”

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