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U.S. Congress 2019-2020: Bills that have passed the House & Senate and become Law

U.S. Congress 2019-2020: Bills Introduced (Over 5,000 in the House and over 3,000 in the Senate)

 

Fish Factor: Fishermen give guidance on virus relief funds, Kelp farms sprout, Halibut scholarships By LAINE WELCH - A rapid response by nearly 800 Alaska fishermen will provide a guideline for giving them a hand up as the coronavirus swamps their operations.              

An online survey from April 14-May 3 by Juneau-based nonprofit SalmonState asked fishermen about their primary concerns both before the Covid outbreak and in the midst of the pandemic in April. It also asked what elected officials at local, state and federal levels can do to help them directly.

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Over half of the 817 responses came in over four days, said Tyson Fick, Salmon State communications adviser.

“Clearly, people were interested to have their stories heard and to weigh in. In several ways we feel like we had a very broad swath of regions and gear types and   fishermen,” he said.

A total of 779 responses (95%) were accepted of which 50% were Alaska residents, 28% were from the Lower 48, and 22% did not provide resident information.

Nearly 95% said they participate in a salmon fishery, with the majority fishing for both salmon and a mix of nearly all other species commercially harvested in Alaska. 

Some takeaways:

Prior to Covid, the top three concerns among fishermen were fish prices (65%), the Pebble Mine (60%), and climate change (53%).  

After Covid hit, concerns shifted to loss of income (75%), preventing the spread in coastal communities (69%), and bad policy decisions being made while fishermen are distracted (58%). 

Fishermen are combatting the negative impacts by using a combination of strategies while doing more work with less time and resources. Over half said they would look for non-fishing related work, 27% said they would fish a longer season, and 26% plan to fish with fewer crew. Nearly a quarter expect to venture into direct marketing or increase dock sales. Just over 4% said they would sell their fishing businesses. 

By far, affected fishermen said giving them direct payments from emergency relief funds would be the biggest help (82.73%). The second and third most popular options were favorable debt consolidation opportunities (33.25%) and debt forgiveness (28.61%). 

Fishermen provided thoughtful responses when asked about actions of policy makers that revealed several themes. 

At both the congressional and state levels, stopping the Pebble Mine was the most frequent request, at 24% and 18%, respectively; keeping fisheries open also was a top issue.

For Governor Dunleavy and the Alaska legislature, respondents said they should focus on Covid-related health and safety support for fishermen and provide help with marketing.

Fishermen also shared their perceptions of the Dunleavy administration, saying it favors other interests over commercial fishermen, naming mining, oil and gas, sport and personal use fishing.  

At the local level, fishermen expressed confusion over unclear guidelines for following local health mandates and suggested that signs at airports and boatyards along with a one-page guidance document would be helpful.  They also mentioned that local communities should do all they can to support processors and their workforce.

Fishermen also shared ideas on local taxes and harbor fees, and changing infrastructure to include things like cold storages in recognition of dynamic market patterns. 

Less than half of the fishermen respondents are members of a commercial fishing organization or trade association and the survey brings their voices into the conversation, said Fick.  

“These are frontline workers, small business owners who are pretty tight lipped and they don't have fancy spokespersons or lobbyists speaking on their behalf. So they often just get left out,” he added.

The goal now is to get the goods into the hands of those making the decisions on how Covid relief funds are spent and invested.  

 “Our commitment was to help get these results to decision makers on behalf of fishermen,” said Lindsey Bloom, SalmonState campaign strategist. “We will do our best to get the information out as far as wide as possible for the fleet.”

The fishermen’s survey is a project of the group’s Salmon Habitat Information Program. - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020


Alaska’s Blue Economy Includes Both Mariculture and Wild Caught Seafoods; Alaska’s thriving seafood industry is expanding to include sustainable farmed shellfish and seaweed.
Hump Island Oyster Co. oyster and seaweed farm in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Credit: NOAA


 

Ketchikan: Alaska’s Blue Economy Includes Both Mariculture and Wild Caught Seafoods; Alaska’s thriving seafood industry is expanding to include sustainable farmed shellfish and seaweed. - Good-paying jobs. Food safety and economic security.

It’s what Alaskan’s have come to expect from their multi-billion dollar fishing industry. Alaska fisheries are renowned for being among the best-managed sustainable fisheries in the world.  

Could Alaska also become known for its environmentally sustainable mariculture products? The Alaska Mariculture Task Force has established a goal of developing a $100 million mariculture industry in 20 years. They plan to achieve this through the enhancement, restoration, and farming of shellfish and seaweed.

To help Alaska advance towards this goal, NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission hosted the first Alaska Mariculture Workshop. The workshop, held on January 21-22, 2020 in Ketchikan, brought together more than 60 participants to help advance mariculture development in Alaska. They included aquatic farmers, industry representatives, tribal representatives, state and federal policy makers and regulators, non-profits, and researchers.

Why Is Alaska the Right Place for Mariculture? 

Aquatic farming, if done responsibly, is increasingly recognized as one of the most environmentally sustainable ways to produce food and protein.

NOAA Fisheries recognizes that marine aquaculture is an important and growing U.S. industry. It has the potential to provide a significant sustainable supply of healthy seafood for domestic and global markets to complement wild-capture fisheries.

With more coastline than all the Lower 48 states combined, Alaska is uniquely positioned to seize the marine aquaculture opportunity. Alaska currently has 71 active mariculture operations, including the largest kelp farm in the United States.

Marine aquaculture operations can provide a year-round source of high-quality jobs and economic opportunities that augment seasonal tourism and commercial and recreational fishing in Alaska. It is part of NOAA Fisheries’ sustainable seafood portfolio and the agency’s strategy for economic and environmental resiliency.

Mariculture Workshop: Mapping a Way Forward

The workshop was designed to share NOAA's commitment to fostering aquaculture nationally and regionally, listen to the needs of Alaskans, identify opportunities, and promote future partnerships.

The two-day event built on the foundational work of the Alaska Mariculture Task Force, established in 2016. The Task Force established a goal of developing a $100 million mariculture industry in 20 years and outlined recommendations to achieve this goal in the 2018 Mariculture Development Plan. Aquatic farming will provide long-term benefits for the state’s economy, environment, and communities.

Workshop sessions were framed to identify the mariculture industry needs related to research, policy and permitting, and access to capital. They also focused on developing a shared vision for the future. - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020


How 80 Coasties saved an Alaskan town during the Spanish Influenza pandemic

How 80 Coasties saved an Alaskan town during the Spanish Influenza pandemic

 

Alaska: How 80 Coasties saved an Alaskan town during the Spanish Influenza pandemic - Pandemic, quarantines, social distancing, facemasks. Too familiar today, these words resonated with equal disquiet for Americans of 100 years ago as Spanish Influenza spread across the world. Every pandemic and its inherent tragedies are unique, but in the Coast Guard’s response today we can hear echoes of 1919, when the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Unalga quarantined and rendered pandemic relief to the remote Alaskan settlement of Unalaska.

The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 affected nearly every corner of the world. It caused the deaths of between 25 and 50 million people, more than those who died in World War I. Even in regions with the most advanced medical care then available, Spanish Influenza would kill approximately 2 to 3 percent of all victims.

Medical care in the remote territory of Alaska was not advanced. When the pandemic arrived in the spring of 1919, it wiped out entire villages. At this point, Alaska was “an American colony [which] occupied a political status somewhere between a government protectorate and an industrial resource.”[1] The presence of federal government assets was minimal.

On May 26, 1919, USS Unalga was patrolling in Seredka Bay off Akun Island, in Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain. World War I had ended just six months prior, so – like all other Coast Guard ships – Unalga and its crew were still technically under the U.S. Navy. At 190 feet, the Unalga’s white hull was only somewhat longer than the Fast Response Cutters patrolling Alaska’s waters today. And while Unalga’s daily operations were fundamentally similar to today’s FRCs, they were significantly broader. An Alaskan patrol in 1919 could consist of law enforcement boardings of fishing and sealing vessels; inspecting canneries; transporting mail, supplies, passengers, and prisoners; rescuing shipwrecked or stranded victims; rendering medical care; acting as a floating court; and resolving labor disputes.

The Unalga was resting at anchor following a routine day of seamanship and signals training. Around 1600, an urgent radio message arrived. The settlement of Unalaska on nearby Unalaska Island was suffering from a severe outbreak of Spanish Influenza. The commanding officer, Senior Captain Frederick G. Dodge, prepared to get the Unalga underway at dawn.

That night, Unalga received another radiogram: the region around Bristol Bay, on the southwestern Alaskan mainland, also needed urgent assistance coping with an outbreak. Captain Dodge faced a dilemma: the Unalga could not be in two places at once. He chose to head for nearer Unalaska to assess the situation.

Remote even today, in 1919 Unalaska and adjacent Dutch Harbor were tiny villages with a combined population of about 360 people, mostly of Aleut or mixed Russian-native ancestry. There was only one doctor on the island.

The Unalga’s crew disembarked to a horrific discovery. Nearly the entire settlement was infected, including the only doctor and all but one operator at Dutch Harbor’s small U.S. Navy radio station. The situation was critical; as historian Alfred Crosby wrote in America’s Forgotten Pandemic, “very large proportions of isolated populations tended to contract Spanish Influenza all at once. The sick outnumbered those doing the nursing. The sick, therefore, lacked fluids, food, and proper care, which caused very high death rates… effective leadership was vital to keeping death rates down. If complacency, incompetence, sickness, or bad luck crippled the ability of the leaders to react efficiently to the pandemic, then Spanish Influenza could be as deadly as the Black Death.” It would now fall upon the men of the Unalga to provide this lifesaving leadership and medical care. - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020


A Jumbo Mine and a jumbo political  impeachment; Sulzer brothers both served in Congress, promoted Alaska statehood

A Jumbo Mine and a jumbo political  impeachment; Sulzer brothers both served in Congress, promoted Alaska statehood
By DAVE KIFFER
Sulzer, Alaska was a small community on the shore of Hetta Inlet on Prince of Wales Island. The community centered on a copper mine established by William Sulzer, operated by the Alaska Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, the Jumbo Mine was active from 1907 to 1918 and was one of Alaska's largest copper producers. Charles August Sulzer, brother of William and delegate to the United States Congress from the Territory of Alaska, lived in Sulzer when he took ill in April 1919 and died while on board a boat en route to Ketchikan.
Courtesy Wikipedia www.wikipedia.org


 

Southeast Alaska: A Jumbo Mine and a jumbo political  impeachment; Sulzer brothers both served in Congress, promoted Alaska statehood By DAVE KIFFER - What does an old ghost town on Prince of Wales Island have to do with the only New York Governor to be impeached? Nothing. And everything.
 
"Sulzer" still appears on maps of Hetta Inlet but there hasn't been a community there for decades. The one-time cannery site was also the location of the headquarters of several copper mines in the Copper Mountain and Jumbo Mountain area. In 1910, the population for Sulzer was listed at 50 in the US census. The community had two stores, a small hotel, a post office, a school and even a wooden tennis court.

The Alaska Industrial Company operated the mines and the AIC was run by William Sulzer, an ardent promoter of Alaska, but also the only New York Governor to ever be impeached, primarily because when he became governor he promptly turned on the "machine" that got him elected and the machine got even.
 
Sulzer was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1863, the mid point of the Civil War. His father was a civil engineer who lost his position during a financial panic and became a farmer to survive, acccording to Sulzer biographer Mathew Lifflander.
 
According to Charles Hawley's entry on Sulzer in the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame website he learned about geology early in life.
 
"While exploring the nearby fields and brooks, he collected and tried to classify rocks and minerals that he picked up in the neighborhood," Hawley wrote. "Later he speculated that this early activity led to an interest in mines and geology."
 
Lifflander  - in his 2012 book "The Impeachment of Governor Sulzer: A Story of American Politics" also noted young Sulzer's interest in the natural world.
 
"An amateur geologist all his life, the study of rocks was most appealing to Sulzer," Lifflander wrote. "Drawing on his experience he would say 'the rocks never lie' and he considered geology to be the 'truthful record of the history of our planet.' "
 
Sulzer also displayed, early on, his interest in far away places that would eventually lead him to Alaska.
 
When he was 13, he ran away from home to join the Forepaugh's Circus, feeding and watering the elephants for $3 a week as the circus traveled through Pennsylvania and New York, according to Lifflander.
 
Then he signed on as a cabin boy on a ship that sailed to South America, the William H. Thompson. A year later, he returned home for a year and then ended up in New York City where he worked as a clerk for a wholesale grocer and continued his education at Cooper Union in the evenings, according to Hawley.
 
In New York, he caught the attention of the organization that would eventually shape his life, in good ways and bad.
 
Tammany Hall was the Democratic political machine that was a major player in New York politics from the 1790s to the 1960s. By the mid 1800s, it had a stranglehold on Manhattan politics but was also becoming synonymous with greed and political corruption under a series of "Bosses," most notably the infamous William "Boss" Tweed. By 1900, Tammany - still in power primarily because it aligned with the large number of Irish immigrants -  began calling itself the party of "reform" and William Sulzer was a big part of that.
 
Sulzer had been an acolyte of Tammany official John Reilly. Reilly encouraged Sulzer to use his powers of oration and become a lawyer and political leader. In 1889, Sulzer was elected to the New York Assembly and became majority leader and Speaker of the Assembly by 1893.
 
That was an important year because Sulzer made his first visit to Alaska, making a swing through Southeast Alaska and then heading north to explore mining operations on the Bering Sea coast. In 1895, he was elected to Congress and in 1899 he came back to Alaska again, this time noting how the mining interest from the Klondike Gold Rush was spilling over into the territory.
 
Meanwhile, a miner from Montana, Aaron Shellhouse, was exploring  the good copper prospects on Southern Prince of Wales Island, according to Pat Roppel, in a 1983 article that she wrote about Sulzer for the Alaska Journal.
 
Shellhouse, Roppel noted, was more interested in finding new mines than developing the one's he had already located and that played right into Sulzer's plans to take over and develop already staked properties.
 
"In 1897, Shellhouse worked his way up a nameless creek into a short U-shaped valley on the south side of Hetta Inlet," Roppel wrote. "The valley ended in a steep-walled basin and near the head of the basin, he discovered a copper vein which could be traced up the mountain slope for a distance of nearly 1,000 feet. The vein was 10 to 25 feet wide and Shellhouse staked claims which he named Jumbo. The mountain and the creek soon became known as Jumbo Mountain and Jumbo Creek."
 
While copper was not as sexy a mineral as gold and silver, it was much more plentiful than either in Southern Southeast. But it also suffered from a much more unstable pricing and it wasn't unusual for miners to spend a lot of time and money developing a copper lode - with its numerous underground shafts - only to find that the price had crashed and it was not worth pulling the ore out of the ground after all. In the first two decades of the 20th Century, prices were high and copper was mined in several areas. After World War I, the price dropped and all those mines - and the towns that served them - dried up. - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020


 

 

Alaska: Governor Announces Phase Three of Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced plans for Phase Three of the State’s approach to reopening segments of the Alaskan economy in an effort to balance the ongoing need to slow the spread of COVID-19 with the critical need to resume economic activity in a reasonable and safe manner.

Beginning 8:00am Friday, May 22, 2020, Phase Three of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan took effect, allowing all businesses to open at 100 percent capacity.

  • All businesses may open
  • All houses of worship and religious gatherings may open
  • All libraries and museums may open
  • All recreational activities may open
  • All sport activities may open

“Alaska has done an excellent job of managing COVID-19. We responded quickly to an unknown threat to keep our cases low and to ensure our healthcare systems have increased capacity to deal with COVID-19 cases in the future. Under Phases One and Two, businesses and organizations found new and creative ways to minimize the risk of COVID-19, and each day we are seeing new national and industry guidelines being released that provide guidance on safely operating. Now is the time for the next phase of our response. To move ahead, we are combining our future phases, while encouraging personal and organizational responsibility to safely operate while mitigating the spread of this disease,” said Governor Dunleavy. 

Dunleavy said, “Make no mistake. The virus is with us. We must function with it and manage it. There will be folks who contract the virus and fall ill, but if we follow these guidelines, we can help lower potential cases and keep our way of life intact with a few exceptions. We will monitor the situation daily as we have since this virus arrived in Alaska and we will adjust, if necessary, to handle a growth in case clusters to prevent cases spiking. It’s because of you Alaska, that our statewide numbers remain low. And we will keep our numbers low because of your actions” - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020

Alaska: New results from 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveal a sharp rise in vaping and suicide attempts, plus other challenges and some improvements for Alaska adolescents - Alaska’s most recent survey of almost 2,000 high school students statewide shows a significant increase in the percentage of students vaping, feeling sad and hopeless, and attempting suicide. 

The results are from the 2019 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) this week. The findings come from questions answered anonymously and voluntarily by high school students to measure many health and social behaviors. The data help to raise awareness of the struggles that Alaska’s high school students face, identify emerging health concerns, track changes over time and inform strategies to help improve the health and well-being of adolescents in Alaska. 

Specifically, the survey found that 1 out of 4 adolescents vaped during the past 30 days. This is a significant increase from the 1 in 6 high school students who reported currently using e-cigarettes during the last survey in 2017. During the past year, more than 1 out of 3 felt sad or hopeless for two weeks or longer, and 1 out of 5 attempted suicide, according to the YRBS results. 

Some of the findings were positive. The percentage of adolescents who smoke cigarettes fell from 18% in 2007 to 8% in 2019. - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020

Alaska: 2020 Permanent Fund Dividend to Begin Distribution July 1 - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced last week the Permanent Fund Dividend Division will begin distribution of the 2020 Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) to eligible Alaskans on July 1, 2020.

“This has been a difficult situation for everyone – individual Alaskans have been hurt economically, businesses have been hurt economically. We’re going to do all we can to get that going in the right direction,” said Governor Dunleavy. 

Dunleavy said, “As a result, we’re going to move up the date for the PFD for Alaskans to July 1st. Usually that goes out in October, but we’re in extraordinary times and we need to make sure the people of Alaska have cash in their hands to help with this economy. I can’t think of a better time to do it than now. We’re starting the process right now so come July 1st, we’re going to be sending out the Permanent Fund checks to all Alaskans that qualify and are eligible.” - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020


 
Columns

jpg JASE GRAVES

JASE GRAVES: LEARNING TO LIVE WITH CORONA HAIR - It’s high time Americans accept a first-world side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I don’t mean those blasted directional floor stickers I can’t navigate in the aisles at Walmart. No, I’m referring to male-pattern corona hair.

At the risk of sounding like a narrow-minded, shortsighted, male chauvinist invasive feral swine, the closure of hair salons during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of anxiety mainly for the fairer sex. (Dang! There I go again!) But for men with profuse scalp shrubbery like mine, the angst has been every bit as severe.

Unlike the barren belfries of my fellow kind-of-getting-oldish dudes whose follicles have long since been liberated, my melon is still at maximum occupancy. But rather than following the example of Brad Pitt’s or Keanu Reeves’ studular locks, my dome loaf refuses to grow in a stylish downward trajectory. Instead, it’s as if my hair is constantly turned on – and refuses to be cool about it. Not only that, but it expands at a rate that makes my friends suspect I’m on a Rogaine IV drip.

Normally, I discipline my unruly shag by visiting the salon for a good hedge trimming once every two weeks. But I haven’t had my hair “did” since Dr. Fauci and the Curve Flatteners started rockin’ the house. So now I basically have a rabid wolverine sheltering in place on my skull. And no amount of Consort Extra Hold spray can tame this savage beast.

Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t asked my wife or one of my three daughters to get out the pruning shears and give me a homemade hack job. But based on my behavior for the past thirty years, I’m reluctant to invite any of them to wield a sharp-edged instrument within the vicinity of my face and neck.

There’s also the option of just shaving it all off, but my baldscape would probably resemble the rugged lunar surface due to an unfortunate physical altercation I had with my big brother over the TV remote when I was in high school – while he was wearing his unnecessarily massive class ring. (That’s what I blame it on, anyway­­ – to make him feel guilty – which he doesn’t.) - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020


jpg Political Cartoon: Memorial Day

Political Cartoon: Memorial Day
By John Darkow ©2020, Columbia Missourian
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


      

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After a Supreme Court win, Alaskans have the right and responsibility to recall By Joe Usibelli Sr. and Vic Fischer - On May 8, the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the right of Alaskans to hold a recall election. As co-chairs of the Alaskan effort to remove Governor Michael J. Dunleavy from office, we write with an urgent message: our state’s future is in our collective hands. If you have not already signed a recall petition in 2020, now is the time to request a household booklet online and sign again.

After months of stall tactics by the governor, the Alaska Supreme Court has put to rest all legal challenges to the recall. Its ruling confirmed what we knew all along: Governor Dunleavy acted incompetently, demonstrated lack of fitness, and violated Alaska law and the Alaska Constitution. No amount of foot-dragging, even by state leaders, can change those facts. We won. The recall is moving forward with speed.

In the shadow of COVID-19, many Alaskans are spending every waking hour homeschooling children and scrambling to pay household bills. While you’ve been sheltering in place, away from jobs, friends, and group gatherings in an effort to keep your fellow Alaskans safe, Governor Dunleavy has been busy—doubling down on the same extreme vetoes to higher education, healthcare, public radio, school bond debt reimbursement, and coastal infrastructure he made last year.

The difference? This time he cut crucial services in the midst of a global pandemic, injecting economic risk and additional instability during a time when we can least afford it. The governor’s new vetoes this spring send a fresh wave of harm to rural Alaskans, to businesses in coastal communities, and to hospitals preparing for a second surge of COVID-19 cases as we begin to ease distancing restrictions. Despite deafening outcry from every corner of the state, our governor has not listened to Alaskans over the past year, nor has he learned. - More...
Sunday PM - May 17, 2020

jpg Opinion

Destroying a Fishery Will Not Save Southern Resident Killer Whales By Wally Pereyra, Ph.D. - Soon, a Seattle-based federal judge will decide the fate of some 1,600 Southeast Alaska salmon trollers—fishermen who are already looking at the lowest allotment of Chinook in 20 years, largely due to the past three Pacific Salmon Treaty agreements that have cut by two-thirds their allocation of these high-value, sought-after fish.

If you haven’t been following the trade press or Alaska media in the past few weeks, you may not know that this group of largely rural Alaska fishermen are today facing the unthinkable: being put out of business—collateral damage as the result of a lawsuit filed by a Washington state-based NGO, the Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC), against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

In the lawsuit, WFC seeks a Preliminary Injunction to stop the Southeast Alaska summer troll fishery, alleging that NMFS has failed to allow enough king (Chinook) salmon to return to Puget Sound to feed endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). If the Court grants the injunction and closes the Chinook salmon trolling fishery in Southeast Alaska (effective July 1, 2020), disastrous consequences would result not just to the fishermen but to Alaska’s rural economy, already hard-hit by COVID-19, and the loss of tourism and oil revenues. - More...
Sunday PM - May 17, 2020

jpg Opinion

Former Educator Hurts Student Opportunity By Derek Reed - I want Alaska to thrive. That’s why I teach high school. I am a lucky individual who gets to work with the next wave of entrepreneurs, chefs, carpenters, and fishermen, just to name a few. I dedicate my waking hours to ensure Alaskan students have the skills needed to live happy, healthy, productive lives. Investing in students helps Alaska long term; student success equals Alaska’s success. However, due to the constant cuts and politicking from a former educator, Alaska’s success is in jeopardy.

Shockingly, Governor Dunleavy was a classroom teacher, principal, superintendent, and school board member. I’m baffled by his actions, which systematically work against student success, and by extension, the success of our state. Governor Dunleavy promised to reform education, stating ?“it is at the top of his ‘to do.’”? Evidently to him, that means ?cutting K-12 public education? and ?outsourcing teacher’s jobs to Florida? in the midst of a pandemic.

Despite Alaskans’ overwhelming opposition to these drastic measures, he plowed forward with cuts. Cutting education funding - which always results in disruptive staff layoffs - isn’t a recipe for student success. Outsourcing to Florida isn’t how we build a thriving Alaska.

The data is clear: class size matters. Class sizes across Alaska are out of control. Teachers like me are expected to teach 30-35 high school students in one class. High school teachers usually teach five class periods... we can do the math. - More...
Sunday PM - May 17, 2020

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Fascism and the Alaska Native By Dominic Salvato - Sealaska and the State of Alaska are linked it what could only be called a fascist arrangement.

When the power of the state and the corporation are combined it is the definition of fascism.

Sealaska Natives have lived under this system for five decades.

We as native people have the poverty to show for it.

We had a chairman of the board and state senator mired in a ethics scandal. Where does he retreat to lick his wounds? The Sealaska Corporation.

We have a current chairman cut back on his regular job, where does he go? Within the Sealaska Corporation. Suddenly shareholders have a full time chairman at a quarter of a million a year.

We have elections, with a cash voting incentive where endorsed candidates expenses are paid by the corporation. Elections with no term limits for boardmembers. - More...
Sunday PM - May 17, 2020

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Big and small, UA campuses need our support in the recall of Governor Dunleavy By Therese Lewandowski - During my 25 years as an administrative assistant at the University of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer, I witnessed a profound truth: Alaskans are hungry for in-state higher education. Sadly, with programs all over the state being shuttered, students are now leaving Alaska and taking their bright futures with them.

I spent my entire career watching students walk through the doors of a University of Alaska campus and understand the incredible opportunities that even a small school offers. I invite you to see the journey of my Kachemak Bay Campus as your own—because, truly, it is. Watch through the lens of your own community how my campus flourished in decades past, watch how it fed livelihoods and grew an economy similar to yours.

In the 1980s, Kachemak Bay Campus students earned general education requirements and took courses in the new Apple computer, accounting/bookkeeping, and creative writing. By the 1990s, class offerings included small business management, a boon to Homer’s entrepreneurial populace. The Kenai Peninsula Writer’s Conference in the early 2000s brought in UAA faculty, published writers, agents, and editors. 

Around 2005, the sciences took off with an RN degree, an AA in nursing, and a CNA certificate that equipped Homer and other Alaskans communities with dozens of healthcare professionals each year. We also gained a lab with the upper level field biology program “Semester by the Bay” that taught local and Lower 48 students about our coastline. In 2010, the campus built a new learning center and testing lab for GED and ESL programs. Last year, we gained an additional healthcare degree—a BA in nursing. And let’s not forget the Jump Start program, which allowed high school juniors and seniors to take college classes for dual credit. - More...
Sunday PM - May 17, 2020

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