Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage
afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8443 | About Annie
November is usually the second snowiest month in Anchorage, but this year, snow totals are well below average. So far, only about three inches of snow has fallen in the city. November usually sees an average of seven inches by now, with a total of a little more than 13 inches for the month. National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Snider says total snowfall for the season is also well below normal.
The Coast Guard and other agencies are still working to determine the source of oil that’s coating birds and seals near St. Lawrence Island. In the meantime, the only living bird recovered in the incident – a juvenile thick billed murre – has been cleaned up and is recovering at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage.
Election workers were also scanning hundreds of absentee and questioned ballots at the Division of Election office in Anchorage today. Four workers fed stacks of paper ballots into Accuvote machines.
The most expensive Alaska Senate race was also the closest last night. Incumbent Democratic Senator Hollis French eked out a win for a newly drawn district that includes Sand Lake and West Anchorage. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, French has about 51 percent of the vote compared with 49 percent for his challenger, Anchorage businessman Bob Bell. They are separated by 247 votes and there are still more than 1,500 absentee ballots to count.
A conservative group is targeting a Superior Court Judge in Anchorage who is on the ballot for retention this year. Alaska Family Action is campaigning against Judge Sen Tan for decisions he made in the late 1990s on cases related to the issue of abortion. The Alaska Judicial Council is responding with an advertising campaign supporting Tan, calling him one of the highest rated judges in the state.
On the November ballot, Alaskan’s will vote on whether the state should hold a convention to amend or revise the constitution. The state constitution requires that the question appear on the ballot every 10 years.
Absentee voters in Alaska can now cast their ballots by email. Monday the state opened the new system to all absentee voters. Deployed military personnel have been able to vote by email since September. The system is designed to make it easier for Alaskans to vote. But voting integrity groups have big concerns about the security of email voting.
On Nov. 6, Alaskans will vote on a bond proposition that would allow the state to borrow close to half a billion dollars for transportation related projects around the state.
All but one seat in the state legislature is up for reelection this fall. Combine that with the controversial issue of oil tax reform and Alaskans are hearing a lot of political ads this campaign season. The Alaska Public Interest Research Group released a report that compiles spending amounts from groups producing so-called “issue ads” in the state.
State employees can’t use private e-mail accounts to hide their work communication from public record laws. The State Supreme Court issued a decision on the matter on Friday, that largely affirms an earlier Superior Court Ruling. The case dates back to the Sarah Palin Administration and addresses the tricky question of whether the state records law is keeping up with communication technology.
Shell still has drill rigs working in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. But Senator Mark Begich got an early start in Anchorage on Thursday trying to understand the lessons learned from the first season of Arctic drilling in more than two decades. At a Congressional field hearing, Federal agencies, local community representatives and Shell all weighed in on what went right in the Arctic this summer and what went wrong.
Alaska audiences don’t usually get to see the world premiere of a major art performance. But this weekend that will change, when the Anchorage Opera stages “Mrs. President.” The opera tells the remarkable-but true- story of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States in 1872.
“Monumental change” is one way to describe the reform taking place in health care right now as the result of the Affordable Care Act. How that change is impacting Alaska was one focus of the State of Reform Health Policy conference on Thursday in downtown Anchorage. The consensus is that there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding a law that will be fully implemented in a little more than a year.
Alaska’s Health care leaders will exchange ideas on industry reform at a one day conference Thursday in Anchorage. With full implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act coming in just over a year, there is no shortage of topics to discuss.
A legislative meeting in Anchorage today focused attention on how the city’s most vulnerable residents fared in this month’s series of wind and rain storms. Anchorage Democratic Senator Bill Wielechowski called the meeting as chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee to assess the lessons learned from the response to the damaging storms. But he came away with few answers on how to better serve disabled and elderly Alaskans.
FLOOD WARNING in effect until 6:00 pm Thursday for Seward, Kenai Lake, 20 Mile near Portage, Kenai River at Cooper Landing.
FLOOD ADVISORY in effect until 6:00 pm Thursday for Mat-Su Valley for the Little Susitna River
FLOOD ADVISORY in effect until 10:00 am Friday for Anchorage including Campbell Creek, Chester Creek and Ship Creek.
- NWS: Anchorage
- NWS: Alaska Water Levels
- Mat-Su Emergency Services
- Anchorage Conditions Hotline: 907-343-4701
The Permanent Fund Dividend this year is $878. Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher announced the amount this morning at a news conference at the Dividend Information Office in Anchorage. Butcher noted the amount was low compared to recent years, but not even close to the historical low in 1984 when the PFD amount was $331.
Avalanche professionals from around the world are meeting in Anchorage this week for the International Snow Science Workshop. The meeting is a chance for self described “snow geeks” to trade the latest information on avalanche science.
Thousands of black brants nest each spring on a piece of marshy tundra near Chevak, in Western Alaska. And for nearly three decades, the small geese have been the research focus of biologist Jim Sedinger. In 1984, the University of Nevada Reno professor decided the brants would be good subjects for a long term study on a bird population. This summer, he brought an audio recorder out into the field.
Anchorage residents are bracing for another powerful windstorm. The National Weather Service is predicting the winds will pick up Saturday afternoon and peak over Saturday night. It is the second major wind event to hit the area in less than two weeks. National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Snider says these types of storms should be rare this early in the fall.
- NOAA: Anchorage
- ML&P / 279-7671 or 1-888-999-5340
- Chugach Electric / 762-7888 or toll-free at 1-800-478-7494
- MEA / Mat-Su Valley: 746-7697 or in Eagle River: 696-7697
- Anchorage Conditions Hotline: 907-343-4701