The Mat-Su Borough and Talkeetna Community Council elections are next week. This year, eight candidates are running for five available seats on the council. KTNA has invited all of the candidates for interviews. What follows is the interview between candidate Ron Quilliam and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.
Next Tuesday, voters will choose new Mat-Su Borough Assembly and Mat-Su Borough School Board members. The Upper Valley lies within District 7. The District 7 assembly seat is not up for election, but its school board seat is. Unlike in previous years, where school board members could reside anywhere in the Valley, each seat is tied to the same geographical areas as the borough. Dr. Donna Dearman, who currently holds the District 7 seat, is running unopposed to remain on the school board.
In addition to elected offices, there are three area-wide ballot questions in the October 4th borough election. Two of those deal with commercial marijuana. Proposition B-1 seeks to ban commercial cannabis in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su. If passed, marijuana retail, cultivation, and testing facilities, would be banned from all areas of the borough outside of the incorporated cities. Industrial hemp is exempted from the proposed ban. Citizens of Palmer, Wasilla, and Houston are allowed to vote on the initiative, despite having already ruled on their own municipalities. At the moment, Houston is the only area of the borough where commercial marijuana is allowed.
The second marijuana ballot question deals with taxing the product. If passed, this initiative would place a five-percent sales tax on cannabis sold within the borough. A partial exemption is built in for incorporated cities that already have a sales tax, such as Houston.
The third area-wide ballot question is a bond proposal for trails and recreational facilities in the borough. The majority of the $22 million proposal is allocated for improvements to the Palmer and Wasilla pools as well as the Brett Memorial Ice Arena. Upper Valley projects in the bond package include the Willow and Talkeetna ice rinks, the Talkeetna Ridge Trail, a parking area near Fish Lake, and improvements to the Trapper Creek Community Center.
Borough election day is also when five new members will be chosen for the Talkeetna Community Council board of directors. Eight candidates are running for the open seats.
Over the next week, KTNA will provide additional information regarding both the borough and community council elections leading up to the October 4th election.
On Friday, Governor Bill Walker’s office released a video announcing that the 2016 Permanent Fund Dividend will be $1,022, about half of what it would have been without Walker’s partial veto of PFD funding.
In late June, Governor Walker issued line-item vetoes canceling spending on specific items approved by the legislature in its long budget process. Walker says reducing the dividend means less spending from reserves for state services, which will preserve the PFD into the future. Walker claims that, without intervention, the PFD would go away entirely within a few years.
Had Walker not vetoed part of the dividend funding for this year, eligible Alaskans would have received $2,052. Some critics of Walker’s veto say cutting the PFD affects low-income families disproportionately to wealthy Alaskans.
One of those opponents, Anchorage senator Bill Wielechowski (WHEEL-uh-COW-skee) has filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the veto. Wielechowski claims that, due to the way PFD statute is worded, that Walker does not have the authority to veto or reduce it. The senator requested an expedited hearing, but it’s not clear whether the case will be heard before dividend checks are scheduled to begin going out on October 6th.
Nelchina Caribou Hunting Season has been extended for Unit 13 permit holders RC566, CC001, and Drawing Permit Hunt DC485.
It is open for permit holders only who have not yet harvested a caribou
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is also encouraging hunters to consider harvesting cows.
KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Ken Marsh, Alaska Fish and Game’s Pubic Information Officer about the Nelchina hunts.
For more information, call the Nelchina Hotline at 907/267-2304 or the Anchorage Department of Fish and Game office 907/267-2257.
Note: The following information was provided by the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors, and is self-reported by the candidates. KTNA invites all candidates to participate in interviews prior to the election.
TCCI 2016 Board of Directors Candidate Info –
Peg Vos :
When I moved to Alaska in 2006, I hoped to find a good small town to call home. I have found Talkeetna to be a vibrant, dynamic community. Its citizens are passionate about their causes, and work diligently to make things happen from recycling to shuttle service to playgrounds to libraries. Talkeetna citizens are also compassionate with fund raisers and work parties for those in need. It is a labor of love and pride of many to make a community such as Talkeetna. I feel fortunate to be part of this and wish to “pay back” my debt as a resident. Becoming a member of the Talkeetna Community Council would help to pay that bill.
Ed O’Connor :
I am applying for board membership of the Talkeetna Community Council because I believe that the council has improved and preserved the quality of life in Talkeetna, my home of almost 20 years. By listening to and speaking for local residents’ concerns, the council helps to maintain the character of this community. It is valuable also, to provide guidance to those new to the area as to the values of the community and the shared vision of its future.
Geri (Volpe) McCann :
Resident of Talkeetna from 1973 -1994; curator of the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum, owned/operated a tour/travel agency, volunteered at schools, church, youth/children programs, library, KTNA, Moose Dropping festivals & events. Moved to Palmer; curated Wasilla City’s & Palmer City’s museums, owned/operated cultural history/farm tours, organized community events, art workshops, volunteered in church, youth programs, led homeless youth outreach, fought proposed toxic dump, & 2,500 bed prison in Palmer. Relocated to Talkeetna in 2014; serving on TCCI-Main St.-SPUD committee, prioritizing to protect/preserve Talkeetna’s quality of life, environment, identity, SPUD, Comprehensive Plan, Historic District, & promote responsible growth & tourism development.
Chris Grabowski :
I am running for Community Council because I am interested in serving our community. I beleive in putting the community’s well being over my own when it comes to serving on the council. For the last few months, I have filled in on the council in a temporary seat that was vacated.
I have lived in Talkeetna 16 years. I run a local business, work for a nonprofit, volunteer, enjoy our trails and have raised children. I am interested in the good of the community and our surrounding land and waterways. I will not bring a personal agenda to the board. I try to keep a fair mind and listen to all sides of an issue. Thank you for considering me as a board member.
My name is Joe McAneney and I have been in Alaska for 6 years and Talkeetna for 1 year. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and have worked as a state certified water operator in Alaska. I currently am a member of the Talkeetna Water and Sewer Board and have attended 80%of the community council meetings in Talkeetna over the past year. I am a partner in the downtown business known as Mountain Juice. I have been volunteering to help coach soccer for the high school. I believe we can accommodate expansion while retaining the history and culture.
I am a volunteer fire fighter and on the board of the Talkeetna Historical society. I have been on the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce Board, been elected to Yakutat school board where I was lead negotiator for a new teachers contract. Elected to E. Kenai Road Mtc. Board and appointed by the City of Seward to a committee to investigate creating a new borough.
I feel my past experience is valuable in dealing with the issues of town infrastructure, increased tourism, the Historic District ans decisions on how we want to be governed.
Renewing members …We WANT YOU!
New members…We WANT YOU!
Consider becoming a SUSTAINING member of KTNA
This lets you give the monthly amount of your choice
that adds up to a big difference for your public radio station.
You may renew here online at ktna.org, call 907-733-1700,
or mail a check to PO Box 300, Talkeetna, AK 99676.
Welcome to the KTNA Community!
Passengers traveling along the Alaska Railroad experienced some delays Wednesday after an early morning mudslide blocked the rails near Cantwell.
According to Tim Sullivan, External Affairs Manager for the Alaska Railroad, one of the locomotives driving northbound cargo train was struck by a mudslide around 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday near mile 322. Sullivan says there were no injuries or apparent damage, and no derailment occurred as a result of the slide. He says that the train’s two locomotives were separated Wednesday afternoon, and the engine south of the mudslide was able to backtrack with the cargo train.
The Denali Star trains traveling north and southbound were held at Denali National Park and Talkeetna. Passengers were bussed to their final destinations. Sullivan says excavators are continuing to work on clearing the mudslide, but are having to work through wet conditions.
This week on Su Valley Voice, host Phillip Manning spoke with KTNA General Manager Will Peterson about the current state of KTNA from technology to budget concerns.