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Posts from the 'Local News' category

Borough voters approve bond package, reject commercial pot ban

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

According to unofficial results, Mat-Su Borough voters appear to have said no to a ban on commercial marijuana outside of city limits, and yes to marijuana sales tax and a recreation and trails bond package.

As of late Tuesday night, with thirty-nine of forty-one precincts reporting, the ballot initiative to prohibit commercial marijuana in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su was trailing with 6,739 votes in favor and 8,061 votes against. Had the initiative passed, Houston would have been the only area in the borough with legal commercial marijuana operations.

A five-percent sales tax on marijuana sales within the borough passed by nearly a five-to-one margin.

The third area-wide ballot question deals with improvements to recreational facilities and trails in the borough. The bulk of the $22 million bond package will go to public pools in Palmer and Wasilla as well as the Brett Memorial Ice Arena. Some Upper Valley projects are also in the package, including ice rinks, community centers, and the Talkeetna Ridge Trail.

Turnout was significantly higher than in recent years, but still low in absolute terms, with most precincts reporting turnout between twenty and twenty-eight percent.

These results are unofficial, and some absentee and poll votes have not been counted as of press time. The Mat-Su Borough Assembly is scheduled to certify the election at its October 18th meeting.

Talkeetna Community Council Inc. Election This Tuesday at Talkeetna Library

Monday, October 3, 2016

In addition to the Mat-Su Borough elections, voters residing in the Talkeetna Community Council area will choose five council board members on Tuesday.

Eight candidates are running for the five open seats. The candidates are, in alphabetical order, Chris Grabowski, Jeff Lebegue, Joe McAneney, Geri Volpe McCann, Ed O’Connor, Ron Quilliam, Christie Seay, and Peg Vos.

Voting for the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors takes place from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm at the Talkeetna Public Library.

Mat-Su Borough Election This Tuesday

Monday, October 3, 2016

Voters in the Mat-Su Borough will head to the polls Tuesday to choose two assembly members and two school board members. Also on the ballot are three area-wide ballot questions.

Both Mat-Su Borough Assembly seats up for election are outside of the Upper Valley. In District 2, Deputy Mayor Matthew Beck is running unopposed. In District 1, former Planning Commissioner Brian Endle is challenging Assembly Member Jim Sykes.

In the races for Mat-Su Borough School Board, Donna Dearman is running unopposed for the seat that includes the Upper Valley. This year is the first in which school board seats are divided into districts instead of being available to anyone in the borough.

Two of the area-wide ballot questions deal with commercial marijuana. Proposition B-1 is a proposed ban on commercial retail, cultivation, and testing facilities for cannabis in the unincorporated areas of the borough. Voters seeking to ban commercial marijuana will vote yes, and those who wish it to be legal will vote no.

Proposition B-5 is a sales tax on marijuana sold in the borough. The tax is set at five percent, but a limited exemption is proposed for areas with a sales tax. That includes Houston, the only municipality to legalize commercial cannabis, which has a two percent sales tax. Voters who want the tax will vote yes, and those who do not want the sales tax will vote no.

Proposition B-4 covers improvements to recreational facilities and trails in the Mat-Su. It is a $22 million bond package, the majority of which would go to pools in Palmer and Wasilla as well as the Brett Memorial Ice Arena. Other community facilities included in the bond are the Willow and Talkeetna ice rinks, Willow Community Park, a parking area at Fish Lake in Talkeetna, and the Trapper Creek Park and Community Center. Voters who are in favor of the bond will vote yes, and those who oppose it will vote no.

Polling places for the Mat-Su Borough election are Talkeetna Elementary, the Upper Susitna Senior and Civic Center, Trapper Creek Elementary, and the Willow Community Center. Polls are open Tuesday from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

TCCI Candidate Profile: Joe McAneney

Sunday, October 2, 2016

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 Joe McAneney and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

TCCI Candidate Profile: Geri Volpe McCann

Sunday, October 2, 2016

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 Geri Volpe McCann and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

TCCI Canidate Profile: Ed O’Connor

Thursday, September 29, 2016

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 Ed O’Connor and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

Injunction Denied in Suits to Remove Commercial Marijuana Ban from Borough Ballot

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A state judge has ruled that a ballot initiative to ban commercial marijuana in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su Borough will be allowed to appear on the borough ballot next Tuesday.

The initiative in question is Proposition B-1. If passed, it would mean that the City of Houston would be the only place in the borough that allows commercial marijuana. Wasilla and Palmer both voted to ban commercial cannabis. Voters in all three cities will be allowed to weigh in on Proposition B-1 next week.

Earlier this month, two lawsuits were filed seeking to disallow the initiative. The plaintiffs asked for an expedited hearing when filing their suits on September 2nd, citing the fact that the borough election was just over a month away. The two suits claim that placing a prohibition on commercial marijuana on the borough ballot violates the rules for zoning ordinances, since zoning ordinances are to be determined by the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, and have a formal process. The lawsuits ask that the measure be removed from next Tuesday’s ballot.

Judge David Zwink consolidated the two lawsuits, and ruled last week that there would not be an expedited hearing. Zwink says that absentee voting had already begun, and voters have already received information on the election, including sample ballots including the commercial cannabis ban.

Judge Zwink denied the request for an expedited hearing, and is holding the lawsuits until after the results of the election.

TCCI Candidate Profile: Chris Grabowski

Thursday, September 29, 2016

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 Chris Grabowski and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

TCCI Candidate Profile: Christie Seay

Thursday, September 29, 2016

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 Christie Seay and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.