This week, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly approved a resolution supporting an amended plan for the proposed Susitna State Forest. The Assembly voted 6-to-1 in favor, with only Assembly Member Darcie Salmon opposing.
Chris Maisch went over some of the changes in the forest plan, which the Assembly voted down on two previous occasions. The biggest alteration comes in the removal of more than 75,000 acres of land east of the Parks Highway from the plan. The new total size of the forest comes in just under 700,000 acres.
If approved by the state legislature, Susitna State Forest would be used to accommodate logging and timber industry, as well as facilitate the building of access roads. It would restrict what development is allowed on the land outside of use for timber. Chris Maisch says the current bill, House Bill 79, is the result of three years of meetings with communities.
House Bill 79 is still in the Resources Committee, and could receive a hearing soon.
Gluten-free, organic, and GMO-free are terms that have begun to appear more and more frequently as people around the country take a closer look at their eating habits. At Sunshine Organics, a new local business has stepped in to the market to provide for people looking for organic and whole foods.
“I kind of wanted to bring health and wellness to the community and have a lot of good stuff available that I like. Not only good food, but from good sources.” Read More »
Attached to this post is the complete recording of the town hall meeting with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke with about fifty residents of the Upper Valley on Tuesday on topics ranging from health care to the proposed Susitna-Watana dam. The meeting began with first and second grade students from Talkeetna Elementary sharing some of their favorite books that the school received through a Library of Congress program. Senator Murkowski then gave a brief overview of current activity in Congress, including work on the upcoming federal budget, which she says will be her top priority on returning to Washington.
“This is actually good for us–to have a budget, to have a return to what we would call in Congress regular order.” Read More »
This week, U.S. Senators for Alaska are returning to the 49th state to speak directly to constituents. On Monday afternoon, I spoke with Senator Mark Begich about a number of issues that impact the Upper Valley as well as the upcoming mid-term election.
First, Senator Begich discussed flood insurance. The issue has gained national attention after Hurricane Katrina, Super Storm Sandy, and other recent flooding events. In Alaska, floods in the Mat-Su, Galena, and the Kenai Peninsula have brought the issue closer to home. Last week, the Senate approved a bill that would limit flood insurance premium increases in areas newly classified as flood zones. A previous bill that did not get voted on would have stopped rate increases for four years. Senator Begich supported both measures. Read More »
On Tuesday, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly once again delayed a measure that would increase the rates for Talkeetna Sewer and Water. The topic did generate more discussion than at previous meetings, however. Vern Halter, Assembly Member for the area that includes Talkeetna, spoke first, and said he does not support the increase at this time.
“The state funded a $100,000 study to study the whole system up there, including the rate structure and what to do next…I don’t think that’s done yet…and I don’t see anything, unless I’m missing it, from the Talkeetna Sewer and Water Board on this, so I’m not voting for this.” Read More »
BY: Liz Ruskin, APRN
The IRS has given a sliver of ground in how it has applied tax rules to air
taxi flights. Sen. Mark Begich is calling it a win for small air carriers,
but Joy Journeay of the Alaska Air Carriers Association says the
concession is less than it appears.
“It is not clear at this time that it is going to help
anyone.” Read More »