Alaskans put repeal of oil giveaway on ballot
On Friday, the Division of Elections confirmed that repeal of the oil giveaway (SB 21) will be on the 2014 primary ballot. “Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway” volunteers submitted more than 50,000 signatures, and the Division of Elections has confirmed a sufficient number to place repeal of SB 21 on the ballot.
Alaskans succeeded in putting the repeal on the ballot, despite an alleged collusion of Mead Treadwell and Art Hackney to remove names from the ballot through the anonymously funded website, “imadeamistake.org.”
Begich votes to keep student loan rates low
U.S. Senator Mark Begich voted to support legislation to keep student loan interest rates low in order to provide short-term rate relief for American students and families, as well as ensuring the Senate has time to work to find a more permanent solution to address college affordability.
In May 2013, Sen. Begich co-sponsored legislation that would allow students to take advantage of the same low-interest rates offered to banks through the Federal Reserve discount window. The bill would have let students borrow at .75 percent on federally subsidized Stafford loans for one year. It would also give students the short-term relief they need and would allow Congress time to develop a long-term plan to address interest rates.
Sen. Begich also supported legislation to freeze interest rates for federally subsidized loans at 3.4 percent for one year. The Senate failed to approve this legislation and student loan rates doubled to from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2013.
NOAA extends halibut plan comment period
NOAA Fisheries is extending the public comment period for the proposed halibut catch sharing plan by 14 days, after receiving a number of requests for additional time for public input.
The Proposed Rule to Implement a Halibut Catch Sharing Plan for Guided Sport and Commercial Fisheries in Alaska published in the Federal Register on June 28, opening a 45-day public comment period that would have closed on August 12. The 14-day extension makes all comments due August 26.
Address comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Use FDMS Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2011-0180 for identification. Comments may be submitted via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov; mailed to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668; or faxed to (907) 586-7557
A copy of the proposed halibut catch sharing plan is available online at the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region website, www.//alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/
Tustumena return delayed indefinitely
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Alaska Marine Highway System announced Friday that the M/V Tustumena will need to remain in Seward Ship’s Drydock longer than previously announced, due to repair work that failed U.S. Coast Guard inspections.
To ensure less disruption and inconvenience to ferry passengers, Marine Highway System managers are reconfiguring the schedule of the M/V Kennicott to provide service in September to Southcentral and Southwest Alaska, including the Aleutian Chain.
Recent inspections of the M/V Tustumena revealed some of the work completed still does not meet regulatory standards and must be redone before the ferry can be certified for passenger service. As the time needed to properly repair the vessel is still being determined, Tustumena sailings were cancelled through September.
Alaska Marine Highway System staff is contacting affected passengers. For more information, please call your local terminal or the AMHS central reservations office at 1-907-465-3941 or toll free at 1-800-642-0066. An updated schedule is available at FerryAlaska.com.
MAPP continues work to improve health
Join MAPP on Friday, Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kachemak Bay Campus, Pioneer Hall, Room 202 to hear highlights from the second Community Health Needs Assessment and local community health improvement efforts. A detailed agenda will be sent in September. Please contact MAPP Coordinator Megan Murphy at email@example.com or 235-0570 if you have any questions or to RSVP.
Calling all quilters
Margaret Lau of the Kenai Peninsula Quilting Guild invites all quilters to enter quilts, wall-hangings and wearable art in the Kenai Peninsula State Fair in Ninilchik. Register entries at Sewciable Quilts on Aug. 9 from noon-2 p.m. For more information, contact Margaret at 235-6973.
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