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* Governor’s Office News Briefs … Governor Bill Walker announces that a chief purpose of his Administration’s Opportunity Alaska: China Trade Mission earlier this year is being accomplished with plans to establish year-round, direct passenger flights between Alaska and Harbin, China—the site of the renowned Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival and the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park—by the Summer of 2019 and the steps being taken in the meantime to determine air carriers, pricing, scheduling and logistics generally by the close of 2018. The Governor says, too, that has followed talks associated with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Alaska during April, 2017 and China’s First Lady, Madam Peng Liyuan hosting Alaska First Lady Donna Walker in China’s Heilongjiang Province. Heilongjiang Province’s Wang Wentao, Governor of the Alaska sister state, observes, “Direct flights will enable our regions to grow even closer, culturally and economically.” On his part, Governor Walker points out that Alaska itself possesses many attractions for travelers from Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and other Asian cities making connecting flights, and he cites fresh seafood and fishing in the summer and Northern Lights, skiing, and hot springs during winter. The six-and-a-half-hour travel time between northeastern China and Alaska not only represents a 70-percent reduction in travel time between Asia and North America otherwise, but the shortest international connection between the U.S. and China. While the air link to China promises new business opportunity with the earth’s second-largest economy, the Governor notes that, by itself, the city of Harbin, a United Nations-designated International City of Music in 2010, opens Alaska to a market of some 10.6 million consumers. Besides, Mr. Walker, together with Lieutenant-Governor Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson—Lieutenant-Governor designee until Lieutenant-Governor Byron Mallot resigned in October following discovery of inappropriate comments he had made—informs that the Shirley Demientieff Award has been presented, since 2008, to outstanding individuals or groups who have acted to improve the lives of Alaska Native women and children, and this time the difficulty of choosing no more than a single deserving recipient has resulted in three women being honored. Attending the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Conference in Anchorage, Walker and Davidson named the 2018 recipients of the Award: Cynthia Erickson, whose non-profit youth group combats youth suicide, family violence, and substance misuse, while engaging young people in sewing, crafts and other healthy projects; Kelly Fields, who led fund-raising to buy a drug-detecting canine for service in 30 interior villages; and Anna Bill, whose service as a Mountain Village police officer during 2017 figured prominently in rescuing 57 or more from attempted suicide. In other developments, Governor Walker asserts that the decision U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor handed down declaring the Indian Child Welfare Act unconstitutional is not the final word in Chad Brakeen v. Ryan Zinke. Deploring the fact that the court overturned the 40-year-old statute that offers some assurance that Alaska Native children will not be separated from their family members and tribes, Walker insists that the State of Alaska will appeal to defend the Indian Child Welfare Act, saying, “There is nothing more important to Alaskans than the well-being of our children.” The Governor adds that Alaska continues to attract U.S. Defense Department investment, which translates into state Gross Domestic Product of approximately $3,840 per Alaskan annually. The latest incentive was provided by the City of North Pole acting on legislation authorizing local governments to apply for the zoning designation of military-facility zone, which fast-tracks review by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, to qualify for infrastructure financing. Given certification by the state Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, the City of North Pole can now furnish partial or complete property-tax relief for up to a decade to stimulate private-sector infrastructure of benefit to Eielson Air Force Base. The result is that the neighboring military installation is slated to accommodate two squadrons of F-35 Lightning II jets, along with 3,256 more uniformed personnel, civilian employees, and dependents, due to the deployment.
* State Legislative News Briefs ... Just yesterday, the Senate Select Committee on Legislative Ethics met in the Anchorage LIO (1500 West Benson Blvd.) Large Conference Room at 8:30 AM and, before opening its Public Session, went into Executive Session to discuss matters generally described as subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of some person or matters, the immediate knowledge of which would adversely affect the finances of a governmental unit. Then, at 9:30 AM, in the same room, the Joint Committee was scheduled
to review state benefit and loan programs, take up the new investigator contract and the new outside council contract, and, among other business, discuss 2019 ethics training. Thereafter, at 11 AM, the Joint Committee was set to continue a public hearing there into the finding of the House Subcommittee of the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics that Representative David Eastman violated the Legislative Ethics Act by revealing to a reporter for the Alaska Journal of Commerce the existence of a confidential complaint filed with the Select Committee (Complaint 17-03). On November 9 at 9 AM, the Joint Committee of the Workers Compensation Working Group is slated to meet in the Denali Conference Room at 1500 West Benson Blvd. Four days later, on November 13, starting at 9 AM, the House and Senate Standing Committees on Education plan full agendas, in the Anchorage LIO Large Conference Room, with such national organizations as the Education Commission of the States and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education giving presentations by prior arrangement. In addition, such in-state institutions as the Association of Alaska School Boards, the Alaska Commission on Post-secondary Education and the University of Alaska will be represented, as well as such school districts as the Kodiak Island Borough School District, the Mat-Su Borough School District, and the Anchorage School District.
* Mayor's Office News Briefs ... Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, in his State of the City Address, reports the addition of more than 100 new police officers since 2015—the force now numbering 427—along with Community Council patrols and the addition of Seward Highway patrols. More property-crime detectives are on the job this year, too. The Mayor counts, as well, a 179-percent increase in homeless-camp abatements and envisions a more-ambitious program in 2019. He projects that Anchored Home: 2018-2021 will further the 2015 Anchorage Community Plan to End Homelessness, its progress next to be evaluated in a public meeting on January 9, 2019, at 5:30 PM in the Wilda Marston Theatre. Similarly, he finds that there has been an 18-percent decrease in the number of homeless adults, down to a summer-time low of 1,064. Likewise, he credits the Set Up Shop & 49th State Angel Fund for strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit in the city. He concedes that the challenges ahead include more focus on opportunity zones and, among other issues, behavioral health and treatment.
* City Council News Briefs ... The Anchorage Assembly has planned regular meetings on November 7 (Z.J. Loussac Library, Assembly Chambers, 3600 Denali Street)—beginning at 5 PM and scheduled to run until 11 PM—and November 20, and its scheduled meetings in December are due to conclude before the holidays, the Assembly set to meet on December 4 and 18. Meantime, a work session is planned in Mayor's Conference Room Number 830 tomorrow between 12 Noon and 1 PM on an ordinance amending the Municipal Code to require hotel operators leasing property from the Anchorage Community Development Authority to negotiate labor peace agreements—pacts acceptable to unions so unions do not engage in adverse economic action that could affect the profitability of Authority property. Immediately following in the same conference room, another work session has been arranged, this one on the Municipal Light & Power/Chugach Electric Association transaction. And five days from now, on November 7, the Anchorage Assembly will hold a number of public hearings, beginning at 6 PM, on a variety of budget, taxation, and license ordinances and resolutions, including an ordinance authorizing the sale of substantially all assets of Municipal Light & Power to the Chugach Electric Association (CEA) and okaying a 35-year power-purchase agreement, with the option to purchase, with CEA for power generated by the Eklutna Hydroelectric Project. Subsequently, on November 13 between 12 Noon and 1:30 PM, the Assembly's Public Safety Committee has arranged a committee-of-the-whole meeting in the Emergency Operations Center (1305 E Street).
* School District News Briefs ... The Anchorage School District, led by Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop, informs that the 21st Century Learning Center, partnering with the Alaska Botanical Garden, the Alaska Junior Theater, the Campbell Creek Science Center, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Girl Scouts of Alaska, among other groups, furnishes expanded learning opportunities for children and their families outside regular school hours at nine District schools. Managed by Marcy Richards, the program receives U.S. Department of Education grants, the objective being to enhance academic performance in science, math, technology, and reading. With respect to the School Board, a Finance Committee meeting is planned for November 5 in the Education Center’s Board Conference Room between 2:30 PM and 3:30 PM. Thereafter, at 4 PM, the Board is set to hold the work session of a regular meeting, the Regular Session beginning at 7 PM, following conclusion of the Board’s Executive Session. On November 14, between 8:30 AM and 9:30 AM, the Communications Committee is due to meet in Room 150 of the Education Center, with the Governance Committee meeting in the same location at 9:30 AM.
* Weather ... The National Weather Service reports that current conditions at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, as of 12:53 AM, are fair, with a temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit and wind-chill factor of 18 degrees, winds out of the south at 8 miles per hour, and relative humidity of 84 percent. The dewpoint is 22 degrees, the barometer stands at 29.69 inches and the visibility is 10 miles. The over-night forecast calls for clear skies and light winds, with low temperatures throughout the area ranging between zero and 15 degrees. Friday is expected to be sunny, with daily high temperatures in the mid-20’s to lower 30’s. East winds of 15 to 30 miles per hour are anticipated along the Turnagain Arm and at higher elevations. Otherwise, variable wind of 10 miles per hour is likely. Friday night is expected to be mostly clear, becoming mostly cloudy after the evening, with low temperatures ranging between 15 and 25 degrees. No change in the wind pattern is forecast along the Turnagain Arm and at higher elevations. Elsewhere, though, north wind of 15 miles per hour is expected. That is likely to carry over into Saturday, when winds become light. Mostly-cloudy conditions are in the picture Saturday, with daily high temperatures in the upper 20’s to mid-30’s.
* Sports ... The University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolf Men's Basketball Team is scheduled to play Antelope Valley at 7 PM today in the Alaska Airlines Center. In hockey, the Seawolves meet Bemidji State in the Sullivan Arena, with a 7:07 PM start time. Tomorrow, the Cross Country Team competes in the GNAC Championships in Monmouth, Oregon at 9 AM Alaska time again. Meantime, the Men's Basketball Team entertains Antelope Valley once more in the Alaska Airlines Center, this time at 2 PM. Then, at 4:07 PM, the Seawolves Hockey Team and Bemidji State go at it again in the Sullivan Arena. Next, the Volleyball Team hosts Saint Martin's in the Alaska Airlines Center at 7 PM.
OnVideo Guide to Home-Video Releases for November, 2018 By Harley W. Lond (c. 2018)
November 6: Mara (2018) Based on famous folklore, the film's story line tells the tale of criminal psychologist Kate Fuller, who starts to experience the same terrifying symptoms as the victims of an ancient demon who kills people in their sleep. Director: Clive Tonge. Stars: Olga Kurylenko, Craig Conway, Javier Botet, Rosie Fellner. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, Digital. Extras: "Mara: A Legacy of Evil" featurette. (Lionsgate).... Succession: The Complete First Season (2018) All 10 episodes. The saga of a fictional American media family whose wealth and power are matched only by their dysfunctional dynamic. Set in New York City, the series follows the Roy family—headed by the aging patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his four children—who together control one of the biggest media communications and entertainment conglomerates in the world. The Roys' story is compelling and often comedic, as they out-maneuver each other through cut-throat family and business dynamics, while contemplating what's in store, once their father passes. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, Digital. Extras: "Anatomy of a Scene" behind-the-scenes featurette about the series' season finale. (HBO).
*Harley Lond, previously Editor of Boxoffice Magazine, served more recently as Managing Editor of the Hollywood Reporter newspaper.
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VOLUME V NUMBER 1 NOVEMBER 2, 2018
of Continental Newstime newsmagazine
Anchorage News Edition