Solving deficit in ‘revenue’ session challenged on multiple fronts

Alaska legislators will convene in Juneau Oct. 23 at the behest of Gov. Bill Walker but indications are their time together could be brief.

Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said his caucus will be in Juneau for the necessary formalities of the 30-day special session but will hold most of its committee meetings in Anchorage.

ExxonMobil stands by its Point Thomson plan of development

ExxonMobil Alaska leaders insist the company has complied with a 2012 settlement with the State of Alaska over the long-challenged $4 billion Point Thomson North Slope natural gas project and that current state regulators don’t understand the company’s future plans.

ExxonMobil Alaska Production Manager Cory Quarles wrote to Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack on Oct. 12 that the Point Thomson Unit plan of development the company submitted to the department’s Division of Oil and Gas on June 30 is sufficient, despite the division’s claims to the contrary.

Opioid epidemic costs to Alaska topped $1 billion in 2015

Anyone who’s found their homes burglarized or their cars broken into or stolen is increasingly likely to be a victim of the opioid epidemic.

Strewn in parking lot litter and on dog-walk pathways are the spent syringes from someone’s latest fix.

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 22

Startups make their pitch at Launch Alaska Demo Day

A cyber attack that breached 143 million citizens’ credit information isn’t just a worst-case scenario.

“That’s no hypothetical; it’s what happened at Equifax,” said Courtney Targos, pitching her startup Threat Informant Managed Services Oct. 13 at Launch Alaska Demo Day in the Beartooth Theatre Pub.

The startup was one of four new business graduates of Launch Alaska’s 2017 cohort. 60Hertz, Helix and Attently also completed this year’s business accelerator designed to propel them toward success. Each pitched concepts to investors at the event.

State still seeking major LNG customer by year-end

The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. won’t be asking for additional funding before the agency knows if it will build the roughly $40 billion Alaska LNG Project, corporation leaders told legislators Oct. 16.

GUEST COMMENTARY: The benefits of Trump’s CSR decision

President Trump’s decision last week to cut cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs, has been widely panned by industry advocates concerned about the uncertainty the decision brings to the market.

Group files notice it will sue over walrus protection

A national environmental organization filed notice Thursday that it will sue the Trump administration over its rejection of Pacific walrus as a threatened or endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity called the action last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "an unlawful, politically motivated decision" that deprives walruses of needed protections in the face of climate change and melting sea ice.

Trump to issue stop-payment order on health care subsidies

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move likely to roil America's insurance markets, President Donald Trump will "immediately" halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to persuade Congress to unravel for months.

Before sunrise Friday morning, Trump went on Twitter to urge Democrats to make a deal: "The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding," he wrote. "Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!"

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 15

After large rate cut, Premera pushes open enrollment period

A 45-day open enrollment on the federal health care exchange begins Nov. 1, and despite confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act, several factors that brought down the cost of health insurance in Alaska for those shopping on the individual market this year promise to strengthen the state’s health care market.

But it’s a short window this time that ends on Dec. 15.

That’s the message of licensed insurance producers such as Joshua Weinstein of Northrim Benefits Group/RISQ. He has helped people enroll on the open market exchange since the ACA launched in 2014.

Elders & Youth speakers provide from one century to next

The theme of the 34th First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference — “Part Land, Part Water, Always Native” — speaks to identity as a deep connection with the surroundings.

Clare Swan, 86, and Chris Apassingok, 17, each live immersed in cultural activities at opposite ends of a century. Yet their lives are living examples of culture in motion, say the event’s organizers. As the conference allows elders and youth to engage in critical dialogues on issues through presentations and discussions, they will be inspiring future generations to take active roles.

AFN keynote speakers perfect physical, spiritual fitness

The Alaska Federation of Native’s theme this year, “Strength in Unity: Leadership — Partnerships — Social Justice,” takes shape as the largest gathering of indigenous people in the United States meet in Anchorage Oct 19-21.

Sgt. Jody Potts, the director of Public Safety for the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and Lt. Col. Wayne Don of the Alaska Army National Guard came to leadership roles and social justice issues on broad stages. AFN opens on their addresses at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 19.

FISH FACTOR: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Fishing outlooks for some of Alaska’s largest catches are running the gamut from celebratory (salmon) to relief (Bering Sea crab) to catastrophic (cod).

First the bad news.

Stakeholders were stunned to learn that surveys yielded the lowest numbers ever for Pacific cod in the federally managed waters of the Gulf of Alaska, meaning from three to 200 miles offshore.

Seafood.com was the first to report the bad news as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting got underway last week in Anchorage.

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