–There’s a lot of interest in the newly created state Senate district in the Mat-Su Valley. Former legislator and now Palmer city council woman Edna DeVries is running and has even posted on Facebook that she’s praying to find a good campaign manager; however, to date, there have been no indication that prayers have been answered. Other candidates that have expressed interest include Rep. Shelly Hughes, Palmer Mayor DeLena Johnson, and possibly even Rep. Bill Stoltze. Many who know the area say that the seat is Stoltze’s for the taking if he wants it. However, rumors have it that a poll is being conducted just in case. Expect some announcements or movements in this race soon.
–Calling all artists: In a time of budget crunches, did you see the 44-page request for proposal from the Alaska’s Department of Military and Veterans, calling for an artist to draw and frame approximately 15 past and present Adjutant Generals of the Alaska National Guard? Artists will be given photos to draw from, presumably ones without lollipops.
–Former Democratic legislator and always upbeat Joe Hays who was UAF Alumni director left the University and has resurfaced as a contract lobbyist for Golden Valley Electric Association.
–The Safari Club raised north of $500,000 at their auction Saturday night. The head count was about 850 people, which has to make it one of the most well attended fundraisers in the state. About 20 legislators showed, as did Gov. Sean Parnell, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, Mayor Sullivan, and DNR Dan Sullivan. Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker was there with running mate Craig Fleener. The biggest auction item? A Cape Buffalo Hunt in Africa that went for $19,000. Rep. Bill Stoltze won a gun, as did Treadwell. Sen. Pete Kelly won a gun and was named Safari Club International Alaska Chapter legislator of the year. His prize? A big, sloppy kiss from Eddie Grasser. Joke! If only!
–More on the Pebble Mine death watch. From a story on from Dillingham public radio station KDLG:
A member of the Northern Dynasty Minerals Board of Directors has resigned. Stephen Scott is the General Manager with Rio Tinto’s copper division and he was appointed to the Northern Dynasty Minerals Board in 2007… It’s unclear if the resignation of Stephen Scott from the Northern Dynasty Minerals Board of Directors is a precursor for Rio Tinto making an announcement about divesting itself of the 19-percent interest in Northern Dynasty.
–From a comment made on this site about the Koch brothers attacking Sen. Mark Begich for hurting the economy following Koch Industry’s announcement that it’s closing its Flint Hills refinery in North Pole, a mainstay of Interior Alaska’s economy:
I own property near North Pole. The sulfolane plume has been expanding from the North Pole Refinery for years so that now it contaminates ground water sources over several square miles. This contaminate has been found as deep as 300 feet. Why was this spill allowed to propagate over such a large area? I understand Flint Hills knew that the contamination existed when they purchased the refinery and that Flint Hills has spent money mitigating the impact; however, purchasing bottled water, treating some water, and handing our water filters will not eliminate significant pollution as long as the source remains. I would like to know why the state utterly failed to protect the residents of the North Pole community over the last several years by demanding that the source be eliminated. Recently Flint Hills has proposed raising the allowable contamination level in the people’s well water from the current 14 parts per billion to 362 parts per billion. That certainly is one way to reduce your responsibility for clean up – increase the allowable level of pollution.
–From a statement that Rep. Lance Pruitt made during a House committee hearing on Flint Hills and possible legal avenues available to the state to make the refinery clean up the sulfolane plume:
I am very pro-development, but you’re not going to come to my state, rape the land and then leave. If they’re responsible, we need to go after them.
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