(406) stories found containing 'alaska marine highway system'

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Ortiz will not seek reelection; three candidates file for seat

Rep. Dan Ortiz, the Ketchikan independent who has represented southern Southeast communities since January 2015, including Wrangell, has decided to withdraw as a candidate for reelection, citing health and family considerations. Ortiz had filed in...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 22, 2024

Columbia out of service until end of the year

By Larry Persily Sentinel writer The Alaska state ferry Columbia — which has been out of service since late November for its annual overhaul and repairs but was supposed to go back to work this summer — will be laid up until the end of the year. Ext...

 

The rest of the state needs to take an interest

Legislators from the Railbelt, which covers the state’s population centers from the Kenai Peninsula to Fairbanks, expect Southeast lawmakers to understand, to care and to spend state dollars on their constituents’ energy needs. They want money to hel...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 22, 2024

Murkowski includes Wrangell projects in 500-plus Alaska requests

Funding to repair and rebuild Wrangell’s Public Safety Building is her top priority for federal aid for the community, said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. It’s among the more than 500 requests for federal mon...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 1, 2024

State awaits report, cost estimate on repairing Matanuska

The Alaska Marine Highway System is waiting for the prognosis after a full-body scan of the state ferry Matanuska, looking for rusted steel — the equivalent of a cancer scan of the 61-year-old ship. The Matanuska has been out of service for 18 m...

 

The truth hurts, but it's the right decision

Alaska Marine Highway System management has decided to cut back on advertising that for years promoted the state ferries as a scenic, leisurely way for summer travelers to tour Southeast. Though painful to admit, it’s the right decision. Nothing u...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    May 1, 2024

Ferry system cuts back Lower 48 advertising due to poor fleet reliability

Problems with the Alaska Marine Highway System’s operations and aging fleet are so acute that marketing efforts to potential visitors outside Alaska are being intentionally scaled back, Marine Director Craig Tornga said during an online open house o...

 
 By Iris Samuels    News    April 10, 2024

State ferry system victim of aging vessels, lack of funding

The state ferry Tustumena is preparing for its 60th birthday party this summer. Over the years, the vessel has become a familiar and important part of life in communities between Homer and Dutch...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    March 27, 2024

Crew shortage continues to limit operations at state ferry system

The Alaska Marine Highway System’s ongoing crew shortage has eased up for entry-level steward positions but remains a significant problem in the wheelhouse and for engineers, likely keeping the Kennicott out of service again this summer. As of M...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    March 27, 2024

Ferry ridership still not back to pre-pandemic numbers

The state ferry system carried 181,000 passengers in 2023, still short of the pre-COVID numbers in 2019 and down substantially from almost 340,000 in 2012 and more than 420,000 in 1992. Overall vehicle traffic also is down, from more than 115,000 in...

 
 By Sam Stockbridge    News    March 20, 2024

Legislature blocks governor's attempt to take over ferry advisory board

Alaska lawmakers on March 12 narrowly overturned an executive order from Gov. Mike Dunleavy that would have given him the sole authority to appoint members to the Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board. The final vote was 33-26 to reject the governor...

 
 By Sean Maguire    News    March 6, 2024

State budget tight, with several big items still to be considered

State senators heard last week that based on current revenue forecasts, legislators will struggle to balance the budget with several big-spending items still to be considered. The nonpartisan Legislative Finance Division explained that items...

 

Senate committee advances measure to reject governor's takeover of ferry advisory board

A state Senate committee has advanced a measure that would block an executive order giving the governor total appointment authority over the entire Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board. State statute currently provides that House and Senate...

 
 By James Brooks    News    February 21, 2024

Legislature starts process to reject governor's change to ferry advisory panel

The Alaska Senate has taken the first formal steps needed to reject some or all of the 12 executive orders Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued at the start of this year’s legislative session, including the order that would take away the Legislature’s aut...

 

State ferry system in 3rd year of crew shortages

Crew shortages continue to plague the Alaska Marine Highway, the ferry system’s director told a gathering of Southeast officials last week. “Our biggest shortage is in the engineering department,” where the 54 ship engineers on the payroll as of Ja...

 

It'll be hard for state to resume ferry service to Prince Rupert

Numerous challenges are stopping the resumption of Alaska Marine Highway service to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, the ferry system’s director said at a conference of Southeast officials last week. During a Southeast Conference transportation s...

 

State troopers, other agencies struggle under high vacancy rates

To keep Alaska communities safe and workloads manageable, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jim Cockrell said he would need 35% more state troopers than he has now. After he fills the 62 vacancies in the department, he wants to ask for about 9...

 

State employee drops candidacy for Southeast seat in Legislature

Robb Arnold has withdrawn his candidacy to represent Ketchikan, Wrangell and Metlakatla in the state House. Arnold wrote in a statement to the Ketchikan Daily News on Thursday, Feb. 1, that he had ended his campaign. Under state law, Arnold could...

 

Ketchikan resident announces he will run for state House

I am Robb Arnold and I plan to run for the District 1 seat (Ketchikan, Metlakatla and Wrangell) in the Alaska House of Representatives. I came to Alaska in the early 1990s to work with my dad at a logging camp on Kuiu Island, near Sitka. Rowan Bay...

 
 By James Brooks    News    January 31, 2024

Proposal for electronic gambling aboard ferries swamped by problems

A Republican legislator from Wasilla has proposed legalizing electronic gambling aboard Alaska Marine Highway System ships to raise money for the state-run ferries. But his proposal encountered rough seas during its first committee hearing as...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 24, 2024

Governor wants to take over appointment of entire ferry system advisory board

Unless the Legislature decides otherwise by mid-March, Gov. Mike Dunleavy will take over appointment of the entire nine-member Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board. State law reserves four of the seats for appointment by legislative leaders, but...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 24, 2024

Summer ferry schedule starts with no service first 2 weeks of May

The state ferry schedule is available for bookings for the summer season, May 1 through Sept. 30, though it opens with no stops in Wrangell until May 12 due to crew changeover between vessels. The overall schedule is the same as recent years: A...

 

Alaskans have more needs than just the dividend

The 2024 Alaska legislative session started Tuesday, Jan. 16. My main committee assignment will be to serve for the eighth year on the House Finance Committee, which is responsible for moving the operating and capital budgets to the full House for...

 

Hungry Alaskans deserve better

The director of the state agency that manages the food stamp program for tens of thousands of Alaskans says the staff is again overwhelmed with work, delaying benefits for thousands of households by months. That’s months without the food a...

 

Next summer's draft ferry schedule same as this year

With the rusty Matanuska out of service pending repairs, the Kennicott scheduled for tie-up due to lack of crew and the Tazlina in the shipyard to add crew quarters, the state ferry system’s draft summer 2024 schedule is limited by the number of v...

 

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