(147) stories found containing 'bert stedman'

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 By Larry Persily    News    September 27, 2023 

Legislators say higher oil revenues will enable more spending on public needs

With high oil prices driving up state revenues, Southeast legislators say to expect a larger capital budget next year for public works projects, more money for deferred maintenance and another attempt to boost state funding for public schools....

 By Larry Persily    News    September 27, 2023 

State plans to send Matanuska into shipyard for full-hull scan

The state wants to send the Matanuska, the oldest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, into a shipyard for the equivalent of a full-body scan. Management wants to find out just how much of the ship’s steel has rusted, and how far the...

 By Larry Persily    News    June 28, 2023

State ferry system says it is unable to provide hiring numbers

The Alaska Marine Highway System, which five months ago embarked on improving its hiring process to address chronic crew shortages, is unable to say how many new employees it has hired since then. The push started after a consultant’s report in...

 By Larry Persily    News    June 28, 2023

Legislators disappointed but not surprised at governor's education funding veto

Southeast legislators said they were disappointed that Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed half of the one-time increase in state money for K-12 public schools, but will try again next year to address education funding needs. “We heard from school districts...


Permanent Fund needs to share more investment details

I congratulate the Permanent Fund trustees for adopting Resolution 23-01 at their April 12 meeting to limit additional investment in the in-state investment program in which Barings and McKinley Capital Management have each been given $100 million to...


Reader appreciates the Sentinel's award-winning, quality journalism

I just wanted to give a big shout-out for all the recent awards the Sentinel staff received at the annual Alaska Press Club contest. I won’t try to name them all. Wrangell should be very proud of Larry Persily and the entire crew at the newspaper....

 By James Brooks    News    May 10, 2023

Senators acknowledge no change this year in public employee retirement plan

As public employees rallied in front of the Alaska Capitol last week, demanding reinstatement of a pension system the Legislature abolished 18 years ago, leading members of the state Senate said their request was unlikely to be fulfilled this year.... Full story


Legislators say not enough time left in session for a sales tax

Almost two weeks after Gov. Mike Dunleavy told lawmakers he would propose a new sales tax, legislators have yet to see the governor’s bill — and are still far from reaching agreement on the state’s fiscal future. Lawmakers broadly agree on the...

 By Larry Persily    News    April 26, 2023

Governor tells legislators he will introduce state sales tax

Gov. Mike Dunleavy told legislators in a pair of closed-door meetings last week that he will introduce a state sales tax as a component of a budget-balancing, long-term fiscal plan. But with just three weeks left in the legislative session, with no...

 By Sean Maguire    News    April 19, 2023

PFD, school funding separate House and Senate in final budget weeks

With four weeks left before the May 17 adjournment deadline, legislators are focusing on the state budget and how to resolve big differences between the House and Senate over school funding and the amount of this year’s Permanent Fund dividend....


Southeast at risk of losing Alaska Marine Highway service to Prince Rupert, permanently

Ketchikan, her close community neighbors and all of Southeast Alaska are in danger. We are at risk of losing our Alaska Marine Highway System ferry run to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, permanently. Ferry service to Prince Rupert is vital. It is...

 By Larry Persily    News    April 5, 2023

State plans to spend $8 million to replace steel on Matanuska

The state now plans to spend an estimated $8 million to replace wasted steel on the ferry Matanuska. If the repairs can be completed in time, the ship could be available by late summer or early fall if it is needed to fill in on Southeast routes....

 By Alaska Beacon    News    April 5, 2023

State Senate not interested in blocking legislative pay raise

The Alaska House of Representatives could vote this week or next on a bill that would block a 67% pay raise for state legislators and a 20% raise for the governor and top members of the executive branch. Passage of the bill is anticipated ... Full story

 By Sean Maguire    News    March 29, 2023

House approves funding for more food stamp workers to clear applications backlog

The Alaska House advanced a targeted spending bill March 22, intended to address the state’s unprecedented backlog of unanswered applications for food stamp benefits and a shortage of public defenders in criminal cases. The budget bill is being...

 By Larry Persily    News    March 15, 2023

Summer ferry schedule finally open for bookings

Just eight weeks before the start of the summer timetable on May 1, the Alaska Marine Highway System released its schedule and opened its online reservations system for bookings. The schedule, which was announced March 7, came later than usual this...

 By James Brooks    News    March 8, 2023

Public employee retirement plan falls short of benefits under previous system

Alaska’s 401(k)-style retirement system for new employees is providing significantly smaller benefits than the pension-style retirement system discontinued for new hires in 2006, according to an analysis from the state Division of Retirement and... Full story

 By Shannon Haugland    News    March 8, 2023

Senate Finance co-chair says proposed spending cap that excludes PFD is 'nonsensical'

Bills under consideration in the Legislature to cap state spending are not addressing the main challenges Alaska is facing, said Sitka Sen. Bert Stedman, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “We don’t have a spending-side problem; we have a...

 By Larry Persily    News    March 1, 2023

Ferry system lacks crew to operate the Kennicott this summer

In a change of plans from just a few weeks ago, the Alaska Marine Highway System reports it lacks enough crew to operate the Kennicott this summer. The loss of the Kennicott from the schedule likely would mean dropping service to Prince Rupert, Briti...


Our two legislators put schools first

Wrangell is fortunate its two state legislators know that a good education pays years more dividends for Alaskans than the short-term gain a larger PFD provides. They are on the long-term, good-thinking side of what is shaping up as a monumental...

 By James Brooks    News    March 1, 2023

State could be short money this year as oil prices lower than expected

Alaska oil production and prices are below last year’s estimates, and the state could run out of money before the end of the fiscal year in June, members of the Senate Finance Committee were told Feb. 21. “It’s a bit of a nail-biter,” said... Full story

 By Sean Maguire    News    February 22, 2023

Budget deficit grows as governor proposes spending to fix problems

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s amended budget unveiled Feb. 15 attempts to address crisis areas in state public services, with the additional spending driving the anticipated budget deficit past $400 million. The proposed budget for the next fiscal year is...

 By James Brooks    News    February 22, 2023

Alaska donates 90,000 pounds of canned pinks to Ukraine relief effort

More than 90,000 pounds of canned Alaska pink salmon purchased and donated by the state of Alaska is being distributed as wartime relief in Ukraine. The cans were donated to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen and arrived in Ukraine this month after... Full story


State Senate proposes sizable boost in public school funding

A proposal to boost state funding for public schools by about 17%, increasing the current $5,960 per-student formula by $1,000, was unveiled Feb. 1 by state Senate leaders as the “beginning of the beginning” of a long debate about the future of...


The math is easy; the politics are hard

Getting caught between a rock and a hard place is easier. At least you can rent a backhoe and move the rock. Getting politically caught between more money for public schools and even more money for the Permanent Fund dividend will be the hardest plac...

 By Iris Samuels    News    February 8, 2023

Legislature considers restoring traditional pensions for public employees

JUNEAU — Amid a deepening crisis in recruiting and keeping state workers, the Alaska Legislature is again considering measures to recreate a pension plan for public employees, but disagreements on the type and extent of the plan mean a long path ah...


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