Alaska Legislature

Courtesy of Michele Vasquez

Alaska’s first steps into statehood were shaped by its inaugural legislative class, a group of senators and House representatives who set the young government on its course six decades ago.

One of those first legislators, James Fisher, played an equally prominent role in shaping the Kenai Peninsula. Jim died of COVID-19 last month at his home at Heritage Place in Soldotna. He was 93.


Incumbent Ben Carpenter and challenger Paul Dale are seeking the House District 29 seat, representing Nikiski, Sterling, Hope and the eastern peninsula.

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association

The Senate Resources Committee held a much-belated public hearing on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s appointees to the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Friday.

Central peninsula District O Sen. Peter Micciche chaired the hearing.

“This meeting really is for you. We had our session cut short in Juneau because of COVID, obviously. And we did not have an opportunity to go through our confirmations,” Micciche said.

Appointees have been serving without a confirmation vote in the Legislature, which drew a lot of criticism in public testimony. Susan Doherty is the executive director of the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association.

“And I would implore the Senate and the House Fisheries Committees to work on legislation and/or amendments to the state constitution, if necessary, to correct this issue,” Doherty said. “People who are given such power should be seasoned, knowledgeable and fully vetted by the confirmation process, period.”

Representative Gary Knopp of Kenai was reportedly killed in a plane crash outside of Soldotna this morning, along with six other people.
 
Knopp was reportedly flying his own plane, a Piper Aztec, outside of Soldotna when it collided with a de Havilland Beaver around 8:30 a.m. The collision reportedly happened above Mayoni Street between Soldotna and Sterling, about two miles northeast of the Soldotna airport.The Beaver was reportedly owned by High Adventure Air, and co-owner Greg Bell was also confirmed dead in the crash. Knopp flew alone, and the other four people killed were passengers in Bell’s plane. That included Kansas resident David Rogers, who troopers identified as a guide, and South Carolina residents Caleb Hulsey, Heather Hulsey, Makay Hulsey, and Kristen Wright.

CDC

The deadline for businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program was extended last week and now runs until August 8.

The PPP offers loans to businesses for relief from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. These loans become grants and don’t have to be paid back as long as 60 percent of the money is used for payroll and other eligible expenses. The program surfaced in March, and while many businesses applied for it then, others were left out. Notably, commercial fishermen were largely excluded, as many pay their employees through 1099 forms as independent contractors rather than as W2 employees.

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