Sen. Dan Sullivan

Sabine Poux/KDLL

A mob of extremists supporting President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol today, violently interrupting lawmakers who were gathered to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

There haven’t been any reported violent demonstrations in Juneau or elsewhere in Alaska today. But there was a small group of protesters gathered on the corner of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways in Soldotna to show support for the outgoing president.


Redoubt Reporter

A new federal act will set aside funds annually to support fledgling fishermen, pending approval from President Donald Trump.

The Young Fishermen’s Development Act passed through both houses of Congress this month with strong support from all three Alaska legislators. If enacted, the act would fund training and mentorship opportunities for commercial fishermen who are just entering the industry.

While the borough budget usually draws lively debate, this year puts the assembly in a particular pickle. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the borough is expecting a significant drop in revenues, which leaves a shortfall that the administration and assembly will have to find some way to cover.

Most of the time, that would be taxes. But there is one other possibility this year: federal relief funds. Since March, the federal government has been working on distributing money to businesses, individuals, and states to help with the impact of the pandemic. Alaska so far has received about $1.5 billion.

But there are particular ways those funds can be used. For example, until the Secretary of the Treasury made an exception, they couldn’t be used to pay police and firefighters. Cities and boroughs, including the Kenai, have lost revenue through declines in sales taxes and property taxes as fewer people shop and eat out and properties—particularly oil and gas—have lost value.

Money from the federal CARES Act, $562.5 million, is slated to go to local municipalities in Alaska to help with the COVID-19 public health crisis. That’s great news for local governments that are reeling from the unexpected blow to tax revenues caused by the slowdown of the economy.

But there is confusion about how, exactly, that money may be spent, leaving some cities concerned that they’ll face penalties or even have to return money in the future if they spend it incorrectly.

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander testified to the House Finance Committee on Thursday.

“I do think that it’s critical that these funds are distributed to the municipalities and the boroughs across the state,” Ostrander said. “That local control is critical. Communities know where that need is within their community, so I think that is very important.”