Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Communities would share in revenues under Senate bill

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JUNEAU - A slice of this year's surplus oil revenues would go to communities around the state under legislation that moved out of the Senate Finance Committee on Monday.

The bill would appropriate $48.1 million to be distributed among 163 communities across the state under a formula that takes into account how much state assistance a community already may be receiving for its retirement costs.

The bill also establishes a revenue sharing program for future years that would annually divvy up either 3 percent of state royalties or $50 million, whichever is less, to communities.

"This is just wonderful," said Kathy Wasserman, executive director of the Alaska Municipal League, who said local governments around the state were giving the plan the thumbs up.

Mayors from around the state - with Gov. Sarah Palin's backing - have been demanding a share of the revenues from high oil prices that have pumped up state coffers in recent years. They initially asked for at least 6 percent of the revenues.

The only testimony against the bill was from municipal leaders who were worried that the funding does not include about a dozen unincorporated communities within organized boroughs.

The payouts vary widely. Under the measure's formula, $8.1 million would go to Anchorage, that's on top of about $26 million to help cover employer contributions to the public employee retirement system. Holy Cross, which is not part of the retirement system, would get $107,000 in revenue sharing.

Wasserman said the mayor of Holy Cross, which has a population of 204, told her the community would use the money to pay for fuel. Anchorage Mayor Nick Begich has said the city will use the money to reduce property taxes.

SAIL office closes to help with Twin Lakes playground

JUNEAU - The Juneau office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living will be closed on May 15 so SAIL staff can help work on Project Playground at Twin Lakes.

Anyone interested in volunteering during the planned two weeks of constuction should contact Project Playground volunteer coordinator Catherine Pusich via e-mail at

The Juneau SAIL office will reopen at 9 a.m. on May 16.

SEARHC vice president honored by American Hospital Association

SITKA - The American Hospital Association has named Frank Sutton, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium's vice president of hospital services, winner of the state's partnership for Action Grassroots Champion Award.

One Grassroots Champion Award winner was selected from each state. They will be recognized at a breakfast today in Washington, D.C.

The award, in partnership with the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, honors Sutton for leadership in community activity in support of a hospital's mission.

The award was created in 2006. It recognizes hospital leaders who most effectively educate elected officials about how major issues affect the hospital's vital role in the community, who do exemplary work in broadening the base of community support for the hospital, and who advocate for the hospital and its patients.

Sutton is Alaska's second winner of the award. He has worked at Mount Edgecumbe Hospital for 35 years, rising from pharmacist to SEARHC VP of Hospital Services as administrator of the hspital.

"I commend Frank for his continued professional success and unwavering commitment to the health care of the Native people in Southeast Alaska," said Ken Brewer, president and CEO of SEARHC.

Shotgun slug fired through wall injures Anchorage woman

ANCHORAGE - What police describe as an ongoing feud in Midtown Anchorage culminated with a man firing a shotgun slug through a house wall, injuring a woman.

Police Sgt. Glen Daily said he did not know the source of the dispute but called it "a Hatfield and McCoy-type thing.

"From talking to the neighbors, it's ongoing," he said.

John Molinaro, 32, has been charged with one count of first-degree assault and four counts of third-degree assault in the incident, said police spokeswoman Anita Shell on Monday.

Late Saturday, a man who lives in a house on North Star Street near Tudor Road got in a fight with a group of men from across the street. The man was beaten up pretty badly, Daily said, and was angry about it.

"So he went back across the street and got a shotgun," Daily said. "He ... fired two rounds into the house across the street. One of them was birdshot - little bitty pellets that made little holes in the wood and I think cracked the window. It wouldn't hurt anybody. The other (round) was a slug, which is a big bullet. That one went into the house, and into a young lady."

The injured woman, Leah Sample, 22, may have been visiting friends, Daily said.

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