Russ Slaten's Blog
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan revealed two versions of his proposed 2013 city budget yesterday. How much will it cost the city and how will it affect services? The Assembly will review the options on October 12.
Original Air Date: October 4, 2012
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan proposed one city budget that would result in minor reductions, and another that may see major cuts to public safety.
Mayor Sullivan's Plan 'A' budget may eliminate nearly 190 positions either filled or vacant including 19 vacant police jobs and 29 new recruits, along with 10 vacant fire jobs and 11 firefighters.
Plan 'A' would close two fire stations and cut bus routes and library hours.
Although, under the mayor's Plan 'B' budget, the gist of services would be at nearly the same level, thanks to the use of state funding.
"Last legislative session, the Legislature capped the amount of money that the school district can collect in property taxes, and they're making up the difference through state funds. That leaves those funds available for general government if the assembly decides to process those funds. And until they make that policy decision, we're not able to put that forward as our initial budget," said Mayor Sullivan.
The city is about $30 million short in revenues, in order to keep the same level of services. Plan 'A' would total about $450 million, $6 million less than last year.
Plan 'B,' which Mayor Sullivan supports, would be over $460 million, including the $12 million the school district cannot use due to the state's tax cap.
"The taxpayers are getting a minor rate of inflation, but we're able to maintain services at a high level. As I've been out in the community I think people are very, very happy with the level of service we're providing right now. Some people would like to see even more service which we can't afford, but I don't think people want to see a decrease in service and I agree," said Mayor Sullivan.
The Anchorage Police Department Employees Association President Derek Hsieh said the need for consistent public safety is among the greatest for the city.
"Will police staffing be maintained at the level that it is today through 2013? We will certainly have some retirements and some other attrition in the department, and I think that a 2013 [police] academy would be a good idea, maybe in October or November," said Hsieh.
"I think they're surprised how busy the officers are while they're working, and I think the public is well aware of the activity rate that we've encountered here recently, and we can probably expect to continue in the future," said Hsieh.
In either case, according to the city's six-year fiscal forecast there will be lower deficits in future years.
The Anchorage Assembly will discuss both versions of the mayor's budget at it's first work session on October 12.
The local music scene is continually moving and shifting, but the all ages portion tends to struggle a bit more. Teens playing in bands from the all ages music scene said even though businesses prefer to work with adults, they still aim to keep it alive.
(ANCHORAGE, AK) - The local music scene is continually moving and shifting, but the all ages portion tends to struggle a bit more. Teens playing in bands from the all ages music scene said even though businesses prefer to work with adults, they still aim to keep it alive.
The building owner of Club Millenium, which is now defunct, opened a new venue for young bands called the Fiesta Room. It's still located across from the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Anchorage, but what makes it special is the fact that young bands created the stage with professional oversight.
Mac Holtan, drummer for Ready Aim Timber, and an organizer for the Fiesta Room, said it's for the younger generation by the younger generation.
"We're just providing a place for under 21 bands, musicians who want to be heard and want to play to their friends. It's an artistic outreach to help preserve these bands, and help nurture them and hopefully build a better music community," said Holtan.
"It's cool to come to an all ages show. The first band, the crowd isn't as good as it is for the third band, but for the first band everyone is still moving, and still pumping and still stoked just to be there for the music," said Brunke.
The music at the Fiesta Room can broadly be based around variations of loud rock, but Tom Zimmerman from the Harlequin State describe their music.
"We're like a melodic post-hardcore. It's kind of like a new style of rock, been around for about 10 years-- post-hardcore-- and it's really developing, starting to get big, you know, there's a lot of bands on Warped Tour with similar genres," said Zimmerman.
Aric Hanley, guitarist for To The Depths, said he has band members that are still under 21, and with a continuously open venue, the young bands have a outlet to play for fans and gain more experience.
Hanley began going to shows when he was 16, and said he stays for sense of community.
"There's been so many times I've just been angry, and didn't really have any positive way to get it out, aside from going to shows, and hanging out with my friends, and enjoying music that you're legitamitely passionate about. There's just so much good that can come from being with your friends and and enjoying music in a positive environment such as a place like this."
Bands will play at the Fiesta Room, located across from the Hilton Hotel on the corner of 3rd Avenue and E Street, this Saturday night at 8 p.m.
Alaska's film tax incentive was recently renewed for another ten years. One film taking advantage of the benefits is Wildlike.
(ANCHORAGE, AK) - Alaska's film tax incentive was recently renewed for another ten years. One film taking advantage of the benefits is Wildlike.
Wildlike is the story of an unlikely friendship formed in the majestic Alaskan wilderness. It follows a runaway girl and grieving widowed backpacker, who find sanctuary in the Last Frontier.
Fifteen-year-old Actress Ella Purnell plays the role of Mackenzie. Mackenzie's mom sends her to Alaska to live with her uncle, away from her home in Seattle. She decides to runaway and explore Alaska.
"I think by the end of it, she really is a different person. She's stood up to what she didn't want to stand up to, she faced all the things she wanted to ignore, and I think that makes her a better person for it," said Purnell.
Actor Bruce Greenwood plays the role of Rene Bartlett trying to get over the death of his wife. Known as 'Bart' in the film, he realizes he and Mackenzie both have something to learn.
"In the course of his journey, a young girl whose running from a situation with an uncle, that feels wrong, attaches herself to him. The more he resists, the more they come together," said Greenwood.
Greenwood said the most eye-opening experience was to learn how officials at Denali National Park view the wildlife.
"When you see an animal, if you're close enough to change it's behavior that's too close, which I thought was just such an elegant, simple way of describing how the animals are left alone, and at the same time people are allowed to be in the environment but not interfere," said Greenwood.
Second Assistant Director, and state resident, D.K. Johnston said the filming of Wildlike allows outside professionals see through the eyes of Alaska.
"It really gives a lot of Alaskans a chance to kind of come and showcase the hard work we've been putting in the last couple of years to be able to help support films like this, and be able to pass on the experiences we've had, living here in Alaska, to the producers from New York and L.A. to help tell a better story," said Johnston.
Producers for the film, based out of New York City, said the production value of shooting in Alaska cannot be quantified. Producer Schuyler Weiss said every time the camera is pointed in a different direction it showcases Alaska's vast, breathtaking landscape.
"Every place we've been adds so much value, and that's just the natural environment. When you add to that the people in Alaska, the stories, you just have a very rich, cinematic environment up here that you can't double anywhere else," said Schuyler Weiss.
Wildlike, written and directed by Frank Hall Green, also features Brian Geraghty of the Hurt Locker and Jarhead fame.
The cast and crew plan to finish up shooting by the end of August.
Anchorage police catch a wanted suspect. The man initially did not appear for an Anchorage court hearing and threatened to make officers shoot him. Anchorage police said the man is now in custody and will likely face additional criminal charges.
(ANCHORAGE, AK) - Anchorage police catch a wanted suspect. The man initially did not appear for an Anchorage court hearing and threatened to make officers shoot him. Anchorage police said the man is now in custody and will likely face additional criminal charges.
45-year-old Wasilla resident Scott McDowell was arrested by police attempting to flee in South Mountain View at about 5:30 p.m. today.
Anchorage police started to look for McDowell this morning, after a citizen said he was going to threaten police by attempting to rob a bank and provoke them into shooting him.
Wasilla authorities notified the Anchorage Police Department that he was likely in Anchorage. Officers received calls about a man who attempted to steal a bottle of liquor at the Northway Mall, and about a man swerving in and out of traffic in the same area.
Anchorage police set up officers in the South Mountain View neighborhood and stopped McDowell in his car at the corner of San Antonio Street and San Ernesto Avenue.
"Our concern with Mr. McDowell was that he had not only threatened to rob a bank but also he was threatening to harm himself and possibly others in trying to get the police to take action against him. So this was really important that we get him back under the authority of the court system," said APD Spokesperson Lt. Dave Parker.
McDowell attempted to flee officers by running past a playground of children and around an apartment building.
Police say he had a knife, but did not attempt to use it.
"I was by a tree at the little park, which was really close to the fence, and he ran pretty close to that, so I felt pretty scared," said Ashleigh, a 9-year-old girl that was playing in the park when the arrest was made.
APD said new criminal charges for McDowell were filed, including two counts of felony assault, two counts of robbery, theft, terroristic threatening, domestic violence assault and eluding officers.
Court records show McDowell failed to appear in court on charges of theft and trespassing filed against him in June, along with past charges of assault and domestic violence, shoplifting, and for escaping a correctional facility.
A product made from Alaskan salmon is growing into markets located in the lower 48. Yummy Chummies, Alaska's popular dog treat, is already carried nationwide by Costco stores. Last month, the Arctic Paws Company scored a national distribution contract with Sam's Club.
Original Air Date: August 22, 2012
(ANCHORAGE, AK) - A product made from Alaskan salmon is growing into markets located in the lower 48. Yummy Chummies, Alaska's popular dog treat, is already carried nationwide by Costco stores. Last month, the Arctic Paws Company scored a national distribution contract with Sam's Club.
Tonight on Your Alaska Link