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Gov. Bill Walker at a press conference announcing a new program in Alaska that is designed to bring business leaders to China in a move to increase commerce.


Copper Valley Telephone Cooperative, Inc.'s ("CVTC") Board of Directors announced recently that James Dunn has been hired to serve as CVTC's next General Manager/CEO.

"The Board approved the hire at a special Board meeting on January 25, 2018," CVTC said in a press release in late February.

Mike Rego, President of CVTC's Board of Directors, said, "The Board looked nationwide for its next CEO/General Manager. The Board had several very qualified candidates to choose from. Ultimately, the Board concluded that Mr. Dunn's knowledge and experience made him the best choice for the job."

James Dunn has over twenty years of telecommunications experience throughout Alaska, CVTC said, adding that he most recently worked for Tanadgusix native corporation, assisting them on their USDA Community Connect grant that brought fiber to the homes on Alaska's remote St. Paul island. Previously, James served as executive director of Connect Alaska, which facilitated the Alaska Broadband Task Force under a federal grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA).

Dunn holds an MBA degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Daylight saving

Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday (March 11) at 2 a.m.

Alaska and the rest of the country (except Hawaii and Arizona) will move clocks forward by one hour. Clocks will remain in Daylight Saving Time until November 4, 2018.

Lawmaker pay

(AP) An Alaska lawmaker has proposed rejecting a recommendation by the commission that decides how legislators should be paid.

The commission in January recommended that legislators should not receive a daily allowance if their primary home is within 50 miles of a legislative session.

Three lawmakers would be affected during sessions in Juneau. More legislators would be affected if special sessions were held in Anchorage.

But Fairbanks Rep. David Guttenberg says the commission's process was politicized and marred by poor reasoning.

Duane Bannock, who was on the commission, supported the panel's recommendation on allowances, along with a failed proposal to cut lawmakers' salaries. He says undoing the commission's action is itself political.

The recommendation takes effect next session unless a bill disapproving it is enacted within 60 days of its submission.

China trade

Gov. Bill Walker on Monday announced what he called a major initiative to build on the longstanding economic relationship between Alaska and China.

Dubbed "Opportunity Alaska: China Trade Mission," it is designed to "help businesses in the Last Frontier build new relationships in China and foster existing ones."

Walker, Director of International Trade Shelley James, and Commerce Commissioner Mike Navarre will travel with the businesses selected to participate in the mission. The competitive application process will prioritize existing or developed relationships.

Applications will be accepted through Monday, April 2, 2018 according to Walker.

Since 2011, China has been the number one consumer of Alaska goods. Last year, Alaska exported $1.32 billion worth of goods, including $796.2 million in seafood and $64.6 million in fishmeal. Alaska also exported $355.8 in mineral ore, $49 million in energy, and $48 million and $5.9 million in forest products and machinery respectively.

High taxes

(AP) Alaska has raked in its biggest monthly haul in marijuana taxes, with just over $1 million collected in January.

The state Department of Revenue's Kelly Mazzei (muh-ZAY') also says January tallied the higher number of operations paying the tax.

Cultivation facilities pay the tax, which is imposed when marijuana is sold or transferred from a licensed grow facility to a retail marijuana shop or product manufacturing facility.

State law calls for half of the tax revenue to go toward programs aimed at reducing repeat criminal offenders.

A bill pending before the Alaska Senate calls for using an additional portion of the tax revenue for a marijuana education and treatment program.

The state says it has collected roughly $7.4 million in marijuana taxes since collections began in October 2016.

Salmon initiative

(AP) The Alaska Division of Elections says an initiative aimed at protecting salmon habitat has cleared a significant hurdle on its track to making a November state election ballot.

The Juneau Empire reports that the division on Tuesday said it is currently reviewing each of Stand for Salmon's 43,706 signatures. To pass the review, Stand for Salmon needs only 32,127 signatures or 10 percent of those who voted in the previous general election.

As of Tuesday, 38,694 signatures were verified.

The initiative would create a more stringent permitting process for development projects on salmon habitat in Alaska.

Opponents say the initiative is bad for business, while supports say they're streamlining a 60-year-old law in an attempt to protect Alaska salmon.

Fill `er up

(AP) Sen. Dan Sullivan says Russian President Vladimir Putin's unveiling of a new catalog of doomsday weapons is largely bluster.

The Republican senator from Alaska told the Ketchikan Daily news on Wednesday that Russia's announcement is an effort to "stay relevant" internationally as the U.S. grows its military and missile defense capabilities.

Putin earlier this week announced that Russia has advanced nuclear weapons, giving the country unprecedented strategic power.

Sullivan, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says Russia is attempting to develop the technologies it claims to possess, but it's not there yet.

Sullivan says the country has a "first-world military," but "Russia is a third-world mafia state that is essentially a gas station."

Sullivan says he supports the full implementation of additional sanctions against Russia.


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