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KNBA News - Legislators question Governor Bill Walker's proposal to cut oil and gas tax credits

Feb. 22, 2016

State Representatives question proposal to cut oil and gas tax credits

By The Associated Press

As Alaska's Legislature digs through Governor Bill Walker's budget proposal, a prime focus is the overhaul Walker put forward for oil and gas taxes. By reducing tax credits and increasing minimum production taxes, Walker aims to shave 500 million dollars off the state's budget shortfall. However, House members question whether the administration has done enough analysis of proposed tax increases. State Revenue Commissioner Randall Hoffbeck says more information will be available this week on the economic effects of the tax changes.


Interior Legislator suggests 4-fold increase in Governor’s proposed University budget cuts

By The Associated Press

A slump in oil prices has officials looking at the amount and impact of a deep cut in the University of Alaska budget. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Gov. Bill Walker has announced a plan to cut $16 million from the budget, while Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson, of North Pole, suggested a bigger reduction of $63 million.


David Benton Reappointed to Arctic Research Commission

By The Associated Press

President Barack Obama has reappointed a Juneau man to serve on the Arctic Research Commission. David Benton, a marine research consultant, says he is pleased to be reappointed. He says he will continue working to find ways to expand international cooperation on research in the Arctic. Benton says the rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic have given scientists and countries a sense of urgency when seeking to better understand the region.


Yup’ik Elder Finds Lost Nephews Despite Strong Winds, Limited Visibility

By Hannah Colton , KDLG - Dillingham

After two young men went off-course on a snowmachine trip from Chevak to Scammon Bay this week, it was an unlikely responder who came to their rescue.

Late Wednesday night [Feb. 17, 2016] State Troopers from Hooper Bay got a report that Travis Wassillie and Jessie Kasayulie, aged 17 and 20, were overdue on a snowmachine trip from Chevak to Scammon Bay.

Groups from all three communities set out and searched through the night, but their efforts were hampered by strong winds and low visibility.

When the search resumed Thursday, it was joined by 74-year-old Francis Charlie, a relative of the two men. Charlie said he felt a strong urge to go off in a different direction than where the searchers had been looking.

“Somehow, somebody pushed me – go! ‘cause that was stormy that night. I can’t stay in the chair or bed. So I go,” said Charlie.

Charlie went off solo despite having gotten bladder surgery just a week before. His wife, Theresa said she tried to stop him leaving, but it was no use.

“There was nothing I could do!” said Theresa. “Because he keep wanting to go, he was so worried. The only thing I gave him was a bottle of holy water, that’s all I let him bring.”

On account of his surgery, Charlie spent the 2-hour search standing up on his snowmachine on the bumpy trail… Eventually he found Wassillie and Kasayulie about 15 miles east of Scammon Bay, and brought them back cold and wet but unharmed.

Charlie believes the boys got lost because the wind shifted overnight, and they weren’t looking out for landmarks like patches of grass and old snowdrifts.

“My grandpa always tell me – Every time you go someplace, don’t follow the wind, they’ll change right away,” said Charlie.

According to Troopers, the young men had been attempting to navigate using a cell phone and ran out of gas after missing Scammon Bay.

There was actually a second search-and-rescue in the same area Wednesday night – 50-year-old Johnny J. Mann and his teenage son from Hooper Bay got caught in the storm on their overnight hunting trip. Troopers noted that rescue was much easier because Mann used a personal locator beacon (PLB) to alert the Coast Guard of his location.