Home News Roundup News Roundup: November 21, 2014

News Roundup: November 21, 2014


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All Politics is Local

Just days after voters approved legalization of marijuana in Alaska, the Anchorage Assembly is seeking to invoke the ballot measure’s “opt out” clause to ban retail pot sales within municipal boundaries. [Alaska Commons]

Nome is considering ending its sales tax exemption for nonprofit organizations, which has raised some eyebrows since it would put the city in the unusual position of actively choosing to tax religious organizations. [Alaska Commons]

“Erin’s Law,” a proposed bill that would establish sexual assault awareness and prevention programs  in public schools across the state, will get a second chance at becoming law when the legislature reconvenes in January. [Alaska Commons]

Mark Begich conceded the U.S. Senate race to Dan Sullivan. [Alaska Commons]

Purple is the new official color for election pundits. [Medium]

Congress passed a bill to implement armed border patrols along the entire length of the U.S. Poverty Line, and Congressman Paul Ryan expressed interest in adding additional fortification in the future. [The Onion] [satire]


Things are Looking Up for Uber in Anchorage, But Otherwise It’s Been a Rough Week

The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance allowing the city and Uber to create a pilot program that would eventually allow the company to operate as a paid service within the Municipality. [Alaska Dispatch News]

A senior executive at Uber suggested the company should consider hiring opposition researchers to investigate the personal lives of journalists critical of Uber’s practices. [Buzzfeed]

In the wake of that story, Senator Al Franken (chair for a few more weeks of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law) sent a public letter to Uber’s CEO expressing concern for the company’s “troubling disregard for consumers’ privacy” and requesting answers to ten very pointed questions about Uber’s privacy practices. [Pando]

It’s Better to Be a Salmon than a Starfish

The Department of Fish and Game released its 2015 sockeye forecast for Bristol Bay, projecting a total return of 53.98 million sockeye salmon – 40% greater than the previous 10-year mean of total runs and 51% greater than the long-term. [Press release]

A wide-reaching illness described as the “zombie apocalypse” of starfish in the Pacific may be attributable to a virus – but researchers say there’s nothing to do but wait for the epidemic to pass. [Alaska Public Media]

LGBTQ Corner

The state revealed that it has spent $ $100,000 defending Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage, not including over $258,000 in fees and expenses requested by the plaintiffs in Hamby v. Parnell. [Alaska Dispatch News]

In related news, the 9th Circuit has rejected the state’s appeal for an en banc review of the decision to overturn Alaska’s same-sex marriage ban. Governor-elect Bill Walker says he has not decided whether to pursue the case further, although during his campaign he characterized the effort as an “unwise” use of state resources. [Daily News-Miner].

As bell-ringer season returns, it’s worth remembering that although the Salvation Army has made significant improvements in recent years, it hasn’t publicly acknowledged or apologized for its long and sordid history of anti-LGBT discrimination. [The Bilerico Project]

Thursday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was commemorated locally by a memorial and story-sharing at the University of Alaska Anchorage. [Alaska Commons]

No Comment

Two people in a rural area of Kodiak Island suffered major burns after one of them mistakenly poured a pail of fuel oil onto a stove in a steam bath. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Everything Else

R.A. Montgomery, the cofounder of Choose your Own Adventure” books, died in Vermont last week after a short illness. He was 78. [PBS]

Alaska Airlines and Wings for Autism held a “rehearsal” at the Anchorage Airport last weekend to help children with autism become familiar with the experience of flying. [Alaska Dispatch News]

A Chrome extension called Time Is Money replaces online shopping prices with the number of hours you would have to work to afford an item based on your salary. [Fast Company]