Alaska Statehood Act Anniversary on Monday 30th

June 30, 1958 – Date of Senate passage of Alaska Statehood Act
July 7, 1958 – FDR signs Statehood Act
Jan. 3, 1959 – Alaska becomes 49th state

 

We're In Alaska Statehood passed by U.S. Senate

This  “We’re In” photo was taken on June 30, 1958 the day the U.S. Senate passed The Alaska Statehood Act.

The famous photo, above, was taken the next day after the paper was flown to Washington, D.C.

The Statehood Act didn’t go into effect immediately–Alaska actually became a state in January 1959.

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Today (June 30) is the anniversary of the day in 1958 when the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska Statehood Act which brought Alaska into the Union. The measure was signed by President Eisenhower on July 7, 1958 and Alaska became the 49th state on Jan. 3, 1959.

You’ve probably seen the famous statehood photo. The one of the big two-word headline: “We’re In.” That headline was printed on the cover of the Anchorage paper of that day.

Well, here’s an interesting tidbit you may not know about that photo—the one with the officials holding the newspaper.

While the headline was printed on June 30th, the photo itself was taken on July 1st—in Washington, D.C.

That could be arranged in this day of high speed jets and special courier services. But back in 1958, that was some feat.

Special editions of the historic paper were flown to Washington, D.C. by jet bomber for distribution to Washington officials.

There’s a photo in the Alaska Digital Archives of President Eisenhower and Alaska Territorial Governor Mike Stepovich holding a copy of that paper in Washington, D.C. on July 1st. The day after it was printed in Anchorage.

This week on The LegHead Report we’ll be remembering the signing of the Alaska Statehood Act with stories from our archives about statehood.

And speaking of Archives, the Alaska Digital Archives has a copy of the “We’re In” photo as well as thousands of others. The digital archives also has audio and video covering all periods of Alaska history.

Plan to spend a lot of time there if you go. There is so much to look at and enjoy.

 

Alaska Digital Archives

 

Alaska Legislature approves measure to help small refineries HB 287

House Bill 287 began as a way to help small refineries–namely Petro Star, which operates two refineries.
However, it ends up the measure helps the state’s largest refinery Tesoro.
Democratic Senators label HB287 “This Year’s Giveaway.”

A measure approved by the Alaska Legislature would help small refineries to stay in business by providing tax credits and subsidies.

House Bill 287 was created with the intention of helping Petro Star stay in business. Petro Star, which is a subsidiary of the Arctic Slope Native Corporation and owns two refineries had asked for assistance from the state.

The measure came under attack by critics because it doesn’t limit the financial help to refineries in need, thus making the state’s largest refinery in Nikiski—which is owned by Tesoro—eligible for the financial benefits of the bill.

In fact, HB 287 earned the distinction of being named “This Year’s Giveaway” by the Democratic Senators.

In a press availability held shortly after the end of the legislative session, Governor Sean Parnell avoided mentioning the controversy, and instead focused on the need to keep Alaska’s small refineries viable…

Gov. Sean Parnell’s comments…

Governor Sean Parnell commenting on HB 287.

Houses passes bill to allow VPSO to carry guns

HB 199 would allow Village Public Safety Officers to carry guns while on duty

  • Supporters say it’s a vital safety issue
  • Opponents say VPSOs are not Alaska State Troopers, and don’t go through same tough hiring and training process

 

A measure to allow Village Public Safety Officers to carry firearms in the line of duty took a big step forward on Monday when it was passed by the Alaska House.

The controversial measure would allow VPSOs who meet training standards to carry firearms while on duty.

  • Supporters say the measure is an important element in allowing the remote law enforcement officers to protect themselves.
  • Opponents argue that VPSOs are not Alaska State Troopers but are hired by the over-seeing area Native association and do not receive the same employment screening and training standards that troopers do.

House Bill 199 will now be forwarded to the Senate for consideration.

Resources:

BASIS listing — Which shows all activity related to HB 199 by the Alaska Legislature

Good comments in summary of meeting on HB199. Lots of good comments from both sides of the issue. Worth ready through to get an overview of different perspectives from testimony and comments during informational hearing. Will open PDF document.

Sponsor Statement by Rep. Bryce Edgmon for HB 199.

Facebook page set up by Tom Madole’s widow. Madole was killed in the line of duty.

(Note: Sad photos of children at funeral. Regardless of a person’s stand on the guns and VPSOs issue, it is heartbreaking to see those who dedicate themselves to protecting us be shot down. Especially sad to think of family left behind–Maggie.)

VPSOs are not Troopers — Editorial in Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Article by Alaska Dispatch on HB 199

Newsletter from Rep. Bryce Edmon to constituents — See Page 6 for info on HB 199. Will open in PDF document.

BASIS listing — Which shows all activity related to HB 199 by the Alaska Legislature

Sponsor Statement by Rep. Bryce Edgmon for HB 199.

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Know someone who would be interested in these materials? Be sure to “Share” it with them.

 

Flags lowered to honor Alaska’s last territorial governor, services Friday in Fairbanks

Flags lowered to honor Alaska’s last territorial governor, services Friday in Fairbanks

Michael “Mike” Stepovich dies at 94.

Was Alaska Territorial Governor 1957-58.

 

Photo & Video: Courtesy of Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Alaska flags are flying at half-staff this week to honor the last living territorial governor, Mike Stepovich.

Stepovich died last week at the age of 94. He was in a California hospital after suffering a bad head injury in a fall earlier this month. His services will be held in Fairbanks on Friday. Despite a home in Medford, Stepovich maintained his Alaska residency and returned each summer.

“Alaska has lost a true pioneer,” Governor Parnell said in a press release announcing the death. “Governor Stepovich was a strong, selfless figure. His love for our state is a great legacy that will endure for generations of Alaskan,” he said.

Anchorage Daily News columnist Mike Dunham said that in some ways, Stepovich was the John Kennedy of territorial Alaska. He was optimistic and constantly promoting Alaska and statehood Outside.

Stepovich’s constant promotion of statehood to the American public played an important role,” said Dunham. “No one could see the smiling, handsome young Alaskan charming the panel on “What’s My Line?” without liking him and, by extension, the people whom he represented….Here was proof that Alaskans weren’t just parky-clad hunters, whiskered sourdoughs or capitalist robber barons,” he said.

Stepovich was born in Fairbanks, and served three terms in the Alaska Territorial Legislature before serving as governor from 1957 – 1958. Following his state service, Governor Stepovich returned to his law practice in Fairbanks.

State flags were lowered to half-staff on Valentine’s Day and will remain lowered until Governor Stepovich’s funeral, which the Fairbanks Daily News Miner says will be Friday morning the 28th.  Flags will be raised to full-staff Saturday morning.

Stepovich on Cover of Time Magazine June, 1958. Photo by Mike Dunham ADN.

Resources:

Anchorage Daily News, Mike Dunham Column

Press Release from Governor Sean Parnell’s Office

National Native News Coverage of Mike Stepovich’s Passing

Stepovich lived in Oregon much of year, still claimed residence in Fairbanks where his service will be

State boards and commissions are great way to get involved in making changes in Alaska

State boards and commissions are great way to get involved in making changes in Alaska

PHOTO: Chena Ridge from the Division of Forestry’s website. The Alaska Board of Forestry helps manage and determine policy for Alaska’s forest lands.

 

You don’t need to run for public office to have a real impact on life in Alaska and in the way the state does business.

Why not stick your name in for a state board or commission?

Monday January 6, 2014 Edition of The LegHead Report

 

RESOURCES: Here are some useful links to help you get info and apply for a board or commission position.

Governor’s Office of Boards and Commission

List of Active Boards and Commissions – includes a ton of info on each board, what they do, who’s on it, etc.

List of Vacancies on Alaska Boards and Commissions–These are the ones to target if you’re ready to take the leap and apply for an open spot.

How to Apply for an Alaska Board or Commission Position