SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Governor Wraps up Trip
Chamber Speech, Volunteering and Groundbreaking Fill Tuesday


July 11, 2006

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski wrapped up a four-day tour of the state today in Fairbanks and North Pole before heading back to Juneau to prepare for the beginning of the special legislative session Wednesday night.

"It was an interesting and invigorating trip," Murkowski said. "I feel we have set the stage well for another round of hearings and votes on PPT (petroleum production tax) and the stranded gas contract."




The governor began today's events with a noon speech to the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, providing an update on the Alaska Highway Natural Gas Pipeline Project and offering the luncheon-goers a look at the Interior Alaska benefits in the recently signed capital budget.

"The Legislature left Juneau without passing PPT," Murkowski said. "But they tied funding the Power Cost Equalization endowment and funding for rural schools to a passing vote, leaving rural Alaska out in the cold.

"We must come to a conclusion on PPT. Not only to help with the PCE endowment, but also because at my proposed 20-20 rates we are losing more than $3.2 million per day."

Closing his speech to the full chamber, Murkowski added, "We have heard from Alaskans. We will be making changes to the proposed contract, which I will submit to the Legislature Thursday (July 12) in Juneau.

"This proposal is the only genuine plan that can market our gas, because it is the only one that has all of the economic features to make it happen, including the availability of the gas itself."

Following his speech, the governor travelled to North Pole to join with more than 120 volunteers on hand this afternoon at the ABC Television "Extreme Make-over: Home Edition" jobsite. The Nationally-televised reality show chose North Pole resident Betsy Rogers for its Fall 2006 season premiere.

The show builds a home for a designated family in seven days and chose the 13-members of the Rogers extended family after North Pole friends and neighbors nominated them earlier this year for the show's consideration.

"What a sight," Murkowski said. "To see the team and volunteers starting from square one and working non-stop to build a home for such a deserving family is not only enriching personally, but also a sign of the strength and willingness of Alaskans to give.

"It really is a fitting example of the level and commitment of volunteers in our state, which was recently shown to be the fifth highest in the entire nation."

Before returning to Juneau to welcome legislators back for the special session, the governor joined Department of Health and Social Services workers and locals at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new residential psychiatric treatment center for adolescents.

The center responds to the governor's 2004 "Bring the Kids Home" initiative, which seeks to keep Alaska's kids in need of psychiatric care in-state. It will be built in South Fairbanks at the intersection of 30th avenue and Lathrop street near Ft. Wainwright.

DHSS awarded a Certificate of Need (CON) to Boys and Girls Home and Family Services, Inc. April 17, 2006, to build the 45-bed residential psychiatric treatment center that will treat children and adolescents ages 5-18 at an approved cost of $10.5 million.



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Office of the Governor

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Ketchikan, Alaska