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Alaska State Chamber of Commerce E-News - February 12, 2010

From the Desk of Governor Parnell

Just recently, I introduced legislation proposing a new educational opportunity for Alaska's students - the Governor's Performance Scholarship.  This merit-based scholarship will be available to EVERY Alaska high school student who meets course and GPA requirements, offering them the opportunity to earn their way to higher education and a bright future.  This program will change the face of education in Alaska and greatly strengthen our state's future.

Going above and beyond minimums, Alaska high school students who complete four years of math, science, and language arts as well as three years of social studies, while maintaining a 'C+' average will earn 50 percent of their tuition, a 'B' average will earn them 75 percent tuition, and with an 'A' average, a young Alaskan will earn 100 percent tuition for an in-state university or job training program.  This is great news for Alaska's students and parents!  Students who qualify for the Governor's Performance Scholarship can take pride in having earned their way to college - and parents are relieved of at least 50 percent of the financial hardship of helping their kids get there.

Merit scholarships already work in 22 other states and have shown measurably higher high school graduation rates, academic achievement, and post-secondary education completion among those who qualify for scholarships.

Additionally, the Governor's Performance Scholarship will provide Alaska's businesses with a more highly-trained and educated workforce and strengthen communities, as upward of 70 percent of post-secondary students stay in the state in which they graduate.

Working hard and reaping the reward is the Alaskan way.  As Governor, I am committed to investing in our people, in their ingenuity, hard work, and resourcefulness.  I invite you to click here and share your thoughts on the Governor's Performance Scholarship program.  Also, please include any other areas of interest you'd like my office to keep you up-to-date on.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Governor Sean Parnell

Did you know?
USA Today recently reported that the average student accumulates more than $19,000 in debt over four years of study. 

Governor's Performance Scholarship Web site
http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/priorities/governors-scholarship.html

Gavel to Gavel starts TV and Internet Legislative Coverage
Gavel-to-Gavel Alaska, the television and Internet service, started the 16th year of Legislative broadcasts on January 19th.  The service is part of 360 North, the statewide public affairs channel seen on cable, satellite and over the air.  Gavel to Gavel Alaska beams coverage of legislative sessions and committee meetings, news conferences and other important events of state government live into most Alaskan homes, schools and offices.

Gavel to Gavel Alaska is produced by KTOO-TV in Juneau, and premiered on the first day of the legislative session, January 19th.  Cameras in the state capitol televise unedited, start-to-finish coverage of House and Senate floor sessions, key committee hearings, news conferences and other state government activity.

The television service, which began in 1994, is broadcast over the air in Anchorage and Juneau, and is carried by cable and satellite systems statewide and streamed live on the Internet.

The City and Borough of Juneau has once again provided a major grant to support the coverage.  GCI Cable carries Gavel to Gavel Alaska in every GCI cable market in Alaska.   Alaska Communications Systems provides the Internet service.

Sponsors of Gavel to Gavel Alaska include AARP, the Association of Alaska School Boards, The Alaska Committee, the Alaska Conference of Mayors, the Alaska Cruise Association, the Alaska Power Association, the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, Alaska USA, the Alaska State Employees Association, AT&T Alaska, BP, Bartlett Regional Hospital, Conoco-Phillips, IBEW Local 1547, the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, NEA-Alaska, the University of Alaska Anchorage and Wostmann and Associates.

General manager Bill Legere called the project "an important link between citizens and their government."  He said, "For sixteen years, Alaskans have been able to watch their government at work in Juneau, and both lawmakers and the public have praised the project.  We're pleased that the coverage will once again reach almost every Alaska resident via TV and the Internet."

Local broadcast, cable and satellite channel information is available online at
http://www.360north.org/wheretowatch.php

For more information or radio interviews, contact Bill Legere at 907-586-1670 or bill@ktoo.org

ACTION ALERT
Attend and Testify at Hearings Tonight in Anchorage, 6-9 pm

Oppose Excessive Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for Cook Inlet Beluga Whales

Please testify Friday in Anchorage opposing the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) proposal to designate more than 3,000 square miles of Cook Inlet as critical habitat for the beluga whales.

Testimony Limited to 3 minutes

Anchorage: Friday, February 12, 2010
between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm
at the Loussac Public Library, Wilda Marston Room

For those unable to attend the hearings, please submit comments by March 3.

Encourage NMFS to exclude the entire Cook Inlet from critical habitat.  In your comments, please be sure to explain the economic effect critical habitat designation would have on you or your activities in the Inlet.

For a detailed action alert, including points to include in your letters and testimony, please visit:
http://akrdc.org/alerts/2010/belugawhalecriticalhabitat.html

Submit written comments to:
Kaja Brix, Assistant Regional Administrator,
Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region NMFS,
Attn: Ellen Sebastian.

Identify your comments with 'RIN 0648-XT72' and submit by any of the following methods:

Electronic: Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site ­ Regulations.gov

Mail: Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802

FAX: 907-586-7557

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