Begich brings in $1.3 million in the latest fundraising quarter: Alaska Sen. Mark Begich brought in $1.3 million in the fundraising quarter that ended in June, a slight bump up from the $1.1 million raised during the previous quarter. Campaigns have until July 15 to turn their contribution reports in to the Federal Elections Commission, but the Begich campaign released some early numbers on Thursday. National groups and donors have dumped millions of dollars into the U.S. Senate race, with Alaska considered a battleground state as Republicans and Democrats vie for control. The money raised by Begich is slightly less than the $1.4 million raised during the previous quarter by former attorney general Dan Sullivan, the fundraising leader in the Republican primary. Begich spent $1.9 million in the current quarter. He has $2.2 million cash on hand. More than 5,000 Alaskans have donated to Begich in this campaign cycle, beating the number of Alaskans who gave for his 2008 win, said Max Croes, a spokesman for the Begich campaign.
Woman killed in Seward Highway rollover: A 34-year-old Wasilla woman was killed Wednesday night in a single-vehicle rollover crash on the Seward Highway, Alaska State Troopers said. Authorities responded to a report of a crash near Mile 88 just southeast of Girdwood at 10:19 p.m. Wednesday. An investigation found that a man and a woman were traveling north in a Chevrolet van when the van crossed the southbound lane and hit a guardrail, troopers wrote in a Thursday dispatch. The vehicle overturned and landed in the middle of the road, troopers said. The woman, Margie Thompson, was ejected, and then the van fell on her, troopers said. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The other person in the van, identified as 42-year-old John William Martin of Anchorage, was taken to Alaska Native Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. Neither person appears to have been wearing a seat belt, Peters said. The cause and circumstances of the crash are under investigation.
Alaska's ability to pay down pension deficits unique: Despite the state’s oil wealth, Alaska in 2012 had one of the lowest levels of pension funding, with just 59.2 percent of its future pension liabilities covered, according to a report from Bloomberg on the state’s decision to tap a budget reserve account to pay down some of those costs. The move is aimed at keeping the state’s top credit rating, Gov. Sean Parnell said. Other states with large gaps, such as Illinois -- the lowest at 40.4 percent -- have seen such gaps affect their credit rating, the Bloomberg piece notes. While Alaska is like other states in struggling with pension obligations, the piece notes, the state’s oil trust funds -- and their growth through investment earnings -- make it unique: “I am not aware of a state that has dipped into reserve like this, at least in a substantial way like this, to pay down an unfunded liability,” one observer told the wire service.
Alaska Airlines gets more generous overhead bins: Passengers on some of Alaska Airlines planes will see quite a bit more room in overhead compartments, according to a report in the Puget Sound Business Journal. The airline told the business newspaper that it’s the first to employ Boeing’s “Space Bins,” a redesigned overhead bin system that will increase space by 48 percent. The system is in place on the airline’s Boeing 737-900ER aircraft.