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Devin Kelly

The Anchorage Assembly passed a final version of the municipality’s 2015 budget in a relatively smooth two-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon.

At about $472 million, the budget adopted unanimously by the 11 Assembly members was about $2.6 million larger than Mayor Dan Sullivan’s original proposal in October. In the last month and a half, the mayor has made amendments that include adding positions in several departments to help with implementation of the city's SAP software project...

Devin Kelly

A man whose body was found under a South Anchorage bridge earlier this month was identified Wednesday as 62-year-old Donald Eugene Lentz of Anchorage.

In an emailed statement, police described Lentz as homeless. Lentz was found dead near the underpass by Dimond and Arctic boulevards just after 5 p.m. on Nov. 15, and it appeared he had been living outside in the area, the statement said.

Police said there were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play. A cause of death was not immediately released.

Devin Kelly

The Anchorage Assembly is poised to approve the municipality’s 2015 budget at a special four-hour meeting Wednesday.

Mayor Dan Sullivan released his administration’s proposed budget in early October. The most recent version, released late Tuesday afternoon, incorporates a series of his own amendments as well as several proposed by Assembly members. Those include $200,000 to prevent cuts in People Mover service and $72,000 to increase broadband services for the Anchorage Public Library.

The Sullivan administration is also proposing a 3 percent increase in executive compensation...

Devin Kelly

A group formed through Anchorage Economic Development Corp.’s Live. Work. Play. initiative is preparing to release its first recommendations on how to address the city’s housing shortage, the latest step in a broad effort to tackle what is widely recognized as a housing production problem in the Anchorage Bowl.

A survey of Anchorage employers has already been completed, and until Jan. 2, the group is surveying employees, asking about housing costs and needs. The group expects to begin releasing findings later in January, Bill Popp, executive director of AEDC, said in an interview last week...

Devin Kelly

In June, the struggling downtown Anchorage nightclub Platinum Jaxx vacated its two-story building on the corner of West Sixth Avenue and I Street. The building has sat empty since.

A joint lounge and restaurant operation, the LED Ultra Lounge and the Tri-Grill Restaurant, is now poised to move in. Owner and longtime Anchorage businessman Robert Alexander says he envisions creating a nighttime environment akin to Humpy’s Bar and Grill, with live music, dancing, drinks and full lunch and dinner menus...

Devin Kelly

Anchorage: If you thought election season was comfortably past us, think again. The race to elect the city’s next mayor is only just beginning.

Assembly member Amy Demboski of Chugiak-Eagle River, who has declared her candidacy , held her first campaign fundraiser Thursday night at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Anchorage. Several dozen people, including Assembly member Bill Evans of South Anchorage and Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, ate spring rolls and picked up bright yellow buttons, stickers and yard signs that read, “Amy Demboski -- Mayor.”...

Devin Kelly

Assembly member Amy Demboski is trying to make Anchorage the second municipality in Alaska to get rid of registration fees for old vehicles and trailers.

Demboski introduced a proposal at Tuesday’s Assembly meeting that would opt Anchorage into a statewide program to waive biennial registration taxes and fees for owners of noncommercial trailers or vehicles that are at least 8 years old.

“The purpose is to eliminate needless re-registrations of personal-use vehicles, lower registration costs and create efficiencies within DMV,” Demboski wrote in a memo accompanying the proposal...

Devin Kelly

The first major overhaul of city towing laws in decades passed unanimously through the Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night.

Assembly members Dick Traini and Paul Honeman in October proposed a wide-ranging set of changes , the culmination of efforts to crack down on steep impound fees and what they called predatory practices in “non-consensual” tows.

In the weeks since, the Assembly has heard testimony from members of the towing industry unhappy with various provisions of the law, including extended business hour requirements, new on-scene release policies and a $225 cap on all non-consensual impounds...

Devin Kelly

A code enforcement officer tasked with regulating taxis and other private for-hire vehicles in Anchorage recently resigned after just four months on the job, deterred by what officials described as a tough work environment on the night shift.

With the departure, Anchorage’s transportation inspector, Eric Musser, is scrambling to fill a full-time position created through the major 2013 rewrite of laws regulating Anchorage's private for-hire transit industry. It takes about three months to complete the training to be a code enforcement officer responsible for enforcing elements of the new Title 11, such as requiring video cameras inside taxicabs...

Devin Kelly

Kids wriggled on the floor and first-graders wore paper “USA” hats at Tyson Elementary School in Mountain View during a Veterans Day assembly earlier this month.

As a high-pitched chorus of “America the Beautiful” reached a crescendo, Kirsten Swann went up on her heels. She lifted her camera high in the air to snap a photo. Then she melted back against the auditorium wall.

“Taking pictures is still the hardest part of this,” whispered Swann, the creator, editor and only staffer at Mountain View Post , a hyperlocal news venture that focuses solely on the Northeast Anchorage neighborhood...

Devin Kelly