Friday, June 26, 2020
Tens of thousands of Alaskans have lost income and jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are struggling to come up with rent or mortgage payments, help is available.

Today is the deadline to apply for housing relief through a program run by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

Apply before midnight tonight online or by texting RELIEF to (833) 440-0420.

  • The grants of up to $1,200 will be determined by a lottery.
  • Payments will be made directly to landlords or mortgage lenders.
  • AHFC anticipates giving out over 8,000 grants.
  • The grants will come out of the $10 million in CARES Act funding given to AHFC.

Applicants must have lost income due to COVID-19 and be earning less than 80% of median income for their community.
The process to vote by mail is now a little easier in Alaska. On Wednesday, the Alaska Division of Elections opened up an online portal that allows Alaskans to request an absentee ballot for this year's elections. Previously, voters had to mail, fax, or email an application to the Division of Elections.

The Online Absentee Ballot Application System uses driver's license or state ID card information to allow you to request absentee ballots. If you don't have a driver's license or state ID, you can still apply but you must use the paper form. The Online Absentee Ballot System can also be used to register to vote and to update voter registration information.

All absentee ballot applications are reviewed by the Alaska Division of Elections. You may check the status of your application at
The Alaska Division of Forestry needs your help to name the new mascot for the “Take Time to LEARN Before You Burn” program.

This new public information program came about as a way to inform Alaskans about updated penalties for burning offenses that went into effect last year. The updated penalties were authorized through the passage of House Bill 355 in 2018. I co-sponsored the bill, which was one of the last pieces of legislation passed by my friend David Guttenberg before his retirement from the Alaska House of Representatives.

The “Take Time to LEARN Before You Burn” program mascot is a moose but he or she doesn't yet have a name. That's where you come in. Email your suggested name to or submit names online at The deadline is September 1.

The Division of Forestry will post the top five entries on its Facebook page in September and the winner will be announced on October 1.