Anchorage Update
  June / 2011


Mayor Dan Sullivan

It's finally summertime, and we're already hard at work thinking ahead to next year and what issues should be a priority. One subject I've decided to tackle is how to improve education in Anchorage. The school district is well-funded and has beautiful facilities, but it's worth exploring whether we can make changes to how we educate our kids to better prepare them for the workplace. We're also following up on our promise to clear out illegal homeless camps, and our Parks & Rec Department is always looking for volunteers to beautify one of the 223 local parks located within the Municipality. As always, send your thoughts to me at or follow me on facebook or twitter.


Mayor's Education Summit aims to improve Anchorage student outcomes


Last week, I announced my Mayor's Education Summit. Scheduled to begin in November, the Summit will kick off with a two-day event in which up to 100 civic leaders will explore significant innovations, challenging ideas, and education reforms from jurisdictions around the world.


Participants will include key education policy members and stakeholders from business, labor, alternative schools, and parents. 


My reason for launching the initiative was primarily to identify how to improve student performance for all students in Anchorage public schools. Anchorage's cost per student is high and its school facilities are of high quality, yet too many of Anchorage's students are graduating without the necessary skills to assume entry-level jobs.


I also wanted to explore the key questions: Are we the best school district in the country?, If not, do we want to be? I'm hoping all agree the answer is yes, so how do we get there? These questions will be explored in-depth at the Summit, and I'm eager to hear the discussion.


The reform initiative will proceed in three steps:

  1. A two-day Summit Nov. 15-16 involving the aforementioned 100 civic leaders and experts in reform efforts from which several options will be developed.
  2. A series of community conversations held in January/February 2012 with the public examining their views and values on the options developed at the summit as well as their own ideas.
  3. A capstone Summit next April/May 2012 in which leaders from the initial Summit and some of the citizens from the community conversations review citizens' comments and use them to develop recommendations for reforms to K-12 education in Anchorage.    


Read more.
Station 6
Rep. Pete Petersen, Assembly member Elvi Gray-Jackson, Sen. Bill Wielechowski, Mayor Dan Sullivan and Chief Mark Hall break ground for the new Fire Station 6 in East Anchorage.

Police begin dismantling illegal homeless camps across Anchorage


The proliferation of illegal camps within the Municipality of Anchorage's parks and greenbelts has been a challenge for us for some time. Last year, a lawsuit filed by the ACLU essentially prevented us from clearing out camps, and neighbors from across the city gave us an earful. This year, we've worked out the kinks with our ordinance, and we're committed to clearing out these illegal camps. Required notice was provided to illegal campers, and they were given 15 days to move their belongings and leave the area. This week, APD will return to the noticed areas and clear out the camps.


Social service providers will be on hand during the abatement process to see what services might be needed to help these people escape their current situation, whether it be unemployment, substance abuse, mental illness, or other social issues. The goal is to make our public spaces clean and safe for everyone while attempting to provide meaningful assistance to the illegal campers.

Commissioner William Streur, Mayor Dan Sullivan and Diane Kaplan with the Rasmuson Foundation sign the beam at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

Options abound for managing summertime yard waste 

Cleaning up your yard can generate a lot of brush, grass and leaves.  Before you throw it all in the trash, here are some options for recycling your yard waste: Leave it on the lawn, Compost on site, or Take materials to a composting facility, recycling facility, or wood lot. Learn more, here

Adopt-A-Park program improves local trails and parks


Volunteers are the heartbeat of Anchorage's 223 parks, 82 playgrounds and 250 miles of trails and greenbelts that link neighborhoods and open space areas.


I'd like to introduce you to the Adopt-A-Park Program. The unique program was designed to improve and enhance Anchorage parks and trails through community involvement and citizen partnerships. By participating, neighborhood organizations, civic and church groups, scout troops, businesses, schools, families and individuals can take an active role beautifying Anchorage's park and greenbelt system.  Read more.

1st Pitch
Mayor Sullivan throws out the first pitch to kick off the Nunaka Valley Little League's 2011 season.

Anchorage firefighters remind citizens: fireworks are still illegal


Despite the Anchorage Assembly's decision to legalize fireworks for a few hours on New Year's Eve, fireworks remain illegal within the Municipality of Anchorage the rest of the year, especially during the summer months when dead trees and underbrush are dry and extremely flammable. Police will give citations to citizens using fireworks, and tickets can cost up to $300. It's also worth mentioning that citizens who intentionally or accidentally cause a wildfire can be held liable for damages that can easily amount into the millions of dollars.


Sir Nigel

Mayor Sullivan and Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the British Ambassador to the U.S.

Anchorage to welcome scores of foreign ambassadors from across the globe


Ambassadors from countries around the world will descend upon Anchorage later this month to get to know Alaska's unique culture and economy while also enjoying some of the state's popular tourist attractions.

The trip will include three days and four nights, with visits to Anchorage, oil fields on the North Slope and a possible stopover in Barrow among other activities.

Anchorage is proud to serve as "home base" for this trip because it provides many opportunities for our local business community. The results of this program could be new education exchange programs and research projects, new investment opportunities and business relationships, and a deeper cross-cultural understanding. For my part, I'll host an International Breakfast with the Chamber of Commerce on the first day of the group's tour. Read more.

Public Transit encourages commuters to "Dump the Pump" next Thursday


With the return of sky high gas prices, People Mover announces that it will join with other public transportation systems nationwide to participate in the sixth annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thurs., June 16. The slogan of this year's promotion is "Dump the Pump. Save Money. Ride Transit."  


Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) the 2011 National Dump the Pump Day is a day that encourages people to ride public transportation and save money, instead of driving a car. Started in June 2006 when gas prices were $3 per gallon, this national day emphasizes that public transportation is a great travel option that also helps people save money.   Read more.



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Issue: 23
Cindy Holdal Just

Mayor's Photo Contest

Please submit your best Anchorage photos to my Facebook Page to be featured in the Newsletter.  This week's winner is:

Cindy Holdal Just (above)

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Mayor's Calendar

  • June 9

    Alaska Botanical Gardern Midsummer Gala

  • June 14

    Regular Assembly


  • June 16

    Alaska Zoo's "Feast for the Beasts"

  • June 17-19

    U.S. Conference of Mayors

  • June 22

    International Breakfast with U.S. Ambassadors

Official Newsletter of the Municipality of Anchorage
632 West 6th Avenue, Anchorage Alaska 99501