Rep. Don Young

Rep. Don Young was among 13 House Republicans to support an infrastructure package that will bring billions of dollars in new capital projects to Alaska. 

The Dean may have crossed the Donald when he voted for an infrastructure bill that has President Biden’s support.

A marathon fundraiser reaps donations for the University of Alaska. And Fairbanks is about to open the city’s first veterans court.

There’s more in “Five Things to Know.”

Rep. Young’s vote crosses Trump

Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving member of Congress, is being called to task by Donald Trump, who heads a short list of modern presidents denied a second term.

The former commander in chief castigated the 13 Republican House members, including Young, who voted to support the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

Trump was speaking at a national Republican Congressional Committee dinner Monday when he made the remarks. He called them RINOS, Republicans in name only.

Some GOP lawmakers who are Trump loyalists have also publicly criticized their colleagues in Congress for the vote. The bill, which Sen. Lisa Murkowski carried, is expected to bring billions of dollars in capital projects to Alaska. Murkowski thanked Young for using his influence in the House to gather support.

The legislation will fund projects for roads, highways, bridges, clean energy, and high-speed broadband internet.

Young expressed confidence in the package and what it means for Alaska. “Inaction on infrastructure risks our nation’s fundamental economic independence and strength,” Young said.

Forty-nine hours, $1 million

A whirlwind University of Alaska online fundraiser pulled in more than $1 million from 1,600 alumni, community members, corporate partners and others.

UA announced the results of the annual Giving Day, which topped last year’s donations. In 2020, UA Giving Day raised $670,000 from more than 1,100 donors.

UA Giving Day is a marathon event that runs for just 49 hours. Contributions are designated for specific programs, scholarships or research programs, according to a UA press release.

UA Giving Day is a joint effort of the University of Alaska Foundation and the universities in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Southeast. 

Veterans Court in Fairbanks

The Alaska Court System is planning a veterans court for Fairbanks, based on the successful model of the Anchorage Veterans Court.

Stakeholders are working on the Fairbanks Veterans Court to serve vets across the Interior. The court is expected to start accepting referrals in January 2022.

The Anchorage Veterans Court, which launched in 2004, accepts veterans who have criminal charges and are eligible for VA benefits. Participating veterans may receive services that include substance abuse treatment, mental health care, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

The prosecutor’s office, Veterans Administration and the Veterans Court judge must all agree first that a case qualifies for the court to consider.

“The court collaborates closely with the Veterans Administration to identify eligible candidates and monitor their progress through the program,” according to a prepared statement.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that there are more than 350 veterans treatment courts across the nation.

Greener strategies for militaries

British researchers are calling for a global effort to collect carbon emissions data from militaries across the globe, Stars and Stripes reported.

Researchers at Durham and Lancaster universities say that the voluntary emissions reporting by militaries could yield greener strategies in weapons development and operations.

Military forces are estimated to be a major institutional contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.

Global emissions reporting by militaries are made to the United Nations but few nations choose to participate, the military news service said.

Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Norway and Slovakia follow the voluntary reporting standards. But even among the militaries that do report, there are no uniform standards for tallying greenhouse gas emissions.

$10 million reward offered to nab hackers

The U.S. State Department is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on the location or identity of the criminals who hacked the online systems at Colonial Pipeline.

It has been more than six months since the East Coast oil pipeline was temporarily shut down in a cyber attack. The Russian-speaking criminals demanded a ransom payment in cryptocurrency. The pipeline company paid the hackers $4.4 million to unlock its encrypted computers.

The Justice Department later recovered a portion of the ransom money, seizing cryptocurrency assets.

The Justice Department is urging Congress to create standards for reporting cyber incidents, including mandated information sharing with investigators.

Contact Linda F. Hersey at 907-459-7575 or at lhersey@newsminer.com. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.

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