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    Google News / 16.01.2018 16:13
  • Gloves, laptops, robotic kits: How Alaska teachers are turning to crowdfunding to get classroom gearGloves, laptops, robotic kits: How Alaska teachers are turning to crowdfunding to get classroom gear

    At Nome Elementary School in Western Alaska, Emily Stotts' students go outside for recess until the temperature drops below negative-20 degrees.Her students have to wear winter gear, and Stotts noticed in fall of 2016 that most often they didn't have gloves.So she logged on to DonorsChoose.org, a nationwide crowdfunding network for public school teachers.Within just three days, two people from Alaska and one from North Carolina donated $193 through the website, sending 13 new pairs of waterproof gloves to Stotts' classroom."It's a dream," she said of the crowdfunding website.Over the past decade, the amount of money Alaska teachers have raised for classroom supplies through DonorsChoose rose from $3,300 in 2007 to $437,100 last year. For some teachers, it's increasingly becoming their go-to way to fill funding gaps in the state's cash-strapped school districts."When the economy fell, we certainly felt that in the classroom," said Gerald Tennyson, a teacher at College Gate Elementary School in Anchorage. "There's no outlet available to get some of the stuff we need without either buying it ourselves or finding an outside source, so thank goodness DonorsChoose came through."In total, 1,172 teachers in Alaska have received about $2.1 million in classroom supplies through DonorsChoose over the past 10 years, according to the crowdfunding website.As of last week, Alaska teachers had 106 active projects posted on the website. The requests ranged from construction paper to laptops to sewing kits to books to slow cookers.Stotts is currently asking for colored tables and organizational bins.Since she started using the website in 2015, she estimated that donors — many of whom she doesn't know — have contributed at least $3,000 in supplies to her classroom, including an iPad app that helps with handwriting; magnifying glasses; and bean bag chairs.Stotts said while the school district provides most of the basics, such as textbooks, there's not much money leftover for extras.She said that, like many teachers, she invests hundreds of dollars into her classroom each year, but she can't afford all that she needs. She doesn't want to ask her students' families for donations and likes that DonorsChoose allows her to pitch a project to the country and see who can chip in."I would say 80 percent of my class is living at poverty level and I don't want my students to go home and ask, 'Can we give my class money?'" Stotts said.At College Gate, Tennyson has had about than 60 projects funded through DonorsChoose. College Gate is one of 37 Anchorage schools where every child eats free as part of a federal program for schools with low-income students.Tennyson said he started using the website about four years ago. His classroom needed dictionaries, he said. "There was no way I could get them through the district and I couldn't afford to buy them myself."Within two weeks, a collection of individuals and businesses had funded his project.Since then, Tennyson has raised money for an array of classroom items, including laptops, books, DVDs and magazine subscriptions. He has also raised money for sweatshirts, jackets, hats and gloves for his sixth-grade students, as well as more than $500 in deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, washcloths, combs and soap that they can take home.To start a fundraising campaign on DonorsChoose, Tennyson said, teachers must submit information about their project and why it's needed. The projects are vetted by website staff and if approved, posted online, said Chris Pearsall, the vice president of brand and communications for DonorsChoose.Anyone can go to the website, browse the projects and donate. Each donation automatically includes a 15 percent cut for DonorsChoose. Pearsall said that contribution to the nonprofit is optional and donors can shrink or eliminate it at the online checkout.Once a project is funded, the website sends the items directly to the teacher's classroom.College Gate Principal Darrell Berntsen said he wishes more teachers used the crowdfunding website. Only a few teachers do, he said, and they seem to have gotten a lot of new items for their classrooms, sometimes creating a case of the "haves and the have nots" in the school."I wish more people would know that this is a great opportunity for them," he said. "People need to understand that it's not a tedious process."Across Alaska, 341 classroom teachers — or about 4 percent — had at least one project funded through DonorsChoose last school year, up from 41 teachers in 2010-11.Tim Parker, president of Alaska's National Education Association teachers union, said he has noticed more teachers using crowdfunding platforms like DonorsChoose, especially in lower-income areas that don't have strong parent-teacher associations or other fundraising groups.But he said he didn't think teachers should have to become "part-time fundraisers" so they can have what they need in their classrooms."The lack of resources is a problem that we're all facing as educators. And I think it's kind of sad that teachers are in a position where there's not enough funding and instead of planning a really good lesson at 8 o'clock at night they're going on DonorsChoose and spending time going out and trying to raise money," he said. "I think the better way to do it would be to adequately fund education."Teachers across Alaska are using crowdfunding for anything from glue sticks to laptops to gardening kits.At Tetlin School in Interior Alaska, principal and teacher Robert Litwak said he mostly uses DonorsChoose to augment his science program, fundraising for beakers, scales, molecule kits and robotics kits. They're supplies that people might see when they walk into classrooms at larger schools, but that are less affordable at a small schools, like his, with 26 students.In the tiny and remote community of Atka, in the Aleutians, principal and teacher Shilo McManus is fundraising for four tablets. There are just 10 students at Yakov E. Netsvetov School, she said, and she wanted something that they could all use to play educational games.Up north, at Ipalook Elementary School in Utqiagvik, first-grade teacher Megan Donnelly just had her most recent $399 project funded for flameless candles, board games, cookie baking packets and a child-safe oven.She wrote on her project's page that she wanted "to bring the Danish concept of Hygge to our classroom." (Hygge is the Danish word for cozy.) In Utqiagvik, the sun sets in mid-November and does not rise again until about two months later.Donnelly said she is trying to build a sense of community and warmth in her classroom during the dark winter days. She has also raised money on DonorsChoose for a sewing project, a candle making kit, an indoor garden and moor.With money tight in Alaska, she said, she is grateful she can look nationwide for additional help to fund student projects."It's really exciting to be supported in this way as a teacher," she said.

    AlaskaDispatch / 1 h. 59 min. ago more
  • Olympic gold medalist Biles says doctor sexually abused herOlympic gold medalist Biles says doctor sexually abused her

    Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles said on Monday she was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, the latest in a list of female athletes to accuse the doctor of misconduct.The 20-year-old American, who was a key member of the U.S. team that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, joins a number of top-level gymnasts who have accused Nassar of abuse, including Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney."I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar," Biles, 20, wrote in a letter posted on her Twitter account.Feelings... #MeToo pic.twitter.com/ICiu0FCa0n— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 15, 2018 "Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault."Nassar's attorney, Matt Newburg, said he had no comment on the latest allegations.Nassar was sentenced last month to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges and is set to be sentenced this week in Michigan after pleading guilty to additional counts of criminal sexual conduct related to allegations he assaulted girls under the guise of medical treatment."It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the 'special' treatment," Biles wrote."This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust."Biles, who won a record three successive world all around titles before winning four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said the alleged incidents left her broken and the more she tried to "shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams."She has been an elite gymnast since 2011 and after taking a break to enjoy life away from the gym, she is now training and planning to make her return at the U.S. Classic in late July with the goal of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work toward my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused," wrote Douglas.

    AlaskaDispatch / 6 h. 31 min. ago more
  • Senator optimistic for Alaska's outlook in 2018 - Kenai Peninsula OnlineSenator optimistic for Alaska's outlook in 2018 - Kenai Peninsula Online

    Kenai Peninsula OnlineSenator optimistic for Alaska's outlook in 2018Kenai Peninsula OnlineThe Alaska delegation has gained prominence in the last year. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the state's sole Congressman, was named the dean of the House of Representatives as its longest serving member after Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) resigned in ...Murkowski, Sullivan contend with less-Republican SenateAlaska Public Radio Networkall 4 news articles »

    Google News / 6 h. 45 min. ago more
  • Gloves, laptops and robotic kits: How Alaska teachers are turning to crowdfunding to get classroom gear - Alaska Dispatch NewsGloves, laptops and robotic kits: How Alaska teachers are turning to crowdfunding to get classroom gear - Alaska Dispatch News

    Alaska Dispatch NewsGloves, laptops and robotic kits: How Alaska teachers are turning to crowdfunding to get classroom gearAlaska Dispatch NewsCollege Gate Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Gerald Tennyson has used the DonorsChoose.org website to crowdfund items for his class, including notebook computers, books and clothing. (Marc Lester / ADN). Share on Facebook Facebook. Share on ...

    Google News / 7 h. 4 min. ago more
  • Use your head and wear a helmet next time you go ice skatingUse your head and wear a helmet next time you go ice skating

    The long holiday break quite literally came to a crashing halt as my head hit the ice on Cheney Lake with a sickening thud.It happened so fast. Five minutes earlier, my family and I were blissfully gliding around the oval with dozens of others taking advantage of an ideal winter afternoon. Then, thwack.I'm not a bad skater, but I don't get out on Alaska's frozen lakes and ponds as much as I'd like. That fact undoubtedly contributed to my left foot failing to negotiate a patch of lumpy ice and swinging one way while my right foot slid the other. Down I went, seeing the flying birds and stars and all the other cartoon images one visualizes when her cranium smashes against something solid.The emergency room nurses were sympathetic."You're not the first person we've seen today from ice skating," said the first, clicking a monitor on my forefinger. "Do you know where you are?""Do you know who the president is?" queried another, laughing when I asked him not to make me answer that.I fielded questions about past head injuries, medications, allergies and insurance.Nobody, though, asked me if I had been wearing a helmet.I hadn't. None of us had.Helmets are considered compulsory equipment for most outdoor activities these days. I remember a time when people looked oddly at those in helmets, as if they were somehow announcing an unspoken limitation.The past several years, however, have changed both attitudes and impressions due to undeniable evidence that traumatic brain injuries, whether mild, moderate or severe, can have lasting consequences, particularly if suffered more than once. I have worn a helmet for biking, skiing, ice climbing and river rafting. But not ice skating.Curious, I put out a crowd-sourcing inquiry on Facebook, asking parents if helmets were part of their gear for skate outings.Responses varied, from the "Always a helmet, all the time," to "Gee, I never really thought about that. I never wore one as a kid," or "I know how to fall."Rebecca Dotson of Eagle River said she and her daughter, 13, wear helmets when they skate."I realized to fully justify my request and go beyond the knee-jerk 'because I say so' statement, I also need to wear (a helmet)," she said in an email. "Our health and safety is important and to teach her that I need to model it for her."Dotson said safety is an unspoken mantra in her circle of family and friends when they ice skate, roller blade, climb or otherwise enjoy their outdoor adventures. But she fully concedes that the "ugly helmet" conversation was an initial barrier."I made sure it was a color and style that was appealing to take out that part of the argument," she said.I made a few trips to outdoor rinks popular with kids and adults, standing on the shoreline and counting helmeted heads. From a purely unscientific tally, I saw about half the skaters wearing helmets, kids included. I also saw a lot of spills, a few of which made me close my eyes with a too-soon recall of my own accident. And no wonder.Dr. Jennifer Lombrano, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with Alaska Trauma and Acute Care Surgery in Anchorage, gave me a quick tutorial about traumatic brain injuries while gently probing my jaw, which had also suffered in the fall. Lombrano trained with the U.S. Army and is a voice of experience when it comes to TBIs and their consequences."Your brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by fluid, which means it can move around inside your skull or bang against it, which is not good," she said.My CAT scan showed an enormous hematoma that still makes me wince. It hurts like heck on the outside, but the real trouble, Lombrano said, occurs on the inside, when axons, long extensions of nerve cells that bundle together and send messages telling our bodies to act and think, are damaged or destroyed.  Along with blood vessel damage, injury to axons is what leaves us with lingering symptoms.In children, this can manifest itself in different ways — headaches, dizziness, vomiting, blurry vision or extreme fatigue. With older kids, it's common to see irritability and other emotional reactions, including frustration with easy tasks."Helmets are always good," said Lombrano. "They may not prevent (a concussion) but definitely minimize it and definitely help prevent skull fractures and scalp lacerations."Any snow-sport helmet will do, as long as there is a chin strap to keep it on your head. Bicycle helmets also work but don't keep you warm and don't cover the entire head and ears.Thad Woodard, an Anchorage pediatrician, has seen his share of head injuries and offered some advice."If kids fall while skating and cry immediately, or get up and continue to act well after the fall, the likelihood of significant head injury is very low," he said.But, he said, monitor and pay attention to a worsening headache, weakness in a limb or the face, or unusual behavior. Some symptoms don't show up for 24 to 72 hours after an injury.An estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year, according to the Brain Injury Research Institute.I'm one of the lucky ones; my symptoms lessen a bit each day. And a helmet has now joined my skates in the gear bag — for when I'm allowed on the ice again.To learn moreFor more information about traumatic brain injuries and concussions, check the websites for the Sports Concussion Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Erin Kirkland is author of the Alaska On the Go guidebook series and publisher of AKontheGO.com, a family travel and recreation resource.

    AlaskaDispatch / 7 h. 6 min. ago more
  • Skating party celebrates new East Anchorage parkSkating party celebrates new East Anchorage park

    Ice skaters filled the new skating ribbon at Chanshtnu Muldoon Park on Monday afternoon, celebration the near-completion of the park's first phase of construction. It's a park decades in the making, said former Northeast Community Council Member Ainslie Phillips."It was my dream back in 1997," Phillips said Monday after she slide around the oval as Don Wood pushed her walker. She said she remembers when the land, just southeast of the intersection of Debarr Road and Muldoon Road, attracted trash and crime. She envisioned a place where kids could connect to being outside."This just warms my heart to see my dream come true on Martin Luther King Day," she said.On Monday, dozens of ice skaters joined many UAA hockey players for a soft opening event. In a brief game Monday, the Seawolves divided into teams and tried to score at either end of the unique surface, which is C-shaped with loops at both ends. Afterward, the public joined them on the ice.Watch the Seawolves in action and hear about what's coming to Chanshtnu Muldoon Park from planner Kristi Wood in this video.

    AlaskaDispatch / 7 h. 11 min. ago more
  • Seawolf Athletics keep busy over winter breakSeawolf Athletics keep busy over winter break

    With the majority of UAA's athletic teams now in season, the athletes kept busy with games, meets, training and traveling.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 2 min. ago
  • Swing by the Anchorage Folk FestivalSwing by the Anchorage Folk Festival

    This year’s schedule packs in over 140 local acts and 40 workshops, with topics ranging from juggling, to Zen of music theory, to swing dancing. Each week of the festival also features a special guest artist.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 4 min. ago
  • Anchorage police seek 2 in connection with fatal weekend shootingAnchorage police seek 2 in connection with fatal weekend shooting

    Anchorage police say they are looking for two men who they suspect have information related to the killing of Kortez Brown.Detectives are calling Aarron Settje and Carlton Tarkington "persons of interest" in the homicide.Brown was shot Saturday night in an apartment on East 36th Avenue and taken to the hospital. He died Sunday, said Nora Morse, Anchorage police spokeswoman. Police don't believe the killing was random, she said.[3 wounded in East Anchorage shooting, police say]Settje and Tarkington also are wanted on unrelated felony warrants, police said.Anyone with information can call police at 907-786-8900 or to stay anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP.The Saturday shooting is unrelated to a Sunday incident, also on the east side of town, in which three adult men were shot on the 300 block of Bolen Street, east of Muldoon Road, according to Anchorage police. Police believe the Sunday shootings were drug-related and not random.The three people are all expected to survive, and police are focusing on what happened between them, Morse said.

    AlaskaDispatch / 9 h. 7 min. ago more
  • Get off the couch!Get off the couch!

    Start the semester off right with concerts, talks and new hobbies.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 7 min. ago
  • Christopher Sweeney: A legacy to be celebratedChristopher Sweeney: A legacy to be celebrated

    The celebration of life for Christopher Sweeney, former associate professor of music and chair of the department, begins at 4 p.m. Jan. 28 in the UAA Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building Room 150.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 9 min. ago
  • Voodoo Jams create spirited spreadsVoodoo Jams create spirited spreads

    "We had a couple of great weekends of making boozy jams in her kitchen. Along the way, I called her up at one point and said, 'Hey, I think we might be on to something here,'" said Noelle Hardt, co-founder of Voodoo Jams.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 11 min. ago
  • A taste of Mars on Earth: UAA Robotics clubA taste of Mars on Earth: UAA Robotics club

    The UAA Robotics club is working to finish the Iceberg 2, their entry to the University Rover Challenge.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 15 min. ago
  • Digital money with real effects and risksDigital money with real effects and risks

    While mistaken money transfers or purchases can be handled by a phone call to the bank, it's not the same case for using cryptocurrency.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 18 min. ago
  • Gridlock in Juneau? Not if Alaska legislators and lobbyists can’t get their cars thereGridlock in Juneau? Not if Alaska legislators and lobbyists can’t get their cars there

    JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature's annual session in Juneau usually brings plenty of brinksmanship and excitement. But participants have to get there first.A handful of state legislators and lobbyists were reminded this week of just how treacherous it can be to get to Alaska's capital — surrounded by rainforest with boats and planes the only way in.Icy roads on the final stretch of the 750 miles between Anchorage and Southeast Alaska prompted two legislators to drive in a bipartisan caravan over one mountain pass just before it closed.And the subsequent closures of both highways into Southeast Alaska left a pair of lobbyists stranded in the Yukon.One of them, John Bitney, said he spent Sunday night at a motel in Haines Junction, population 600 — the last stop in Canada before a final 150-mile stretch to Haines, Alaska, where he had been planning to catch his ferry to Juneau.The road over the border to Alaska was closed because of what one U.S. Customs and Border Protection official described as "raining on ice" — which meant Bitney missed both Sunday's and Monday's ferries to Juneau.The next one isn't until Friday, so he consoled himself in his motel room with television, which he doesn't have at home."I watched Hot Tub Time Machine, unedited," Bitney said. "It's my God-given Canadian vacation."Road to Haines - closedRoad to AK Border - closedRoad to Skagway- closed Enjoying #Canada hospitality #akleg— John W. Bitney (@JohnBitney) January 15, 2018 By Monday afternoon — the day before the Legislature gavels in — Bitney had been joined by John Harris, the former House speaker who's also a lobbyist now.Harris spent six hours Sunday night marooned on the Glenn Highway outside of Glenallen, after his Kia Soul couldn't get him over one especially steep and slick hill. When a plow finally came by, he hustled to get to his ferry in Haines, only, like Bitney, to find the road closed in Haines Junction.What did that feel like?"You can't print what I thought," Harris quipped. "I'd made it here in time to make it all the way to Haines and catch the ferry. But now it doesn't make any difference."Anchorage Democratic Rep. Geran Tarr and North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill, meanwhile, were both settling into their Capitol offices Monday after a hair-raising drive.Tarr left Anchorage on Friday. She was slowed by gusty winds Saturday and didn't leave Haines Junction until Sunday morning, when she tried to drive the 150 miles over the pass to Haines amid freezing rain.She made it about halfway before her car started "hydroplaning," she said. A few minutes later, a Canadian sand truck came by going the other direction, which she followed for three miles — in reverse.After four hours of tea and conversation at a maintenance station, Tarr drove back to Haines Junction, where she faced the unpalatable prospect of a 600-mile drive back to Anchorage and a flight to Juneau.At the gas station, she found Coghill, the North Pole Republican senator, with a similar dilemma.Instead of driving home, they decided to try to drive over a different pass that would take them to Skagway, another Southeast Alaska town with a ferry terminal.Tarr, in her Ford Escape, led Coghill, his Chevrolet pickup, on the stressful drive. The Canadian government, Coghill said, shut down the highway right behind them."It was so warm the water was literally running across the ice on the road," Coghill said. "There were a few places where you could feel the car just slide, and so you just drove with enough momentum that you went over some of those patches. It was intense."The two lawmakers spent Sunday night in Skagway before catching a flight to Juneau the next morning to make meetings. Their cars would arrive on the ferry early Tuesday morning.Lobbyists Bitney and Harris, meanwhile, could be stranded for a full work week before catching Friday's ferry to Juneau.Harris was philosophical, saying he'd get some quality time with Bitney, who worked for Harris when he was House speaker.Over his career, Harris said, "I've had gorgeous trips and I've had trips from hell.""We're just going to hang out, probably tell war stories, lie to each other a lot. What else can you do in Haines Junction?" he said. "I don't think it's a hotbed for entertainment."

    AlaskaDispatch / 9 h. 21 min. ago more
  • YouTube star faces backlash, criticism after uploading controversial videoYouTube star faces backlash, criticism after uploading controversial video

    Logan Paul apologizes for footage of his trip to Japan showing dead body

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 26 min. ago
  • Completion degrees meld UAA history as university and community collegeCompletion degrees meld UAA history as university and community college

    “This degree is perfect for a certain population of students,” Brekke said. “If you are an associate's degree student and you want to get your leadership skills without losing all the credits towards your major, this is the perfect degree.”

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 33 min. ago
  • University considers implementing refresher trainingUniversity considers implementing refresher training

    “We don’t want to, just every year, have people do exactly the same thing, exactly the same training,” Kamahele said.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 41 min. ago
  • Gridlock in Juneau? Not if Alaska legislators and lobbyists can't get their cars there - Alaska Dispatch NewsGridlock in Juneau? Not if Alaska legislators and lobbyists can't get their cars there - Alaska Dispatch News

    Alaska Dispatch NewsGridlock in Juneau? Not if Alaska legislators and lobbyists can't get their cars thereAlaska Dispatch NewsOne of them, John Bitney, said he spent Sunday night at a motel in Haines Junction, population 600 — the last stop in Canada before a final 150-mile stretch to Haines, Alaska, where he had been planning to catch his ferry to Juneau. The road over the ...

    Google News / 9 h. 42 min. ago more
  • Implementation of UAA 2020 goals continuesImplementation of UAA 2020 goals continues

    The 2020 initiative is replacing UAA 2017, the university’s previous 10-year plan.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 43 min. ago
  • Seawolf gymnasts debut 2018 seasonSeawolf gymnasts debut 2018 season

    Having only one unofficial meet prior, UAA competed in their first regular season meet against Cortland.

    The Northern Light / 9 h. 46 min. ago
  • Nominees for vacant House seat meet with Walker, describe qualificationsNominees for vacant House seat meet with Walker, describe qualifications

    The seal of the state of Alaska in the governor’s temporary offices in Juneau, June 19, 2016. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO) Gov. Bill Walker met Monday with the three nominees for the now vacant District 40 seat for the Alaska House. The district covers the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs and is open because former Rep. Dean Westlake resigned after allegations of sexual harassment. Walker may make a decision soon. Listen now Two of the nominees, Sandy Shroyer-Beaver and Eugene Smith, have years of experience on Kotzebue’s city council. The other, Leanna Mack of Utqiagvik, said her community involvement makes up for her relative lack of political experience. Shroyer-Beaver said her more than 30 years in politics have prepared her. She has served on city council and the school board and worked with regional tribal organization Maniilaq Association. “I’m just a normal person,” she said. “I’m from Kotzebue. I wasn’t born there, but I was raised there. I lived there my whole life. I’m a mom. I have five children. I have four grandchildren. I work with kids. I’ve loved that for years. I worked for Maniilaq in the foster care program. Everybody knows me in our region.” Shroyer-Beaver said she’d like to increase public safety in rural Alaska, including in North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs. She also said she’d focus on education and protecting Alaska Permanent Fund dividends. “We have people who are counting on these funds they get every year because we have a shortage of employment opportunities,” she said. Both Shroyer-Beaver and Smith are on Kotzebue’s city council. Eugene Smith also has decades of experience in the city’s politics and has served as the mayor and with Maniilaq Association. “Well, I’ve been on city council for 21 years straight and took a hiatus and now I’m back on the council,” she said. “I’ve also got tons of management experience, being the CIO (chief information officer) for the health corporation for many years, so I do understand budgeting.” Smith said he would listen to constituents to determine his priorities. He said he would work closely with the mostly Democratic House majority on a plan to close the multibillion dollar state budget deficit. “It makes a lot of sense to look at all the means possible to trying to resolve the state’s situation,” she said. “I just believe by working together, you know, in a nonpartisan way, I think that we can solve this problem.” Leanna Mack is the only nominee who hasn’t served in political office. She’s the deputy adviser to North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower, focused on regulations that affect borough residents. Mack doesn’t feel that drawing from permanent fund earnings will solve the state’s budget problem. “I think that’s just a short-term solution and a long-term solution needs to be looked at, as well as all the other industries that are in Alaska and that are starting to ramp up,” she said. Mack also has worked as a volunteer in the community. She works with local cheerleaders. And she’s become heavily involved in suicide prevention since the death of her brother’s best friend. “The last several years, we’ve had the largest team during the community walks and we’ve also been the top fundraisers for the community walks,” she said. “And I think it’s another way for all of us to get together and catch up with one another, as well as continue to celebrate our friend’s life and the time we were able to spend with him.” The district Democratic Party nominated the three candidates from a group of eight applicants. Walker has nine days to fill the vacancy. Kiana Democrat Westlake resigned after he was accused of inappropriate behavior with female aides and women outside of the Legislature. Walker also must fill the vacancy caused by Sen. Mike Dunleavy’s resignation. Dunleavy resigned to focus on running for governor.

    Alaska Public Media / 9 h. 56 min. ago more
  • Anchorage author chronicles 8-year friendship with Dizzy GillespieAnchorage author chronicles 8-year friendship with Dizzy Gillespie

    The inclusive language in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech may stand in stark contrast to the climate of political and racial divide in America in 2018. But Monday’s holiday, dedicated to Dr. King, is a good opportunity to honor others who have helped bring people together across race and class lines. Although he might not come immediately to mind, musician Dizzy Gillespie did just that. A new book by Anchorage author David Brown, chronicles an eight-year friendship between the two men. Dizzy Gillespie united people around music and through his spiritual beliefs. In his book, Shadowing Dizzy Gillespie, Brown says he first heard the jazz legend at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. and met him the same night. Click the play button below for Brown’s interview with Alaska News Nightly host Lori Townsend. Listen now

    Alaska Public Media / 9 h. 59 min. ago more
  • All of Alaska cutoff from road access, for a time, due to snow and ice - Alaska Public Radio NetworkAll of Alaska cutoff from road access, for a time, due to snow and ice - Alaska Public Radio Network

    Alaska Public Radio NetworkAll of Alaska cutoff from road access, for a time, due to snow and iceAlaska Public Radio NetworkWhile warm, wet weather has wreaked havoc with other roads on the Alaska side of the border, including the Richardson Highway north of Valdez, crews were able to reopen the Alaska Highway by Monday afternoon. Yukon Department of Highways and Public ...With three closed highways, Alaska's on its ownKHNS Radioall 2 news articles »

    Google News / 10 h. 9 min. ago more
  • All of Alaska cutoff from road access, for a time, due to snow and iceAll of Alaska cutoff from road access, for a time, due to snow and ice

    Officials in Canada’s Yukon Territory closed the Klondike Highway and a stretch of the Alaska Highway on Monday due to heavy, blowing snow drifting on a road surface made slick with ice. Listen now While warm, wet weather has wreaked havoc with other roads on the Alaska side of the border, including the Richardson Highway north of Valdez, crews were able to reopen the Alaska Highway by Monday afternoon. Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works officials reopened the Alaska Highway about 3 p.m. after closing it to give snowplows a chance to clear snow between Destruction Bay and Haines Junction. “Above and below zero weather, freezing and re-freezing, snow, blowing snow, drifting snow, freezing rain,” department spokeswoman Heather McKay said. “All those sorts of conditions which have contributed to the situation … .” McKay said her department knows the highway is an important lifeline for goods headed to Alaska. But she said the closure was necessary to clear the roadway. “We don’t take the decision to close the road lightly,” she said. Two other roadways leading into Alaska remained closed Monday night. The Top of the World Highway from Dawson City, Yukon to Eagle, Alaska is impassable, due to heavy snow. And the Klondike Highway remains closed due to a combination of snow, rain and runoff from glacier overflows on a roadway surface already slick with ice. Alaska transportation officials closed the Klondike Highway just outside Skagway because of the closure on the Canadian side. Monday’s high temperatures in that area reached into the 40s. Roads around Interior Alaska also were icy due to unseasonably warm, wet weather. National Weather Service meteorologist John Cowen said the freezing rain that fell for a while around Fairbanks Monday morning came from a small amount of precipitation that made its way up and over the Alaska Range. “There was a warm layer sitting up just above us,” Cowen said. “And that gave the precip just a little bit of time to melt on its way down and then re-freeze once it got to the surface.” Mixed rain and snow has also made driving very difficult at the southern end of the Richardson Highway, north of Valdez. Transportation officials recommended chains for vehicles headed through Thompson Pass.

    Alaska Public Media / 10 h. 14 min. ago more
  • Shutdown looms as Republicans seek short-term spending deal for governmentShutdown looms as Republicans seek short-term spending deal for government

    WASHINGTON – Chances of a government shutdown grew Monday as Republicans concluded that they would be unable to pass a long-term spending bill by the Friday deadline. GOP leaders are now turning to a short-term funding measure in hopes of keeping agencies open while talks continue, but Democratic leaders say they are unlikely to support any deal that does not protect young illegal immigrants.Aides to key negotiators from both parties planned to meet Tuesday in an effort to rekindle budget talks, setting up a Wednesday meeting of the leaders themselves. If they cannot agree, the government would shut down at midnight Friday for the first time since 2013.House Republican leaders are scheduled to discuss their plans for a stopgap spending measure with rank-and-file lawmakers on Tuesday evening.Hopes of a deal to keep the government open have been complicated by lingering mistrust following an Oval Office meeting last week in which, according to several people familiar with the gathering, President Donald Trump used vulgar terms to describe poor countries sending immigrants to the United States.The meeting was to consider a bipartisan immigration deal to protect the "dreamers" – young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, including roughly 800,000 enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program Trump has cancelled. Democratic leaders are demanding protections for the dreamers be part of any spending deal. They have the leverage to do so because Senate Republicans would need at least nine Democratic votes to support any spending deal. Democrats also want Republicans to match military spending Trump and many GOP lawmakers are seeking with an equal increase in nondefense funding."If they need Democratic votes, the overall legislation needs to meet certain Democratic criteria and be reflective of the values of the Democratic caucus and what we believe are the values of the American people," said Rep. Joe Crowley, N.Y., the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in an interview.There is also no guarantee that House GOP leaders will be able to rally a majority of their members to support a short-term spending measure, which multiple congressional aides and a senior Trump administration official said would likely last through mid-February.Defense hawks, in particular, are livid at further delaying a planned boost in military funding. That could mean House Republicans would also need Democratic votes to pass a short-term deal – something the minority party may not be inclined to provide this time around.On Capitol Hill, however, there are hopes that tensions will ease as the shutdown deadline approaches. The government last shut down in October 2013, when Republicans opposed to President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul demanded its defunding. Government offices closed and hundreds of thousands of federal employees were furloughed for two weeks before the GOP relented.Last week's meeting went off the rails when Trump angrily rejected a tentative deal negotiated among a small bipartisan group of senators – one that did not include any Republicans who support the strong restrictions Trump favors.That deal would offer dreamers an eventual path to U.S. citizenship in return for border security funding, including some that could be used to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall Trump campaigned on. But it did not include other restrictions Trump is seeking, including an end to rules that allow naturalized citizens to sponsor their relatives for legal status in the United States.At a Thursday meeting to discuss the deal, according to Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and multiple other people familiar with the meeting, Trump referred to certain poor nations as "shithole countries" from which the United States should not accept immigrants.Two Republican senators who attended the meeting accused Durbin Sunday of misreporting the remark, and Trump hiself waded back into the controversy Monday, accusing "Dicky Durbin" of having "totally misrepresented what was said" in the meeting."Deals can't get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military." Trump tweeted Monday.Durbin stood by his comments Monday, while fellow Democrats backed him up and said it was Trump who had a credibility problem, adding they had no plans to back off their litany of demands.GOP aides believe that the group of four deputy leaders from both chambers – the "No. 2's," as they are being called on Capitol Hill, including Durbin, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., – is more likely to produce a workable immigration accord, which would then unlock an agreement on spending levels and other outstanding issues."At the end of the day, if something's going to be produced that can pass both chambers and get signed by the president, it's going to come from this group," said a Republican familiar with the talks but not authorized to comment on them publicly.But even if the leaders are able to make progress in the coming days, lawmakers and aides say another temporary spending measure – the fourth since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1 – will be necessary in order to keep the government open past Friday.When the Senate returns to work Tuesday, its first official order of business will be a procedural vote on reauthorizing the government's authority to conduct foreign surveillance on U.S. soil. Senate GOP leaders are hoping to send the measure to the president's desk with bipartisan support this week.That leaves the chamber with perhaps only two full legislative days to pass a short-term funding measure, depending on what happens in the House."Even if we had a deal, which we don't, there's no time left to draft it," said a senior Senate Republican aide, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly.There was frustration and uncertainty among some GOP congressional aides and lawmakers Monday with the state of the spending talks.The discussions appeared to be headed in a positive direction, until the president "dropped a grenade into the middle of everything this weekend," said a second Senate GOP aide, also granted anonymity to speak candidly. The aide voiced uncertainty about how the talks would proceed in the coming days.There is also annoyance at the prospect of having to pursue yet another stopgap funding bill that would punt the budget talks deeper into the year.But Republicans moved to pin blame on Democrats for a potential shutdown. "For several years now, Democrats have blasted us for trying to extract policy goals when funding the government, and now they're doing the same thing," said a House GOP aide.Echoing many other Republican lawmakers, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a Monday interview on Fox News Channel that the immigration debate should be resolved separately from the spending talks."That's a question: Will the Democrats hold up spending and funding of the government over this issue?" Paul said.Senior Democratic aides said they would be waiting for cues from Republicans about what to expect next and repeated what they have said for months: Republicans have total control of Washington and should be able to advance short-term spending agreements easily out of the House. In the Senate, they said that Democratic priorities must be met if they expect support for a short-term plan.Thirty-two Senate Democrats voted against the last short-term spending plan, and progressive and immigrant-rights groups are pressuring the remainder to oppose any must-pass bill that fails to protect dreamers.Some Democrats say they feel emboldened now that a bipartisan group of senators reached a bipartisan deal they believe could prevail in the closely divided Senate. Durbin spent the weekend contacting fellow Democrats to build support for the deal struck with Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, S.C., and Jeff Flake, Ariz., according to an aide familiar with his outreach."We've shown a willingness to do the right thing, and we've shown a willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion," said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. "The problems are on the Republican side."But praise for the deal was not universal among Democrats. Crowley said it was "not a deal that I would support," citing funding for "border infrastructure" that could include Trump's wall."I think there was some good aspects in terms of progress being made within that process, but I think the bill fell short in terms of what I believe is a bill that would pass muster for me personally and I think for many colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus, as well," he said.Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a longtime proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, warned "you have to be very, very careful in embracing anything from the Senate, because when it gets to the House it dies." He cited the collapse of a 2013 bipartisan immigration bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate before being shelved by the GOP-dominated House.A close ally of Durbin, Gutierrez said he has not yet seen a formal document outlining the bipartisan Senate compromise and would withhold judgment, but he said he's wary that Democrats might once again be heading down a "slippery slope" and ceding too much ground in talks with Republicans."First, it was get some border wall enhancements for the dreamers. Now, they took 200,000 Salvadorans hostage and they want to do more," Gutierrez said, referring to the roughly 200,000 people from El Salvador with Temporary Protected Status now set to expire in Sept. 2019.Across the country over the weekend, Democrats continued harping on Trump's remarks in the Oval Office and said they would draw a hard line against the president's policies.In Boston on Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., used a speech at an event marking the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to tell the crowd, "We face the challenge of an openly racist president of the United States," according to local news reports. In Michigan, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., called Trump's comments "terrible" and "divisive."At an appearance in Atlanta on Saturday, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., urged Trump's critics to speak out and put pressure on lawmakers: "This not a time to be neutral. This is not a time in this country's history that we should treat our political space like a spectator sport and sit on the sidelines."And Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaking at a breakfast kicking off a holiday parade in Los Angeles, suggested Trump was "politically profiting off of sowing hate and division in our country.""We know these are dark times that require us to fight and march and resist," she added.

    AlaskaDispatch / 10 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Alaska's first electric bus for public transit ready for Anchorage streets - Alaska Public Radio NetworkAlaska's first electric bus for public transit ready for Anchorage streets - Alaska Public Radio Network

    Alaska Public Radio NetworkAlaska's first electric bus for public transit ready for Anchorage streetsAlaska Public Radio Network“Now, there are a lot of naysayers in Alaska who say we can't do this up here. It's too cold. You know what? It's not a gimmick. We can do something like this.” Gimmick or not, it's unclear if the bus will be a permanent addition to the Anchorage fleet ...

    Google News / 10 h. 30 min. ago more
  • Alaska’s first electric bus for public transit ready for Anchorage streetsAlaska’s first electric bus for public transit ready for Anchorage streets

    A Proterra Catalyst E2 electric bus, under lease to Anchorage’s People Mover public transit system (Casey Grove/Alaska Public Media) Alaska’s first electric public transit bus is set to begin carrying passengers in Anchorage starting Tuesday. Listen now Among other things, a four-month trial period will test how the bus and its batteries fare in cold weather, as the city looks into whether it makes sense to have an entire fleet of electric buses. The 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 bus is a little quieter than two people having a conversation and almost silent compared to a diesel Anchorage People Mover bus. The reduced noise pollution is one benefit of electric buses, but reducing air pollution and the cost of fuel are more to the point. City transit officials say replacing just one diesel bus with an electric one would cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 250,000 pounds every year. “That’s a substantial change, in terms of what we’re breathing in, what our children are breathing in,” said Anchorage Public Transportation Director Abul Hassan. The city will be looking to replace as many as 10 diesel buses in the next few years. If this testing goes well, they might start transitioning to electric. “I would like to say this is the future, but it’s not, it’s the present,” Hassan said. “Now, there are a lot of naysayers in Alaska who say we can’t do this up here. It’s too cold. You know what? It’s not a gimmick. We can do something like this.” Gimmick or not, it’s unclear if the bus will be a permanent addition to the Anchorage fleet. Proterra, the electric-bus manufacturer, is leasing its vehicle to the city, for now. City-operated waste removal utility, Solid Waste Services, is paying the $60,000 bill in exchange for advertisements on city buses. The utility’s recycling coordinator, Suzanna Caldwell, said the ads will tout recycling services. And Solid Waste Services hopes to learn something, Caldwell said. “Not only are we getting this advertising, we’re also getting to test the electric bus, because we’re also looking at incorporating electric vehicles into our own fleet, looking at electric garbage trucks,” Caldwell said. There are practical reasons for testing an electric bus before an electric garbage truck. For one thing, garbage trucks are heavier, require more torque and therefore more energy, so testing a bus makes sense as a first step. But what about the inconvenience to passengers greater if, say, the electric bus’s batteries die on a cold day? “We’re not running out of juice,” Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said. “People have the opportunity to be among the first riders of an electric bus in Alaska. That’s a great achievement, and people ought to be jumping all over it. I’m going to ride this bus.” For its part, Proterra says they’ve never had a problem with cold zapping the batteries dead while on a route.

    Alaska Public Media / 10 h. 31 min. ago more
  • more news
  • Unprecedented open water, warm weather cause K300 route changeUnprecedented open water, warm weather cause K300 route change

    For the first time, the K300 race will run two laps to its halfway point and back to complete the 300-mile course. (Katie Basile/KYUK) The Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race has taken an unprecedented turn. For the first time, the race will run two laps to its halfway point and back because of warm weather and open water. Local mushers agree that it’s the safest way to run the race, but say that it could present some challenges. Listen now This course has been talked about in the past, but this is the first time that the decision’s been made. “Well, it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t unanimous,” said Myron Angstman, K300 Race Committee Chairman and one of the race’s founders. “Tradition is a big thing and changing the method of competition throws things off a little bit.” The board came to the decision Sunday night, on an evening of 36 degree weather and rain in Bethel. Angstman says that the race will look as it never has before because, well, the river does. “We have more open holes than normal, and the ones we have are bigger than normal,” Angstman said. It’s causing many firsts. This is the first time that the race will double-back on itself and then repeat its course. This is the first time the race will not run through the Kalskag and Aniak checkpoints, and the first time that the race will start near H-Marker Lake. This K300 will test dogs in a new way. “The test now is going to be probably which team is best at overcoming the mental issue of going around the trail, resting, and getting up and going around the trail again,” Angstman said. Passing teams head-on will also be a factor. “The place where that’s most difficult is near Bogus,” Angstman said. “There are some narrow spots there.” The trail only crosses the river in a straight shot over the ice across from Tuluksak. Other than that, there are many shallow and well-frozen lakes, sloughs, and creeks along the route. The only open water is by beaver dams, which happens even in the coldest winters. Local mushers agree that the new course is the safest way to run the race. Mike Williams Jr. of Akiak has been competing in the K300 for years. He says that the change isn’t ideal, but the river isn’t either. “I just kind of laughed,” Williams said, “because we’ve never done this before. But it’s understandable because of all the open water.” Williams expects his dogs to race well on the repeated route, because he made a lot of short runs while training, sometimes coming into his dog yard and then immediately taking off again. But three-time K300 champion Pete Kaiser calls the change a “curveball.” “We’ve all trained for a specific event the way it’s usually run,” Kaiser said. “But it’s the same for everybody, and everybody is going to have to deal with it.” Musher Richie Diehl sits on the K300 Race Committee. The decision not to run to Aniak, his hometown, was difficult. “I definitely wanted it to come all the way up, and it was good hearing other people on the board give their opinions on why we shouldn’t. It’s an eye-opener to me,” Diehl said. But Diehl does sees a silver lining; he won’t have to make his dogs run home and then leave, something he says is never easy. Williams, Kaiser, and Diehl say that the river’s open holes didn’t affect their race prep this season. They trained on the tundra, a strategy that will help them on this year’s overland trail. The race checkpoints are now Tuluksak, Bogus Creek, and Bethel. Where the Bethel checkpoint will be is still being decided, but only Bethel and Tuluksak will hold dog food and accept dog drops. Like usual, the race will require teams to rest six hours in checkpoints, and then four hours on the final pass through Tuluksak. Two other races happen during the K300. The Bogus Creek 150 will run as scheduled; the Akiak Dash is being postponed a week to January 27. The reason that the K300 can’t run an overland course along the entire traditional route is because there is no overland trail from Tuluksak to Kalskag. Angstman points out that this gap affects all winter travelers, not just the K300. “So I would urge people to come up with plans for us to come up with an alternative trail that does not go on the river,” Angstman said. “Because that would be safe for everybody, including our race, and it would prevent this from happening in the future.” The Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race begins Friday, January 19.

    Alaska Public Media / 10 h. 31 min. ago more
  • Alaska News Nightly: Monday, Jan. 15, 2018Alaska News Nightly: Monday, Jan. 15, 2018

    Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn Listen now Cut off: All roads to Alaska shut due to snow, ice Officials in the Yukon Territory closed the Klondike Highway and a stretch of the Alaska Highway today due to heavy, blowing snow drifting on a road surface slickened with black ice. Tim Ellis/KUAC – Fairbanks Governor to make pick for vacant House seat Gov. Bill Walker met today with the three nominees for the vacant seat for the Alaska House district that covers the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs. He may make a decision soon on who will fill the position. Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO-AKPM – Juneau Murkowski, Sullivan contend with less-Republican Senate Last year, it was all eyes on Sen. Lisa Murkowski, since she was one of only a handful of Republicans who would sometimes vote with Democrats. But this year is shaping up differently in the Senate, and both Alaska senators will have to contend with new dynamics. Liz Ruskin/AKPM – Washington, D.C. Alaska’s first electric bus for public transit ready for Anchorage streets Alaska’s first electric public transit bus is set to begin carrying passengers in Anchorage starting tomorrow. Among other things, the trial period will test how the bus – and its batteries – fare in cold weather. Casey Grove/Alaska Public Media – Anchorage Unprecedented open water, warm weather cause K300 route change The Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race has taken an unprecedented turn. For the first time, the race will run two laps to its halfway point and back because of warm weather and open water. Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK – Bethel Alaska-to-Argentina bikers into Central America A group of four military veterans riding motorcycles from Alaska to Argentina has made it through the Darien Gap in Central America. Dan Bross/KUAC – Fairbanks Anchorage author chronicles 8-year friendship with Dizzy Gillespie A new book by Anchorage author David Brown, chronicles an eight-year friendship with Dizzy Gillespie, united people around music and through his spiritual beliefs. Lori Townsend/Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

    Alaska Public Media / 10 h. 31 min. ago more
  • State admits recording jail conversations between defense lawyers and clientsState admits recording jail conversations between defense lawyers and clients

    For four years, a tucked-away monitoring system in a certain visitation room at the Anchorage jail recorded conversations between attorneys and their clients — defendants in criminal court – without anyone knowing.Now defense attorneys are concerned — some are livid — about what they say is a striking violation of basic constitutional rights.Quinlan Steiner, the state public defender, in December learned from the state that the recordings were secretly and routinely made from 2012 to 2016. The files were automatically recorded over every 30 days. The new information was circulated last month to about 120 Alaska criminal defense lawyers."It's not a close call. It's not permissible," Steiner said of the recorded conversations between lawyers and defendants. "They have to be confidential so they can be candid."State corrections officials say the recordings generally were not listened to or provided to law enforcement, though in one case, that did happen. And defense lawyers suspect the problem may be prevalent.The recordings began in 2012 when suspected serial killer Israel Keyes was arrested and held at the Anchorage Correctional Complex, said Clare Sullivan, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Corrections. The FBI asked the department to add an audio recording element into a visiting room where Keyes met with his girlfriend, according to the U.S. attorney's office.The audio recordings are no longer done, Sullivan said in an interview."At this time there are no recordings in existence in ACC from this visiting area, and the capability to monitor/record has been disabled," Sullivan wrote in a Dec. 6 email to Steiner, who had heard rumors of recorded conversations and asked her for information.The particular room was a secure spot for Keyes, a high-profile, high-risk inmate, said department spokeswoman Megan Edge.Federal investigators hoped Keyes would tell more about what he had done, Sullivan said."They were thinking there might be more bodies," she said. "Perhaps they might get that information from Keyes at the time."Keyes, jailed in the killing of Anchorage barista Samantha Koenig, was talking directly to investigators and told them he had killed at least eight people, including her, then-U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler told reporters in December 2012. The public revelation that Keyes was a suspected serial killer came after he committed suicide in jail, damaging efforts of investigators to learn more about his victims.After the suicide, the staff did not turn off the recording equipment until the jail "rediscovered" it in November 2016, Sullivan said."They just simply forgot about it," she said. The Anchorage jail got a new superintendent. A senior sergeant retired. The recording system\ wasn't on the new command's radar, nor on Sullivan's when she became deputy commissioner, she said.When Keyes was jailed in Anchorage, Sullivan was in Seward at Spring Creek Correctional Center, where she worked for 18 years, including as superintendent."It really wasn't in my wheelhouse," she said.Federal investigators and prosecutors didn't know the audio recordings were continuing either, the U.S. attorney's office said. The office said it takes the attorney-client privilege seriously.Anchorage District Attorney Rick Allen said he was unaware of any recordings between lawyers and clients used in state cases.Jail visitation rooms are monitored, and sometimes visits are recorded on cameras that don't record audio, Edge said. For Keyes, the jail added a separate audio recorder, she said.Both the camera and the voice recorder fed into the same server, which recorded over older files every 30 days. The special room is in the former Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility, now called Anchorage Correctional Complex West.The system was recording 24-7 until it was shut off in November 2016, Sullivan said.She said jail security Sgt. Thomas Elmore stumbled across the audio recordings in reviewing video footage."I don't know if we would call it dumb luck or otherwise," Sullivan said. "He said 'That's no good. That's an attorney visiting room.' "The discovery in 2016 of the audio recordings came during a federal drug investigation involving Anchorage defense lawyer Kit Karjala, said the U.S. attorney's office. Investigators asked for video surveillance of that same visiting room that had been used for Keyes, said Frank Russo, the criminal chief for the U.S. attorney's office. By then it was used both for personal visits as well as those between lawyers and jailed clients.[Attorney charged with smuggling drugs to inmates in Anchorage jail]Investigators received seven recordings – the only time they have asked for recordings from that room since the Keyes case in 2012, the U.S. attorney's office said. They did not get a warrant from a judge because that is not necessary for visual recordings, only for audio, Russo said Monday."Once it was discovered that the recordings potentially contained audio, the criminal investigators immediately segregated those recordings, did not listen to them, and the U.S. Attorney's Office immediately alerted counsel for the Department of Corrections, who removed that capability," federal prosecutors said in an email.A special federal review team now has the recordings. Prosecutors and investigators on the Karjala case don't have access to them, Russo said.Along with inmate Christopher Miller, Karjala faces federal drug charges in what prosecutors call a scheme to smuggle drugs into jail, including a heroin mixture as well as a narcotic used to treat heroin addition.Seattle attorney Peter Camiel, who is representing Karjala, said he could not discuss the case or the matter of the recordings. Chester Gilmore, the Anchorage attorney for Miller, said he couldn't comment either.A criminal complaint against Karjala and Miller details video recordings of their meetings in a jail visiting room. It said the camera captured visuals "but no audio." It also says he was being held in the east-side building, not the west-side one where the Keyes room was.Russo said that Miller moved back and forth, and was on the west side for a time, but those videos remain segregated.Steiner, the public defender, called the need for confidential conversations "critical to the criminal justice system."Still, nothing has emerged to counter the department's assertion that it didn't misuse the audio recordings, he said.He said he let other defense lawyers know about the secret recordings so they could examine their own cases for troublesome elements."People are concerned that it existed at all, unknown even. And that it could have been exploited. There is just no indication that has occurred," Steiner said.Some defense lawyers are outraged, including Erin Gonzalez-Powell.She filed a motion in one Anchorage criminal case to force the Department of Corrections "to provide materials related to the illegal recordings of attorney-client communications during attorney-client visits held at Anchorage Correctional Center West and East."Defendants have the right under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate themselves and to remain silent, and also a right under the Sixth Amendment to effective counsel, Cindy Strout, president of the Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said in an interview.Private conversations between lawyers and defendants are essential to those rights, Strout said.[Deaths draw attention to high rate of mental illness among Alaska prisoners]Gonzalez-Powell remains skeptical of the Corrections Department explanation. She said she doubts the recording took place in only one room, and doubts that it has stopped. Some of her clients are afraid to talk to her in the jail and pass notes instead.Defense strategies may well be compromised, she said. She wants confirmation from someone outside the department that no corrections employees, law enforcement officers or prosecutors were allowed to review the recordings. She wants to know where recording devices were installed and why. She wants proof that the recordings have been destroyed."If they are permitted to go unsanctioned for this conduct, then the foundation of our constitutional rights will be eviscerated," she said in the recent court filing.Like Gonzalez-Powell, Strout is concerned that surveillance is more prevalent than has been revealed.The prison system also records inmate phone calls but isn't supposed to record calls with their attorneys. In 2014, the Corrections Department discovered some attorney calls were being recorded, Edge said. Strout called it an "ongoing problem."Attorneys now register their phone numbers, and the numbers are entered into the phone system run by contractor Securus Technologies, Edge said in an email. That blocks the recording capability. But if an attorney switches phones, the block won't work, according to corrections officials.A suspect cannot invoke a right to silence if the government is listening, Gonzalez-Powell said.She is seeking a judicial finding that defendants' constitutional rights were violated.Editor's note: This story had been updated to include information from the U.S. attorney's office.

    AlaskaDispatch / 10 h. 44 min. ago more
  • Alaska officials think the state’s emergency system avoids false alarms like in HawaiiAlaska officials think the state’s emergency system avoids false alarms like in Hawaii

    Alaska has a system to warn residents of an incoming nuclear or other long-range missile attack — and officials here say it is not as vulnerable to a false alarm as Hawaii's system was on Saturday.Laurie Hummel, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs, and Mike Sutton, the state's new director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, explained the system on Monday.Here are some basics:How would officials know a missile was targeting Alaska?The U.S. Department of Defense would verify an incoming ballistic missile, a scenario that Hummel called "very, very, very unlikely." The department would work through Northern Command, at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to notify the Alaska National Guard joint operations center. The guard and the state emergency operations center both are located in the Armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The National Guard would immediately share a missile notification with the state emergency operations center, Hummel said.How would the state then get that information to the public?The state emergency operations center is staffed during the normal workday, and an on-call duty officer has a cell phone and laptop to use around the clock, Sutton said. The center would alert television and radio stations and also send text messages to cell phones across Alaska."It's depending on your cell phone provider as to whether you get that or not," Sutton said.Some smaller wireless providers, including GCI, are not yet set up to distribute emergency texts to all their customers. It's a technical process and the Federal Communications Commission is allowing smaller companies extra time. GCI spokeswoman Heather Handyside said GCI customers for now can download an app. The company is working to connect to "a national gateway for alerts and the ability to distribute them to geographic areas," she said in an email.In Hawaii, an employee mistakenly sent an alert of a missile instead of running a test. The alert went to cell phones all over the islands and caused panic and despair. Could that happen here?No, said Hummel and Sutton. She talked on Saturday to her counterpart in Hawaii and believes Alaska's system has built-in checks that were lacking in Hawaii.[Could North Korea actually hit Alaska with a missile?]If the military alerted Alaska of an incoming missile, the state emergency operations worker would have to generate the text message. In Hawaii the worker simply selected a ready-to-go alert instead of the parallel test message."We don't have a simple button that you would hit, and it could be the wrong button," Sutton said "We have to manually create the message, type in a password, click multiple buttons and then, before you transmit, the system is going to ask the operator to type 'yes' before you are allowed to actually proceed."Hawaii's system was too simple, officials now realize, Hummel said. It has already changed to require a second employee to sign off on a real alert.Alaska is letting a single employee control when to send the alerts, Hummel said.Still, "that would be beyond my imagination that that would ever happen in Alaska," Sutton said of the false alarm.Some governments are providing citizens with information on what to do in the case of a nuclear attack. Why hasn't Alaska?The state doesn't want to alarm residents for a theoretical threat, Sutton said. Alaska officials have collected materials from Guam, Hawaii and other places that it can distribute when appropriate, he said. A state brochure gives information on how to plan for emergencies that people can turn to now.With the attention on the false alarm, the state will evaluate whether to provide more specific information, Hummel said.

    AlaskaDispatch / 11 h. ago more
  • Wasilla woman sues prosecutors and troopers, claiming they caused her kidnap and rapeWasilla woman sues prosecutors and troopers, claiming they caused her kidnap and rape

    A terrified Shawna Robb agreed to let her accused attacker out of jail in early 2016 only after authorities promised to arrest him if he escaped — after immediately notifying her he was on the loose.But 25-year-old Jordan King fled house arrest several months later and ambushed Robb at her home when she went out to start her truck at 4:30 in the morning.She got no warning.King later admitted he kidnapped and raped Robb, and he was convicted by a Palmer jury for attempted murder as well as those charges in November.[Wasilla woman's attacker escaped house arrest. Nobody told her – and then he showed up.]Now Robb is suing the Department of Public Safety — the agency that oversees the Alaska State Troopers — as well as the Department of Law that oversees prosecutors.Robb's civil lawsuit filed late last month in Palmer Superior Court claims she suffered "direct harm" after troopers and prosecutors failed to notify her when King escaped house arrest.The suit, filed on Robb's behalf by Palmer attorney Josh Fannon, seeks more than $100,000 in damages.The civil lawsuit came as word emerged that troopers gave a man a ride home hours before his wife was killed on New Year's Day. He is charged with her murder.Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters said last week that the agency received notice of Robb's lawsuit but is "not able to provide information on the pending civil action."Robb, who is 41, met King when they worked together at a Wasilla restaurant.During the November trial, she testified that she suffered a 12-hour ordeal during which she was sexually assaulted twice after being led through the woods on a dog leash with her hands bound. She suffered a deep gash in her leg as well as cuts, bruises and bite marks before she talked King into giving himself up.The lawsuit contends Robb suffered harm as the result of the lack of official notification and other actions.The case began in December 2015 when King showed up at Robb's house, pistol-whipped her and sexually assaulted her, according to testimony during the trial. She fled to Wasilla police and King was arrested after a high-speed chase.Robb was "terrified" and voiced her concerns when the Palmer District Attorney's office told her about a proposal to release King on bail, the lawsuit states. She agreed only if he was placed on 24-hour house arrest with an ankle monitor.The lawsuit claims prosecutors assured her after a bail hearing that if King left the custody of his parents, his escape would be immediately reported to troopers and the district attorney's office.An ankle monitor was never attached, Fannon said in an email. Instead, the judge ordered house arrest with King's parents as third-party custodians to keep him at home all the time except for medical and legal appointments.King's parents called 911 in March 2016 to say he was wandering and were told to bring him to the nearby troopers' post themselves. He escaped as his father tried to get him in the car.His parents called 911 to report his escape around 8 p.m. March 11. The troopers began an investigation.According to the lawsuit, for the next eight and a half hours, troopers failed to act: They didn't call Robb, didn't go to King's parents' home, didn't notify lead investigators on King's case, and didn't notify the on-call district attorney in Palmer."At no point between 8 pm and 4:30 am did 911 Dispatch, the Alaska State Troopers or the District Attorney notify Shawna that the predator rapist who had her in his sights escaped custody the night before," the lawsuit states.King, armed with a 12-inch knife, ambushed Robb at 4:30 a.m. March 12 as she prepared to go to work at the restaurant, according to court testimony.The suit also claims that troopers failed to stop King from leaving Robb's house, failed to allow search dogs to help the muzzled drug dogs involved in the search — reducing the chance the dogs would find the missing woman — and didn't let Robb's friends and family help look for her.Troopers have said it wasn't safe to allow the general public to search for Robb given the violent nature of the crime against her.No hearings have been scheduled in the case yet.

    AlaskaDispatch / 11 h. 1 min. ago more
  • Alaska officials think the state's emergency system avoids false alarms like in Hawaii - Alaska Dispatch NewsAlaska officials think the state's emergency system avoids false alarms like in Hawaii - Alaska Dispatch News

    Alaska Dispatch NewsAlaska officials think the state's emergency system avoids false alarms like in HawaiiAlaska Dispatch NewsAlaska has a system to warn residents of an incoming nuclear or other long-range missile attack — and officials here say it is not as vulnerable to a false alarm as Hawaii's system was on Saturday. Laurie Hummel, adjutant general of the Alaska ...US state Alaska says not to commit Hawaii's error of sending false missile attack alertXinhuaAlaska taking different tack from Hawaii on missile alertsKTVAall 2,874 news articles »

    Google News / 11 h. 7 min. ago more
  • Murkowski, Sullivan contend with less-Republican SenateMurkowski, Sullivan contend with less-Republican Senate

    Photo by Liz Ruskin Last year, it was all eyes on Sen. Lisa Murkowski, since she was one of only a handful of Republicans who would sometimes vote with Democrats in the U.S. Senate. The fate of health care and tax bills seemed at times to turn on what she would do. But this year is shaping up differently in the Senate, and both Alaska senators will have to contend with new dynamics. Listen now Murkowski was a pivotal vote last year because her party leaders pushed Republican bills they could be sure no Democrat would vote for. The Senate was split 52-48, so it only took Sens. Murkowski, Susan Collins and John McCain joining the Democrats to kill the Republican health care bill last summer. After that, says Political scientist Molly Reynolds, Senate leaders made sure their tax bill would include a plum for Murkowski: drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Molly E. Reynolds. Photo: Brookings Institution. “We saw her use some of her leverage to get something that was an important policy priority for her out of a narrowly divided Senate,” says Reynolds, a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. This year, the Republican majority is slimmer. Now they can only afford to lose ONE senator and still have a simple majority. So you might think winning Murkowski’s vote will be even more crucial to the Republican agenda. But that’s not how it works, not this year. “We’re going to be looking for areas of bipartisan agreement, because that’s the way the Senate is,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at his year-end press conference, right after passing a tax bill with no bipartisan agreement. This year, he’s not trying to pass partisan goals in budget bills that need just 50 Republican votes. His majority is too slim. Instead, he’s trying to move bills that will require 60 votes to proceed. The bills will have to be moderate enough to pick up nine Democratic votes. So to see their priorities pass, both Alaska senators will have to aim for bipartisanship. In this 60-vote scenario, Murkowski is unlikely to be the pivotal vote. She says that’s fine Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. Photo: Liz Ruskin with her. “You need to do things around here because the right things to do, not because you can do them because you have one more vote than the other side,” she said. Among her bipartisan goals: passing her broad energy and natural resources bill. That’s a big bundle of Republican and Democratic priorities, covering everything from energy efficiency to park management and protection from landslides. And then, there’s the bipartisan crowd pleaser bill. “Everyone is talking about infrastructure as being the thing that allows us all to come together,” Murkowski said. “We all want to build things. That’s a winner for everybody.” She says, though, she’s concerned about cost. Murkowski is one of the most moderate Republicans. According to ProPublica data, her votes strayed from the party line 17 times last year. Sen. Dan Sullivan votes with the party more often than most of his colleagues. He strayed just four times last year. But Sullivan has bipartisan goals, too. He points out he had a lot of Democratic support for the missile defense expansion for Fort Greeley, which became law last year. He has sponsored a clean oceans bill with Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. And tackling the opioid epidemic – that’s another of Sullivan’s goals that’s almost universally shared. U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, in his Washington, D.C. office. Photo: Liz Ruskin Sullivan is also keen on infrastructure, certainly for rural Alaska.  “Getting fully funded the water and sewer issues, particularly communities that don’t have clean water and sewer,” he said. “American communities. I find it outrageous.” As for a national infrastructure bill, Sullivan wants to link it to permitting reform so projects don’t take decades to get started. “If there’s not a big permitting reform element I’m going to have a hard time voting for any amount of federal funding (for an infrastructure bill) because I think it’ll be a waste of money,” he said. He said permitting reform is a bipartisan goal, too, because Democrats don’t like long project delays, either. “When I talk to my Democratic colleagues all of them recognize this is a problem. They want to fix it,” he said. But many Democrats hear “permitting reform” and think it means undermining environmental protections. Here’s what Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell said about permitting reform: “I think the administration is running over a lot of clean air and clean water issues, and I don’t think that’s something we need to be doing,” she said. Sullivan said his pitch is that they can can speed permitting without cutting corners. Whether Democrats will help Republicans achieve their goals, and whether Republicans can craft bills that will win over at least nine Democrats, remains to be seen.   

    Alaska Public Media / 11 h. 21 min. ago more
  • Alaska snow totals well below normal - KTUU - KTUU.comAlaska snow totals well below normal - KTUU - KTUU.com

    KTUU.comAlaska snow totals well below normal - KTUUKTUU.comFor snow across the state, National Weather Service data indicates that most locations are well below normal.and more »

    Google News / 11 h. 28 min. ago
  • Why your car company may know more about you than your spouseWhy your car company may know more about you than your spouse

    DETROIT - Daniel Dunn was about to sign a lease for a Honda Fit last year when a detail buried in the lengthy agreement caught his eye.Honda wanted to track the location of his vehicle, the contract stated - according to Dunn - a stipulation that struck the 69-year-old Temecula, California, retiree as a bit odd. But Dunn was eager to drive away in his new car and, despite initial hesitation, he signed the document, a decision with which he has since made peace."I don't care if they know where I go," said Dunn, who makes regular trips to the grocery store and a yoga studio in his vehicle. "They're probably thinking, 'What a boring life this guy's got.' "Dunn may consider his everyday driving habits mundane, but auto and privacy experts suspect that big automakers like Honda see them as anything but. By monitoring his everyday movements, an automaker can vacuum up a massive amount of personal information about someone like Dunn, everything from how fast he drives and how hard he brakes to how much fuel his car uses and the entertainment he prefers. The company can determine where he shops, the weather on his street, how often he wears his seat belt, what he was doing moments before a wreck - even where he likes to eat and how much he weighs.Though drivers may not realize it, tens of millions of American cars are being monitored like Dunn's, experts say, and the number increases with nearly every new vehicle that is leased or sold.The result is that carmakers have turned on a powerful spigot of precious personal data, often without owners' knowledge, transforming the automobile from a machine that helps us travel to a sophisticated computer on wheels that offers even more access to our personal habits and behaviors than smartphones do."The thing that car manufacturers realize now is that they're not only hardware companies anymore - they're software companies," said Lisa Joy Rosner, chief marketing officer of Otonomo, a company that sells connected-car data, sharing the profits with automakers. "The first space shuttle contained 500,000 lines of software code, but compare that to Ford's projection that by 2020 their vehicles will contain 100 million lines of code. These vehicles are becoming turbocharged spaceships if you think of them from a purely horsepower perspective."Automakers say they collect customer data only with explicit permission, though that permission is often buried in lengthy service agreements. They argue that data is used to improve performance and enhance vehicle safety. The information that is gathered, they add, will soon be able to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, saving tens of thousands of lives.There are 78 million cars on the road with an embedded cyber connection, a feature that makes monitoring customers easier, according to ABI Research. By 2021, according to the technology research firm Gartner, 98 percent of new cars sold in the United States and in Europe will be connected, a feature that is also being highlighted this week here at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.After being asked on multiple occasions what the company does with collected data, Natalie Kumaratne, a Honda spokeswoman, said that the company "cannot provide specifics at this time." Kumaratne instead sent a copy of an owner's manual for a Honda Clarity that notes that the vehicle is equipped with multiple monitoring systems that transmit data at a rate determined by Honda.Connecting cars to computers is nothing new. Vehicles have relied on computerized systems since the 1960s, mostly in the form of diagnostic systems that remind drivers to check their engines and "event data recorders," which capture accident data and are considered the "black boxes" of automobiles.What's changed in recent years is not only the volume and precision of that data but how it's being extracted and connected to the Internet, according to Lauren Smith, who studies big data and cars as the policy counsel at the Future of Privacy Forum."Before, devices that generate data would stay on the car, but there are new ways for that information to be communicated off the vehicle," Smith said, referring to diagnostic services such as Verizon Hum, Zubie and Autobrain that connect cars to the Internet using a "key" or dongle that plugs into a vehicle. These services provide drivers and companies with everything from trip histories to maintenance issues.Though the automotive industry still collects less personal information than the financial, health-care or education industries, experts say, it doesn't take much to jeopardize customers' privacy.Some privacy experts believe that with enough data points about driver behavior, profiles as unique as fingerprints could be developed. But it's location data, experts say, that already has the greatest potential to put customers at risk."Most people don't realize how deeply ingrained their habits are and how where we park our car on a regular basis can tell someone many things about us," Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, said, noting that research shows that even aggregate data can be reinterpreted to track an individual's habits. "There's a load of anti-fraud companies and law enforcement agencies that would love to purchase this data, which can reveal our most intimate habits."Trips to homes or businesses reveal buying habits and relationships that could be valuable to corporations, government agencies or law enforcement. For example, regular visits to an HIV clinic can offer information about someone's health.But unlike information gathered by a hospital or a clinic, health data collected by a non-health provider isn't covered by the federal privacy rule known as HIPPA, according to the National Institutes of Health.In a 2014 letter to the Federal Trade Commission, automakers pledged to abide by a set of privacy policies that included not sharing information with third parties without owners' consent.They've tucked their warnings about data collection into a few lines of text in owner's manuals or enticing lease and purchase agreements, and on their websites.General Motors, which became one of the first automakers to start collecting customer data in real time with its OnStar system in 1996, said in an email that the company's system "does not collect or use any personally identifiable customer data without a customer's consent.""Before a customer even gives consent, we describe what kind of data is to be collected and how it will be used (mobile app, proactive alerts, etc.)," Dan Pierce, a GM spokesman, said. "If a customer declines, we do not collect any data from the vehicle."Karen Hampton, a Ford spokeswoman, replied to The Washington Post with a similar statement.On a page outlining its customers' privacy rights, Toyota notes that vehicle data is collected to improve safety, manage maintenance and analyze vehicle trends. The site also notes that, with permission, customer data may be shared with "companies affiliated with Toyota."Though people might be wary of their data being outsourced, Rosner said companies like Otonomo are focused on using customer data for the greater good - such as improving transportation, reducing emissions and saving lives with automatic crash detection.Otonomo, which began in 2015 and calls itself the "first connected car data marketplace," partners with major automakers that give Otonomo access to their raw driver data, the company said. Otonomo takes that data, analyzes it, and then sells the information to third parties, helping automakers commercialize their data, Rosner said.What sort of third parties use Otonomo data? A parking app developer, for example, that wants to better understand a city's traffic patterns, or a company that wants to use those patterns to chose the location of its next billboard or business."The automaker gets a revenue share on every piece of data that is consumed," Rosner explained.Though the pledge restricts automakers from selling data to an outside company without customers' consent, experts have noted that the voluntary self-regulatory standard doesn't stop them from using that data for their own benefit.The law has been unable to keep up with rapid advancements in auto technology, according to Ryan Calo, an associate professor of law at the University of Washington who teaches courses on robotics law and policy."Ultimately, there's no car privacy statute that car companies have to abide by," he said. "Not only are automakers collecting a lot of data, they don't have a particular regime that is regulating how they do it."Though the possibility of abuse exists, Calo and other experts say automakers have so far been "responsive" to concerns about data collection and privacy. While privacy scandals periodically erupt in Silicon Valley, automakers have sought to differentiate their business models by ensuring privacy, according to James Hodgson, a senior analyst at ABI Research."They want to sell cars and maintain a competitive advantage over the Googles and Apples of the world," he said.And yet, Calo said, by collecting massive amounts of data, car companies could be setting themselves up for the 21st century's ultimate Faustian bargain. The more data a company collects, the more incentive the company has to monetize that data."Any company that has tons of data about consumers and can control the interaction with them is going to have the capability and incentive to try to use that information to the company's advantage - and possibly to the detriment of consumers," Calo said."It's almost unavoidable," he added.

    AlaskaDispatch / 11 h. 35 min. ago more
  • Sam's Club exit in Alaska shakes businesses statewide - KTUU - KTUU.comSam's Club exit in Alaska shakes businesses statewide - KTUU - KTUU.com

    KTUU.comSam's Club exit in Alaska shakes businesses statewide - KTUUKTUU.comThe Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that hundreds of people visited the Fairbanks warehouse on Friday for a liquidation sale that symbolizes a shift in suppliers for many businesses. The Sam's Club is the largest bulk wholesale store within 350 ...and more »

    Google News / 12 h. 13 min. ago more
  • Juneau Afternoon – 1-16-18Juneau Afternoon – 1-16-18

    Tuesday on A Juneau Afternoon, We'll find out about the Planetarium presentation for Tuesday; We'll get a preview of the CBJ Housing Forum

    Big News Network.com / 12 h. 23 min. ago
  • Haines’ homegrown square dance caller steps upHaines’ homegrown square dance caller steps up

    Square-dancing is on the rise in Haines. (Photo by Berett Wilber/KHNS) Haines can feel cold and quiet in the winter. But for Haines' homegrown square dance caller, the dark and chill are perfect

    Big News Network.com / 12 h. 24 min. ago
  • Southeast fishermen seek relief from expanding sea otter populationSoutheast fishermen seek relief from expanding sea otter population

    Sea otters raft up in the inside waters of Southeast Alaska in June 2014. (Photo courtesy Matt Lichtenstein) Crabbers and dive fishermen returned to Alaska's Board of Fisheries this month seeking

    Big News Network.com / 12 h. 24 min. ago
  • Thirteen siblings found chained, starving in California home; parents chargedThirteen siblings found chained, starving in California home; parents charged

    Thirteen malnourished siblings, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were rescued by police in California from a house where some of them had been chained to beds, and their parents have been charged with torture, officials said on Monday.Police made the discovery after a 17-year-old girl escaped the house in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, and used a cellular phone she had found in the house to call them, the Riverside County Sheriff's Office said in a statement released online."Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults," police said in a statement. "The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty."The girl, who officers had initially thought was about 10 years old, contacted police on Sunday after escaping. The children's parents, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested and each charged with nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment. They were ordered held on $9 million bail, police said.Six of the couple's children are minors, while the other seven are over 18, police said.The siblings told officers that they were starving, police said. The police in a statement did not detail the parents' motive for holding the children hostage, and a police spokesman said he had no further details.The hostages were found in a neighborhood of closely spaced one- and two-story single-family homes.A Facebook page that appeared to have been created by the parents showed the couple dressed in wedding clothes, surrounded by 10 female children in matching purple plaid dresses and three male children in suits.A neighbor who answered the phone on Monday but declined to be identified described the neighborhood as recently built and said he did not know the Turpins and had not noticed anything unusual.The parents are next due in court on Thursday.

    AlaskaDispatch / 12 h. 50 min. ago more
  • Mr. President, please, no Norwegians!Mr. President, please, no Norwegians!

    PHILADELPHIA – The summer before last, my family spent two weeks investigating Norway and I can say with some certainty that we do not want more Norwegians coming to the United States.For starters, they are just too darned good-looking. The middle-aged hostesses on our Norwegian airlines were more beautiful than Scarlett Johansson. No one there has any detectable body fat, so they look good in whatever they wear. Even the Norwegians who appear to have come from what President Donald Trump recently referred to as "s—hole countries" look great, and the biracial young people we saw working in museums, stores and cafes were stunning. I mean, even more beautiful than anyone on the Philadelphia City Council.['Thanks, but no thanks:" Norwegians reject Trump's immigration offer]Letting in too many gorgeous people will damage our already-rocky self-esteem and we'll have to listen to more Oprahs and Dr. Phils telling us how to deal with it. Norwegians, by the way, deal with it by vacationing in Greece.Secondly, they apparently know how to run a country. Not only do they have universal health care, six-week vacations and an excellent school system, their public transportation is superb. Their cities and towns are amazingly clean, though it's true that, as tourists, we didn't hang out a lot on the gritty side of the tracks. I was secretly glad to see, however, that the walls along the tracks we traveled were lined with subpar graffiti. Made me feel at home.I know, I know. It's a small country (only 5.26 million beautiful people) and if they let French people in, as Philadelphia used to do, or others from more southerly countries, the place would probably go to heck. There are other downsides. They didn't seem to have much by way of an Americans With Disabilities Act. There's a step up from the platform to their modern train cars, and there are no ramps. Instead, when an elderly lady couldn't manage it, random Norwegians on the platform stepped in and gently picked her up by her elbows and helped her get situated in the car with her baggage. While that method warmed my inner libertarian, I'm not sure it would work on Philadelphia's mass-transit system.Another downside was that Norway is brimming with Teslas. We were told that their purchase was subsidized. There were electric charging stations all over the place. Really, it doesn't speak well of a country to be assisting Elon Musk in any possible way. Still that's the kind of thing they do to keep their carbon footprint down.One other reason President Trump might reconsider his sudden Norwegian enthusiasm is that immigrants from Norway, and nearby countries like it, have come here and produced female editorial cartoonists! I'm one-quarter Norwegian blood. Ann Telnaes, the most brilliant and most caustic Trump caricaturist, is of Swedish stock and Jen Sorensen, whose drawing pen is a Viking spear, descends from Denmarkians.[Immigration talks founder after Trump insults countries]Still, in an effort to get on the president's team, I invited my tall, svelte, handsome Norwegian cartooning colleague, Roar Hagan and his tall, svelte, beautiful wife, to move to America. His response was, "I love America and Americans. But life here is, except the climate, quite good."So, Mr. President, if you really want more Norskies, all you have to do is guarantee free universal health care, decent vacations, environmentally friendly transportation and great schools that teach everyone how to speak, write and read English better than we do. That would, indeed, improve our country.Signe Wilkinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer whose work is syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group.The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary@adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser.

    AlaskaDispatch / 12 h. 56 min. ago more
  • Small business, not big box, carries the load in local economiesSmall business, not big box, carries the load in local economies

    Some people are concerned with the closure of Alaska Sam's Clubs, but I'm not.  The big-box store concept is designed to offer lower prices, but it is a terrible model for local economies.  Cheaper is not always better.Consider the fact that the South Anchorage Sam's Club did nearly $100 million a year in sales. Management has stated 3 percent to 5 percent of the $100 million stayed in the Anchorage economy in 2015. This is only 3 to 5 cents on the dollar, which covered the operating overhead for the store including wages. Box store "local" overhead is low because they centralize many key business expenses at their headquarters, in this case in Benton, Arkansas.  This is where the Sam's Club lawyers are located, as well as their accountants, bookkeepers, buyers, upper management, human resources and advertising executives (all the high-paying jobs).[Alaska Sam's Club stores among dozens nationwide to be closed by Walmart]Imagine if that $100 million had been spent at locally owned and operated businesses. That amount of sales could support 100 small businesses. One hundred small businesses that would likely spend their overhead and profit right here in Alaska. How many accountants, lawyers, managers and advertising jobs would that create? How many janitorial jobs, window washers and snow removal businesses would these locals need? Most small businesses spend 30 to 50 cents on the dollar locally.Small businesses support much more that just the people they hire directly; they support many professional jobs and other businesses as well. The exchange of money is what defines a local economy and makes it strong.Total sales of national chain stores in Alaska equate to tens of billions of dollars.  Most of these dollars leave our state and our economy the very next day, wired back to their national headquarters. These big stores don't even use a local bank to funnel your money out of state. The primary beneficiaries are the executives and shareholders of these corporations, not Alaskans.[Shop locally, Alaska, and invest in your own community]In an ironic turn, the big-box stores are now losing sales to Amazon and the Internet and it has many of them scrambling, even the mighty Walmart. The main advantage big-box stores had was price and selection, and Amazon seems to do both better. Amazon however, contributes nothing to our local or state economy. They don't hire anyone from Alaska. They don't pay local property taxes or even Alaska corporate income taxes.The convenience and pricing Amazon offers are a real challenge for small business as well, but this challenge is not insurmountable. Small business can compete if there is a level playing field. Local knowledge, local culture and local community have value. The challenge facing all small business is to offer something to the consumer that adds value over the alternatives. Small retailers must offer better service, the right selection for Alaskans and even price matching. Local restaurants have to offer better food and drink, and many do. Every small business has to pay its taxes and hire local people. It is time for local governments to recognize this and help level the field. Alaska small business currently creates more jobs than the entire oil industry in Alaska. Some may not realize that creating a system that promotes small business would create many more local jobs than the proposed gas pipeline, and the jobs created would be permanent.Why should these large corporations have access to our markets if they don't contribute their fair share? Local and state governments must find a way to protect and value small businesses for the economic contributions they make.  National chains and Internet stores should be held accountable for extracting our economic wealth, just like we hold the oil companies accountable extracting our natural resource wealth. If these corporations don't spend their overhead and profits locally, then exploring ways to tax these huge corporations should be a priority for our state and city leaders. Retail giants like Amazon and Walmart that rake in billions annually should have to contribute more than a few low-end jobs to the economies they are exploiting. It's time to think outside the box.John Staser co-owns Mountain View Sports and Adventure Apparel with his wife, Julie, and is a former member of the ADN guest editorial board.

    AlaskaDispatch / 12 h. 58 min. ago more
  • Alaskan igloo hotel that's never had a guest is for saleAlaskan igloo hotel that's never had a guest is for sale

    The saddest hotel in America? One man's dream of an igloo-shaped motel in rural Alaska built in the 1960s is now a derelict curiosity - and it's back on the market He built the framework for the 58-room dome by hand, but was still working to finish it when he died in 1999 Driving along the desolate path made by Interstate A4 in Alaska, the only things visible as far as the eye can see are woodlands, snow-topped mountain ranges, and perhaps the occasional wild animal. That is until you reach Igloo City: population zero.

    Alaska News / 13 h. 56 min. ago more
  • Alaska lawmakers feud over handling of sexual harassment complaints - Alaska Dispatch NewsAlaska lawmakers feud over handling of sexual harassment complaints - Alaska Dispatch News

    Alaska Dispatch NewsAlaska lawmakers feud over handling of sexual harassment complaintsAlaska Dispatch NewsReps. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, and Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, talk with Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, on the House floor last year. Wilson and LeDoux are now in a fight over how the Legislature should move forward after allegations of sexual ...

    Google News / 17 h. 9 min. ago more
  • Dog walker has wolf encounter at Alaska recreation areaDog walker has wolf encounter at Alaska recreation area

    An Alaska man says his dog came nose-to-nose with a wolf while they were walking at a Douglas park.

    Alaska News / 18 h. 35 min. ago
  • Sam's Club Alaska closings hit businesses statewideSam's Club Alaska closings hit businesses statewide

    - Sam's Club announced that it will close its three Alaska stores by Jan. 26. In response, hundreds of people visited the Fairbanks warehouse on Friday for a liquidation sale that symbolized a sh

    Big News Network.com / 18 h. 39 min. ago
  • Sam's Club shuttering in Alaska shakes businesses statewide - CBS ... - CBS NewsSam's Club shuttering in Alaska shakes businesses statewide - CBS ... - CBS News

    CBS NewsSam's Club shuttering in Alaska shakes businesses statewide - CBS ...CBS NewsWhat happens to a city when it loses its biggest bulk wholesale store in 350 miles? Fairbanks struggles for an answer.and more »

    Google News / 19 h. 1 min. ago
  • Woman Arrested on $40,000 Worth of Warrants During Soldotna Traffic StopWoman Arrested on $40,000 Worth of Warrants During Soldotna Traffic Stop

    An Anchorage woman, formerly of Homer was pulled over in a traffic stop for an equipment violation on Harmony Road in Soldotna early Monday morning and was found to have multiple PACE probation warrants issued for her arrest for Failure to Comply. 30-year-old Rachel Pendergrass was arrested on the warrants, totaling $40,000 issued for Violation […]

    Alaska Native News / 19 h. 6 min. ago more
  • FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, Alaska Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, responds to a reporter's question at the Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. The Alaska Legislature opens a new session ...FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, Alaska Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, responds to a reporter's question at the Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. The Alaska Legislature opens a new session ...

    FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, Alaska Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, responds to a reporter's question at the Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. The Alaska Legislature opens a new session Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, amid lingering fallout from the r

    ABCNews.com / 20 h. 1 min. ago
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    ABCNews.com / 20 h. 4 min. ago
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    ABCNews.com / 20 h. 7 min. ago
  • Saturday Night Shooting Victim Dies at HospitalSaturday Night Shooting Victim Dies at Hospital

    While the identity of the shooting victim on the 8000-block of 36th avenue has been released in Saturday night’s shooting in Anchorage has been released, APD has yet to release any suspect information. Police responded to the shooting location at 9:53 pm on Saturday night after a call-in to find a shooting victim, now identified as 33-year-old […]

    Alaska Native News / 20 h. 16 min. ago more
  • Hole-Alutiiq Word of the Week-January 14thHole-Alutiiq Word of the Week-January 14th

    Cuknaq–Hole Cuknangq’rtuq ulugken.–Your pants got a hole. The tools of classical Alutiiq society were often complex, featuring many parts. A harpoon, a cooking vessel, a suit of armor, or a mask had numerous carefully shaped, interlocking pieces. To fasten these pieces together, craftsmen drilled small holes for lashing and pegging. Alutiiq people drilled holes in […]

    Alaska Native News / 20 h. 36 min. ago more
  • Looking Back: January 15, 2018Looking Back: January 15, 2018

    Jan. 15, 2008 - Gavel-to-Gavel Alaska, the statewide television and Internet webcasting service, starts a new season of Legislative broadcasts when the Legislature convenes .

    Alaska News / 1 d. 6 h. 29 min. ago
  • Small plane lands without gear in JuneauSmall plane lands without gear in Juneau

    In this extended exposure photo, an Alaska Airlines flight — the white streak on the right — descends onto the runway at Juneau International Airport on Sunday evening. It was business as

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 6 h. 36 min. ago
  • Public service lawyers offer free legal help on MLK DayPublic service lawyers offer free legal help on MLK Day

    The annual event is sponsored by the Alaska Court System, Alaska Legal Services Corp., the Alaska Bar Association and other local bar associations. In Juneau, attorneys will provid

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 6 h. 36 min. ago
  • Sam's Club exit in Alaska shakes businesses statewideSam's Club exit in Alaska shakes businesses statewide

    reports that hundreds of people visited the Fairbanks warehouse on Friday for a liquidation sale that symbolizes a shift in suppliers for many businesses. The Sam's Club is the largest bulk w

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 7 h. 1 min. ago
  • more news
  • An ancient art could help us talk about climate changeAn ancient art could help us talk about climate change

    Meanwhile, in West Virginia, environmental regulations and the use of fracking for fossil fuels production has led to a decline in the coal mining industry. Both states have a rich history of oral storytelling; both are at the center of two very different stories about climate change.

    Alaska News / 1 d. 13 h. 6 min. ago
  • Slim Williams: Alaska's mushing highway ambassador to the Lower 48Slim Williams: Alaska's mushing highway ambassador to the Lower 48

    Slim Williams mushed from Alaska to the Chicago World's Fair in 1932-33 with his lead dog, Rembrandt.

    Alaska News / 2 d. 2 h. 31 min. ago
  • Grant allows district to reinstate petroleum career programGrant allows district to reinstate petroleum career program

    The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has received a $20,000 grant that will help in the school district's goal to extend their broaden their approach past traditional classrooms. The grant, awarded at the end of 2017, was one of seven new grants from the Vocational Fund for Alaska's Future grant programs under the umbrella of the Alaska Community Foundation and the Kenai Peninsula Foundation.

    Alaska News / 2 d. 4 h. 50 min. ago more
  • Night Music: January 13, 2018Night Music: January 13, 2018

    Here is the Night Music Playlist with Kirk Waldhaus. All tracks played are listed below in the following format: Title Artist / Composer (if known or if blank artist or unknown) Album Label Song Duration 8:00 – 9:00 Churchin’ Ronnie Earl Healing Time Telarc CD-83490 7:11 Catfish Blues Ronnie Earl / Waters Healing Time Telarc CD-83490 4:48 If I Were a Bell Dominique Eade / Loesser The Ruby & The Pearl Accurate AC-3924 5:50 In Return Dominique Eade The Ruby & The Pearl Accurate AC-3924 5:44 You Don’t What Love Is Teddy Edwards / Raye Back to Avalon CCD-14074-2 4:25 Steppin’ Lightly Teddy Edwards Back to Avalon CCD-14074-2 7:20 Born in a Suitcase Either / Orchestra radium Accurate AC-3232 6:42 Hard to Know Either / Orchestra radium Accurate AC-3232 4:56 Amber Linn Mark Egan Elements NOVUS 3058-2-N 5:38 9:00 – 10:00 5 O’Clock Terrence Brewer Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 5:56 Singing in the Rain/Laughter in the Rain Deborah Sachs / Freed, Brown, Sedaka, Cody Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 5:46 Come Around to My House Kally Price & the Lazybirds Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 2:57 Here’s That Rainy Day Marie Vanderbeck Trio / Heusen, Burke Oasis Jazz Vol. VII #6 Oasis Manufacturing 3:56 For KB Sara Holtzschue Oasis Jazz Vol. VII #6 Oasis Manufacturing 4:42 Small Day Tomorrow Janet Metzger / Landesman, Dorough Oasis Jazz Vol. VII #6 Oasis Manufacturing 4:58 Jacob’s Ladder Ron English & The Psalm 100 Ensemble Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 4:48 Straight Jackets Postmodern Blues / Booth Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 6:03 Spirit Lover Jere Carroll Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 3:28 Mas Mojada Byron Lenair Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 5:37 Be Bach Aletha Nowitzky Oasis Jazz Vol. VII, #6 Oasis Manufacturing 4:18

    Alaska Public Media / 2 d. 6 h. 13 min. ago more
  • Photographer shares what he believes is at stake in ANWR with one imagePhotographer shares what he believes is at stake in ANWR with one image

    John Wright stands next to his 1979 panoramic photo of the Porcupine caribou herd in the University of Alaska Museum of the North. John Wright stands next to his 1979 panoramic photo of the Porcupine caribou herd in the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

    Alaska News / 2 d. 9 h. 1 min. ago
  • Hawaii False Missile Alert Explained: Worker ‘Pushed Wrong Button’Hawaii False Missile Alert Explained: Worker ‘Pushed Wrong Button’

    Hawaii Governor David Ige said human error was behind the false incoming-missile alert Saturday that sent Hawaiians into a panic. Ige told CNN television that “it was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the changeover of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button.” The warning from Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency went […]

    Alaska Native News / 2 d. 13 h. 1 min. ago more
  • Graying of the fleet has Alaska looking for young hands on deckGraying of the fleet has Alaska looking for young hands on deck

    Alaska's fisheries provide lucrative opportunities for those who choose to make their living on the water. For aspiring entrants to the fishing industry, however, these opportunities have become more difficult to seize, costing Alaska's economy and erecting hurdles for those laboring to build their own local fishing businesses.

    Alaska News / 2 d. 13 h. 31 min. ago
  • Don't enshrine Alaska's PFD in the constitutionDon't enshrine Alaska's PFD in the constitution

    It is an election year and the mini-stampede to protect at all costs the Permanent Fund dividend - Alaska's expensive homage to lousy public policy - by enshrining it in the Alaska Constitution continues unabated. This time around, the charge is led by Sens. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, and Tom Begich, D-Anchorage.

    Alaska News / 2 d. 13 h. 31 min. ago
  • APD Officer Collides with Juvenile on Boniface and DeBarrAPD Officer Collides with Juvenile on Boniface and DeBarr

    APD reports that an on-duty officer, while patrolling on Boniface, struck a juvenile pedestrian at Boniface and Debarr, causing serious injuries. Additional police and EMTs responded to the scene in East Anchorage at approximately 3:05 pm on Friday and the juvenile was transported to the hospital for treatment of serious, but, non-life-threatening injuries. According to […]

    Alaska Native News / 2 d. 14 h. 52 min. ago more
  • ANCSA corporation impactANCSA corporation impact

    Kim Reitmeier, executive director of the ANCSA Regional Association, is the featured speaker at the weekly Tuesday luncheon of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.

    Alaska News / 2 d. 17 h. 53 min. ago
  • Land Exchange Deal Reached on King Cove Road ProjectLand Exchange Deal Reached on King Cove Road Project

    The battle over road access for medical emergencies from the Aleutians fishing village of King Cove to the all-weather airport at Cold Bay appears to again be reaching a conclusion, but it’s not over yet. A spokesperson for the Aleutians East Borough confirms that an agreement has been reached on a land exchange between the […]

    Alaska Native News / 2 d. 18 h. 4 min. ago
  • Yes for Salmon to Deliver an Estimated 40,000 Signatures to Division of ElectionsYes for Salmon to Deliver an Estimated 40,000 Signatures to Division of Elections

    What: Yes for Salmon, ballot sponsors, volunteers, community leaders, and supporters and will gather at the Division of Elections to deliver Yes for Salmon Ballot Initiative petition booklets signed by an estimated 40,000 Alaskans. Why: Yes for Salmon, the group behind a ballot initiative that would update the state’s law governing development in salmon habitat, […]

    Alaska Native News / 2 d. 18 h. 16 min. ago more
  • TaxesTaxes

    The nearly 500-page federal tax bill is now law, but what does it mean to you? Will it help or hurt your checkbook? When will you see a difference in your paycheck? How much will it change your tax return next year? And what don't you know about the new tax laws? Join us as we talk taxes on the next Talk of Alaska . Eric Bork, or you can just call him "Bork" because everybody else does, is the Audio Media Content Producer for KSKA-FM.

    Alaska News / 2 d. 22 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Discovering, crafting Alaska's true gems in FairbanksDiscovering, crafting Alaska's true gems in Fairbanks

    Co-owner Joe Taylor shows a ring set with an Alaskan rutilated quartz gemstone displaying the long needle-like inclusions of titanium dioxide at Taylor's Gold-N-Stones in the Teddy Bear Plaza Wednesday afternoon, January 10, 2018.

    Alaska News / 3 d. 2 h. 58 min. ago
  • Legislators who skip training could face ethics complaintLegislators who skip training could face ethics complaint

    In this Jan. 17, 2017 file photo, state Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, talks with another legislator during a break in the opening session of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau, Alaska. Alaska legislators who do not take training to prevent sexual harassment could face an ethics complaint after a legislative ethics committee agreed Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, to make the training mandatory for this year.

    Alaska News / 3 d. 7 h. 19 min. ago more
  • Seventeen students leave district during winter breakSeventeen students leave district during winter break

    Haines School (Emily Files/KHNS photo) Teachers at the Haines School got a surprise when taking attendance for the first time after the holidays: an unexpected number of their students were missing. Listen now Seventeen students didn’t return to the Haines School district after winter break. In total, that’s a little more than six percent of the remaining student body. “Families having to leave our town because they can’t support their family is super concerning,” Principal Rene Martin says. Up to five of the students were seniors graduating early. Martin couldn’t confirm an exact number since demographic groups of kids that small are kept confidential for privacy. The other 12 are students whose families pulled them out of school because they couldn’t afford to stay in Haines, Martin says. “I think for the kids, it’s sad to see their friends go. I think the demoralizing part is really more for us, and the Board, and the borough Assembly because, you know, we’re struggling to try to find jobs and help families so this doesn’t happen,” she says. “It’s just a struggle.” Haines’ school population is at a historic low, and has been declining steadily for years, Martin says. The K-12 school has 256 currently enrolled, not including the 17 who left. The school peaked at 596 students in the early 70s. That can be linked to the economy, Martin says. “[That was the] boon of logging, boon of the mill, fishing, everything,” she says. But now, student data shows Haines has changed. “Almost half of our student population qualify for free or reduced lunch,” Martin says. “Almost half of our families are not living at a full quality of life amount of money that the government anticipates you need to live. So that’s a significant portion of our town that are struggling.” She doesn’t think the trend will change unless Haines’ economy does. Neither does Darsie Culbeck, who spoke to the Borough Assembly about the departures. He has two kids in the school district. “As one indicator of the health of our community, it’s a strong one. You may not know it, but it’s desperate in Haines. A lot of people in this town are barely making it,” Culbeck says. Though the school is funded based on enrollment numbers, departures won’t affect the budget this year. The student count was set finalized in October. But fewer students will mean less money for the school next year — unless new families move to town.

    Alaska Public Media / 3 d. 10 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Prince of Wales Island schools started growing food. Now 1st graders are binging on broccoliPrince of Wales Island schools started growing food. Now 1st graders are binging on broccoli

    One Southeast school district has been raising fruits and vegetables in greenhouses, because it’s easier to get kids to eat their greens if those children have grown those vegetables themselves. Listen now And the district powers the project with renewable energy. An elementary class in Coffman Cove is assembled for a morning lesson. But instead of desks in this classroom, there are UV lights and row after row of raised soil beds. The district’s agriculture coordinator Cody Beus shows the class how to plant carrot seeds. This past year the school built a 6,912-square-foot greenhouse. Wood-fired boilers feed heat into the hydroponic system. The roots of the crops sit in heated water rather than soil. Much of rural Alaska is a desert when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables. Not here. “While most farmers or producers are winding down this time of year, especially in Alaska, we’re just winding up,” Beus said. “We’ve got a bunch of lettuce, kale and chard – really cool weather crops that we’ll enjoy this winter.” It’s the second planting season for some of these students. Eighth-grader Damon Holtman checks the acidity of the water circulating in the hydroponic system. What’s he grown so far? “Lettuce, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, tomato, peppers, sunflowers, kale – a bunch of stuff,” he said. Kindergartener Emma Beus is carefully spreading carrot seeds for this winter’s crop, but she’s still thinking about last summer’s berries. “We got like these huge blueberries,” the 6-year-old said. “They were huge but they were yummy, too.” The wood-fired boilers make the farming possible. “If they were burning oil to maintain the temperatures in the greenhouses that would be prohibitively expensive,” said Bob Deering, the U.S. Forest Service’s renewable energy coordinator for Alaska. “Transitioning over to a low-cost, wood energy has been the enabling factor for communities to add on these greenhouses.” The school district pays $200 for each cord of stacked and seasoned wood. That bounty on firewood has offered opportunities to under-employed families with access to a truck and chainsaw. “By sourcing their wood from local supplies not only to you not send money out for the oil, but that money stays to pay for somebody to harvest and process the wood,” Deering said. “That guy then can afford a house, which cascades through the community.” Prince of Wales Island is mostly covered by the Tongass National Forest. Logging has steadily declined, yet the former logging camp and mill town communities are hanging on. Southeast Island School District has six schools on Prince of Wales Island; a seventh closed last year because there were too few kids. “There aren’t a lot of jobs,” district superintendent Lauren Burch said. “They’ve opened up some logging again, but on the whole, that’s someone from someplace else who lives in the camp and takes off again. I mean, it doesn’t open schools, it doesn’t bring in kids.” The local diet on Prince of Wales Island includes a lot of meat and fish. Store-brought produce is expensive: it’s about $5 for a head of lettuce. “By the time the broccoli gets to our store you can hold it up and wiggle it because it’s that old,” said Priscilla Goulding, the district’s grants coordinator. The Alaska Energy Authority has funded more than a dozen wood boilers statewide – four of them are owned and operated by this school district. Students’ eating habits are changing now, she said, as she watches the elementary kids help themselves to the salad bar. The salad bar in the school cafeteria at Thorne Bay. Vegetables from the school’s greenhouse often end up here. (Video still by David Purdy/KTOO) “One of the cooks told me that there’s been a little fad in the first grade of broccoli with melted cheese over it,” she said a little proudly. “One kid just really loved that and the fad spread to the whole first grade.” There have been setbacks: an outbreak of aphids devastated Coffman Cove’s summer lettuce crop. Burch is frank about these challenges. “You’d have 1,200 lettuce plants laying on their side and no one knows anything,” he said. “Did they put in too much of the chemical in, did they let the water supply – and whoever was supposed to be watching over the weekend never seems to know what happened.” Running a hydroponic greenhouse has a steep learning curve. Burch said staff and students are learning from their setbacks. And in the meantime, the kids are eating better and working with their hands. He offers a bit of homespun wisdom from his days growing up on a farm in Oregon. “If the kids will grow it, they’ll try eating it,” Burch said. “I mean, they’ll try a Brussels sprout if they grow it.” This school year will be the first full growing season for the district’s greenhouses. Surplus produce is sold to the local community; farm-to-table has come to rural Southeast Alaska. This story is part of KTOO’s public media partnership with Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America. Major funding is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation. Support on KTOO comes from thread, advancing the quality of early care and education in Alaska.  For more stories that are part of this project, visit KTOO.org/ChasingTheDream

    Alaska Public Media / 3 d. 10 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Roster set for 2018 Yukon Quest after signup deadlineRoster set for 2018 Yukon Quest after signup deadline

    Brent Sass races to a first-place finish at the 2015 Yukon Quest. (Emily Russell/KNOM photo) Now that the final deadline has come and gone, 26 mushers are signed up to race this year’s Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Listen now According to Quest officials, Kotzebue musher Katherine Keith was the final one to sign up before the final deadline on January 5th. Keith, along with veterans Allen Moore, Hugh Neff, and 2017 champ Matt Hall, will join more than ten rookies on the trail, like Ike Underwood of Aniak. There are a total of 15 veterans and 11 rookies signed up to run the 2018 Yukon Quest, five more mushers than last year’s race. The 35th annual Yukon Quest is scheduled to start on February 3rd, and it’s expected that the first musher will travel the 1,000 miles from Whitehorse, Yukon, to Fairbanks within two weeks.

    Alaska Public Media / 3 d. 10 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Wilson calls on LeDoux to resignWilson calls on LeDoux to resign

    Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, wraps up debate on House Bill 126 relating to a code of military justice, Feb. 3, 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North) North Pole Rep. Tammie Wilson says fellow lawmaker Gabrielle LeDoux should resign because she failed to promptly respond to a legislative staffer’s complaint that she was sexually harassed by a lawmaker who was later forced to resign over those and other allegations. Listen now The Anchorage Republican LeDoux chairs the House Rules Committee. She denies Wilson’s accusation. LeDoux says it’s politically motivated and stems from a dispute over sexual-harassment training that all lawmakers and staffers are being required to take this year. Wilson raised a ruckus a week ago when she issued a Friday afternoon statement accusing LeDoux of failing to follow up on a legislative staff member’s report filed in the spring alleging that the staffer had been sexually harassed by former Rep. Dean Westlake. “The complaint was put in in March,” Wilson said. “And so it sat there for months and months, before anybody even knew it was there.” Westlake, a Democrat from Kiana, resigned last month after more women came forward to accuse him of harassment. But Wilson said LeDoux should have acted sooner to investigate the case and punish Westlake, because taking care of legislative staff is one of the House Rules Committee chair’s main responsibilities. Wilson is calling for an outside investigator to look into whether LeDoux and House leaders failed to uphold their responsibility to follow up on the complaints. “Yes, Rep. Westlake has resigned. But what happens to those who did nothing? Something needs to be done – a third-party investigation needs to be done to find out who knew what when,” Wilson said. Those others at fault, Wilson says, include House Majority Leader Chris Tuck and Speaker Bryce Edgmon. Both are Democrats – Tuck is from Anchorage, Edgmon from Dillingham. Wilson said they too should resign if the outside investigator determines they didn’t follow the Legislature’s sexual-harassment policies and procedures. “We need to know why they hid for so long the accusation that they didn’t investigate immediately, that they didn’t make sure that others weren’t not going to be hurt,” Wilson said. A spokesman for the House leadership declined to comment on Wilson’s accusations. LeDoux said neither she nor the House leadership “hid” the staffer’s complaint, and she notes that Wilson admits she has no evidence for that accusation. LeDoux said she initially wasn’t told about the complaint, which she said was handled by Edgmon, who confronted Westlake and urged him to resign. “As far as I know, there’s been no other caucus in the history of the Legislature that has ever called for a member to resign,” LeDoux said. “And believe me, there’s been plenty of sexual harassment in the Legislature.” LeDoux says she can’t say much more about it until a report on the issue is made public. “Now that doesn’t mean that the procedure can’t be improved, and that is why we’ve initiated a legislative subcommittee to review our procedures, to review our sexual-harassment policy, so that maybe we can improve things,” she said. LeDoux said Legislative leaders have instituted new rules requiring all lawmakers and their staffers to take sexual-harassment training, even if they’ve already attended previous sessions. She suspects that’s one reason why Wilson is attacking her, because she says Wilson has refused to participate in the training, and in response LeDoux has threatened to cut off her authority to hire staff. “For some reason, Ms. Wilson thinks that she should be exempt from this training, and doesn’t have to take it,” LeDoux said. “And that’s what annoys hers so much.” Wilson said she won’t participate in the training because she’s already attended earlier sessions, and because she’s waiting for an outside investigator to be brought and for LeDoux and the House leaders to explain on why they didn’t move more quickly on the allegations against Westlake. “It’s not that I won’t take the training,” Wilson said. “But I am not doing any other training done by this Democrat majority, until they are able to answer the questions on what happened.” LeDoux said she also sees a partisan motivation behind Wilson’s attacks. She says conservatives dislike her and other Republican lawmakers who work with their Democratic counterparts in the House coalition. “It’s simply a political hit job,” LeDoux said. “Because the Republican Party has a target on my back.” Both Wilson and LeDoux said they’ll be headed to Juneau this weekend for the start of this year’s legislative session, which gets under way Tuesday.

    Alaska Public Media / 3 d. 10 h. 29 min. ago more
  • Juneau’s state legislators field questions, cynicism at town hallJuneau’s state legislators field questions, cynicism at town hall

    Rep. Justin Parish addresses a packed room at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library during a town hall with Juneau’s state legislators on Thursday. Parish, Rep. Sam Kito III, left, and Sen. Dennis Egan make up Juneau’s legislative delegation. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO) Juneau’s state legislators hosted a town hall Thursday to hear from the public and talk through concerns. The 2018 legislative session begins next week. Listen now In a packed room at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library, Sen. Dennis Egan and Reps. Justin Parish and Sam Kito III struck a somewhat pessimistic tone as they fielded questions from constituents. “We are getting to the point where we are almost out of savings in our constitutional budget reserve account,” Kito said. He said oil revenue went from making up 90 percent of state earnings to now between 20 percent and 25 percent, forcing the state to draw on savings. “We still have to provide for education and public health according to our constitution,” Kito said. “We have to provide a transportation system. All of those things cost money.” The state needs to find ways to cover that deficit, he said, whether through a proposed state income tax, dipping into the Permanent Fund or some other solution. Budget reserves won’t last. Egan shared his own reservations about the upcoming session. “It’s an election year, and a lot of times every two years a lot of things don’t happen because people are running for re-election and they’re afraid to tackle major issues,” Egan said. “And that concerns me. It shouldn’t be about election years, it should be about solving Alaska’s problems.” Helen Unruh asked if there was anything to be done about legislative inaction. Parish suggested leaning on other Alaskans. “Do you have any friends in Fairbanks? If you have any friends who are represented by a senator who’s in the majority, please have them call their senator,” Parish said. “I know that when I get a call from a constituent, I take it very seriously.” Still, several community members echoed the feeling that Alaska’s fiscal future is being held hostage by the Republican-led Senate majority. Juneau’s legislators are all Democrats. Egan didn’t contest one constituent’s observation at the town hall: “We’re not talking and there’s just not enough being done during the session,” the young man said. “Lord knows the governor has tried to force you guys to work it out, calling you guys back over and over again, but to no avail.” “But we do nothing,” Egan replied. Afterward, Egan said the partisan politics that have overtaken the Legislature weren’t always the norm. “Well I thought we functioned really well when we were a bipartisan working group,” he said. “We did a lot of great things for the people of the state, but we worked together, Republicans and Democrats, and an independent. But we got things done. But lately, I don’t like it. I mean, I don’t like the way it’s been functioning.” The 30th Alaska Legislature reconvenes Tuesday.

    Alaska Public Media / 3 d. 10 h. 29 min. ago more
  • Petitions submitted to bar payments to lawmakers if they miss budget deadlinePetitions submitted to bar payments to lawmakers if they miss budget deadline

    Alaska voters are a step closer to deciding whether lawmakers will be paid if they fail to pass a budget on time. Rep. Jason Grenn, an independent from Anchorage, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in January 2017 on a bill to redefine when lawmakers can abstain from voting on conflicts of interest. Grenn sponsored an initiative for a bill that would end per diem payments to legislators if they don’t pass the state budget on time. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North) The group Alaskans for Integrity said it likely has more than enough signed petitions to put an initiative on the fall ballot that would accomplish that. More than 45,000 signatures were submitted for the Alaska Government Accountability Act. Listen now The group’s co-chair Bonnie Jack  said it doesn’t take much to convince people to sign. “(What) I’ve learned with the few signatures I gathered, was just talk about the per diem pay,” Jack said, adding that residents, say, “Stop! You don’t need to tell me any more. I’m happy to sign it.’” In the past three years, lawmakers haven’t agreed on a budget before the end of the 121-day session limit set by the state constitution. Lawmakers are currently entitled to more than $200 a day when the session runs long. The bill would stop those payments. Anchorage Rep. Jason Grenn sponsored the initiative. “I’d like to think of it as incentivizing us to get our job done in time,” he said. “But, I think Alaskans are kind of fed up with what looks like, from the outside, that not a lot of work happens and we wait until the very end to start work on passing a budget. And I think that hurts a lot of different sectors of Alaska, when people are waiting and waiting and waiting, and then we end up going past our time limit.” The bill also would take steps to limit lawmakers’ conflicts of interest and the gifts lawmakers receive. It would require them to provide justification before the state would pay for international travel. And it would bar foreign-owned corporations from contributing to state and local political campaigns. Gov. Bill Walker has proposed docking lawmakers per diem payments — and their salaries — if they don’t pass a budget by the end of the 90-day session end set by state law.

    Alaska Public Media / 3 d. 10 h. 29 min. ago more
  • Dippers Swim Alaska Rivers Throughout WinterDippers Swim Alaska Rivers Throughout Winter

    On the upper Chena River in the heart of a cold winter, a songbird appeared on a gravel bar next to gurgling water that somehow remained unfrozen in 20-below zero air. Then the bird jumped in, disappeared underwater, and popped up a few feet upstream. The bird continued snorkeling against the current of the stream, […]

    Alaska Native News / 3 d. 17 h. ago
  • Western Arctic Caribou Herd Increases After Years of DeclineWestern Arctic Caribou Herd Increases After Years of Decline

    (Kotzebue) — After more than a decade of decline, Alaska’s largest caribou herd is showing signs of growth. Counts of the Western Arctic caribou herd completed recently from aerial photographs taken during last summer’s photo census tallied 239,055 animals, raising the total herd estimate to 259,000. That’s up from 201,000 caribou a year ago. Alaska […]

    Alaska Native News / 3 d. 17 h. 8 min. ago more
  • Ketchikan Based Coast Guard Cutter Receives Award in Washington, D.C.Ketchikan Based Coast Guard Cutter Receives Award in Washington, D.C.

    JUNEAU, Alaska — The Douglas Munro Chapter of the Surface Navy Association awarded the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick with the 2017 Hopley Yeaton Cutter Excellence Award (small cutter) in conjunction with the 2018 Surface Navy Association National Symposium in Washington, D.C., Thursday. The John McCormick was awarded top honors over more […]

    Alaska Native News / 3 d. 17 h. 19 min. ago more
  • FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2006, file photo, Nathan Weyiouanna's abandoned house at the west end of Shishmaref, Alaska, sits on the beach after sliding off during a fall storm in 2005. Alaska health ...FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2006, file photo, Nathan Weyiouanna's abandoned house at the west end of Shishmaref, Alaska, sits on the beach after sliding off during a fall storm in 2005. Alaska health ...

    FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2006, file photo, Nathan Weyiouanna's abandoned house at the west end of Shishmaref, Alaska, sits on the beach after sliding off during a fall storm in 2005. Alaska health officials are warning that serious health issues could

    ABCNews.com / 4 d. 13 h. 58 min. ago
  • Report: Health problems could arise as Alaska warmsReport: Health problems could arise as Alaska warms

    Alaska health officials are warning that serious health issues could crop up as the state warms

    ABCNews.com / 4 d. 13 h. 59 min. ago
  • Gruff Alaska lawmaker now in charge of civility in US HouseGruff Alaska lawmaker now in charge of civility in US House

    A gruff, no-nonsense Alaska lawmaker who once told a female colleague she didn't know what she was talking about is now in charge of ensuring civility in the U.S. House

    ABCNews.com / 5 d. 5 h. 40 min. ago
  • Land swap for road in Alaska refuge considered againLand swap for road in Alaska refuge considered again

    The Interior Department will explore a land exchange that could lead to construction of a road through a national wildlife refuge in Alaska

    ABCNews.com / 7 d. 5 h. 53 min. ago
  • Land swap eyed for road in Alaska wildlife refugeLand swap eyed for road in Alaska wildlife refuge

    The Interior Department will explore a land exchange that could lead to construction of a road through a national wildlife refuge in Alaska

    ABCNews.com / 7 d. 11 h. 20 min. ago
  • more news
  • Audio Piece: Alaska bat researchers brace for white-nose syndromeAudio Piece: Alaska bat researchers brace for white-nose syndrome

    Bat research in Alaska has only started gaining traction within the last decade or so and biologists are working to gather even the most basic data about the state’s flying mammals. With the deadly threat of white-nose syndrome knocking at the door and the challenges of working in Alaska, a little technology can go a […]

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