Thank you to the volunteers, musicians, on-air hosts, and members who made our Spring Membership Drive a success. We appreciate the support of individuals and businesses in the upper Susitna Valley.
If you missed the drive, you can still become a member at the Support Page here on the website. Or call 733-1700 during office hours.
Here are some of the people who were at the station during the drive:
This week on Su Valley Voice, host Phillip Manning spoke with four people who are involved with helping make the Upper Valley a cleaner place. Christie Seay is involved in the local recycling program and recently attended a workshop and conference hosted by the Mat-Su Borough on solid waste disposal. Charissa Hernandez is organizing a cleanup of the Talkeetna Spur Road this Saturday. Mollie Boyer is the Executive Director of the Valley Center for Recycling Solutions, which is involved in a number of waste reduction projects. Kelly Thomas is organizing next week’s Earth Day celebration along with the accompanying presentations and recycling opportunities.
The Talkeetna Spur Road cleanup this Saturday begins at noon at the Talkeetna Village Park, though there are opportunities for people to join in their own neighborhoods as volunteers pass through the area.
Next week, the Earth Day celebration is scheduled for 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Northern Susitna Institute. Bins will be available for corrugated cardboard recycling, and a limited amount of glass recycling will be available.
As area rivers begin to open up, many anglers are preparing to take to the water to try to catch king salmon. KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke with Sam Ivey, Sport Fish Area Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, about what they can expect this year.
King salmon are one of the premier draws for sport fishermen in the Susitna Valley, but weak runs have meant that most areas are limited to catch-and-release for kings. Sport Fish Area Biologist Sam Ivey says that’s not expected to change this year.
For the last few years, the Deshka River is one of the few in the area where retention of king salmon has been permitted. Ivey says this year, the river will not start the king season with any special restrictions.
“The annual limit will be five fish at the Deshka River. Last year, we started with the annual limit restriction of two, as the only restriction. We’ll proceed as per regulation. Bait starts on the Deshka River on June 1, so we’ll be looking forward to the kickoff of the season, there.”
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The Cessna 182E that crashed near Mile 90 of the Parks Highway on Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Katie Dietrich
Update 12:00 a.m.: The Alaska State Troopers have identified the pilot as 51-year-old Ronald Scott Hernandez of King Salmon. Troopers say Hernandez suffered minor injuries.
Update 5:54 p.m.: MEA now confirms that a small aircraft crash caused a power loss to about 2,600 customers. Power has been partially restored, but approximately 1,100 customers will be without electricity until repairs are completed later this evening.
This afternoon, a Cessna 182 crashed near Mile 90 of the Parks Highway.
Emergency crews responded around 4:00 p.m. to a crashed aircraft, including Alaska State Troopers and personnel from multiple EMS divisions in the Upper Valley.
The crashed aircraft is registered to Robert Hill of Naknek, Alaska, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, but there is no confirmation at this time of who was piloting the aircraft.
The pilot was transported from the scene of the crash to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center by ambulance, and was reportedly conscious at the time he was taken from the scene.
The crash coincided with a power outage from Caswell north. Matanuska Electric Association has not yet confirmed that the crash caused the outage, but a crew is on the way to the scene.
Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla) Photo courtesy: Office of Mike Dunleavy
Last week, Alaska State Senator Mike Dunleavy, whose district includes the Upper Valley, left the Senate Majority Caucus, which has led to a number of consequences, including loss of influential committee seats and much of his staff. Still, Dunleavy says the decision was the right thing to do. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more.
Republican Senator Mike Dunleavy is now, essentially, a minority caucus of one. Last week, Dunleavy left the majority caucus in order to vote against the budget approved by the caucus. He says voting for the budget is one of the expectations of caucus members, and that he could bring himself to do it due to the absence of budget cuts he desired and the inclusion of a change to the Permanent Fund Dividend formula that would diminish the checks Alaskans receive each year. Dunleavy says he discussed his issues with the budget with caucus leadership, but could not come to a conclusion he supported.
“To their credit, we talked for some time to see if there could be changes and accommodations in the budget, but it wasn’t going to happen. So, I had a choice of…voting for a budget that I could not, in my own heart support…just to hang out in the caucus.”
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A Mat-Su Borough official has apologized for sharing a political post on an official borough social media account.
On Thursday night, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Solid Waste Division’s Facebook page shared a post by the Alaska Republican Party. The party linked to a post on the “Must Read Alaska” blog discussing potential state revenue sources in Juneau. The Republican Party referred to the four Republicans who joined with Democrats and independents to form a new majority as “turncoats,” and to Governor Bill Walker as “Governor Taker.” The post by the borough solid waste division called the situation, “Reprehensible. An absolute travesty.”
Screenshot of the post taken from Facebook.
On Friday morning, the post came down. Butch Shapiro, Director of the Solid Waste Division, says he made the post to the official Facebook page in error, and that it was meant for his personal page. He apologizes for the error and says he will likely remove himself as an administrator to the page to prevent future accidental postings.
Terry Dolan, Mat-Su Borough Public Works Director and Shapiro’s immediate superior, says he was made aware of the post Friday. Dolan says he was still looking into the incident as of Friday afternoon, but says in an emailed statement that he does “not impose punishment for honest mistakes.”
Dolan adds that the Public Works Department values engagement via social media, and does not plan to reduce use of social media. Instead, he says the department will focus on preventing posts that were meant to be personal from going out on official accounts.
by: Liz Ruskin – Alaska Public Media
Alaska Congressman Don Young is among 43 U.S. House members asking that Congress prevent the Justice Department from pursuing federal drug cases against people who are complying with their state’s medical marijuana laws.
Young and his colleagues have written the leaders of the subcommittee that writes the Justice Department’s budget. They want the appropriations bill to say that none of the money Congress allocates to the department can be used to prosecute people for using, selling or growing medical marijuana if their conduct is legal under state law.
Congress has included similar language in appropriations bills since 2014. But it might be more controversial this year. The new U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has long argued that marijuana is a dangerous drug that should not be tolerated.
By: Andrew Kitchenman, APRN & KTOO – Juneau
When Senator Mike Dunleavy left the Senate majority last week, he knew it meant he would lose some of his official positions of power.
The Wasilla Republican found out what the fallout is likely to be on Tuesday. The Senate Committee on Committees recommended that he lose two committee seats. The Senate is likely to make the changes Wednesday.
If the Senate approves, Dunleavy would lose his seat on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and his seat as chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Palmer Republican Shelley Hughes will replace Dunleavy on Finance.
And Anchorage Republican Kevin Meyer replaces Dunleavy as chairman of State Affairs.
Kodiak Republican Gary Stevens will replace Hughes as the Education chair.
Dunleavy left the caucus in order to oppose the budget. He called for maintaining Permanent Fund dividends and making deeper budget cuts.
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Fire danger sign at the intersection of the Parks Highway and the Talkeetna Spur Road. (Photo: Katie Writer – KTNA)
As of the beginning of this month, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources requires general burn permits for the burning of open debris and the use of burn barrels.
DNR says debris burning and burn barrels are the leading causes of wildland fires in the state.
Free burn permits are available at most local fire stations, or can be downloaded from the Alaska Division of Forestry website.
In order to burn, permit holders are required to call or check online whether burning is permitted the day they intend to use the permit, and are required to have it on their person when burning.
Small warming or cooking fires, measuring less than three-feet-by-three-feet do not require a burn permit.
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