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Posts from the 'Local News' category

Mat-Su Borough Assembly Asked for More School Funding

Friday, April 28, 2017
Mat-Su Borough Assembly and staff in Willow on Thursday.  Photo:  Phillip Manning - KTNA

Mat-Su Borough Assembly and staff in Willow on Thursday. Photo: Phillip Manning – KTNA

On Thursday night, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly held it’s third and final public hearing on its annual budget at a special meeting in Willow.

Nearly seventy people came out for the final public hearing on the Mat-Su Borough’s budget at the Willow Community Center. The majority of those who spoke focused on one line item, schools.

Overall, the borough budget has shrunk by several million dollars, but the proposed level of funding for the Mat-Su Borough School District is the same as in last year’s budget. Over a dozen parents, teachers, and school administrators say that still isn’t enough.

Talkeetna Elementary School Principal Lisa Shelby said, “Flat funding results in more cuts, to the tune of $3.4 million dollars, and fewer opportunities for our kids.” Shelby added, “What I’m asking of you will take courage, to put kids and families at the top of your list.” (more…)

Denali Report for April 28th, 2017: Roger Robinson

Friday, April 28, 2017
Roger Robinson looks at the schedule of arriving climbing parties.  Photo by Phillip Manning, KTNA.

Roger Robinson looks at the schedule of arriving climbing parties. Photo by Phillip Manning, KTNA.

 

This is the Denali Report for Friday, April 28th, 2017. Currently, 863 climbers are registered to attempt Denali. Thirteen people are currently on the mountain, and two climbers have returned after a successful trip to the top. Eighteen climbers are currently registered to attempt Mt. Foraker. None have begun their climbs yet.

Earlier this week, KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke with Mountaineering Ranger Roger Robinson. He is one of the rangers that briefs climbers before they begin their treks. During those briefings, Robinson sometimes has to talk to a climber who may not be fully prepared to take on North America’s highest mountain.

Talkeetna Head Librarian Retires after 22 Years

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Talkeetna librarian Ann Yadon.  Photo by Katie Writer, KTNA.

Talkeetna librarian Ann Yadon. Photo by Katie Writer, KTNA.

by:  Katie Writer, KTNA

This Friday, the Latitude 62 is hosting a retirement party for Ann Yadon from 5-8 pm. Ann Yadon has been a Talkeetna resident since the early nineties. She has been a librarian for 22 years and has shared her expertise with the library’s expansion and many services. KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Ann Yadon about her role as a librarian for the Talkeetna Library.

Mat-Su Borough budget shrinking as population grows

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

by:  Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s budget proposal is out and it’s smaller than last year.

If approved, the budget for the fastest-growing population center in the state would shrink about $9 million to about $400 million. The plan keeps school funding about the same as last year.

The borough prides itself on having the leanest personnel to resident ratio of any municipality in the state, with one employee for every 330 residents, Borough Manager John Moosey said.

“I think what it shows is that we’re trying to provide services the most economical way possible,” Moosey said.

(more…)

Via Bike: A Talkeetna Man’s Cycling Journey Across America for a Cause

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Carter Forney in City of Rocks, New Mexico. Photo Courtesy of Carter Forney.

Carter Forney in City of Rocks, New Mexico. Photo Courtesy of Carter Forney.

Over the winter, Carter Forney of Talkeetna rode his bike cross-country, raising money to purchase bikes for children as he went. He’s made a documentary about the journey that is screening in Talkeetna this Friday night. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more.

 

 

Last fall, Carter Forney’s cross-country bike ride began in the San Diego International Airport, some assembly required. After his flight from Anchorage landed, Carter took his packaged bicycle off the luggage carousel and got to work.

“[I] just started unboxing my bike in the airport, and got some funny looks from people…I built

Carter Forney's bike leaving Ted Stevens International Airport. Photo courtesy of Carter Forney.

Carter Forney’s bike leaving Ted Stevens International Airport. Photo courtesy of Carter Forney.

the bike and actually pedaled out the doors at the San Diego International Airport.”

From there, Carter Forney would pedal more than 3,000 miles across the American South to his final destination. He believes that cycling is one of the best ways to travel, and that the experience is often richer than riding in a car.

“You don’t get the smells, or the sounds of the birds, and you’re really going by so fast that you don’t notice the little, subtle differences. When you’re on a bike, you feel it all.”

The ride wasn’t just for the fun or the challenge, though. Carter wanted to spread the joy of cycling by raising money to buy bikes for children as he went.

 

“I thought, ‘Hey, if I raise twenty bucks, that would be cool. I set a pretty high goal for myself, but I ended up meeting the goal. It’s been an awesome adventure.” (more…)

Troopers ask for help locating missing Valley child

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Charlie Burdette, 4, may be with her father, Raymond Martin, 57.  Photos courtesy of the Alaska State Troopers.

Charlie Burdette, 4, may be with her father, Raymond Martin, 57. Photos courtesy of the Alaska State Troopers.

The Alaska State Troopers are looking for tips in order to locate 4-year-old Charlie Burdette. Troopers believe Charlie may be with her father, 57-year-old Raymond Martin. The Office of Child Services says Martin failed to relinquish custody of Charlie, and the two have not been seen since March 21st. Troopers ask that anyone with information of the whereabouts of Charlie Burdette or Raymond Martin call 907-352-5401. The full missing person bulletin is available here.

Training ramps up with wildfire season

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The fire danger level sign near the "Y."  Photo by Katie Writer - KTNA

The fire danger level sign near the “Y.” Photo by Katie Writer – KTNA

by:  Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

It’s wildfire season in Southcentral Alaska and firefighters are gearing up.

A week of simulations kicked off Monday in Palmer for incident commanders practicing complicated wildfire scenarios they might face this summer.

The annual training is a good warm-up for the incident commanders, said Alaska Division of Forestry spokesperson Norm McDonald.

“(It’s) a way for them to kind of knock the rust off and get ready for the fire season,” McDonald said. (more…)

Organizers Say Talkeetna Spur Road Cleanup Was a Success

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Volunteers gather at Denali Brewing Company after Saturday's spur road cleanup.  Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

Volunteers gather at Denali Brewing Company after Saturday’s spur road cleanup. Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

by:  Katie Writer – KTNA

Charissa Hernandez and Jenny Packer organized an Earth Day clean up on the Talkeetna Spur Road this past Saturday.

They estimate that more than 70 people turned up to help pick up trash.  In total, volunteers picked up 66 bags of trash.  KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Hernandez about the event:

Cleanup organizer Charissa Hernandez and volunteer Shandi Wolfer-McEwen during the spur road cleanup on Saturday.  Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

Cleanup organizer Charissa Hernandez and volunteer Shandi Wolfer-McEwen during the spur road cleanup on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

Two American Climbers First to Summit Denali in 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017
Connor Chilcott on Denali.  Photo courtesy of Forrest Barker.

Connor Chilcott on Denali. Photo courtesy of Forrest Barker.

The young climbing season on Denali has already yielded its first successful summit trip.

Forrest Barker and Connor Chilcott of Seattle reached the highest point in North America on Sunday, April 16th.

Mid-April is early in the climbing season for a group to make it to the summit of Denali and back. Barker and Chilcott say being the first to make it to the top was not their primary motivation. They say there is more freedom of choice in specific routes before hundreds of other climbers make their attempt, and both men found that prospect appealing.

The early ascent came with some difficulties. Barker and Chilcott were forced to overnight high on the mountain in windy conditions with temperatures dipping past forty-degrees-below-zero. When the sun began to set on summit day, they had to choose between pressing on or hunkering down. Low temperatures and a lack of food made the prospect of traveling at night dangerous. While camping near 18,500 feet of elevation, the climbers’ tent collapsed multiple times due to wind, but they were able to ride out the conditions and continue their descent. Barker and Chilcott were picked up and flown back to Talkeetna last Friday.

The high elevation and cold temperatures resulted in frostbite on one toe for Connor Chilcott and a high-altitude pulmonary edema for Forrest Barker. Neither condition is uncommon on Denali, and both men say they expect to recover fully.

Following their successful climb of North America’s highest mountain, Chilcott and Barker plan to continue their work with “Peaks of Life,” a Seattle-based non-profit that raises money to help pay for children’s hospital bills.