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Posts from the 'Local News' category

Ballot Proposition 4: Bristol Bay Mining

Thursday, October 23, 2014

With election day less than two weeks away, campaigns for candidates and ballot initiatives are trying to secure every vote they can.  This week, a campaigner for Ballot Initiative 4, called the “Bristol Bay Forever” initiative, spoke with KTNA’s Phillip Manning.


Few issues have consistently drawn as much debate over the last few years in Alaska as has the Pebble Mine.  The Pebble Partnership’s goal is to establish a large mining operation in the Bristol Bay area.  The fight over the mining project comes from those concerned about the region’s abundant salmon fishery.  The November 4th ballot will include an effort to place another layer of required approval on large mining projects in Bristol Bay by expanding an existing law.  Anders Gustafson, Executive Director of Renewable Resources Foundation and Coalition, explains what Proposition 4 looks to change.

“The law said that any oil and gas development that would happen in that area would need to seek approval of the legislature, or therefore the people of Alaska.  So, we’re looking to amend that existing law to include mineral leases as well, because we think that, if the rules are good enough for oil and gas, that large-scale mining should have to follow the same rules.” (more…)

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Upper Valley Candidates Respond to Same-Sex Marriage Question

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Last week, we sent the following question to all of the candidates running for State House District 10 and State Senate Seat E, both of which represent the KTNA listening area.  Thus far, we have received responses from two candidates running for House Seat 10. (more…)

Dunleavy Faces Independent Challenger in Senate E Race

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

by:  Ellen Lockyer – KSKA, Anchorage

Tiny Chickaloon, population 272, lies just within the newly redrawn boundaries of Senate E, the lengthy district that threads the Richardson Highway from Valdez to Delta Junction. Independent candidate for Senate E, Warren Keogh, has called Chickaloon home for three decades.

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“I am a lifelong independent. I have been approached by folks in both parties, to become a Republican or become a Democrat, but I have decided to stay on the course that I have always been on and not become a partisan person.”

Keogh has a varied background – military service in Vietnam, firefighter and paramedic, paralegal and water resources specialist. He has served as Chickaloon Community Council president, and spent one term on the Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly, representing the communities North of Palmer. He says he’s got the name recognition to take on the incumbent.

“Mr. Dunleavy has been in office only two years, so he does have the advantage of incumbency, however, in this new district, he is only incumbent in half the area, and I reside in the other, the easternmost district E, so we both have considerable name recognition.” (more…)

Mat-Su School District Suspends Military Recruitment

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Mat-Su Borough School District has temporarily suspended all military recruitment in Valley schools.  This comes one day after the Anchorage School District’s decision to halt military recruitment on its campuses.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, Mat-Su Borough School District spokeswoman Catherine Esary says that the decision is a result of allegations of past misconduct by Alaska Army National Guard recruiters in Anchorage.  Documents pertaining to those alleged incidents, as well as many others, were leaked earlier this week.

Mat-Su Superintendent, Dr. Deena Paramo, says that the district is reviewing its protocols regarding military recruitment.  Paramo says that, while the district “values its partnership with the military,” the safety of students is the highest priority.

Military staff who recruit in Mat-Su schools have been contacted, and there is currently no estimate for when recruitment will be allowed to resume.

Talkeetna Man Arrested for Domestic Violence

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Saturday night, the Alaska State Troopers arrested a Talkeetna man after a domestic violence incident downtown.  Robert Reichert is charged with assault, criminal mischief, and driving without a valid license.  Troopers say that Reichert recklessly injured a family member and intentionally broke two cell phones.  The call came in to troopers just before midnight on Saturday.  Reichert was contacted near Mile 2 of the Talkeetna Spur Road in his truck.  He was taken to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility in Palmer, where he is being held without bail.

Mat-Su Borough Assembly to Certify Election Results This Week

Monday, October 20, 2014

All of the counting in this year’s Mat-Su Borough election is done, and none of the results have changed.  Final numbers show 13.6% of eligible voters went to the polls earlier this month, up from an initial figure of 11%.

Upper Valley voters decided on two ballot issues and two school board seats.  The candidates for both of those seats ran unopposed.  Proposition B-1, which passed comfortably, allows the borough to redraw district maps to bring them in line with the state’s voting precinct boundaries.  Borough officials have said that the change will mean fewer unique ballots will have to be printed due to precinct overlap between the borough and the state.

Proposition B-2 passed overwhelmingly, and allows for increased property tax exemptions for senior citizens and disabled veterans.

Elsewhere in the borough, Steve Colligan was re-elected to represent District 4, which covers much of Wasilla, in the borough assembly, and Dan Mayfield defeated Bill Kendig to represent District 5, which includes Big Lake.  Darcie Salmon, who currently represents District 5, did not run for re-election.

The results will be certified at a special meeting of the borough assembly on Tuesday.

Early Voting Has Begun

Monday, October 20, 2014

While election day isn’t until November 4th, some Alaskans began voting on Monday.  Early voting has begun, along with applications for electronic absentee voting.  Alaskans applying for an absentee ballot by mail have until Saturday to send their request.

In the Upper Valley, voters will choose representatives for the state House and Senate, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, and Lieutenant Governor.  There are also three initiatives on this year’s ballot concerning legalized marijuana, increasing the minimum wage, and mining in the Bristol Bay region.

Susitna Dam Study Report Meetings Begin Wednesday

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beginning on Wednesday, the Alaska Energy Authority will hold meetings to discuss the initial study report for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project.  Wednesday’s discussion will include study reports on fish in the Susitna River drainage.  Those studies have recently drawn criticism from the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  AEA maintains that criticism is unfounded.

Other meetings will cover water, ice, plants and wildlife, geology, and social studies.  The overall objective of the meetings is to allow stakeholders and AEA to discuss the studies.  The outcome of the meetings will be a potentially revised plan for second-year studies in 2015.

The full schedule of meetings, as well as draft agendas, is available here.

Upper Valley Residents Remember Barbara Washburn

Friday, October 10, 2014
Barbara Washburn/ Photo:  Museum of Science, Boston

Barbara Washburn/ Photo: Museum of Science, Boston

Recently, Barbara Washburn passed away at the age of ninety-nine.  She was the first woman to set foot on the summit of Denali, but her legacy in the Talkeetna area has as much to do with who she was as what she did.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning has this remembrance.

Barbara and Brad Washburn’s adventure together began in New England.  Ken Pauley, who worked with the Washburns at the Museum of Science in Boston, explains how they met.

“She was his secretary.  Needless to say, over time, there was a relationship developed.  They spent a lot of time together, and became husband and wife…”

After Brad and Barbara were married in 1940, Ken Pauley says it was not common to see them apart.

“They were inseparable. Whither he or she went, they went together.” (more…)

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