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Posts from the 'Local News' category

Borough Seeking Input on Transportation Plan

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Mat-Su Borough is soliciting public input in order to update its Long Range Transportation Plan.  The plan was last updated in 2007, and was intended to act as a guide for borough-wide transportation improvements through 2025.  The update currently in progress will run through 2035.  While the plan covers the entire borough, the focus for the update is on fast-growing areas such as Knik Goose Bay Road and the Big Lake and Meadow Lakes areas.

The goal of the LRTP is to allow infrastructure to keep pace with growth.  It involves plans for roads, trails, airports, and public transportation.  While the update is focused more on the core area of the borough, the rural areas are also covered.  Talkeetna, Trapper Creek, and Sunshine all have lists of community desires listed in the 2007 plan.  For Talkeetna, that includes items like the wish to continue as an “end of the road” community.  Trapper Creek’s largest item is the improvement of the Petersville Road, and Sunshine has requests for pedestrian access and general safety improvements, especially along high traffic roads and the Parks Highway. (more…)

Government Hill Residents Protest Demolitions for Knik Arm Bridge

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

by:  Anne Hillman, APRN

On Tuesday potential demolition contractors were shown buildings the state wants torn down on Government Hill in Anchorage, and protesters chanted and held signs protesting the demolition as premature. It’s the result of planning for a bridge by the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority, or KABATA, that has now been taken over by the state. Local home owner Marjorie Ellis did not mince words in her criticism of that bridge idea:
“Everything they’ve done is to destroy Government Hill, which is the oldest community in Anchorage.”

Funding prospects for the bridge hang on seeking a federal loan. But
Jill Rees of the state Transportation Department says right of way
acquisition has to run well ahead of any construction:

“You can’t wait until you’re ready with the financing to start building the bridge.  You might be three or four years down the line, at that point, of just getting properties purchased.  Also, especially in the Anchorage Bowl, prices aren’t going down.”

The demolition is planned for November.

NSI to host Smithsonian Exhibit and “Key Ingredients Festival”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beginning in August, the Northern Susitna Institute will host a traveling Smithsonian exhibition.  N-S-I’s Executive Director and Program Coordinator joined KTNA’s Phillip Manning during this week’s Su-Valley Voice and discussed the upcoming festival.

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Smithsonian and Talkeetna aren’t necessarily two words that most people would expect to hear in the same sentence.  Next month, however, a traveling exhibit will be coming to the Upper Valley, hosted by Northern Susitna Institute.  It’s called “Key Ingredients:  America by Food,” and it’s part of a nationwide tour.  The exhibit will be in Talkeetna for six weeks, from August 1st to mid-September.  In addition to the Smithsonian’s contribution, Upper Valley residents will be heavily involved in the event.  Executive Director Joe Page says that NSI has reached out to the community to help fill the calendar. (more…)

Norman Bay Nomination to FERC Approved over Sen. Murkowski’s Objection

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm two members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  One of those nominations was approved over the outspoken objection of Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning followed the vote, and has this report:

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, had two members confirmed on Tuesday.  Cheryl LaFleur, acting chair of the Commission, was approved in a 90-7 vote.  The vote for the second nominee, Norman Bay, had a much closer vote of 52-45.  The vote on Bay’s nomination fell along mostly partisan lines, though two Democrats did break ranks to vote with the Republican minority.  Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was one of the more vocal opponent’s of Norman Bay’s nomination.  Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy committee, says that part of her reason for opposing the nomination has to do with President Barack Obama’s intent to make Bay, a first time Commission member, the chairman of FERC. (more…)

Membership Coordinator position open at KTNA

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Talkeetna Community Radio, Inc. has an opening for a part-time, year-round, Membership Coordinator.  The position is responsible for all membership activities of KTNA including organizing and managing KTNA’s on-air and on-line membership efforts, managing KTNA’s donor database and maintaining healthy relations with all KTNA supporters.   Detailed job description available on request. Please send a written resume, letter of interest, and three references to  manager [at] ktna [dot] org or mail to General Manager, KTNA, Box 300, Talkeetna Alaska 99676. KTNA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Draft Report Looks at Talkeetna Sewer and Water

Friday, July 11, 2014

Currently, the Talkeetna Sewer and Water System is operating at a six-figure annual deficit, according to a draft report by CRW Engineering Group.  CRW was contracted by the Mat-Su Borough to assess the system with $100,000 allocated by the state legislature last year.  The idea is to get a picture of the current state of the system, which was installed in the 1980s, as well as to look at the financial status.  In all, there are hundreds of pages of raw data in addition to the report itself.

CRW Engineering did two separate assessments, one for sewer and one for water.  On the operational side, they found that the water treatment and distribution system does have some issues, but that the system is working well, and has some room for growth in usage.  One of the larger issues that was pointed out is the inability of the current backup generator to supply both well pumps.  Normally, that isn’t an issue, but if there was a sudden, dramatic spike in usage during a power outage, say, in the event of a fire hydrant opening, the pumps might not be able to keep up.  The borough was already aware of the issue, and has begun looking for funding for a more powerful generator. (more…)

Upper Valley Rep Causes Fine for State Legislature

Thursday, July 10, 2014

by:  Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN

Next session, state lawmakers will have to be a little more careful about what they ship down to Juneau. The Legislative Council has changed their moving reimbursement policy in response to the Federal Aviation Administration discovering hazardous materials in a representative’s airfreight.

Wes Keller, a Wasilla Republican, was found to have shipped multiple items that violate FAA rules on an Alaska Airlines flight as part of his
relocation to Juneau last January. Among his belongings were a small amount of ammunition, a cigarette lighter, and a can of StaticGuard aerosol fabric spray. Because the state pays moving costs for lawmakers, Keller’s goods were shipped under the Legislative Affairs Agency account. The Legislative Affairs Agency was cited by the FAA for the violation. The initial fine was nearly $20,000, but the FAA agreed to halve it contingent on a change to state policy. At a Wednesday meeting, the Legislative
Council voted to end reimbursement for the shipment of any item that
qualifies as a hazardous material under state or federal law. The Council also added a new rule that goods shipped via a state account must be inspected by Legislative Affairs Agency staff before being put on a plane to Juneau.

Montana Creek Holiday Follow-Up

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Last week, KTNA’s Phillip Manning went out to the Montana Creek bridge on Yoder Road to see the area before what was expected to be a very busy holiday weekend.   Over the weekend, he went back, and found something he wasn’t expecting:

The first thing that struck me as I drove over the Montana Creek bridge is how few people were in the area.  I have heard stories of the massive crowding that happens on busy weekends, and have seen photographs to back up those claims, but only a few campsites were visible.  The next question in my mind was, “Why?”  It was a beautiful, warm day, and the water level did not look high enough to discourage campers.  I met up with area resident Brian Hauge, who was thinking much the same thing.

“Typically, there would be six or seven in there, and they would be all the way down the deal in here…I’m surprised.” (more…)

Borough Official Updates Talkeetna Council on Flood Recovery and Control

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

At Monday night’s meeting, the Talkeetna Community Council received an update from Borough Emergency Manager Casey Cook regarding federal money for recovery from the fall 2012 flood.  Cook also shared a new piece of information regarding the Talkeetna Flood Service Area that could have implications on future flood mitigation efforts.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:

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If one were to choose a single word to describe funding for flood mitigation and recovery in the Upper Valley, a good choice would be “complicated.”  With more than a dozen agencies involved from the borough to the federal level, it’s easy to get confused by the process.  In short, after the fall 2012 flood was declared a disaster, the Upper Valley became eligible for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Actually getting that money, however, is a long process that involves mountains of paperwork. (more…)

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