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Posts from the 'Local News' category

2014 Borough Election Results

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Preliminary results are in for the Mat-Su Borough election.

Across the borough, voter turnout was almost exactly 11%, with just over 7,000 votes cast.   In the Upper Valley, voter turnout varied.  In Talkeetna, 13% of eligible voters turned out on Tuesday.  In Susitna, turnout was 9.5%, and in Trapper Creek just over 6% of eligible voters voted.

Areawide elections were held for two school board seats.  Tiffany Scott ran unopposed or Seat E, and Ole Larson ran unopposed for Seat D.  Both candidates received more than 5,000 votes.  In Borough Assembly District 4 in Wasilla, incumbent Steve Colligan ran unopposed, receiving 730 votes.  The only contested race is for Assembly District 5.  In that race, Dan Mayfield leads Bill Kendig by 293 votes, with just under 1,000 total votes cast.

Both borough ballot measures, one to redraw district lines to match state voting precincts and the other to increase property tax exemptions for senior citizens and disabled veterans, passed by comfortable margins.


Borough, Talkeetna Community Council Elections This Tuesday

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tuesday, Upper Valley Residents will vote in both borough and community council elections.

The Upper Valley will not be choosing its Borough Assembly member this year.  There are two Mat-Su Borough School Board seats on the ballot, but both candidates are running unopposed.  That means the decisions on the ballot come down to questions.  The first is proposition B-1.  If passed, the proposition would mean a redrawing of some of the borough’s districts in order to conform more closely to the state’s voting precincts.  It would also eliminate fourteen polling places.  The ordinance to place the question on the ballot passed unanimously in April.   The second ballot question would increase property tax exemptions for elderly disabled veterans and their widows or widowers.  Currently, those who qualify are exempted from the first $150,000 of property value.  Proposition B-2 would increase that amount by an additional $68,000.

Talkeetna residents will also be voting for community council members and on one advisory question.  Four seats are up for election.  The candidates are Whitney Wolff, who currently serves as the TCC chair, Rich Crane, Mark Moren, Rob Shelby, and write-in candidate Caitlin Hunt. (more…)

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Lunar Eclipse Wednesday October 8th

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Total Lunar Eclipse will be visible from Alaska (and elsewhere) in the wee hours of Wednesday 10/8, weather permitting.  Kathleen Fleming has prepared an informational page for folks who would like to observe the eclipse.  Lots more info is on the internet, of course, but this will get you started.  Eclipse, Lunar 10-08-14

Kodiak Fisheries Debate

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On Wednesday, Congressman Don Young debated Democratic challenger Forrest Dunbar, and Senator Mark Begich squared off against Republican challenger Dan Sullivan in Kodiak over Alaska’s Fisheries.  KMXT has the full audio available online.

DHSS Wouldn’t Be Surprised if Enterovirus D68 Shows up in Alaska

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It’s the time of year when cold and flu viruses start picking up.  On Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services sent out a list of tips for preventing the spread of the illnesses.  Also mentioned was Enterovirus D68, which has caused illness in children across the Lower 48.  EVD68 often represents with symptoms such as runny nose, fever, sneezing, coughing, and body aches.  More severe cases can cause difficulty breathing.

There were no confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 in Alaska as of Tuesday, but Dr. Michael Cooper of the Department of Health and Social Services says “it would not be surprising if the virus is detected in Alaska soon.”

Tips for cold and flu season can be found online at dhss.alaska.gov.

Barbara Washburn Passes Away Weeks Before Her 100th Birthday

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On September 25th, the Boston Globe reported that Barbara Washburn had passed away at the age of ninety-nine.  Barbara Washburn was the first woman to summit Denali, and was the wife of Bradford Washburn, who pioneered the West Buttress Route, now used by the vast majority of Denali climbers.

Barbara Washburn would have turned 100 on November 10th.  KTNA listeners who knew the Washburns are encouraged to contact the news department at news [at] ktna [dot] org.

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues Letter on Susitna-Watana Fish Studies

Monday, September 29, 2014

Last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service wrote a letter to the Alaska Energy Authority that criticized methods used in studies for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project.  The Fisheries Service listed fourteen concerns regarding studies of fish in the Susitna River drainage, ranging from issues with sampling sites to the potential misidentification of juvenile salmon.  The letter states that the issues will have significant impact on AEA’s ability to accurately model salmon behavior in the river, and that they “must be resolved prior to conducting additional field studies.”

Julie Speegle, spokeswoman for NMFS, says she believes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also filed a letter, though did not do so electronically.  Emily Ford, spokeswoman for the Alaska Energy Authority, says AEA anticipates working with all of the involved agencies at the upcoming round of meetings on Susitna-Watana.  She adds that AEA does not have a comment regarding the letter from the Fisheries Service.

The next meetings to discuss the studies for the Susitna-Watana Hydro Project will begin on October 15th.

Preliminary Permit Filed for Talkeetna River Dam

Friday, September 26, 2014

As the next round of public meetings on the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project draw closer, the initial paperwork for another hydro project has been filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning has read the proposal, and has this report:

So far, the State of Alaska has spent nearly $200 million in studies for a large hydroelectric project on the Susitna River.  Now, a private company is starting the process of looking into a smaller project on the Talkeetna River.  The company is Northwest Power Service, Incorporated.  Brent Smith is heading up the Alaska operation, and says that this is the first time that NPSI is proposing building a dam, though it has considerable experience in hydropower.

“Most all of the projects that Northwest Power Service has been involved with in the past is to retrofit existing, federally owned dams in the Lower 48, where we go in and there’s already an existing dam that does not have power generation on it.  So, what we do is go through a licensing process to retrofit that dam and put power on it.”

The dam that NPSI is proposing would generate 75 megawatts of power, far less than that proposed by Susitna-Watana.  It would also have a much smaller footprint than the Susitna project, with a height of 370 feet. (more…)

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Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake Shakes the Upper Valley

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Thursday morning, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake centered sixty miles from Talkeetna was felt from Anchorage to Fairbanks.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning talked with some of the people who felt the quake, and has this report.

In the Talkeetna area, damage from Thursday morning’s earthquake was fairly minor.  Some residents and businesses reported that items had fallen off of shelves and broken, but no serious structural damage was reported as of Thursday afternoon.  That includes Skwenta, which was much closer to the magnitude 6.2 earthquake than Talkeetna.  Natalia Ruppert, Chief Seismologist for the Alaska Earthquake Center, says the reason that the earthquake did not cause much damage is because it occurred deep in Earth’s crust.

“It was almost sixty miles deep, so that made the difference…The energy dissipated a bit before it reached the surface.” (more…)

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