A Talkeetna man was found wandering the Yentna River on Saturday evening, according to the Alaska State Troopers. Troopers say 68 year old Terry Connell was about twenty-two miles west of Willow when area residents on snowmachines encountered him. The snowmachiners built a fire to warm Connell up, then took him to the Yentna Roadhouse, where he was treated by a nurse. Connell was was flown to an unspecified Anchorage area hospital for treatment for exposure. Connell told Troopers he had been wandering the area near his property for four days after having snowmachine issues.
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On Tuesday, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly is scheduled to hear two resolutions offered by Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss regarding marijuana in the borough.
The first resolution asks the Assembly to approve seventeen alternate seats to the Mat-Su Borough Marijuana Advisory Committee. The Assembly approved the creation of the committee earlier this year, and will vote on Mayor Devilbiss’ nominations for that board next week. In comments at the last Borough Assembly meeting, the mayor said that response was so strong that he was contemplating asking for the alternate seats to be created.
The other resolution to be offered regarding marijuana would call for an advisory vote during the borough’s October elections. If Mayor DeVilbiss’ request is approved, the ballot would ask Mat-Su voters outside of the incorporated cities whether the borough should prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and retail facilities in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su.
In his reasoning for the request, Mayor DeVilbiss says the ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana allows local governments to make some decisions regarding commercial activities involving the substance. He also says that, overall, the unincorporated areas of the borough voted against legalization last November. Both statements are accurate. The unincorporated Mat-Su precincts in the Lower Valley nearly all voted against Proposition 2. From Meadow Lakes north, the votes were slightly in favor of legalization of marijuana.
Since the two requests are in the form of resolutions, they are not subject to the same requirement for public hearing and advance notice that ordinances are.
On Tuesday, the Alaska House Finance Committee voted to restore most of the funding for public broadcasting that had previously been stripped out by a budget subcommittee. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:
In a ten-to-one vote, the House Finance Committee voted to restore $1.5 million to public broadcasting across the state. The vast majority of those funds, more than $1.3 million, are directed toward public radio. (more…)
On Sunday afternoon, a Piper Super Cub crashed on takeoff near Mile 95 of the Parks Highway. State Troopers say the report of the incident came in around 4:30 pm. The pilot, 46 year old Toby Ashley of Idaho, was preparing for takeoff when his plane hit a rut in the runway. That caused the right wing of his plane to strike a berm. The plane suffered significant damage, but Troopers say Ashley was uninjured. The FAA and NTSB were notified of the incident.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race starts on Monday (today) in Fairbanks. On Thursday, the starting order was released for all 78 mushers. Talkeetna musher Gerald Sousa will start 44th. Willow mushers are spread throughout the field. In the first half of the field, Matt Failor will start 15th, Justin Savidis 19th, Linwood Fiedler 27th, and DeeDee Jonrowe 29th. In the second half of mushers, Willow has Lev Shvarts starting in 40th position, directly ahead of Lisbet Norris. Defending champion Dallas Seavey will start 46th, directly ahead of Becca Moore. Rick Casillo will start 52nd, and Scott Smith will be the last Willow-based musher to start with bib number 69.
The Iditarod restart is normally held in Willow on the Sunday after the ceremonial start in Anchorage, but poor conditions forced the race north to Fairbanks, where the race will begin on Monday.
by: Kaitlin Daly – KTNA
Recently the Susitna Valley High School Battle of the Books team took second in the borough-wide competition. KTNA’s Kaitlin Daly has more:
Battle of the books is an academic sport that requires immense dedication and time. This years team for Susitna Valley consisted of senior Heidi Holcomb, freshman Heather Holcomb, freshman Anya Schwartz and coach Mrs. Kathy Trump. Together the girls read the twelve books on this years list. The team competed against eighteen other teams from various schools such as Colony or Mat-Su Career and Tech. Coach Kathy Trump describes Battle of the Books, or B.O.B for short as a competition of mental strength. (more…)
Looming budget cuts have many state departments looking at places to save money. For the Alaska State Troopers, the current budget picture means cutting thirty positions statewide, and possibly closing the Talkeetna Trooper post. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:
Colonel James Cockrell, Director of the Alaska State Troopers, says no final decision on whether to close the Talkeetna post has been made, yet.
“We’re just kind of weighing our options right now to see what’s feasible and what the cost savings would be.” (more…)
Over the weekend, the Su-Valley Rams boys team lost two very close home games against Effie Kokrine Charter School.
On Friday, the Rams jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, only to have it erased in the second. From there, the teams remained very close, with Effie Kokrine ultimately winning 51 to 49. Dawson Matthews led the rams with 30 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Marshall Pinard also pulled in six rebounds in Friday’s game.
On Saturday, Su-Valley trailed by fifteen points entering the fourth quarter, then mounted a strong rally, but it wasn’t quite enough. Effie Kokrine Charter won the game 62 to 59. Dawson Matthews and Tyran Waterhouse led the Rams with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
This weekend, the Su-Valley boys and girls will play host to the regional tournament, which will end the regular season and determine which teams move on to state. Su-Valley is currently four games behind Interior Region leader Glennallen.
This week in Juneau, various subcommittees of the House Finance Committee closed out departmental operating budget proposals. With a grim fiscal picture, most of those budgets took significant cuts beyond those proposed by Governor Bill Walker. Details of those cuts are still emerging, and will receive further discussion before the full House Finance committee next week. After that, the revised budget bill will be sent to the Senate.
The budget isn’t the only thing being discussed, however. Numerous bills have been introduced regarding the state’s interaction and relationship with the federal government.
The Upper Valley’s representative, Wes Keller, chairs the education committee, which passed along a bill on Friday morning. That bill, sponsored by Keller, would require Alaskan high school students to complete a curriculum on constitutional literacy before receiving a diploma. The specifics of that course would be somewhat left to the individual school districts, but a list of suggested historical documents is included within the bill. Keller and other supporters of the education bill say that it will not necessarily require new classes, and that some districts do cover the required material. Opponents say that it places an unfunded mandate on schools, and represents the state government getting involved in local education decisions. Keller’s proposal, House Bill 30, made it out of the Education Committee, and will next be heard in House Finance, though a date has not been set.