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Posts from the 'Local News' category

Mat-Su Health Foundation names local man as Bert Hall Award winner

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

by:  Katie Writer – KTNA

Each year, the Mat-Su Health Foundation presents it’s Bert Hall, or “Bertie” award to an individual who the organization believes “exemplifies commitment to improving the health and wellness of Mat-Su residents.” This year’s recipient of the Bertie is Upper Valley resident Herman Thompson. Thompson spoke with KTNA’s Katie Writer about his efforts in community service.

 

Recent thefts in Trapper Creek include two “Wounded Warrior” donation jars

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Alaska State Troopers are looking for information regarding multiple thefts in Trapper Creek. On August 5th, Troopers responded to a business after a report of burglary and theft of tools. Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters later identified the business as “Wal-Mike’s,” which is near Mile 115 of the Parks Highway. While at the scene, Troopers were told about other thefts in the area from July onward. One of the items stolen in an earlier theft was a jar with approximately $400 in it that Troopers were told was a donation jar for a charity supporting wounded soldiers.

On the morning of August 20th, Troopers were again called to Wal-Mike’s after another donation jar for wounded soldiers was stolen. This time, the jar is estimated to have contained approximately $300.

Megan Peters says there have been multiple thefts in the area in recent months. Troopers ask that anyone with information call Crime Stoppers at 745-3333 or Alaska State Trooper dispatch at 352-5401.

Su Valley Principal discusses new school year, school programs

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Each year brings new faces to Su Valley Junior and Senior High School. This year, that includes Principal David Booth. KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Booth about his outlook on the new school year.

Talkeetna sewer lagoon tests improve over last year, but not consistently in permit limits

Monday, August 22, 2016

While the issues facing Talkeetna’s sewer lagoon have seen significant improvement over last year, the system remains out of compliance with its state permit.

 

For each of the last four months, tests conducted for fecal coliform bacteria in the water flowing out of the lagoon have been lower, in some cases more than five times lower, than results from 2015. In two months, May and July, the results meet the requirements of the lagoon’s permit from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. In June and August, tests of the system are out of compliance, though August’s results are not yet official.

 

This year marks the third summer in which the lagoon has had results out of compliance. This year, the Mat-Su Borough’s Public Works Department has taken a number of steps to bring the system closer to compliance. Starting this spring, borough staff worked to replant the constructed wetlands that wastewater flows through after treatment. The wetlands are designed to provide natural cleaning of the water before it enters the Talkeetna River. Those wetlands were damaged in the 2006 flood.

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Talkeetna Elementary continues to grow

Friday, August 19, 2016

Although it still may be summer mode for visitors and locals of Talkeetna, school officially started on Monday, August 15th. KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Talkeetna Elementary School principal, Lisa Shelby about the 2016-2017 school year.

Voter frustration a factor in District 10 upset, according to candidates

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Following the defeat of incumbent Representative Wes Keller in the District 10 Republican primary by David Eastman, both candidates believe that voter dissatisfaction with the legislature played a role in the shakeup.

Keller says he found the loss surprising, but recognizes that some voters were not happy with the legislature.

“I was surprised, but I also anticipated some level of backlash because of what they’re calling “throw the bums out,” the reaction against the incumbents….I didn’t think it would be as big as it was.”

David Eastman says he was optimistic going into Tuesday’s primary, and that dissatisfaction with the Alaska Legislature is part of what led him to pursue the Alaska House seat currently occupied by Keller. Part of Eastman’s primary campaign included attacking Keller for voting in favor of nine state budgets that Eastman says were unsustainable.

“It certainly contributed to my desire to run in the first place, so I’m certain there was a lot of that out there….There were a lot of things that I would have hoped would have been done in the Legislature that weren’t.”

Keller was far from the only incumbent to lose to a party challenger. In total, seven current members of the legislature will not be returning to Juneau after Tuesday’s primary. Two of those were trying to move from the House to the Senate, and five were defeated trying to retain their current seats. Among those in the latter group is Jim Colver, who lost his primary race to George Rauscher. In that race, the Republican Party sided with Rauscher over Colver, who had been a member of the “Musk Ox Coalition,” a group of moderate Republicans who broke the party on some budget votes earlier this year. Wes Keller doesn’t believe he lost the support of the Republican Party.

“Very, very strong local support. The Valley Republican Woman, I guess there are several groups of them, but they all worked really hard on my behalf, so I don’t think there’s a similar split, there.”

In addition to the number of defeated incumbents, this year’s primary is memorable for it’s extremely low voter turnout. Only about fifteen-and-a-half percent of eligible voters turned out, which is by far the lowest turnout since at least 1974.

Wes Keller among incumbents who lost in Tuesday’s primary

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary, the Upper Valley will have a new representative in Juneau when the next session gavels in.

 

With all precincts reporting, David Eastman has a lead of thirteen percentage points and 214 votes over incumbent Wes Keller. Both candidates are Republicans living in Wasilla, and both are running for the District 10 seat in the Alaska House of Representatives.

 

Eastman carried a significant fundraising lead into Tuesday’s primary, and used his funds to attack Keller’s record in Juneau. Among his more common claims is his belief that Keller has voted for nine budgets that Eastman calls unsustainable. Eastman also ran a radio ad in the Valley accusing Keller of flip-flopping on term limits for state legislators.

 

Eastman won nine of District 10’s precincts. Keller’s victories came in Houston and Willow. Keller also took more early absentee votes than Eastman. The other two Republican candidates, Andrew Wright and Steve Menard, combined for about twenty percent of the Republican primary voters in District 10.

 

Eastman will face Democrat Christian Hartley of Houston in the general election this November. Hartley was unopposed in his party’s primary.

 

Keller was not the only incumbent casualty of this year’s primary. He isn’t even the only Valley incumbent to lose a primary challenge. Representative Jim Colver, District 9’s incumbent, was defeated after the Republican Party backed his opponent, Jim Rauscher. Colver was part of the small “Musk Ox Coalition,” a group of moderate Republicans that formed amid the budget negotiations of the last two years.

 

Statewide, voter turnout for Tuesday’s election was low, about 15.4%. In District 10, voter turnout was only slightly higher.

 

Man arrested for assault in East Talkeetna

Monday, August 15, 2016

On Saturday night, the Alaska State Troopers responded to a residence on Front Street in East Talkeetna after receiving reports of a disturbance at around 9:30 p.m.

According to the Department of Public Safety, the responding trooper saw 26-year-old Patrick Swartz of Talkeetna attacking a woman in the street. Troopers say that Swartz also attacked the responding officer before being detained. Swartz is charged with Fourth Degree Assault, a misdemeanor, as well as Third Degree Assault on a Peace Officer and Second Degree assault, both of which are felonies. Swartz was taken to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility and held on $10,000 bail.

District 10 challenger Eastman tops fundraising leading to Tuesday’s Republican primary

Monday, August 15, 2016

The candidates in the five-way race for Alaska House of Representatives District 10 have all filed fundraising reports in the run-up to Tuesday’s primary.

 

Of the five candidates, four are Republicans. Challenger David Eastman has raised the largest campaign war chest, totaling over $21,000 as of Saturday. Incumbent Wes Keller has raised over $5,500. Steve Menard and Andrew Wright have had much smaller fundraising efforts, with neither topping $1,000.

 

Christian Hartley, the lone Democrat in the race, has raised about $1,700 thus far.

 

For the primary election this year, registered voters choose one of two ballots. Voters registered as Republican, Nonpartisan, or Undeclared may vote in the Republican primary. Any registered voter may choose the second ballot, which includes the Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party, and Alaskan Independence Party.

 

Once the votes have been tallied, KTNA will provide results from this year’s primary.