KTNA Studio – Dave Totten, artist

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by Dora Miller

KTNA Studio

KTNA On Air Studio, Jan 2013

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by James Trump

Winter Black-capped Chickadee

winter chickadee

Photo by Robin Song

Fish Lake morning

Fish Lake morning

photo: Robin Song


Posts from the 'Local News' category

Injunction Denied in Suits to Remove Commercial Marijuana Ban from Borough Ballot

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A state judge has ruled that a ballot initiative to ban commercial marijuana in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su Borough will be allowed to appear on the borough ballot next Tuesday.

The initiative in question is Proposition B-1. If passed, it would mean that the City of Houston would be the only place in the borough that allows commercial marijuana. Wasilla and Palmer both voted to ban commercial cannabis. Voters in all three cities will be allowed to weigh in on Proposition B-1 next week.

Earlier this month, two lawsuits were filed seeking to disallow the initiative. The plaintiffs asked for an expedited hearing when filing their suits on September 2nd, citing the fact that the borough election was just over a month away. The two suits claim that placing a prohibition on commercial marijuana on the borough ballot violates the rules for zoning ordinances, since zoning ordinances are to be determined by the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, and have a formal process. The lawsuits ask that the measure be removed from next Tuesday’s ballot.

Judge David Zwink consolidated the two lawsuits, and ruled last week that there would not be an expedited hearing. Zwink says that absentee voting had already begun, and voters have already received information on the election, including sample ballots including the commercial cannabis ban.

Judge Zwink denied the request for an expedited hearing, and is holding the lawsuits until after the results of the election.

TCCI Candidate Profile: Chris Grabowski

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Mat-Su Borough and Talkeetna Community Council elections are next week. This year, eight candidates are running for five available seats on the council. KTNA has invited all of the candidates for interviews. What follows is the interview between candidate Chris Grabowski and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

TCCI Candidate Profile: Christie Seay

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Mat-Su Borough and Talkeetna Community Council elections are next week. This year, eight candidates are running for five available seats on the council. KTNA has invited all of the candidates for interviews. What follows is the interview between candidate Christie Seay and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

TCCI Candidate Profile: Ron Quilliam

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Mat-Su Borough and Talkeetna Community Council elections are next week. This year, eight candidates are running for five available seats on the council. KTNA has invited all of the candidates for interviews. What follows is the interview between candidate Ron Quilliam and KTNA’s Phillip Manning.

Mat-Su Borough elections are next Tuesday

Monday, September 26, 2016

Next Tuesday, voters will choose new Mat-Su Borough Assembly and Mat-Su Borough School Board members. The Upper Valley lies within District 7. The District 7 assembly seat is not up for election, but its school board seat is. Unlike in previous years, where school board members could reside anywhere in the Valley, each seat is tied to the same geographical areas as the borough. Dr. Donna Dearman, who currently holds the District 7 seat, is running unopposed to remain on the school board.

In addition to elected offices, there are three area-wide ballot questions in the October 4th borough election. Two of those deal with commercial marijuana. Proposition B-1 seeks to ban commercial cannabis in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su. If passed, marijuana retail, cultivation, and testing facilities, would be banned from all areas of the borough outside of the incorporated cities. Industrial hemp is exempted from the proposed ban. Citizens of Palmer, Wasilla, and Houston are allowed to vote on the initiative, despite having already ruled on their own municipalities. At the moment, Houston is the only area of the borough where commercial marijuana is allowed.

The second marijuana ballot question deals with taxing the product. If passed, this initiative would place a five-percent sales tax on cannabis sold within the borough. A partial exemption is built in for incorporated cities that already have a sales tax, such as Houston.

The third area-wide ballot question is a bond proposal for trails and recreational facilities in the borough. The majority of the $22 million proposal is allocated for improvements to the Palmer and Wasilla pools as well as the Brett Memorial Ice Arena. Upper Valley projects in the bond package include the Willow and Talkeetna ice rinks, the Talkeetna Ridge Trail, a parking area near Fish Lake, and improvements to the Trapper Creek Community Center.


Borough election day is also when five new members will be chosen for the Talkeetna Community Council board of directors. Eight candidates are running for the open seats.


Over the next week, KTNA will provide additional information regarding both the borough and community council elections leading up to the October 4th election.

Governor’s Veto Halves 2016 PFD

Friday, September 23, 2016

On Friday, Governor Bill Walker’s office released a video announcing that the 2016 Permanent Fund Dividend will be $1,022, about half of what it would have been without Walker’s partial veto of PFD funding.

In late June, Governor Walker issued line-item vetoes canceling spending on specific items approved by the legislature in its long budget process. Walker says reducing the dividend means less spending from reserves for state services, which will preserve the PFD into the future. Walker claims that, without intervention, the PFD would go away entirely within a few years.

Had Walker not vetoed part of the dividend funding for this year, eligible Alaskans would have received $2,052. Some critics of Walker’s veto say cutting the PFD affects low-income families disproportionately to wealthy Alaskans.

One of those opponents, Anchorage senator Bill Wielechowski (WHEEL-uh-COW-skee) has filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the veto. Wielechowski claims that, due to the way PFD statute is worded, that Walker does not have the authority to veto or reduce it. The senator requested an expedited hearing, but it’s not clear whether the case will be heard before dividend checks are scheduled to begin going out on October 6th.


Nelchina caribou permit hunts extended until Sept. 30

Friday, September 23, 2016
Near Maclaren Summit along the Denali Highway, where the Nelchina caribou permit hunts have been extended until 9/30. Photo: Phillip Manning - KTNA

Near Maclaren Summit along the Denali Highway, where the Nelchina caribou permit hunts have been extended until 9/30. Photo: Phillip Manning – KTNA

Nelchina Caribou Hunting Season has been extended for Unit 13 permit holders RC566, CC001, and Drawing Permit Hunt DC485.

It is open for permit holders only who have not yet harvested a caribou

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is also encouraging hunters to consider harvesting cows.

KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Ken Marsh, Alaska Fish and Game’s Pubic Information Officer about the Nelchina hunts.


For more information, call the Nelchina Hotline at 907/267-2304 or the Anchorage Department of Fish and Game office 907/267-2257.

Susitna Writer’s Voice–StarDate Susitna 9-18-2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

 Kathleen for StarDate

The September equinox,

the moon’s path through the winter stars,

Mercury in the morning, and more.

Candidate bios for Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Note:  The following information was provided by the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors, and is self-reported by the candidates. KTNA invites all candidates to participate in interviews prior to the election.

TCCI 2016 Board of Directors Candidate Info –


Peg Vos :

When I moved to Alaska in 2006, I hoped to find a good small town to call home. I have found Talkeetna to be a vibrant, dynamic community. Its citizens are passionate about their causes, and work diligently to make things happen from recycling to shuttle service to playgrounds to libraries. Talkeetna citizens are also compassionate with fund raisers and work parties for those in need. It is a labor of love and pride of many to make a community such as Talkeetna. I feel fortunate to be part of this and wish to “pay back” my debt as a resident. Becoming a member of the Talkeetna Community Council would help to pay that bill.


Ed O’Connor :

I am applying for board membership of the Talkeetna Community Council because I believe that the council has improved and preserved the quality of life in Talkeetna, my home of almost 20 years. By listening to and speaking for local residents’ concerns, the council helps to maintain the character of this community. It is valuable also, to provide guidance to those new to the area as to the values of the community and the shared vision of its future.


Geri (Volpe) McCann :

Resident of Talkeetna from 1973 -1994; curator of the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum, owned/operated a tour/travel agency, volunteered at schools, church, youth/children programs, library, KTNA, Moose Dropping festivals & events. Moved to Palmer; curated Wasilla City’s & Palmer City’s museums, owned/operated cultural history/farm tours, organized community events, art workshops, volunteered in church, youth programs, led homeless youth outreach, fought proposed toxic dump, & 2,500 bed prison in Palmer. Relocated to Talkeetna in 2014; serving on TCCI-Main St.-SPUD committee, prioritizing to protect/preserve Talkeetna’s quality of life, environment, identity, SPUD, Comprehensive Plan, Historic District, & promote responsible growth & tourism development.


Chris Grabowski :

I am running for Community Council because I am interested in serving our community. I beleive in putting the community’s well being over my own when it comes to serving on the council. For the last few months, I have filled in on the council in a temporary seat that was vacated.


Christie Seay:

I have lived in Talkeetna 16 years. I run a local business, work for a nonprofit, volunteer, enjoy our trails and have raised children. I am interested in the good of the community and our surrounding land and waterways. I will not bring a personal agenda to the board. I try to keep a fair mind and listen to all sides of an issue. Thank you for considering me as a board member.


Joe McAneney:

My name is Joe McAneney and I have been in Alaska for 6 years and Talkeetna for 1 year. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and have worked as a state certified water operator in Alaska. I currently am a member of the Talkeetna Water and Sewer Board and have attended 80%of the community council meetings in Talkeetna over the past year. I am a partner in the downtown business known as Mountain Juice. I have been volunteering to help coach soccer for the high school. I believe we can accommodate expansion while retaining the history and culture.


Ron Quilliam:

I am a volunteer fire fighter and on the board of the Talkeetna Historical society. I have been on the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce Board, been elected to Yakutat school board where I was lead negotiator for a new teachers contract. Elected to E. Kenai Road Mtc. Board and appointed by the City of Seward to a committee to investigate creating a new borough.


I feel my past experience is valuable in dealing with the issues of town infrastructure, increased tourism, the Historic District ans decisions on how we want to be governed.