KTNA Studio – Dave Totten, artist

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KTNA Studio

KTNA On Air Studio, Jan 2013

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by James Trump

Winter Black-capped Chickadee

winter chickadee

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Fish Lake morning

Fish Lake morning

photo: Robin Song


Posts from the 'Local News' category

Talkeetna River Dam Project could have preliminary license revoked

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A required progress report on the proposed Talkeetna River Dam is overdue, according to the federal agency that licenses large energy projects.

On Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission notified Glacial Energy, LLC that the first six-month progress report on the proposed project is past due. In its letter, FERC says that failure to file the required reports is grounds for cancellation of the permit, and that the cancellation of the Talkeetna dam project’s permit is “probable.”

The Talkeetna River dam proposal is separate from the much larger Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project, which is also undergoing a licensing process with FERC.




Talkeetna man indicted on eight felonies

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Talkeetna man has been indicted on eight felony counts relating to child pornography.

According to court records, the indictment against 31 year-old Trent Griffin was transferred to the criminal superior court in Palmer.

Griffin was indicted on three counts of possession of child pornography and five counts of indecent viewing of a minor. Each charge is a Class C felony, and carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Prosecutors claim the offenses took place between July of 2014 and April of 2015.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in late July.

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Talkeetna Mid-air Crash

Monday, June 8, 2015

The National Transportation Safety Board has released the preliminary report on a midair collision at the Talkeetna Airport on May 31st.

The collision, which occurred around 5:20 pm on the 31st, involved a Cessna 172 piloted by Cole Hagge of Eagle River and a Cessna 185 piloted by Antonio Benavides of Anchorage.  The NTSB report describes Hagge as a student pilot who was alone in the smaller plane.  Four passengers on a flightseeing tour were aboard the Cessna 185 along with Benavides.

The two planes collided as they were descending to land at the Talkeetna Airport.  Hagge suffered what the NTSB describes as “serious” injuries and was hospitalized.  No other serious injuries were reported.

According to the NTSB, a preliminary review of recorded radio traffic shows that both planes broadcast position reports while in the traffic pattern.

The investigation is ongoing, and a full report will be released at a future date by the NTSB.  It is not uncommon for full reports to take a year or more to complete.

AK LNG hears from Upper Valley residents

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Earlier this week, the Talkeetna Community Council received an update on the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas Project at its monthly board meeting.  Area residents learned a few new details about the plans for the gas pipeline and were able to ask questions regarding its route.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning was there, and has this report:

A stop at the Talkeetna Community Council meeting was not on the original schedule for the AK LNG staff.  Two open houses were scheduled for Sunshine and Trapper Creek, but the timing of the council meeting meant that Michael Nelson, Socioeconomic Lead for the project, was able to attend.  Nelson says that the preferred route for AK LNG would travel through the Upper Valley west of the Susitna River, through the Trapper Creek area, on its way to Nikiski.  Once in Nikiski, the plan calls for the gas to be liquefied and exported.  Assembly Member Vern Halter was present at the meeting, and asked whether the project’s partners, which consist of BP, Conoco-Philips, Exxon-Mobil, and the State of Alaska, are set on using Nikiski as the final destination for the pipeline. (more…)

Borough Updates Talkeetna Council on FEMA Funding

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

On Monday night, the Talkeetna Community Council board of directors heard that funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is likely to be approved soon for repairs to the Yoder Road bridge at Montana Creek and the Talkeetna dike after they were damaged by flooding in September of 2012.

Casey Cook, Emergency Manager for the borough, says that, while FEMA has not officially signed the project worksheets for the two repair projects, that prospects are good.

“Once they get back to their offices and can sign the paperwork and project worksheet, that’ll come back to the state.  The state will say ‘OK’; that’ll come to us, and then we’ll be able to start doing work on that.”

Estimates of the repair costs are over two-million dollars for the training dike downstream from the Talkeetna River railroad bridge and one-point-seven million dollars for Yoder Road.  Casey Cook says those estimates only include returning the structures to their pre-flood state.

“We’ve had an engineer study come in and say how much to repair it, so that’s just the repair.   If FEMA comes in and adds mitigation on to that, it could be in the tens of [millions of dollars] to do that.”

Flood mitigation is a separate funding process.  The Mat-Su Borough will only conduct mitigation work in areas designated as a flood control service area.  Downtown Talkeetna west of the railroad tracks is currently covered by a service area, but East Talkeetna and the River Subdivision are not.  Last fall, the Talkeetna Community Council conducted an advisory vote on pursuing the addition of those areas to the flood control service area.  The vote passed with a margin of forty-eight for and ten against.  Casey Cook says a measure for the Mat-Su Borough Assembly to put the issue on October’s ballot is in the works, when Talkeetna residents will vote again.

“That opens up the door for mitigation, and flood and erosion protection, measures taken via the borough on that side of the railroad tracks, so we’re still moving forward in that regard to be able to protect East Talkeetna, the railroad tracks, and the big, open bowl that is West Talkeetna.”

While it’s not clear exactly when work can begin on the repairs to the Talkeetna dike and Yoder Road bridge, it could be as early as this fall.

Two Planes Collide on Landing Descent at Talkeetna Airport

Monday, June 1, 2015

185 and 172

On Sunday evening, an airborne collision between two airplanes hospitalized an Eagle River man.

At 5:15 pm, the Alaska State Troopers responded to a report of the collision at the Talkeetna State Airport.

According to reports from Troopers and other witnesses, a Cessna 185 belonging to Talkeetna Air Taxi was piloted by Antonio Benavides and carrying four passengers when it collided with a Cessna 172 piloted by Cole Hagge of Eagle River approximately 100 feet in the air.  Both planes suffered significant damage.  Hagge was transported to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center with what Troopers are calling non-life

Interior of the Cessna 172 piloted by Cole Hagge after Sunday's collision.  Photo: Elwood Schapansky

Interior of the Cessna 172 piloted by Cole Hagge after Sunday’s collision. Photo: Elwood Schapansky

threatening injuries.  The passengers and pilot aboard the Cessna 185 were uninjured.

Shaun Williams, who is investigating the incident for the National Transportation Safety Board, says that both aircraft were descending to land at the Talkeetna Airport when the incident occurred.  He says a preliminary report will likely be issued in the next five-to-ten days, but that the full report could take up to a year to be released.

Writer’s Voice–Is it the Destination or the Journey? by Grete Perkins

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Grete Perkins and John Baker

A radio essay from her Sense of Place program, spring of 2002,

  Grete asks the question,

Is it about the journey, or the destination?

Medicaid Denials Leave Alaska Seniors Reeling

Thursday, May 28, 2015

By: Quinton Chandler – KBBI, Homer

Many of Alaska’s seniors are in danger of losing their only means of paying for disability services. The state and the Federal Government partner in funding in-home and assisted living services for the seniors who qualify. Caregivers say the problem is individuals who met the state’s criteria for years are now being let go from the system.  KBBI’s Quinton Chandler has more.


First picture a nursing home. Main Street Assisted Living in Homer is the polar opposite of that. It’s a house. In the center is a living room and directly behind it a full kitchen. Hallways to the left and right lead to bedrooms and a downstairs office.

75-year old Lily Mann says she came to the center seven or eight years ago.

“I was rescued by Adult Protective Services at the request of my doctor who said I was no longer safe to live at home. Now they want to throw me out. The state rescued me and now they want to get rid of me. It’s mind boggling,” says Mann. (more…)

Borough Assembly Overrides Six Of Seven Mayoral Budget Vetoes

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Last night, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly voted to overturn six of the seven line-item vetoes issued on the fiscal year 2016 budget.  Mayor Larry DeVilbiss submitted the veto document earlier in the day, and it was released to the public shortly before the meeting.

Five vetoes were overridden without objection.  Those include funding for Youth Court, the borough’s sexual assault response team, the revolving loan payback plan for the Willow fire service area, and grants to municipalities.

One veto override passed with objection.  That veto was for $25,000 to be given to the Big Lake Lions Community Center.  Assembly members Beck and Doty opposed the override.

The only veto that was sustained was the mayor’s striking of $150,000 for the Alaska Scholastic Clay Target Program to purchase land for a shooting range.  The grant was placed into the budget through an amendment by Assembly Member Vern Halter.  He saw the grant to buy private land as an alternative to selling the group borough land at a ninety percent discount.  Four of the seven assembly members voted in favor of the override, but five votes are needed.

In the veto document and during Wednesday’s meeting, Mayor DeVilbiss repeatedly said that the vetoes were not due to a lack of merit within the programs, but rather that the lack of a grant process could leave an “open door” to groups wanting funding in the future.

Mayor DeVilbiss also urged the assembly to reconsider the 2.75 mill rate for the Willow Fire Service Area.  That would have required reconsideration of the overall borough budget.  That item was on the agenda, but was not taken up.

The Mat-Su Borough Assembly will meet again on June 2nd.