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Posts from the 'Local News' category

Borough plans work before discharging from Talkeetna sewer lagoon

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Talkeetna sewer lagoon will undergo additional maintenance before discharging treated water into the Talkeetna River.


According to Mat-Su Borough Public Works Director Terry Dolan, the borough has begun mechanical aeration of the lagoon, and replanting work is planned on the artificial wetlands before treated sewage is released.


For the last two summers, the Talkeetna lagoon has violated it’s state permit multiple times for a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water and high levels of fecal coliform bacteria. The system is designed to use natural processes, including ultraviolet light, artificial wetlands, and biological breakdown to treat sewage to safe levels. A combination of factors, including a bypass on sewage coming into the system, grease on the surface of the lagoon, and damage to the wetlands following a flood in 2006 have contributed to the treatment system’s problems.


Late last year, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation contacted the borough regarding the violations. Multiple meetings have been held, but a final agreement between the borough and the state has not been reached.


Last month, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly approved a loan of $214,000 for the lagoon. Additionally, he says the money could be used as matching funds for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On Tuesday afternoon, Dolan learned that the USDA has approved a grant for the lagoon, and he says an offer letter should be coming soon. Whether the grant is accepted and whether the loan funds are used is contingent on whether the lagoon can be brought back into compliance through current maintenance plans. At that point, Dolan says options include artificial ultraviolet light.

Artist Stacie Smiley opens show in Talkeetna

Friday, April 15, 2016



by: Katie Writer – KTNA

Some artists struggle to have the time and focus to create art, others benefit from creative talent being stored away for many years.

Stacie Smiley is one of the latter.

“I wanted to immerse myself in it, spend a long period of time doing the one thing, painting, instead of picking it up and putting it down to go do other things.”

Stacie has found the time in her adult life to be able to focus on creation from beginning to end. Perhaps having an art opening at The Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe was one motivational factor to complete a series of paintings.  In addition, her husband, Troy built custom frames that add another level of professionalism to her art.

After some research, Stacie decided that her old style of painting was out of date, at least to her taste. She researched paints and various mediums and spent some money on new supplies.  (more…)

Talkeetna Council forced to re-fill vacancy due to residency restrictions

Thursday, April 14, 2016

At it’s April 4th meeting, the Talkeetna Community Council Inc. board of directors filled a vacancy left by a resignation. Now, residency requirements mean it will have to do so again.

At its meeting, the current TCCI board voted to fill its vacant seat with Geri McCann, a former Talkeetna resident who said at the meeting that she owns property in the area and is moving back. As of now, however, board chair Whitney Wolff says McCann’s residency is clearly currently in Palmer, based on available public records. Records viewed by KTNA showed the same. TCCI’s bylaws require that members’ primary residences lie within the council boundaries.

As a result, Whitney Wolff says the seat has been vacated once again. The vacancy will be officially announced at the May meeting. Nominations will start at that meeting, and will last until the first Monday in June, when the board will once again choose a new member to serve until the October election.

Talkeetna Council forms committee to look at Downtown SPUD

Monday, April 11, 2016

A new committee of Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. will be tasked with looking into the Downtown Talkeetna Special Land use district in the coming months.


At each of the last two meetings of the Talkeetna Community Council board of directors, concerns have been raised over the historic status of Downtown Talkeetna. The most recent discussion was spurred by the renovations taking place at the Denali Brewpub on Main Street. According to Denali Brewing’s general manager, Sassan Mossanen, the current remodel will improve the building and eventually allow for some deck seating on the roof. He says that the remodel is being done with materials and techniques that will make the building fall more in line with a historical aesthetic than it does right now.


Some community members, as well as the Talkeetna Historical Society, have expressed concerns that there currently are no regulations on how new construction must look. The current Special Land Use District, or SPUD, has restrictions on height, footprint, and other factors, but historic qualities such as rooflines and materials are guidelines, not rules. As Talkeetna grows, some fear that the historic aesthetic of the town will be lost. In addition, they say that Talkeetna’s historic district status could be at risk.


One option that garnered support at the most recent community council meeting is local review of building permits. The catch is that the Mat-Su Borough does not currently require building permits the way it has in the past. Asking the borough to resume the permitting process is on the able.


According to TCCI chair Whitney Wolff, the borough planning department’s recommendation was to form a committee to gauge the community’s desire. At its last meeting, the council did that. Currently, no meeting dates for the new committee have been set.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

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Selkirk's violets-photo by KTNA volunteer Robin Song

Early Alaskan spring wildflowers: Selkirk’s violets. Photo by KTNA member and volunteer Robin Song


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Monday night traffic stop in Willow leads to seventy-mile chase

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Update:  The original version of this story identified Sandra Austin as Sarah Austin.

On Monday night, a traffic stop by Alaska State Troopers led to a high-speed chase along more than seventy miles of the Parks Highway.

At around 9:45 p.m. on Monday, a Trooper stopped a maroon pick-up at mile 67 of the Parks Highway in Willow for speeding. Troopers say the driver and passenger both gave false names. The driver was later identified as 25-year-old Logan Austin and the passenger as 23-year-old Sandra Austin, both of the Fairbanks area.

When the Trooper asked the driver to step out of the vehicle, the driver attempted to pepper spray him. The driver then sped away, and the Trooper pursued.

Troopers say that, at one point during the pursuit, Sandra Austin took control of the vehicle and Logan Austin crawled into the bed and threw tools and other heavy objects at the pursuing Trooper before crawling back in and driving once more.

The pursuing trooper called for backup early in the pursuit, and spike strips near Mile 104 of the Parks popped both driver’s side tires.  The chase continued for more than thirty miles with the truck driving on its rims until it crashed into a ditch near Mile 140. No injuries were reported from the crash.

Logan and Sandra Austin were both arrested and taken to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility where they are being held without bail on charges of Felony Eluding. Additionally, Logan Austin had a $20,000 warrant for his arrest.

One arrested, one sought in connection with Caswell shooting

Monday, April 4, 2016

Update:  28-year-old Charles Ganoe of Anchorage has been arrested.  Law enforcement officials are still seeking 26-year-old Nicholas Ganoe, pictured below.


Law-enforcement officials are seeking information on 26-year-old Nicholas Ganoe. Photo courtesy Alaska State Troopers.

Law-enforcement officials are seeking information on 26-year-old Nicholas Ganoe. Photo courtesy Alaska State Troopers.

The Alaska State Troopers have arrested one suspect and are seeking another in connection to a shooting in the Caswell area last Friday.

The shooting was reported around 2:45 p.m. on Friday, April 1st. According to troopers, an unidentified 42-year-old man was shot at his residence. The man was taken by ambulance with what are described as non-life-threatening injures.

On Saturday, law enforcement arrested 28-year-old Charles Ganoe of Anchorage on charges of attempted first-degree. An arrest warrant for 26-year-old Nicholas Ganoe of Anchorage has been issued for attempted murder as well. Troopers ask anyone with information to contact the Alaska Bureau of Investigation at 745-2131. Photos are available at KTNA.org.

Original story:

The Alaska State Troopers are seeking two persons of interest and one vehicle following a shooting in Caswell Lakes on Friday.

The shooting was reported around 2:45 p.m. on Friday, April 1st. According to troopers, an unidentified 42-year-old man was shot at his residence. The man was taken by ambulance with what are described as non-life-threatening injures.

Troopers have provided photos of two males and one vehicle they are looking for in connection with the shooting. They ask anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers at 745-3333 or the Alaska Bureau of Investigation at 745-2131. The photos are available at KTNA.org.

Pete Keenan talks MMA in the Upper Valley

Friday, April 1, 2016
Pete Keenan's younger students at a tournament last fall. Photo courtesy Talkeetna Freestyle Martial Arts

Pete Keenan’s younger students at a tournament last fall. Photo courtesy Talkeetna Freestyle Martial Arts

by: Katie Writer – KTNA

For ten years, Pete Keenan has taught at Talkeetna Freestyle Martial Arts. His students include men, women, and children. Unlike many activities in the Upper Valley, Pete and his students are able to train year round. KTNA’s Katie Writer sat down with Pete Keenan to discuss what he does and some of the successes his students have had recently.

Denali Base Camp Coordinator Wins NPS Award, Will Head Further Up the Mountain This Year

Thursday, March 24, 2016


by: Katie Writer – KTNA

Last week, the Walter Harper Denali Ranger Station awarded Lisa Roderick as the 2015 Mislow-Swanson Denali Pro Award recipient. As base camp manager on the Kahiltna Glacier, Lisa has served as a liaison between air taxi’s, Denali Park Rangers and climbers for 15 years.

This May, she will join the Denali Ranger Patrol up to 14,000 foot camp and beyond to see just what it is that puts that sparkle in the climber’s eyes.

KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Lisa in the studio on Wednesday.