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

Photo by Robin Song

Fish Lake morning

Fish Lake morning

photo: Robin Song


Posts from the 'Local News' category

Faulty pump leads to slightly elevated arsenic levels for Talkeetna water

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Talkeetna water system customers will soon receive a notice about slightly elevated arsenic levels in the water in December and January.

The Environmental Protection Agency requires that arsenic levels are no higher than ten micrograms per liter. In December, the water tested at just below fifteen micrograms, and in January it tested around thirteen.

Mat-Su Borough Public Works Director Terry Dolan says that a malfunctioning pump that was not feeding a chemical into the water that removes arsenic caused the problem. He says the pump was rebuilt on Thursday and is now functioning normally. An initial test showed that the treated water was well below the limit for arsenic, and further tests will be conducted to ensure the issue is solved.

Terry Dolan says consumption of the water for a short period of time at the arsenic levels found is not harmful, and that customers would have been immediately notified if the arsenic content reached dangerous levels. He says residents do not need to boil their water and can continue using it normally.


Talkeetna Sewer and Water’s fiscal issues go beyond the need for a $214,000 loan

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Earlier this week, KTNA reported on a loan request for the Talkeetna sewer and water system from the Mat-Su Borough’s revolving loan fund. KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke with Public Works Director Terry Dolan about the work that is planned and the fiscal state of the system.


The Mat-Su Borough Public Works Department is asking the Borough Assembly for $214,000 to make upgrades to the Talkeetna sewer lagoon. If approved by the assembly, the funds would come from the borough’s revolving loan fund. (more…)

Assembly to vote on loan for Talkeetna sewer and water system

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Next week, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly is scheduled to vote on the Talkeetna sewer and water system borrowing over $200,000 from the borough’s revolving loan fund.

The borough’s public works department made the request to borrow funds in order to pay for measures to bring the Talkeetna sewer lagoon into compliance with its state permit.

Late last year, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation notified the borough that it intended to begin enforcement actions for repeated violations in required monthly tests of water flowing from the lagoon to the Talkeetna River.

The resolution says that planned repairs and upgrades include an aeration system, electrical upgrades, wetland repair, and wastewater collection repair.

The borough is also seeking grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture to develop reports necessary for further grant applications for the projects.

If approved by the assembly, $214,000 will be transferred to the Talkeetna sewer and water system for a thirty year term with an interest rate that must also be approved by the assembly.

Since the legislation is in the form of a resolution, there is no dedicated public hearing. The vote is scheduled to take place at the January 26th borough assembly meeting.



Upper Valley Audubon Christmas Bird Count result are in

Thursday, January 14, 2016

On January 2nd, local birders held the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count in the Talkeetna and Trapper Creek area. Over a twenty-four hour period, birds were counted at feeders and in the field by three-dozen observers.

The counters saw a total of nineteen species of bird. Black-capped Chickadees were by far the most prevalent, with nearly 500 sightings, mostly at feeders. Other familiar local birds were also sighted, including Pine Grosbeaks, magpies, Gray Jays, woodpeckers, and ravens.

No redpolls were observed in this year’s count. Compiler Rick Ernst says this is only the second time in twenty-four years that the species has not made an appearance on the day of the count. The other oddity in this year’s count was three Common Murres. The murres are seabirds that showed up as far north as Healy around New Year’s Day.

Complete results:

116th Audubon Christmas Bird Count

It’s a dog musher’s life

Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Anja Radano and hear team out for a run. Photo: Katie Writer - KTNA

Anja Radano and hear team out for a run. Photo: Katie Writer – KTNA

by: Katie Writer – KTNA

Calling any musher “casual” is a misnomer, but there are plenty of people in the Susitna Valley who use their dog teams more for recreation or practical travel than hardcore racing.  KTNA’s Katie Writer recently spoke to two of them.


Anja and her team


Full interview with Anja Radano:

Full interview with Heather Zimmerman:

General manager discusses KTNA technical issues

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Since shortly before the new year began, KTNA has experienced periodic service disruptions. News Producer Phillip Manning spoke with General Manager Will Peterson about what caused the issues and what is being done to solve them.  You can listen to their conversation below.


Appeals court upholds conviction in murder of Dirk Fast

Friday, January 8, 2016

On Wednesday, the Alaska Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Samuel Clark for the murder of Dirk Fast five years ago.

On October 29th, 2010, Dirk Fast and Samuel Clark were sitting at a table in the Latitude 62 restaurant and bar in Talkeetna while a local musician held a concert in the next room. Witnesses say there did not seem to be an argument between the two men, but when they both rose, Samuel Clark shot Dirk Fast in the chest, killing him.

At his trial in 2012, Samuel Clark’s attorney argued that the shooting was in self-defense to stop a threat, and that the jury should convict him of the lesser charge of manslaughter. The jury disagreed, and ultimately convicted Clark of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder, but acquitted him of manslaughter. The verdicts, technically, contradicted each other.


State and borough discuss Talkeetna sewer lagoon violations

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Representatives from the Mat-Su Borough have met with state officials regarding violations of the Clean Water Act at the Talkeetna sewer lagoon, but the details of those discussions have not yet been made public.

Mat-Su Borough Attorney Nicholas Spiropoulos confirms that the borough is in discussions with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to come to an “amicable solution” regarding the violations. Spiropoulos says he cannot share specifics because a resolution has not yet been reached.

Borough Assembly Member Randall Kowalke, whose district includes Talkeetna, believes the real goal of the meeting was to make improvements, rather than punish the borough. Kowalke also says he cannot discuss details from the meeting.

Michael Solter, Compliance Program Mangaer for ADEC, says results may take time to manifest, since wastewater remains in the treatment system for more than six months. Solter believes that the state and the borough both recognize the issue and are working in good faith to solve it.

Last November, the ADEC sent a letter to the borough, which operates the Talkeetna sewer and water system, stating that the state intended to begin enforcement actions for numerous violations the Clean Water Act. Specifically, the Talkeetna Sewer Lagoon has consistently been out of compliance on levels of fecal coliform and dissolved oxygen contained in treated water leaving the system and flowing to the Talkeetna River.

The Mat-Su Borough attempted numerous temporary fixes last summer, including skimming grease from the surface of the lagoon, replanting vegetation, and artificially aerating the system. While those efforts did yield results, they were not enough to bring the system fully into compliance.

Further meetings between ADEC and the borough are expected to take place next month.

Sen. Dunleavy talks state budget before 2016 session

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

On Monday, State Senator Mike Dunleavy, whose district includes the Susitna Valley, attended the Talkeetna Community Council meeting to hear the concerns of Upper Valley voters. In addition, he sat down with KTNA’s Phillip Manning to discuss the upcoming legislative session.



In two weeks, the Alaska State Legislature will convene for its 2016 session. Senator Mike Dunleavy says that Alaskans should expect significant cuts to the state’s budget, especially since continuing drops in the price of oil mean less revenue for the state.

“I think we’re going to be looking at $500 million to $1 billion, and the reason I say that is from May to today we lost $600 million in revenue. We thought it was bad last year. We lost $600 million when it went from $64 a barrel to $38, so the hole keeps getting bigger. It doesn’t get smaller.” (more…)