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

Su-Valley basketball loses two tight games to Effie Kokrine

Monday, March 2, 2015

Over the weekend, the Su-Valley Rams boys team lost two very close home games against Effie Kokrine Charter School.

On Friday, the Rams jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, only to have it erased in the second.  From there, the teams remained very close, with Effie Kokrine ultimately winning 51 to 49.  Dawson Matthews led the rams with 30 points and six rebounds.  Sophomore Marshall Pinard also pulled in six rebounds in Friday’s game.

On Saturday, Su-Valley trailed by fifteen points entering the fourth quarter, then mounted a strong rally, but it wasn’t quite enough.  Effie Kokrine Charter won the game 62 to 59.  Dawson Matthews and Tyran Waterhouse led the Rams with 20 and 18 points, respectively.

This weekend, the Su-Valley boys and girls will play host to the regional tournament, which will end the regular season and determine which teams move on to state.  Su-Valley is currently four games behind Interior Region leader Glennallen.

House committees discuss budgets, education

Friday, February 27, 2015

This week in Juneau, various subcommittees of the House Finance Committee closed out departmental operating budget proposals.  With a grim fiscal picture, most of those budgets took significant cuts beyond those proposed by Governor Bill Walker.  Details of those cuts are still emerging, and will receive further discussion before the full House Finance committee next week.  After that, the revised budget bill will be sent to the Senate.

The budget isn’t the only thing being discussed, however.  Numerous bills have been introduced regarding the state’s interaction and relationship with the federal government.

The Upper Valley’s representative, Wes Keller, chairs the education committee, which passed along a bill on Friday morning.  That bill, sponsored by Keller, would require Alaskan high school students to complete a curriculum on constitutional literacy before receiving a diploma.  The specifics of that course would be somewhat left to the individual school districts, but a list of suggested historical documents is included within the bill.  Keller and other supporters of the education bill say that it will not necessarily require new classes, and that some districts do cover the required material.  Opponents say that it places an unfunded mandate on schools, and represents the state government getting involved in local education decisions.  Keller’s proposal, House Bill 30, made it out of the Education Committee, and will next be heard in House Finance, though a date has not been set.

Talkeetna Recycling Committee meets, discusses fundraising

Friday, February 27, 2015

On Tuesday, the Talkeetna Recycling Committee held its second meeting at the Roadhouse.  The Committee was formed after Mat-Su Borough Solid-Waste Manager Butch Shapiro approached the Talkeetna Community Council with a plan for how communities could begin a recycling program.

Under the program, each community would pay for a container to hold three types of sorted recyclables.  The borough would then facilitate transportation of the recycling to the Valley Community Recycling Solutions facility in Palmer, near the central landfill.

Each container has been estimated to cost communities around $10,000 for refurbishing.  Katie Writer, TCC board member, says that the borough will allow logos and other representations of sponsorship to be displayed on the containers, but that each one would be rotated in a round-robin fashion between the participating communities.

Fundraising opportunities were also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.  The fundraising goal has been raised from around $10,000 to $25,000, with an eye to purchasing two containers instead of just one.  Ideas for raising the money include benefits and other events, potentially scheduled around Earth Day.  Additionally, an account has been set up at Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union to accept donations.

The next scheduled meeting will be devoted to fundraising, and will take place on March 5th at 10:00 am at the Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe`.

Upper Valley non-profits discuss possibility of a “consortium”

Friday, February 27, 2015

This week, representatives of multiple non-profits in the Upper Valley met to discuss the future of their organizations.  The talks included staff and board members of entities of various sizes, including KTNA.

On Thursday, Foraker Group’s Dennis McMillian discussed the challenges facing non-profits around the state and across the country.  Foraker Group provides a number of services dedicated to sustainability in the non-profit sector.  Foraker Group’s research shows serious impending challenges, including a funding crisis and what they term as a “crash of the herd” of non-profit organizations.  Additionally, Dennis McMillian says that the most common request Foraker Group receives is how to find board members. (more…)

As Legislature Eyes Budget Cuts, Public Media Funding Targeted

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

By:  Alexandra Gutierrez – APRN

The Legislature is considering halving the amount of funding available for public broadcasting.

Rep. Lynn Gattis, a Wasilla Republican who chairs the Department of Administration finance subcommittee, introduced the cuts by saying the group was focused on essential needs.

“In this fiscal climate, the state should focus on mission critical services, reduce its footprint, and take this opportunity to get out of business that it doesn’t need to be in,” said Gattis at a Tuesday afternoon budget closeout. “This has truly been an opportunity to evaluate the wants versus the needs of state government.”

Between operations and infrastructure, public radio and television were granted $5 million in state funds in the last budget. With the proposal offered by the House Finance subcommittee, funding would be reduced to $2.5 million.

Tyson Gallagher, an aide for Gattis, explained that the cuts would be focused on outlets that have other broadcasting options in their service area. That includes commercial radio stations.

”With the advancements in technology and the development of other broadcast sources, there’s less of a need to maintain public service programming at comparable levels to prior years,” said Gallagher at the subcommittee hearing.

Last year, state grants contributed more than half a million dollars to Alaska Public Media’s $6 million budget, which includes the Southcentral station KSKA. KTOO, the Juneau public radio station, now gets 10 percent of its $2 million budget from state grants. KUAC, which is operated by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, receives nearly $250,000. Because of the station’s position within the university, it was targeted for cuts when the school was experiencing its own shortfall.  KTNA currently receives about $122,000, or about thirty-seven percent of its total budget, from state appropriations.

The changes will now be sent to the full House Finance Committee for consideration.

Icy conditions force second relocation of Junior Iditarod

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A warm, relatively snow-free winter has caused numerous issues in the mushing community.  Most notably, the Iditarod restart was moved from Willow to Fairbanks.  Multiple shorter races were delayed, altered, or canceled outright.  On Tuesday evening, the Junior Iditarod announced that it will be moving to the Denali Highway.  Normally, the race begins at Knik Lake.  Earlier this month, conditions on Knik Lake forced a move to Willow.  According to the Junior Iditarod Facebook page, conditions in Willow are too icy for the race, which starts this weekend.

The new course will run from the Denali Highway in Cantwell to the Alpine Creek Lodge and back.  The race will start on Sunday, March 1st, at noon.  In a later post, the Junior Iditarod thanked the Knik and Willow communities, as well as the usual race checkpoints.  Organizers say they hope to return to the usual route next year.

As of Wednesday afternoon, eleven young mushers were signed up for the race.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board issues ‘emergency regulation’ regarding public marijuana use

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Tuesday, Ballot Proposition 2 went into effect.  The measure allows possession, consumption, transportation, and display of limited amounts of marijuana.  The state legislature and many local governments are in the process of crafting regulations.  While the initiative does allow marijuana consumption, public use is still banned.  What constitutes ‘public’ has yet to be defined by the legislature, however.  On Tuesday, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board issued an emergency regulation defining public to include places such as highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of business, parks, and playgrounds.  It also includes areas in hotels and apartments with public access, such as hallways and lobbies.

For the Upper Valley, all of which consists of unincorporated communities, the state regulations are the law of the land as of now.  The Mat-Su Borough has the option to impose certain restrictions within its boundaries, but has not yet done so.  The borough has established an advisory committee to take part in the crafting of any local regulations.

Sale of marijuana is not yet legal, though the ballot initiative passed last November does call on the State of Alaska to create regulations and a permitting process that will eventually allow commercial sales of the substance.

Update:  Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s office has released a PSA concerning some of the more commonly asked questions.

Troopers receive distress signal from Red Salmon Lake on Monday

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Update:  The party with the activated beacon has been contacted, and they say they did not activate the ‘S-O-S.’

The Alaska State Troopers have contacted two men in the Talkeetna area after receiving a distress signal from their GPS device.

On Monday afternoon, the Alaska State Troopers were notified of an ‘S-O-S’ signal from a GPS locator on Red Salmon Lake, near Talkeetna.  No information as to the nature of the emergency signal was available, Troopers say.  A helicopter was dispatched to investigate, but had to turn around due to poor weather.

On Tuesday, the Rescue Coordination Center was able to reach the location by helicopter shortly after noon and contacted Theodore and Kyle Miller of Wasilla.  The Millers were flown to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center where they spoke to the Troopers.  The Millers say they did not activate the ‘S-O-S’, and did not know how it had happened.  They were preparing to hike out when the signal was sent, and had no medical needs.

Talkeetna resident Rob Holt passes away at 56

Thursday, February 19, 2015
"Moose Skull" by Rob Holt

“Moose Skull” by Rob Holt

Talkeetna resident Rob Holt, age 56, passed away on Wednesday morning.  According to the Alaska State Troopers, Holt called 911 reporting a medical problem and collapsed while EMS was on-scene.  CPR was initiated, but Holt could not be revived.  Next of kin and the state medical examiner’s office were notified.

Rob Holt was a retired hunting guide as well as an artist.  He was the featured artist for the KTNA art auction in 2006, and his works can be found in galleries around the Talkeetna area.

According to Rob Holt’s son, Elias, a celebration of life will be held on Sunday afternoon at Northern Susitna Institute.