Talkeetna blogger Bill Was writes about his attempts to adjust to a few aspects of summer in the Susitna Valley.
Today just happens to be yet another gorgeous late morning here in the Talkeetna area; the sun rides hot and high in the azure sky while gentle WSW breezes riffle the new leaves on trees and other plants. The temperature is already above 60°F on its way to the middle seventies; that’s perhaps fifteen degrees above normal but then that’s how the temps have been running. After a ‘winter’ – and I use the term very loosely – sleep the landscape has once again exploded into summer’s color and foliage. And with this seasonal shift came additional markers of the late spring in south-central Alaska; the mosquitoes are out in force, the village is once again awash in tourists and there is no longer a dark night sky.
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As of last Thursday, the Mat-Su Borough no longer owns the MV Susitna.
When the borough acquired Susitna, the intent was to establish a ferry service between Port Mackenzie and Government Hill in Anchorage. While the Mat-Su Borough moved forward with the plan, the Municipality of Anchorage could not decide where a ferry dock and terminal should be placed, and the plan ultimately fell through.
Following years of attempts to sell the vessel, and a recent round of multi-million dollar repairs, the borough has sold the ship, a former naval prototype, to the Philippine Red Cross. The Susitna is on its way to the South Pacific, where it will be used as an emergency hospital ship for the thousands of islands that make up the Philippines. Read More »
A live 15-minute conversation about health and health news from the Sunshine Community Health Center: It’s hosted by Holly Stinson, with in-studio guest Keith Kehoe, Physician Assistant at the clinic. Today’s conversation is all about bacteria…good bacteria and bad, including the infection called “swimmer’s ear”, and how to treat it at home.
As of Thursday, 1,139 climbers are registered to attempt Denali, and 170 are on the mountain. Nine hundred, fifty-two climbs have been completed, and 574 people have made it to North America’s highest point, making the current summit rate sixty percent. Sixteen climbers attempted Mt. Foraker this season, with seven making it to the summit.
After a rocky start, the summit rate for Denali this year has continued to steadily rise. Prolonged storms kept early climbers from reaching the top of the mountain, but those who came later have had markedly better luck as far as the weather is concerned. As the season winds down, however, the National Weather Service is advising mountaineers to prepare for potentially heavy snowfall through today. Read More »
In addition to discussing vetoed items in the state budget, Governor Bill Walker used this morning’s press conference to announce that he is shutting down two megaprojects in the Mat-Su: the Knik Arm bridge, and the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more.
Large projects can often be contentious, and two of the more controversial projects in the last few years have been the Knik Arm Crossing and the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. Governor Bill Walker says those projects will now come to an end, not necessarily due to their controversial nature—Governor Walker describes himself as “pro-construction”—but due to the state’s financial situation.
”I ran for governor to build Alaska, not to balance the checkbook. We’re balancing the checkbook because that’s the hand we were dealt. It pains me to shut down anything involving a construction project or an infrastructure project.”
Governor Walker says that the studies and prep work that have gone into both megaprojects will be preserved. Susitna-Watana alone has spent nearly $300 million on studies as part of its federal licensing process, and Walker does not want that data to be lost. Read More »
Two overdue hikers were found in good condition by National Park Service rangers in the Denali National Park area on Sunday.
According to the National Park Service, 25-year-old Michael Trigg of South Carolina and 27-year-old Theodore Aslund of Georgia were delayed on a trip to visit the abandoned Fairbanks Transit bus used as a shelter by Christopher McCandless. McCandless’ story was popularized by the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
The two men started their trip on June 20th. They shared their plans on Facebook, and asked that friends contact emergency responders if they did not return by June 24th. When the hikers did not report back on social media, concerned friends called the National Park Service. Read More »
A closer look at some of the inhabitants of area wetlands,
and some interesting relationships between them.
As winter changed into spring in the wetlands east of the house where I have been living just south of Willow, my excursions there with my two dogs grew more interesting. On the morning of April twenty-second, when I let the girls outside, I was surprised to find a pair of Lesser Sandhill Cranes standing at the edge of the forest in the large clearing just east of the house. They walked slowly through the long brown grass, exposed by the melted snow, unimpressed at being watched by two dogs, a human, and two cats. For the next few weeks I heard them calling out in the wetlands-sometimes flying, sometimes stationary. By mid-June they were apparently nesting, for they had grown quiet, not wanting to draw attention to their nest site. I’d occasionally hear them very late at night, calling from the same area. Cranes have been nesting in the wetlands for several years-perhaps decades before people moved into the area. I hope the wetlands remain their nesting territory for many more decades to come. Read More »
Over the next two summers, expansion and improvement work will take place at the Talkeetna State Airport.
Laura Paul, Construction Project Manager for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, says that the contract for airport improvements was awarded to Ahtna Construction for just under $6.8 million. Plans for the improvements include taxi lanes, the transient aircraft apron, general aviation apron, and a pedestrian footpath.
Work on the project is scheduled to begin in mid-July, and will involve clearing trees, moving equipment, and putting in temporary access roads. Laura Paul says no disruption to air traffic is expected.
The project will also involve nearly 200,000 tons of gravel. Paul says that Ahtna Construction is still determining the source for the gravel. The exact placement of equipment, access routes, and traffic plans will be reviewed after a gravel pit has been selected. Laura Paul says the primary hauling route for the material will be Second Street, and that Beaver Road may be used as an alternate access route for later stages of the project, such as resurfacing the runways and taxiways.
Some Talkeetna residents have expressed concern over the heavy volume of traffic that the project will generate. Paul says the roads used will be assessed before hauling begins, and must be restored to their original condition after operations are complete.
Rob Shelby and Sean Maguire overseeing trail work at the Talkeetna Public Library Photo: Katie Writer – KTNA
By: Katie Writer – KTNA
Each summer, local teenagers work as part of the Upper Susitna Soil and Water Conservation District’s Youth Conservation Corps. The participants are paid to work throughout the summer on trail and other projects in the area. KTNA’s Katie Writer caught up with two of the YCC’s adult leaders while working on a project at the Talkeetna Library.