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


20th Annual Art Auction and dinner with the artists

Art Auction Poster 2015


20th Annual Art Auction

Susitna Writer’s Voice–“Finally, I Be an Alaskan”, by Bill Was

Fall & the Kidz cropped1

For anyone following my blog – talkeetnatraces.com – you may have noticed my ‘public name’ has changed from ‘Newbie Alaskan’ to ‘Forever Alaskan’. Given it has now been two years since I pulled into the driveway of 15158 East Barge Drive with a 26’ U-Haul van in close pursuit I decided it was time. Long time Alaskans have told me that one is not a ‘real’ Alaskan until they’ve weathered at least two winters.

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MSB Assembly continues discussion of dump fees

For its last two meetings, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly has discussed rolling back increases to fees at borough solid waste transfer sites. That discussion will last at least one more meeting, after a decision was delayed earlier this week.

Assembly Members Dan Mayfield and Vern Halter sponsor the proposal currently on the table. It rolls back rate hikes for dropping off trash at transfer sites. The assembly approved the increases during the borough budget process. Now, Halter and Mayfield say the new fees went too far.

The borough’s solid waste division is run as an enterprise fund, which means it is supported exclusively by user fees. No tax money is allowed into its budget. As of the end of the last fiscal year, the fund was in the red by $3.5 million. When an enterprise fund runs in the red, the difference is borrowed from the general fund. Read More »

Su Valley Voice for August 19th, 2015: Doyle Holmes

Three injured, one seriously, in Parks Highway crash

A three-car collision Tuesday morning on the Parks Highway involved two Upper Valley drivers, according to the Alaska State Troopers.


The crash occurred shortly after 11:00 am near mile 52 of the highway. According to troopers 71-year-old John Hensel was driving southbound, and had either slowed or stopped to turn left off of the highway.   Troopers say Hensel’s vehicle was rear-ended by a van, driven by 62-year-old Roger Demiller of Trapper Creek. Hensel’s car was pushed into the northbound lane, where it was struck by an SUV driven by 68-year-old Ruth Strong of Talkeetna.


Hensel, whose place of residence was not identified, was trapped inside his vehicle and was removed by emergency responders. He was taken to the hospital with what troopers describe as “serious” injuries. Ruth Strong and her passenger were also transported for evaluation and treatment.

New for the 2015 hunting season,a Hatcher Pass youth hunt and custom hunting maps

While the bulk of moose hunting season has yet to open, some early season hunting activities are underway in the game management units around the Upper Valley. Todd Rinaldi, area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, says one completely new hunt in Hatcher Pass is specifically for young hunters.


“What this does is it has a youth only area from August 10th through August 25th. What that means is the area is closed to small game hunting, except that small game can be taken by hunters sixteen years old or younger when they are accompanied by a licensed hunter at eighteen years [or older]. We’re pretty excited about this. This is a proposal that went through the Mat-Valley advisory committee, and basically what it’s going to do is provide an opportunity for young hunters—for families—to get out and actually get an opportunity to take some small came and instill some hunting safety practices.”


In this case, small game means rabbits, ptarmigan, and grouse. Todd Rinaldi says bowhunting for moose, which began on August 10th in game management unit 14, will be allowed in the area, but adults will have to wait one more week if they intend to take small game in the Hatcher Pass area.


Also new this year are custom hunting maps. Todd Rinaldi says the new map tool, which is available on the Fish and Game website, lets hunters create a map that is specific to their needs.


“Typically, most of the maps that are produced online are either an entire game management unit, which someone may or may not want, or it’s the entire draw unit or hunt zone. Sometimes those maps are bigger than people want; sometimes they don’t contain as much information or as much area as someone would want. So, you can go online, and you can customize. Maybe [you] have a map that includes both game management units. Maybe you want to zoom in to a specific drainage in a sheep hunt area. It just gives you a lot of flexibility…”


Keep listening to KTNA this week to hear about changes to hunting regulations in and around the Upper Valley.

Mat-Su School District announces new app for school information

On Tuesday, the Mat-Su Borough School District announced a new app that allows parents and students to keep up with school news. This is the second app that the district has put out. The previous app was custom-made by student workers, and the new version is produced by Blackboard, a company that makes a number of technology products for schools and colleges. Mike Brown, Executive Director of Operations for the school district, says using an established brand has potential advantages.


“This version’s a little bit different in that it gives us the capacity to grow. There’s not a lot of custom work inherent in the application itself, so it’s not difficult to maintain and add features to.”


With the app, which is available for both Android and iOS mobile devices, a great deal of information is available. Mostly, that information mirrors what is available at the district website. Mike Brown says the purpose of the app is to make that information available anywhere, not just at a computer. While links ranging from the district’s social media accounts to the login page to view grades are in the app, Brown says two particular parts of the district website tend to get the most attention.


“Probably the two most common features or information sets that folks access are the school calendar, so they know of upcoming events and whatnot, and actually what I understand is the second most-accessed is the school menus.”


In addition, the school district plans to use the app as another means of reaching parents in case of emergency, school closures, or other time-sensitive situations.


“There’s a notifications feature, much like there is to sign up for on the district website, so there are these, I guess what we would call them push notifications, where if information is sent out it would notify folks automatically, especially if they were on the move with their mobile devices.”


The app notifications will not replace the current text and email notifications, and are intended as a supplement.


Users can select which school or schools they want to receive notifications and news about, and are prompted to select one or more schools the first time the app is opened.


Mike Brown says the district intends to continue expanding the app’s capabilities, and that one target feature is the ability to register students for school with a mobile device.

Susitna Writer’s Voice–“Lost!”, part two, from Open to Entry, An Alaskan Adventure, by Kris Drumm

Kris Drumm, 1972 photo by Dennis Brown

Kris Drumm, 1972 photo by Dennis Brown


This is the second part of a chapter called “Lost!”
from Kris Drumm’s as-yet unpublished memoir
“Open to Entry, An Alaskan Adventure”,
her experiences as a woman homesteading
north of Talkeetna in the 1970’s.



The story is read by Sandra Loomis.


By twilight the mining road faded out and the game trail went up toward the hills even farther away from the creek. Making camp, we chatted about what we saw today, wondering what the story was behind the cabin on what we named Grayling Creek.

The sky was a gray mass overhead with a chill in the air as we donned our packs the next morning at daybreak. The decision was made to head home before the brooding storm caught up with us.

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Tips for Healthy Living 8-14-15

A  live conversation about health and health news from the Sunshine Community Health Center: It’s hosted by Holly Stinson, with this Friday’s in-studio guest Shelis Jorgensen, Medical Director at the clinic. The topic of conversation today is pediatric wellness exams, including the required back-to-school and sports physicals.