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


New summer business channels Talkeetna’s golden history

Owners Tammy and Kevin Helms at Sourdough Bucks in Downtown Talkeetna.

Owners Tammy and Kevin Helms at Sourdough Bucks in Downtown Talkeetna. Photo:  Katie Writer – KTNA

By:  Katie Writer – KTNA

Along with each summer’s rush of visitors to Talkeetna come new businesses which  includes Sourdough Bucks. Owners Kevin and Tammy Helms are having just as much fun as their customers gold panning at their downtown mining camp…and recently they have found something possibly a lot more valuable than gold. KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with them this week about their finds.



Borough seeks input on long-range transportation plan

The Mat-Su Borough is taking online input for its long-range transportation plan.


At Monday’s meeting of the Talkeetna Community Council, Lauren Driscoll from the borough’s planning division told community members that the online open house for the plan is currently running, and will end on June 15th.


The long-range transportation plan is intended to prepare for transportation infrastructure needs through 2035. Currently, the Mat-Su is the fastest growing area of Alaska.


As part of the current phase of the LRTP, borough residents can add “pins” to an interactive map to highlight problem areas that they would like the borough to include in the plan. Thus far, all of the pins added by users are located in the Core Area of the borough.


The next phase of the plan comes this fall, when the borough plans to include residents, experts, and other government entities in order to identify various alternatives for future transportation development.


A link to the long-range transportation page and interactive map is available at KTNA.org.

Vacant Talkeetna Council Seat Filled

At Monday’s regular monthly meeting, the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors chose Chris Grabowski to fill its vacant seat.


Grabowski won a secret-ballot vote of the board to fill the seat initially vacated by Mark Moren earlier this year.


Grabowski was running against Geri McCann. McCann won a similar secret ballot election this spring, but the seat was vacated again after questions concerning her residency documentation. McCann said at the time that she was a permanent resident of Talkeetna, but had yet to update some of her official records. She says those records were updated shortly after the first vote by the board to appoint her. Following the confusion over McCann’s residency, the board enacted a policy to allow more opportunity to verify documents before a vacancy appointment is made.


According to Talkeetna Community Council bylaws, seats that are filled mid-term will be up for a general vote at the next regular borough election date. Due to vacancies, this year will see five of the seven seats up for election this year. At Monday’s meeting, TCCI chair Whitney Wolff encouraged interested community members to run for seats this October.

Salmon runs arrive earlier to Susitna Valley in 2016

This year, the king salmon run in the Susitna Valley came about a week earlier than in 2015.


According to counts from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the first kings were observed on May 14th. Last year, the first kings didn’t show up until a week later on May 20th.


Thus far, the daily counts have followed a similar pattern of peaks and valleys as last year. The largest days for kings thus far occurred last Friday and Saturday, with over 1,100 kings counted on each day. Last year, the highest count of kings was on June 5th, with over 2,000 fish observed.


For most of the Susitna drainage, harvesting of kings is currently not allowed. Keeping kings is allowed in limited areas, and up-to-date regulations are available from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Regulations may relax or tighten based on the strength of the 2016 run.


The sockeye run on the Little Susitna River also started earlier than last year, and numbers thus far are significantly higher than in 2015. As of Monday, over 500 sockeye had been counted on the Little Susitna. At the same time last year, just over 100 had been observed.

Denali Report for June 3rd, 2016

This week on the Denali Report, KTNA’s Phillip Manning updates this season’s climbing statistics and speaks with a climber who just broke an impressive record.


As of Thursday afternoon, 1,029 climbers have registered to attempt Denali, and 523 are currently on the mountain. 227 climbs have been completed, and forty-two people have made it to the highest point in North America. The summit rate so far for Denali is quite low for the season at eighteen percent. Eighteen climbers have registered to attempt Mt. Foraker. Nine climbers are currently on the mountain, and nine have completed their climbs. There have been two summits of Mt. Foraker thus far in 2016.


While Denali’s summit rate is very low, some people have managed to make it to the top of North America. One of those people is Colin O’Brady. O’Brady’s summiting of Denali marks his completion of the Explorer’s Grand Slam. Not only does he join the list of fewer than fifty people to complete the challenge, but he is by far the fastest to do so. With a name like “Explorer’s Grand Slam,” one would expect an epic challenge, and the name does not disappoint, as Colin O’Brady explains.


“The Explorer’s Grand Slam is a mountaineering challenge to climb the Seven Summits, so the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents, plus an expedition across the last degree of both the North and South Poles.” Read More »

Tips for Healthy Living–6-3-2016

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.

In this program, Keith talks about seasonal health issues such as insect bites, eye injuries, ankle injuries, ATV accidents, burns, diving accidents: Prevention, and first aid…what to do before you go to the clinic or emergency room. He also talked briefly about the Mat-Su Health Foundation’s healthy community assessment, and one of the outcomes: communities can be more healthy if there’s a place for community members to gather, such as a health center which might have a pool and teen center.

Mat-Su CVB Asks for Bed Tax Increase to Fund Visitor Center

The Mat-Su Convention and Visitor Bureau is requesting a three percent increase in borough bed tax to pay for the planned Gateway Visitors Center off the Glenn Highway between Wasilla and Palmer.

On Monday, the MSCVB board voted 6-4 in favor of the request. Board President Cheryl Metiva says the board has been looking at various funding mechanisms to build the center since last August, and ultimately decided an increase to the bed tax was the best way to guarantee funding. She describes the discussion as “passionate,” and says the board did not take the decision lightly. Read More »

Study: Mat-Su’s Rural Areas Bring in More Borough Revenue than They Spend

Earlier this month, the Mat-Su Borough released the findings of its internal cost of community services study. According to that study, the incorporated cities of the borough generate less revenue for the borough than is spent on borough services, and areas with less development generate more revenue than their services cost.

James Wilson, the borough’s internal auditor, prepared the study. Wilson divides communities into descending categories based on the level of development present: cities, unincorporated areas with community councils, and areas without community councils. Read More »

Susitna Writer’s Voice–A Sense of Place: “I Am From…”, by Grete Perkins

Grete Perkins and John Baker

When Grete attended a recent Quaker Retreat, participants were asked to write about “Where I’m From…” as an introduction.  From that, came this:


I am from a line of strong-willed women, who only have two names.

I am Grete, born to Sallie, who was born to Grete, who was born to Sallie.

I have a daughter who is Sallie, who has a daughter who is Grete.

We are six generations of women who land on our feet.

Read More »