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


Talkeetna Airport Project Update

Work is ongoing as airport business continues into the fall. Photo - Katie Writer, KTNA

Work is ongoing as airport business continues into the fall. Photo – Katie Writer, KTNA

by:  Katie Writer – KTNA

As the weather gets colder work continues on the Talkeetna Airport Improvement Project . The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities says a combined 86,000 tons of material has been moved as part of the project thus far. KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with DOT’s Steve Hansen about the progress that has been made thus far.


The Beaver Road Gravel Pit, where crews have removed a combined 86,000 tons of material for the airport project. Photo – Katie Writer, KTNA

Alaska House campaign accuses Houston city official of “abuse of power” for taking down campaign sign

One of the candidates for House District 10 has accused a Houston city official of an “abuse of power” after the removal of a campaign sign along the Parks Highway. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:

On Tuesday, the campaign of Patricia Faye-Brazel said Houston Deputy Mayor Lance Wilson abused his power as an elected official by removing a four-foot-by-four-foot campaign sign from near the intersection of King Arthur Drive and the Parks Highway in Houston. The seat Patricia Faye-Brazel is running for spans from Northern Wasilla to the Upper Valley.


For his part, Deputy Mayor Wilson says he did remove the sign on Saturday morning. Both he and the campaign say there were conversations earlier in the week regarding the sign’s legality. While posting signs in the Alaska Department of Transportation’s right of way is not allowed, political campaign signs often end up there, and it’s normally not an issue unless one blocks visibility. Wilson says this one did.

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Sunshine Community Health Center Expands Behavioral Health Offerings

Recently, the Sunshine Community Health Center expanded its behavioral health staff and offerings. KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke with behavioral health provider Cici Schoenberger about the expansion.


Teen in custody in connection to death of Willow woman

The Alaska State Troopers say they have a 14-year-old in custody after the suspected homicide of a 41-year-old Willow woman.

Troopers received a report around 7:20 a.m. Sunday morning of a death in the Caswell Lakes area of Willow. When troopers arrived, they found 41-year-old Elizabeth Foster deceased at the scene. The death is being investigated as a homicide, and a 14-year-old male was taken into custody. The identity of the teen has not been released.

Susitna Writer’s Voice–Jessa’s First Canoe Trip, by Robin Song



Jessa the banty hen had been part of my family for almost four months, and was doing splendidly with the dogs and my other birds, so I decided she was ready for her first canoe trip. She’d already been to Hatcher Pass twice with me and my two dogs-”Lyra” and “Darby”- and on several short hikes in the Talkeetna area. She had bonded nicely with us and I thought it was time to see how she’d do in a canoe, which requires a substantial amount of trust. You don’t want a hen panicking while out in a canoe with two dogs.

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Five seats filled on Talkeetna Community Council

In addition to borough elections, Talkeetna residents elected five members of the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors on Tuesday. Eight candidates ran for five available seats on the board.

Candidates receiving two-year terms are Ed O’Connor, Christie Seay, Chris Grabowski, and Jeff Lebegue. Peg Vos received the fifth-highest number of votes, and will serve a one-year term. New members will be seated at next month’s Talkeetna Community Council meeting.

Borough voters approve bond package, reject commercial pot ban

According to unofficial results, Mat-Su Borough voters appear to have said no to a ban on commercial marijuana outside of city limits, and yes to marijuana sales tax and a recreation and trails bond package.

As of late Tuesday night, with thirty-nine of forty-one precincts reporting, the ballot initiative to prohibit commercial marijuana in the unincorporated areas of the Mat-Su was trailing with 6,739 votes in favor and 8,061 votes against. Had the initiative passed, Houston would have been the only area in the borough with legal commercial marijuana operations.

A five-percent sales tax on marijuana sales within the borough passed by nearly a five-to-one margin.

The third area-wide ballot question deals with improvements to recreational facilities and trails in the borough. The bulk of the $22 million bond package will go to public pools in Palmer and Wasilla as well as the Brett Memorial Ice Arena. Some Upper Valley projects are also in the package, including ice rinks, community centers, and the Talkeetna Ridge Trail.

Turnout was significantly higher than in recent years, but still low in absolute terms, with most precincts reporting turnout between twenty and twenty-eight percent.

These results are unofficial, and some absentee and poll votes have not been counted as of press time. The Mat-Su Borough Assembly is scheduled to certify the election at its October 18th meeting.

Talkeetna Community Council Inc. Election This Tuesday at Talkeetna Library

In addition to the Mat-Su Borough elections, voters residing in the Talkeetna Community Council area will choose five council board members on Tuesday.

Eight candidates are running for the five open seats. The candidates are, in alphabetical order, Chris Grabowski, Jeff Lebegue, Joe McAneney, Geri Volpe McCann, Ed O’Connor, Ron Quilliam, Christie Seay, and Peg Vos.

Voting for the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors takes place from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm at the Talkeetna Public Library.

Mat-Su Borough Election This Tuesday

Voters in the Mat-Su Borough will head to the polls Tuesday to choose two assembly members and two school board members. Also on the ballot are three area-wide ballot questions.

Both Mat-Su Borough Assembly seats up for election are outside of the Upper Valley. In District 2, Deputy Mayor Matthew Beck is running unopposed. In District 1, former Planning Commissioner Brian Endle is challenging Assembly Member Jim Sykes.

In the races for Mat-Su Borough School Board, Donna Dearman is running unopposed for the seat that includes the Upper Valley. This year is the first in which school board seats are divided into districts instead of being available to anyone in the borough.

Two of the area-wide ballot questions deal with commercial marijuana. Proposition B-1 is a proposed ban on commercial retail, cultivation, and testing facilities for cannabis in the unincorporated areas of the borough. Voters seeking to ban commercial marijuana will vote yes, and those who wish it to be legal will vote no.

Proposition B-5 is a sales tax on marijuana sold in the borough. The tax is set at five percent, but a limited exemption is proposed for areas with a sales tax. That includes Houston, the only municipality to legalize commercial cannabis, which has a two percent sales tax. Voters who want the tax will vote yes, and those who do not want the sales tax will vote no.

Proposition B-4 covers improvements to recreational facilities and trails in the Mat-Su. It is a $22 million bond package, the majority of which would go to pools in Palmer and Wasilla as well as the Brett Memorial Ice Arena. Other community facilities included in the bond are the Willow and Talkeetna ice rinks, Willow Community Park, a parking area at Fish Lake in Talkeetna, and the Trapper Creek Park and Community Center. Voters who are in favor of the bond will vote yes, and those who oppose it will vote no.

Polling places for the Mat-Su Borough election are Talkeetna Elementary, the Upper Susitna Senior and Civic Center, Trapper Creek Elementary, and the Willow Community Center. Polls are open Tuesday from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.