A late night earthquake near the summit of Denali shook the Upper Valley in the first minutes of Tuesday.
According to the Alaska Earthquake Center, a magnitude 5.2 earthquake was detected at 12:38 a.m. on Tuesday 31 miles south of Kantishna and 59 miles north-northwest of Talkeetna.
According to the map provided by AEC, the earthquake’s epicenter was just due east of Denali’s summit, and occurred at a depth of 84 miles.
The earthquake was felt throughout the Upper Valley, and some felt it as far away as Anchorage. No damage or injury was immediately reported.
The Alaska State Legislature’s session is underway. As the session continues, KTNA will speak with the legislators representing the Upper Valley on a regular basis. KTNA’s Phillip Manning recently spoke with Senator Mike Dunleavy about two bills he is sponsoring as well as plans to address the state’s fiscal situation.
With the Legislature entering its third week, Senator Mike Dunleavy, the Wasilla Republican whose district includes the Upper Valley, believes that his colleagues can all agree that Alaska’s continuing fiscal issues need to be solved, that a solution should come this year, and that the state’s savings are dwindling.
“I think we all understand this is not going to be a resolution that is simply one individual or one small group’s opinion. It’s got to be a solution that encompasses the diversity of the State of Alaska. It has to take everybody’s ideas into consideration….It should have a multi-year look to it. It should have several components.” Read More »
For Susitna Writers Voice, Kathleen Fleming brings us a Star Date Susitna edition about the Moon returning to the evening sky, Venus and Mars getting closer, Jupiter in the mornings, and more astronomical info. Susitna Writer Voice airs on Sunday at 6pm after the announcements and on Monday at 12:30pm.
On Friday, the Alaska State Troopers arrested two people and charged them with theft of a snow machine and other items on Oil Well Road in Trapper Creek.
Troopers say initial reports of suspicious vehicles stuck on an unmaintained section of Oil Well Road came in on Thursday afternoon. Area residents expressed concern to the troopers that a cabin was being burglarized. The troopers say they were unable to access the area.
On Friday, additional reports came in, including that an additional vehicle had become stuck. Shortly before 6:00, an area resident reported that one of the vehicles, a pickup truck, was leaving with a snowmachine in the bed.
Troopers responded to the area and found the truck with 30-year-old Steven Peldo of Wasilla and 21-year-old Ashley Cobb of Palmer inside. The snowmachine was determined to be stolen, and Peldo and Cobb were arrested. Troopers also found other items in the truck, which they believe may also be stolen. Steven Peldo and Ashley Cobb are charged with theft, vehicle theft, and criminal trespassing. Peldo was also charged with misconduct involving a weapon.
The occupants of the other vehicles at the scene were contacted, but have not been charged, and their identities have not been publicly released. The Alaska State Troopers are investigating the extent of cabin burglaries in the area, and ask that anyone with information call them at 352-5401 or Mat-Su Crimestoppers at 745-3333.
The Mat-Su Borough Assembly has voted down an ordinance to extend future terms of assembly members and the mayor from three years to four.
Assembly Member Randall Kowalke sponsored the proposal, and says getting up to speed on the assembly takes a significant amount of time. Kowalke says the motivation behind the proposed ordinance was to allow assembly members more time in their seats once they have gone through the learning curve. Since assembly members and the mayor are limited to two terms, it would extend the maximum service time from six to eight years. The terms currently being served would not have been extended.
Feedback from the audience was that something as significant as a change in assembly and mayoral term length should not be decided by the assembly itself, but rather by the voters of the Mat-Su Borough.
Assembly Members Steve Colligan and Jim Sykes also expressed a desire for more public input before making such a change.
Ultimately, all seven members, including Randall Kowalke, voted against the proposal.
Anja Radano at the Copper Basin 300. Photo courtesy of Anja Radano
This past weekend, Talkeetna musher Anja Radano was 9th out of the gate at the Copper Basin 300 in a field of competitors including
Iditarod runner up Aliy Zirkle and Mat Su Borough Mayor, Vern Halter. Radano spoke to KTNA’s Katie Writer about her 2nd Iditarod Qualifier.
An Alaska Native tribal council and environmental groups are applauding the decision by a federal agency to inspect the permit for a planned coalmine near Palmer.
The decision from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement comes after a federal judge ruled the mine’s permit invalid last summer. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more.
Last Tuesday, the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, or OSM told the Alaska Department of Natural Resources that it erred in extending the permit of Wishbone Hill Mine east of Palmer, which is owned by Usibelli Coal. OSM also told the state that it plans to inspect the mine’s permit. This move is the latest in a battle over the validity of Wishbone Hill’s permit that has lasted for more than five years. Read More »
Participants in Saturday’s march reach Downtown Talkeetna. Photo: Phillip Manning – KTNA
On Saturday, hundreds of marches around the country brought out estimated millions of people. In Talkeetna, around eighty Upper Valley residents marched for a variety of causes, including women’s rights and expressing concern over President Donald Trump. KTNA’s Phillip Manning was at the Talkeetna march, and has this report.
Talkeetna’s march on Saturday was not technically affiliated with the Women’s March on Washington campaign, but the sentiments of some participants were similar. Some participants expressed criticism of newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, while others were focused more on preservation and protection of rights in America. Read More »
Tuesday marked the beginning of the new legislative session.
Two Wasilla Republicans, Senator Mike Dunleavy and Representative David Eastman represent the Upper Valley. Both men will sit on multiple committees for the session.
Representative Eastman, a freshman legislator, will sit on the House Rules, Health and Social Services, Fisheries, and Legislative Ethics committees. He is an alternate to the House Legislative Council.
Senator Mike Dunleavy will chair the State Affairs Committee, as well as the finance subcommittees of Administration, Fish and Game, and Education and Early Development. He is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Special Committee on the Arctic.
Both men have filed multiple bills as well. Dunleavy and Eastman have mirrored legislation in both the House and Senate to undo Governor Bill Walker’s partial veto of money for Permanent Fund Dividend checks last year. In addition, Senator Dunleavy has sponsored a bill to establish a task force for reading proficiency and dyslexia and a bill addressing adult foster care for severely disabled Alaskans.
David Eastman has filed two bills dealing with food stamps. One bill would prevent the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services from using waivers for work requirements of able-bodied food stamp recipients. The other seeks to disqualify people for food assistance for refusal to cooperate with child support services and for past-due child support.
All of the bills sponsored by Senator Dunleavy and Representative Eastman received committee referrals by Friday.