Representative David Eastman is sponsoring a bill, House Bill 116, which would eliminate the state requirement that one percent of the budget for a new public facility must be spent on art. Eastman says that, while he believes the program is a good idea, the state cannot afford it at the moment. Representative Eastman spoke with KTNA’s Phillip Manning about the bill.
Representative Eastman’s bill has been referred to the House State Affairs and Finance Committees.
On Tuesday rangers at Denali National Park and Preserve and Alaska State Troopers rescued a solo musher who was stranded in a developed area near the Toklat River due to recent heavy snowfall.
On Sunday, the Alaska Region Communications Center, which is headquartered in Denali, received notification from a local musher that Talkeetna musher Iris Vandenham had used a satellite device (SPOT) to request help to get out of the backcountry. Vandenham was on a planned six day solo mushing trip scheduled to end on February 27th. Vandenham had very limited one way outgoing communication.
Denali received nearly 23 inches of snow over the past week at the park headquarters, and established mushing trails have been covered in snow. Park staff used the GPS coordinates transmitted by the SPOT device to determine that Vandenham was staying in a temporary shelter used by back country and other staff.
Vandenham left the Stampede Trail on Feb. 21st, with approximately six days of supplies. She is an experienced musher and an established member of the Talkeetna community. Alaska State Troopers used an A-Star B-3 helicopter from Fairbanks to evacuate Vandenham and her six dogs from the temporary shelter. The Troopers airlifted Vandenham and her dogs to an air strip in Healy.
The 17th Annual Oosik Classic Ski Race already has 465 people registered for this years’ race to be held on March 18th. The fee goes up March 1st and then again the day of the race. Some years, the 750 cap is filled by this popular spring event. Being close to St. Patrick’s Day adds to this festive race where participants dress up in costumes that are sometimes contrary to sleek and aerodynamic. The Talkeetna Alaska Lodge will also be open to accommodate the large number of people who come to town for this fun weekend.
KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with trail-meister, Wade Hopkins about what skiers can expect of this year’s course.
Volunteers are always needed to help with aid stations on race day. There is a volunteer sign up form on the website. If you want to help with trail work, contact Wade at 315-3436.
Go to www.denalinordicskiclub.org for details.
At its recent annual membership meeting, Talkeetna Community Radio outgoing board member Cari Sayre received the Foundation Award for her years of volunteer contributions, in several capacities, to the organization.
Talkeetna Community Radio volunteer Holly Stinson received the Above and Beyond Award for her ongoing multi-faceted help at KTNA.
On Sunday night, a collision near Mile 150 of the Parks Highway left one dead and two hospitalized.
Alaska State Troopers say that 23-year-old Thomas O’Connor of Fairbanks was killed when his Subaru Impreza collided with a Dodge Dakota occupied by 28-year-old Roberta Cecil and 17-year-old Amy Sisk, both of Fairbanks.
O’Connor was pronounced dead at the scene, and Cecil and Sisk were transported by ambulance to a hospital. Troopers say weather conditions forced the use of ground vehicles to transport the injured.
O’Connor’s body has been taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.
A Wasilla man was killed in a snowmachine accident on Sunday in the Talkeetna area.
According to the Alaska State Troopers, 19-year-old Jacob Harris was found by other snowmachiners on Sunday afternoon in the Talkeetna Mountains. Harris was found underneath his still-idling snowmachine near a steep embankment. The people who found Harris called the troopers and attempted to revive him, but were unsuccessful. Conditions and visibility in the area were poor, and as an off-road rescue team was preparing to travel to Harris’ location, troopers were informed that a private helicopter carrying a relative of Harris was en route to the scene to assist in the recovery of his body.
Mat-Su Off Road Rescue personnel met up with the snowmachiners who had found Harris and accompanied them with Harris’ body to meet the helicopter.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office plans to conduct an autopsy on Jacob Harris, and his next of kin have been notified.
Host Kathleen Fleming has lots to say about the upcoming activities of the moon and planets against the sun and background of stars, the young moon challenge, three crescents in one week, more about the big eclipse event this coming August, and even more…
Earlier this month, the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc. board of directors heard a proposal from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough for expanded parking in Downtown Talkeetna. Under the proposal, the borough would receive land from the Alaska Railroad to build the lot. The parcel also contains land along the Talkeetna riverfront. The expanded parking would begin where the current Chase lot sits, and would extend north along the railroad tracks. The plan would provide for more than thirty parking spaces for Downtown employees and a new lot for Chase residents capable of handling trucks with trailers.
The Talkeetna Community Council chose to create a committee to consider the plan and take input from the community. The committee met on Wednesday evening, and over twenty people from the Chase and Talkeetna communities attended. At its last meeting, the Chase Community Council voted to write a letter in opposition to the current plan.
Most of those who spoke acknowledge the strained nature of parking downtown during the busy summer season. Despite that, a significant majority present had reservations about going forward with the proposal.
Some of the concerns shared at Wednesday’s meeting have to do with the amount of tree clearing that would be required under the current version of the plan. A significant portion of the trail leading from the current Chase parking lot toward the railroad bridge would be cleared. Some expressed concern that this would diminish the rural feel of Talkeetna that helps draw visitors.
Objections also came up as a result of the perceived short time window in which the proposal could be accepted. Robert Sheldon, who has been in contact with both state and borough officials regarding the plan, says that the Alaska Railroad is currently under pressure from the State of Alaska, and is making efforts to cooperate with communities. He believes there is a limited amount of time the railroad is willing to wait for an answer, and says that they are not likely to go forward with the transfer of property to the Mat-Su Borough without a plan in place.
The current plan, while it borrows from previous planning documents created by the Talkeetna community, does not follow those original ideas exactly. While discussion was occasionally heated at the Wednesday meeting, those who wished to speak were able to, and potential compromises were discussed. It’s unclear what the ultimate fate of the proposal will be, but there is a good chance it will be on the Talkeetna Community Council’s agenda for March 6th.