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

Fish Lake morning

Fish Lake morning

photo: Robin Song


Writer’s Voice–Nine races of the Oosik, by Dan Harrell




Talkeetna writer Dan Harrell tells the often humorous story of his Oosik race experiences over the last nine years, and how his breakthrough in technique changed his standings. Audio is 14 minutes.

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The Denali Nordic Ski club held the 2014 edition of the Oosik classic ski race a couple of weeks ago. Once again it was a huge success. Even though we went almost two months without any significant snowfall, trail design and trail work went ahead. Talk of making it a freestyle event was heard and much concern began to emerge as the date approached with ever diminishing snow cover. Drastic action had to be taken yet again. Read More »

Legislature could add funds for education, prioritize megaprojects

With less than a month until the end of the state’s legislative session, increasing discussion of the state budget is inevitable.  Members of both the House and Senate, as well as Governor Parnell, have made it clear that this budget year will be tight.  Cuts to a number of state programs have already been considered, and much of the discussion of the state’s operating budget is winding down.

In a major development on Friday, the Senate Finance Committee voted to add an additional $75 million dollars for education beyond what Governor Parnell had requested.  Now, the total number for education is $100 million.  Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair of the Finance Committee says the increase does not represent the final word on education funding.

“We want, as a group, to figure out education.  We may need some time to do that.  This amendment gives us time, while we are not putting the school districts too far out on a limb as we make our determination.” Read More »

Denali Park Road open to mile 15

More of Denali National Park’s road has opened.  This year marked the first in a test program to begin plowing the first twelve miles of the road earlier in the winter.  Denali National Park spokeswoman Kris Fister says that the road is now open to Savage River at Mile 15.

While the mild weather has likely made it easier to clear the Park Road, Kris Fister says that it does have an impact on winter activities.  She says that snow cover for mushing, skiing, and snowshoeing is variable. Read More »

Project leader discusses Talkeetna Sewer and Water assessment

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Last year, the Alaska Legislature voted to give the Mat-Su Borough $100,000 to perform an assessment of the Talkeetna sewer and water system.  The Borough has contracted CRW Engineering Group to conduct the study.  Andrea Meeks, a civil engineer with CRW, says that the assessment is designed to help develop a plan to balance the books, which are currently running at an annual deficit of about $100,000.

“Our approach is two prong.  One is to look at how we can reduce the cost of the system, [and] the other is a utility cost analysis to determine how best to generate the revenues, whether through a rate increase or another mechanism, to cover the costs of the system.” Read More »

Borough plans earthquake preparedness activities in Lower Valley through Saturday

Through March 29th, communities around the state will be conducting training and exercises to help prepare in case of a major earthquake.  March 27th marks the 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964.  The 1964 earthquake was measured at 9.2 on the Richter Scale, making it the most powerful ever recorded in North America.

In the Mat-Su Borough, activities will largely center around the core area of the Valley, including Wasilla and Palmer.  Casey Cook, Emergency Manager for the Borough, says that anyone near Mat-Su Regional or the Palmer fairgrounds could see National Guard personnel, helicopters, or volunteers with fake injuries playing the role of victims.  He says that Valley residents should not be alarmed if they see the drills being conducted.

Casey Cook adds that the anniversary should also serve as a reminder for Borough residents to be prepared with supplies and a plan in the event that another “big one” strikes Southcentral Alaska.


Classics for Kids–The Elephant’s Child

Rudyard Kipling’s story about how the elephant got its trunk. It is narrated by Jack Nicholson, with music composed and performed by Bobby McFerrin.

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Alaska Senate Finance Co-Chair: Supplemental Susitna-Watana funding “Up in the air.”

Unless support materializes soon, the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project may not get the additional funds Governor Sean Parnell requested for it this year.  In February, Governor Parnell submitted his amended budget proposal to the Alaska legislature.  Included is a request for $32.7 million for the proposed Susitna-Watana Project.  If approved, the funding would be used to fund the 2014 field study season.  Governor Parnell has also requested $10 million for the fiscal year beginning in July, and the Alaska Energy Authority says it still has about $30 million left from the current budget.

With talk of the gas pipeline dominating energy and financial discussion, the smaller mega-project has not received as much attention.  On Wednesday, however, two Senate Republicans gave less than enthusiastic answers about the additional money.  Senator Kevin Meyer, who co-chairs the Finance Committee and focuses on capital projects, says that there are some items that the state “needs to fund,” but that Susitna-Watana is not currently one of them.

“I’m not convinced that it has to be funded….They haven’t used the appropriation we have given them in previous years, and obviously our focus right now is on the gas pipeline.  That one’s still up in the air, as far as I’m concerned.”

Thus far, no Senators in the Republican minority have come forward to publicly support the funding request for Susitna-Watana in what is already a tight budgeting session.  Senator Fred Dyson says it’s the wrong time for the project.

“At gas prices that we will see for the next ten, fifteen, twenty years, spending the capital cost to get the dam build and the transmission tie-ins is not economical.  I think it’s a decision that needs to be postponed at least a decade, and I think what the Governor has in mind is just keep the present engineering [and] surveying rolling forward.”

According to documents released by A-E-A on Monday, the additional $32.7 million for the current fiscal year would have an impact on 24 studies, including eleven that could not go forward at all this year without the additional funds.  A-E-A’s current timetable calls for limited field work this year, with the completion of many of the studies in the summer of 2015.   A-E-A estimates it will need a total of $110 million dollars to complete the studies necessary to apply for a federal license for the dam.

State Senate committee hears testimony on Knik Arm Bridge

On Tuesday, the Alaska Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on the proposed Knik Arm Crossing.  Last week, Senators heard the details of a new plan to finance the project.  Current estimates place the cost of a two-lane bridge between Point Mackenzie and Government hill in Anchorage at $895 million.  The new plan does not call for the construction cost to eventually be paid back completely by loans, a plan that many critics viewed as unachievable.  The new plan involves state revenue bonds and federal highway funds to lessen the amount that the state would have to repay if toll revenues fell short.   Read More »

Writer’s Voice–Ice Road Moose, by Peter Mathiesen



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Talkeetna resident Peter Mathiesen reads a chapter from his book Tales of the Alaska State Troopers, to be published this fall.  This story is about how a local trooper had to deal with a road-killed moose on a very cold winter night.

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