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


Training ramps up with wildfire season

The fire danger level sign near the "Y."  Photo by Katie Writer - KTNA

The fire danger level sign near the “Y.” Photo by Katie Writer – KTNA

by:  Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

It’s wildfire season in Southcentral Alaska and firefighters are gearing up.

A week of simulations kicked off Monday in Palmer for incident commanders practicing complicated wildfire scenarios they might face this summer.

The annual training is a good warm-up for the incident commanders, said Alaska Division of Forestry spokesperson Norm McDonald.

“(It’s) a way for them to kind of knock the rust off and get ready for the fire season,” McDonald said. Read More »

Organizers Say Talkeetna Spur Road Cleanup Was a Success

Volunteers gather at Denali Brewing Company after Saturday's spur road cleanup.  Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

Volunteers gather at Denali Brewing Company after Saturday’s spur road cleanup. Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

by:  Katie Writer – KTNA

Charissa Hernandez and Jenny Packer organized an Earth Day clean up on the Talkeetna Spur Road this past Saturday.

They estimate that more than 70 people turned up to help pick up trash.  In total, volunteers picked up 66 bags of trash.  KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with Hernandez about the event:

Cleanup organizer Charissa Hernandez and volunteer Shandi Wolfer-McEwen during the spur road cleanup on Saturday.  Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

Cleanup organizer Charissa Hernandez and volunteer Shandi Wolfer-McEwen during the spur road cleanup on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Charissa Hernandez.

Two American Climbers First to Summit Denali in 2017

Connor Chilcott on Denali.  Photo courtesy of Forrest Barker.

Connor Chilcott on Denali. Photo courtesy of Forrest Barker.

The young climbing season on Denali has already yielded its first successful summit trip.

Forrest Barker and Connor Chilcott of Seattle reached the highest point in North America on Sunday, April 16th.

Mid-April is early in the climbing season for a group to make it to the summit of Denali and back. Barker and Chilcott say being the first to make it to the top was not their primary motivation. They say there is more freedom of choice in specific routes before hundreds of other climbers make their attempt, and both men found that prospect appealing.

The early ascent came with some difficulties. Barker and Chilcott were forced to overnight high on the mountain in windy conditions with temperatures dipping past forty-degrees-below-zero. When the sun began to set on summit day, they had to choose between pressing on or hunkering down. Low temperatures and a lack of food made the prospect of traveling at night dangerous. While camping near 18,500 feet of elevation, the climbers’ tent collapsed multiple times due to wind, but they were able to ride out the conditions and continue their descent. Barker and Chilcott were picked up and flown back to Talkeetna last Friday.

The high elevation and cold temperatures resulted in frostbite on one toe for Connor Chilcott and a high-altitude pulmonary edema for Forrest Barker. Neither condition is uncommon on Denali, and both men say they expect to recover fully.

Following their successful climb of North America’s highest mountain, Chilcott and Barker plan to continue their work with “Peaks of Life,” a Seattle-based non-profit that raises money to help pay for children’s hospital bills.

Mat-Su Borough To Hold Meetings for Public Input on Budget

This week, the Mat-Su Borough is holding public meetings on the proposed borough budget.

The first meeting will be held tonight at the Menard Center in Wasilla, and the second will be on tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Borough Assembly Chambers in Palmer. The third and final meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday at the Willow Community Center. This will be the third year that the assembly takes public testimony in Willow. For the past two years, attendance at the Willow meeting has been significantly higher than that at the hearings in Palmer and Wasilla.

Borough spokeswoman Patty Sullivan says this year’s borough budget is about nine million dollars less than last year’s. That includes funding the Mat-Su Borough School District at the same level next year as this year. Due to a drop in other revenues, the proposed budget would still result in a mill rate increase despite spending less. Sullivan says the increase would result in about thirty-three dollars in additional property taxes for a property valued at $200,000.

Tips for Healthy Living, 4-21-2017

KKehoe-Tips by KWriter

A  live 15-minute conversation about health and wellness

from health care providers in our communities.

It’s hosted by Holly Stinson, with today’s in-studio guest Keith Kehoe,

a Physician Assistant at Sunshine Community Health Center.

Keith mentions the interesting annual patterns of injury and disease that occur in the community, and he and Holly talk about safety for the season. He also talks about allergies, and emphasizes taking over the counter allergy medication at the first indication of symptoms. The last topic is about dental pain, and how important good dental hygiene is for overall health. Keith wants people to know that the  dentist is the one who solves the underlying problem; the medical staff can alleviate the pain, but see your dentist!


Su Valley Voice for April 19th, 2017: Earth Day


This week on Su Valley Voice, host Phillip Manning spoke with four people who are involved with helping make the Upper Valley a cleaner place.  Christie Seay is involved in the local recycling program and recently attended a workshop and conference hosted by the Mat-Su Borough on solid waste disposal.  Charissa Hernandez is organizing a cleanup of the Talkeetna Spur Road this Saturday.  Mollie Boyer is the Executive Director of the Valley Center for Recycling Solutions, which is involved in a number of waste reduction projects.  Kelly Thomas is organizing next week’s Earth Day celebration along with the accompanying presentations and recycling opportunities.


The Talkeetna Spur Road cleanup this Saturday begins at noon at the Talkeetna Village Park, though there are opportunities for people to join in their own neighborhoods as volunteers pass through the area.

Next week, the Earth Day celebration is scheduled for 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Northern Susitna Institute.  Bins will be available for corrugated cardboard recycling, and a limited amount of glass recycling will be available.

King Salmon Fishing Regs to be Less Restrictive on Deshka, Little Su

As area rivers begin to open up, many anglers are preparing to take to the water to try to catch king salmon. KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke with Sam Ivey, Sport Fish Area Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, about what they can expect this year.



King salmon are one of the premier draws for sport fishermen in the Susitna Valley, but weak runs have meant that most areas are limited to catch-and-release for kings. Sport Fish Area Biologist Sam Ivey says that’s not expected to change this year.

For the last few years, the Deshka River is one of the few in the area where retention of king salmon has been permitted. Ivey says this year, the river will not start the king season with any special restrictions.

“The annual limit will be five fish at the Deshka River. Last year, we started with the annual limit restriction of two, as the only restriction. We’ll proceed as per regulation. Bait starts on the Deshka River on June 1, so we’ll be looking forward to the kickoff of the season, there.”

Read More »

A Fun-raising Membership Drive

Thank you to the volunteers, musicians, on-air hosts, and members who made our Spring Membership Drive a success.  We appreciate the support of individuals and businesses in the upper Susitna Valley.

If you missed the drive, you can still become a member at the Support Page here on the website.  Or call 733-1700 during office hours.

Here are some of the people who were at the station during the drive:

Breaking: Small Aircraft Crashes Near Mile 90 of Parks Highway

The Cessna 182E that crashed near Mile 90 of the Parks Highway on Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Katie Dietrich

The Cessna 182E that crashed near Mile 90 of the Parks Highway on Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Katie Dietrich


Update 12:00 a.m.: The Alaska State Troopers have identified the pilot as 51-year-old Ronald Scott Hernandez of King Salmon. Troopers say Hernandez suffered minor injuries.

Update 5:54 p.m.: MEA now confirms that a small aircraft crash caused a power loss to about 2,600 customers. Power has been partially restored, but approximately 1,100 customers will be without electricity until repairs are completed later this evening.

Original story:

This afternoon, a Cessna 182 crashed near Mile 90 of the Parks Highway.

Emergency crews responded around 4:00 p.m. to a crashed aircraft, including Alaska State Troopers and personnel from multiple EMS divisions in the Upper Valley.

The crashed aircraft is registered to Robert Hill of Naknek, Alaska, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, but there is no confirmation at this time of who was piloting the aircraft.

The pilot was transported from the scene of the crash to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center by ambulance, and was reportedly conscious at the time he was taken from the scene.

The crash coincided with a power outage from Caswell north. Matanuska Electric Association has not yet confirmed that the crash caused the outage, but a crew is on the way to the scene.