The Alaska State Troopers say that roads in the Mat-Su Valley have become icy and dangerous as a result of freezing rain. While the Upper Valley did not receive as much freezing rain as the Palmer and Wasilla areas, some ice has formed. Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters says that, as Thursday afternoon, Troopers and Wasilla PD had responded to thirty-five traffic incidents. Some roads in the Lower Valley have been closed as first responders remove vehicles from ditches. The Troopers are asking for patience as they respond to weather-related traffic incidents.
The Alaska Air National Guard has released additional details of the search and rescue operation near Willow early Monday morning. Three adults and one child were airlifted by Air National Guard Personnel after they broke through the ice near Caswell Lake on an ATV trip.
The party initially contacted the Alaska State Troopers. Two Troopers reached the group by snowmachine, but were unable to transport them to safety. According to the Air National Guard, the Troopers contacted the Rescue Coordination Center just after 1:00 am on Monday. A Pave Hawk helicopter was launched with a team of Guardian Angels on board to assist in the rescue. The helicopter flew through the night, and the crew used night vision to locate the stranded party. Because of rough terrain, the helicopter could not land, and a hoist was used to rescue the group. They were given blankets and warm fluids to fend off hypothermia, and transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center.
Major Keenan Zerkel, a senior controller at the RCC, says, “The crew members did a superb job.” He praised their quick reaction and successful rescue in the dark, snowy conditions.
The Alaska Railroad Corporation has adopted a new policy regarding residential uses of Railroad rights of way. Over the last thirty years, some property owners adjacent to the rail line have created lawns, gardens, or structures that extend into the right of way near the tracks. Now, in order to begin or continue using the right of way, property owners will need a permit from the Railroad. Permit application costs $250, and the annual fee is based on the square footage of the right of way that is being used, with a minimum fee of $250.
The Railroad says the new policy was adopted in order to curb the use of the right of ways while still giving some property owners the opportunity to keep gardens or structures that may have been there for decades. Read More »
The Alaska State Troopers were involved in two search and rescue operations in the Mat-Su Borough on Sunday. Two hikers were rescued by the Alaska State Troopers in Hatcher Pass on Sunday night. The hikers, identified by the Anchorage Daily News as Kari Mauldin of Wasilla and Hanna Ramage of Las Vegas, were reported overdue Sunday evening. According to the State Troopers, they had left on Saturday to spend the night in a cabin 9 miles back from the Gold Mint trail head. They intended to return on Sunday, but more than four feet of fresh snow left them stuck. Read More »
A magnitude 4.7 earthquake shook Talkeetna at 9:15 am Tuesday morning, according to the Alaska Earthquake Information Center. The earthquake epicenter was 59 miles North-Northwest of Talkeetna at a depth of 84 miles. No damage was reported as of 11:00 am on Tuesday.
Winter arrived in dramatic fashion in the Upper Valley. Over the weekend, over a foot of snow fell, causing slick road conditions and multiple power outages. Outages were reported in the Lower Valley as well as in the Talkeetna and Petersville areas. As of Monday morning, MEA says that all of its members have their lights back on. They say that, unsurprisingly, weather was the cause of the outages. MEA says that if any members are still without power, they can contact the outage hotline at 746-7697. As of Monday afternoon, the Alaska State Troopers had not reported any accidents on the daily dispatch report, and the Talkeetna Volunteer Fire Department had not been called to respond to any injury accidents. Also, many Borough roads connecting to the Talkeetna Spur were not cleared as of Monday morning. KTNA was not able to obtain an estimate on when crews would be able to clear them after the weekend’s snow.
Last week, the Mat-Su Health Foundation announced nearly $700,000 in grant awards. The money, which is part of the “Healthy Impact” program, are aimed at projects over $15,000 and which “improve the health and wellness of people living in the Mat-Su Borough,” according to the Foundation’s website. Some of that funding will be coming to the Upper Valley. $135,000 was awarded to the Mat-Su Borough to help fund the construction of the Talkeetna Public Library and Community Center, which is currently in the planning phase, and $34,400 was awarded to Upper Susitna Seniors Inc. to purchase a tractor for snow removal at the Seniors Center as well as to help clear snow for Meals on Wheels deliveries.
Natural Observations writer, host and producer Robin Song shares her first weeks with a new puppy. Text follows audio.
How do you introduce a puppy to the Alaskan way of life? That was the question before me as I drove to Soldotna on October 5th to go get my newest family member. She is an English Shepherd, who was born on August 5th. Read More »