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


Classics for Kids–The Adventures of Tom Sawyer #12

KTNA volunteer Cari Sayre continues The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain.

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Upper Valley Agriculture: Birch Creek Ranch

Most food Alaskans consume comes from Outside.  There are quite a few producers who grow and sell locally, however.  Last week, KTNA’s Phillip Manning visited one farm that has been operating in the Upper Susitna Valley for the last thirty years.

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In Alaska, the vast majority of the food we eat isn’t grown here.  Patrick Likely of the Alaska Food Policy Council says the proportion of food grown in-state is very small.

“Five percent of food that’s consumed in Alaska is actually coming from Alaska.”

While most of the food does come from Outside, there are still a fair few local growers.  In the Upper Valley, one such producer is Birch Creek Ranch.  Birch Creek has been run by the Kingsbury family for the last three decades.  Read More »

Semi, Tour Bus Crash Near Mile 169 of the Parks Highway

On Monday afternoon, a collision between a semi-truck and a Princess tour bus closed the Parks Highway near Mile 169 for three hours, according to the Alaska State Troopers.  Troopers say that the bus, driven by John Snyder of Trapper Creek, was stopped at a railroad crossing when it was rear-ended by a Lynden Transport semi driven by Jason Avila of Wasilla. The bus was heading north from the McKinley Wilderness Lodge to Denali National Park. Twelve to fourteen of the forty-four bus passengers reported minor injuries and were transported from the scene by ambulance.

Dan Sullivan, candidate for U.S. Senate, was in the midst of an R-V tour on the way to Willow when the accident occurred.  He and his staff were delayed, causing the events to be canceled.  Thomas Reiker, a spokesman for the Sullivan campaign, says that the candidate and at least one staff member aided in the accident response.

“The road was blocked off.  There was emergency personnel responding, and our bus driver, Colonel Otto Feather, retired from the U.S. Air Force, and Dan hopped off the RV to help any way that they could.”

Troopers say that the semi truck’s cargo of batteries was not breached, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation responded to the scene to clean up the 200 to 300 gallons of diesel fuel spilled by the crash.

Meet New Talkeetna Elementary Principal Lisa Shelby

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This year, Talkeetna Elementary School has a new principal.  Lisa Shelby has spent the last three years on Lopez Island in Washington.  Before that, she lived in Alaska for thirteen years, where she taught in Galena and the Mat-Su Valley.  I sat down with her on the second day of school to talk about her plans for Talkeetna’s students.

Lisa Shelby says that one thing that’s important is being willing to embrace new ideas.

“…Really looking at how we can be a little bit more creative, looking at where our students are, making sure that we are meeting them where they are ready to learn, and to have a year’s worth of growth, and doing that–looking at the curriculum that is provided by the district and then also getting creative and pulling from other places to make sure we’re meeting the standards.” Read More »

Writer’s Voice–Talkeetna Character, by Bill Was

Local blogger and KTNA volunteer Bill Was describes events during a couple hours of volunteering that affirmed, in a small way, why he’s glad he moved here.


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A couple of Fridays back I was sitting in the KTNA studio riding herd on the soundboard as KTNA broadcast one in its series of live summer concerts – “Live At Five” – from the Talkeetna Village Park.  Read More »

Silver Limits Eased on Little Su

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is continuing to ease restrictions on coho salmon fishing in the Lower Valley.  On Friday, Fish and Game issued an order saying that the daily bag limit on silvers caught on the Little Susitna between the mouth and Parks Highway bridge is increasing from two fish to three.  Fish and Game says that the escapement goal for the Little Su has almost been met, with 10,048 passing the counting weir.  The new regulations take/took effect on Saturday.  A complete list of current regulations can be found at the Department of Fish and Game’s website.

State Primary Election Coming Up Next Tuesday

Alaska’s state primary elections are on Tuesday.  Two choices on the ballot have dominated statewide media coverage:  Proposition 1, which would repeal the state’s new oil-tax regime, known as MAPA or SB-21, and the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate Seat currently held by Democrat Mark Begich.  The major candidates in that race are Joe Miller, former Attorney General and DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell.

In addition to those high-profile campaigns, voters will be choosing candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and U.S. Representative to run in the general election in November.  In all of those races, only those registered as Republican, Independent, or Nonpartisan may vote to choose Republican general election candidates.  All registered voters may vote for other parties’ candidates.

In many parts of the state, voters will also choose candidates for the state legislature who will run in November’s general election.  In the Upper Valley, however, each party has, at most, one candidate.

Polling places in the Upper Valley include Talkeetna Elementary, the Upper Susitna Senior Center, Trapper Creek Elementary, and the Willow Community Center.

More information is available at elections.alaska.gov.

Wasilla Man Arrested for DUI, Assault, Weapons Charge in Talkeetna

On Thursday, the Alaska State Troopers arrested Joseph Garner Jr. of Wasilla for assault, DUI, and misconduct involving a weapon in Talkeetna.  Troopers say that Garner, age 33, was driving his motorcycle under the influence of alcohol and stopped in the road near a home on Dragonfly Hollow Drive.

Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says that the homeowner went outside to make sure everything was ok, and eventually allowed Garner to pull into the driveway.  The resident then went inside, and Ipsen says Garner began acting strangely and banging on the door.  The door was locked, and Garner was unable to get inside.  He then displayed a handgun and walked around the house.  Beth Ipsen says Garner did not threaten to shoot anyone. When troopers arrived, Ipsen says that Garner was very cooperative.  The responding trooper arrested Garner and transported him to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility, where he is being held on $5,000 bail.

Going My Way? Writer Attempts Aerial Hitchhike from Key West to Barrow

Amber Nolan upon arrival in Tok, Alaska. www.JetHiking.com

In Talkeetna, a writer is looking to hitch a ride to Point Barrow.  She doesn’t want to go by ground, however.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:

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At KTNA, we often have people contact us asking for help finding a ride.  Normally, it’s someone needing to get to town for an appointment or looking for a ride to the airport.  On Wednesday, a very different kind of ride-seeker walked through our doors.

MANNING: So, you’re hitchhiking by plane, trying to reach all fifty states?


That’s Amber Nolan.  She’s a travel writer who has been hitching rides on private aircraft for the better part of two years.  Her goal for this leg of her journey is to make it from Key West, Florida, to Point Barrow, Alaska.  Amber says her work has taken her all over the world, but she had not seen as much of America as she would like, so she decided to start traveling. Read More »

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