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


KTNA Decadent Dessert Auction

Thank you to all of our bakers, auctioneers, bidders, and food donors for helping make this Decadent Dessert Auction a success!  The auction raised over $1100 for KTNA as well as $175 worth of food gift cards and over 30 pounds of food donations for the Upper Susitna Food Pantry.  We would also like to thank Cubby’s Marketplace and Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union for partnering together to provide the gift cards.

Rep. Eastman Busy in Early Weeks as Legislator

The Alaska Legislature has entered its third week of the new session. Representative David Eastman, whose district includes the Upper Valley, is one of many freshman legislators in Juneau this year. KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke with Representative Eastman about his early impressions and some of the bills he is sponsoring.

Wasilla Republican David Eastman is the new representative for House District 10. He defeated incumbent Wes Keller, a fellow Republican, in last year’s primary and Democrat Patricia Faye-Brazel in the general election in November. Eastman campaigned on a very conservative platform, and his early actions in Juneau follow suit.

In one of his first actions as a legislator, Representative Eastman was the sole vote against electing Democrat Bryce Edgmon as Speaker of the House. Normally, members of the House’s minority caucus go along with the will of the majority for Speaker. Eastman says his vote against Edgmon is the fulfillment of a campaign promise.

“I had made it public fairly early in the campaign that I was only going to be supporting someone for House leadership who was on board sustainable budgets according to the ISER-Goldsmith model. The current Speaker, unfortunately, was not with me on that.” Read More »

Mat-Su Homeschool Program Offers Families Variety in Education Options

Shelby Whitecar, a Mat-Su Central School student, works on her assignment. Photo: Katie Writer - KTNA

Shelby Whitecar, a Mat-Su Central School student, works on her assignment. Photo courtesy of Debbie Whitecar

by:  Katie Writer – KTNA

The Mat-Su Borough School District has made diversity of education options for it students a high priority in recent years. One aspect of that diversity is helping homeschool parents integrate their students with options only available to students in brick and mortar schools in other areas.   KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke with families and the coordinator of the homeschool program for the Northern Valley about how it works.

Mat Su Central is the homeschool program for the Mat Su Borough School District and has just over 1600 students this year. Homeschooling offers another choice in education that many Upper Valley families prefer.

After speaking with a few Talkeetna families about why they have chosen homeschooling, the common response is that they want to spend more time together as a family. Read More »

Late Night Earthquake Shakes, Wakes Upper Valley

A late night earthquake near the summit of Denali shook the Upper Valley in the first minutes of Tuesday.

According to the Alaska Earthquake Center, a magnitude 5.2 earthquake was detected at 12:38 a.m. on Tuesday 31 miles south of Kantishna and 59 miles north-northwest of Talkeetna.

According to the map provided by AEC, the earthquake’s epicenter was just due east of Denali’s summit, and occurred at a depth of 84 miles.

The earthquake was felt throughout the Upper Valley, and some felt it as far away as Anchorage. No damage or injury was immediately reported.

Senator Dunleavy Discusses State Budget, Bills on Adult Foster Care, Literacy

The Alaska State Legislature’s session is underway. As the session continues, KTNA will speak with the legislators representing the Upper Valley on a regular basis. KTNA’s Phillip Manning recently spoke with Senator Mike Dunleavy about two bills he is sponsoring as well as plans to address the state’s fiscal situation.



With the Legislature entering its third week, Senator Mike Dunleavy, the Wasilla Republican whose district includes the Upper Valley, believes that his colleagues can all agree that Alaska’s continuing fiscal issues need to be solved, that a solution should come this year, and that the state’s savings are dwindling.

“I think we all understand this is not going to be a resolution that is simply one individual or one small group’s opinion. It’s got to be a solution that encompasses the diversity of the State of Alaska. It has to take everybody’s ideas into consideration….It should have a multi-year look to it. It should have several components.” Read More »

Susitna Writer’s Voice – StarDate Susitna, by Kathleen Fleming 1-29-17

For Susitna Writers Voice, Kathleen Fleming brings us a Star Date Susitna edition about the Moon returning to the evening sky, Venus and Mars getting closer, Jupiter in the mornings, and more astronomical info.  Susitna Writer Voice airs on Sunday at 6pm after the announcements and on Monday at 12:30pm.

Two Arrested and Charged With Trapper Creek Thefts

On Friday, the Alaska State Troopers arrested two people and charged them with theft of a snow machine and other items on Oil Well Road in Trapper Creek.

Troopers say initial reports of suspicious vehicles stuck on an unmaintained section of Oil Well Road came in on Thursday afternoon. Area residents expressed concern to the troopers that a cabin was being burglarized. The troopers say they were unable to access the area.

On Friday, additional reports came in, including that an additional vehicle had become stuck. Shortly before 6:00, an area resident reported that one of the vehicles, a pickup truck, was leaving with a snowmachine in the bed.

Troopers responded to the area and found the truck with 30-year-old Steven Peldo of Wasilla and 21-year-old Ashley Cobb of Palmer inside. The snowmachine was determined to be stolen, and Peldo and Cobb were arrested. Troopers also found other items in the truck, which they believe may also be stolen. Steven Peldo and Ashley Cobb are charged with theft, vehicle theft, and criminal trespassing. Peldo was also charged with misconduct involving a weapon.

The occupants of the other vehicles at the scene were contacted, but have not been charged, and their identities have not been publicly released. The Alaska State Troopers are investigating the extent of cabin burglaries in the area, and ask that anyone with information call them at 352-5401 or Mat-Su Crimestoppers at 745-3333.

Mat-Su Assembly Unanimously Rejects Proposal for Longer Terms

The Mat-Su Borough Assembly has voted down an ordinance to extend future terms of assembly members and the mayor from three years to four.

Assembly Member Randall Kowalke sponsored the proposal, and says getting up to speed on the assembly takes a significant amount of time. Kowalke says the motivation behind the proposed ordinance was to allow assembly members more time in their seats once they have gone through the learning curve. Since assembly members and the mayor are limited to two terms, it would extend the maximum service time from six to eight years.  The terms currently being served would not have been extended.

Feedback from the audience was that something as significant as a change in assembly and mayoral term length should not be decided by the assembly itself, but rather by the voters of the Mat-Su Borough.

Assembly Members Steve Colligan and Jim Sykes also expressed a desire for more public input before making such a change.

Ultimately, all seven members, including Randall Kowalke, voted against the proposal.


Talkeetna Musher Completes Second Iditarod Qualifier

Anja Radano at the Copper Basin 300.  Photo courtesy of Anja Radano

Anja Radano at the Copper Basin 300. Photo courtesy of Anja Radano

This past weekend, Talkeetna musher Anja Radano was 9th out of the gate at the Copper Basin 300 in a field of competitors including

Iditarod runner up Aliy Zirkle and Mat Su Borough Mayor, Vern Halter.  Radano spoke to KTNA’s Katie Writer about her 2nd Iditarod Qualifier.