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From Our Listeners

Southeast Alaska News

Big Oil almost erases decline for FY 2014

Thu, 2014-07-10 00:08

In a dramatic development, North Slope oil producers have essentially erased a long-term decline trend that has existed for all but one year since 1989 when two new oil fields began producing in 2002.

An intensive effort in “workovers” of producing wells to stimulate production, and drilling of new producing wells in the large producing fields, has hiked production over what was expected by the state Revenue Department.

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State proceeding with Knik Arm bridge demolitions

Thu, 2014-07-10 00:08

ANCHORAGE — In its first major step since taking over the Knik Arm bridge crossing project, the state transportation department has ordered the demolition of two home properties, over the objection of community leaders.

The state purchased the two homes and a motel to make way for the proposed span. The department plans to start taking contract bids for demolition and removal. The goal is to have the properties removed by mid-November.

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Education questionnaire puts candidates on record

Thu, 2014-07-10 00:08

Republican Gov. Sean Parnell called the 2014 Legislature the “Education Session,” and now school advocates are hoping the fall elections will go down as the “Education Election.”

Pat Galvin, a spokesman for Great Alaska Schools, told the Empire Wednesday that their group is distributing questionnaires to all candidates for statewide office in hopes of getting every candidate to open up on education policy issues.

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Native Corp. board member takes issue with Sullivan endorsement

Thu, 2014-07-10 00:07

JUNEAU — A board member for the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. has taken issue with the organization’s endorsement of Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan.

Eugene Brower on Wednesday said members were polled individually on whether they supported Sullivan but a formal board vote wasn’t taken. He said there is a distinction.

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Not guilty plea from teen in fire that killed 2

Thu, 2014-07-10 00:04

FAIRBANKS — A teenager who is charged with starting a fire that killed two residents of an apartment building and leaving 50 others without a place to live has pleaded not guilty to arson and murder charges.

Conar Lee Groppel, 18, entered his plea Tuesday in Fairbanks Superior Court.

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Bunna Bike a boon for coffee lovers

Wed, 2014-07-09 18:51

Chris Bryner brews direct-trade coffee at his new coffee cart in Sitka. (KCAW/photo by Greta Mart)

Chris Bryner was just trying to keep warm. It was his third day out selling coffee from his new venture, Bunna Bike Coffee, and a chilly wet breeze was coming in off Crescent Bay. His outdoor stand alongside the Sitka Sound Science Center’s old mill building makes for a picturesque but nippy workplace.

We asked him why he picked that particular location.

“(Laughs) Yea, that’s a good question. I wanted to be here because the chowder cart is here, the Ludvig’s chowder cart. It’s my goal to convince people that coffee is culinary. Just like people think of Ludvig’s as culinary, they respect Ludvig’s for the quality of their food. And I want to elevate coffee to that same thing. When you do that it benefits farmers,” said Bryner.

Using the website Indiegogo, Bryner raised 115 percent of his startup funding, enabling him to invest in a couple of serious coffee grinders and a mobile, pedal-powered coffee cart made by Icicle Tricycles. His goal is to generate revenues for humanitarian causes half a world away. What started four years ago as project for his fourth grade class at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School has turned into a summer enterprise for Bryner.

“We brewed coffee each week, sold it to teachers and staff and donated the money to Coffee Kids, which is a charity that works with coffee-farming families in Latin America,” said Bryner. “We’ve done that every year for four years. Back in October my wife and I adopted our daughter from Ethiopia and we wanted to figure out a way to give back to Ethiopia also.”

Through the coffee project, Bryner’s students learn subjects like economics and trade, math and geography. Bryner is committed to buying direct trade coffee beans and donates ten percent of his sales to two charities doing good work in Africa. He gets his beans from an Anchorage roaster named Steam Dot.

“Direct trade, where these roasters are really going down and working directly with farmers, it just improves the quality too. For example, they will show the farmers how to improve their practices to increase the quality and then they are willing to pay a premium if they do that. And it’s exponentially more money than fair-trade was able to get so its a really good deal,” said Bryner.

On Wednesday, Bryner brewed a pour-over cup of Steam Dot’s La Virgen, the result of a trip to the mountains of Colombia made by Steam Dot’s owner.

“They bought the whole lot, so this is the only place where these beans exist in the U.S., they work directly with the farmer.”

Bryner said with a wide grin that two customers from Portland had just told him his coffee was as good as the famous Stumptown beans, an honor for him. But why Bunna?

“Bunna is the Amharic word for coffee…Amharic is one of the main languages spoken in Ethiopia and Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and the birthplace of my daughter. So it all fits.”

You can learn more about Bunna Bike and Chris Bryner here and by liking his Facebook page, Bunna Bike: Brew Coffee Build Community.


Sitka’s Cello Seminar brings music to the people

Wed, 2014-07-09 15:50

Robert Lee (l.) and Alex Cox study at the Cleveland Institute and the Julliard School respectively. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

Sitka is packed with students in the summertime, but these students have the largest luggage.

The Sitka Cello Seminar is at its halfway point. Ten students from around the country are in town, living in Stevenson Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus, and taking daily master classes with a pair of renown faculty.

The seminar performed for the Sitka Chamber of Commerce this week (7-9-14).



The first Sitka Cello Seminar will conclude with a public performance — a Cellobration — this Saturday, 7:30 PM at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

These are only 4 of the ten students in the first-ever Sitka Cello Seminar, but the cello is a big instrument — human-sized really — so it feels like there are more like 8 performers in the Westmark banquet room.

Alexander Cox, Robert Lee, Wesley Skinner, and Hannah Hoffman are all advanced cello students, in upper-level undergraduate or masters programs. They’ve been playing together for a week under the tutelage of Dr. Melissa Kraut, of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Zuill Bailey, the artistic director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival.

Bailey told the chamber that most festival master classes breed competition. The Sitka program had another objective.

“This seminar isn’t just about the lessons, but about representing yourself where you feel comfortable with yourself. What does that mean? It means becoming comfortable and finding yourself, through music, being able to communicate in public both verbally and through your instrument — which is kind of the same. And how does one take music to the people? By taking music to the people! So they’ve been playing in the cafes — Westmark, Ludvig’s Wine Bar — and we’ve been playing in the hospitals and having open rehearsals in the community. The young artists we have are also teaching Fine Arts kids, to learn to teach. And we as faculty are giving presentations for the whole school. So as you can see it’s kind of perfect storm. An incredible time.”

The Sitka Summer Music Festival’s purchase of Stevenson Hall, on the former Sheldon Jackson College, made the seminar possible. The building has housing and rehearsal space for ten musicians plus faculty. Next summer, the seminar will expand to include talented amateurs. Ultimately, Bailey said there was no need to limit programs to summer at all.

“That building, Stevenson Hall, will be used every week of the year for something, and it will become kind of a lightning rod for the arts, and also for business and tourism. It will start here and resonate throughout the state. Because — they (the students) don’t even know this yet — with these residencies we’re going to create artists who are comfortable taking music to the people, and then in exchange for that time that they’re here, we’re going to send them throughout the state on tours, and perform for everyone in Alaska. So we’re creating our own future. And we’re creating a template that has never been seen before.”

Bailey did not appear overconfident discussing future plans: He reminded the audience that the Sitka Summer Music Festival was established in 1972 as the world’s first chamber music festival.

Advanced Rock Band on Hometown Brew!

Wed, 2014-07-09 15:34

Ted is subbing on Hometown Brew today, and he’s being visited by about 25 students from the Advanced Rock Band class right now! Tune in and listen to it live!

Float on over!

Wed, 2014-07-09 15:13

The Raven Radio Root Beer Float Party was a slurping success! Click here for a full screen slide show! We served up over 750 free rootbeer floats while musicians from the Sitka Fine Arts Camp rocked the Cable House. Kids and adults alike bobbed for apples, played cornhole and created gigantic bubbles! Huge thanks to Harry Race Soda Shop, Baranof Island Brewing Company, Sitka Sound Seafoods and Northern Sales who helped us provide a yummy thank you to Raven Radio listeners and members that really “float our boat!”

Science and tide pools

Wed, 2014-07-09 13:28

Sitka Sound Science Center Scientists In Residence fellows Matt Bracken and Cascade Sorte, along with SSSC director Victoria O’Connell, visit the KCAW studio to discuss Bracken and Sorte’s scientific work in Sitka involving intertidal pools, climate change and biodiversity. O’Connell talks about next week’s Scientists in Residency Fellowship (SIRF) marine science camp, when kids can explore side-by-side with the scientists in local, wonder-filled tide pools. 


State proceeding with demolitions for bridge

Wed, 2014-07-09 12:30

ANCHORAGE — In its first major step since taking over the Knik Arm bridge crossing project, the state transportation department has ordered the demolition of two home properties, over the objection of community leaders.

The state purchased the two homes along with a motel to make way for the proposed span. The department plans to start taking contract bids for demolition and removal. The goal is to have the properties removed by mid-November.

read more

Helicopter service to Little Diomede Island halted

Wed, 2014-07-09 12:24

NOME — A government contract delay has halted transportation to and from Little Diomede Island, one of Alaska's most remote communities.

The weekly helicopter flights were suspended because a system of federal and state subsidies expired June 30 before the yearly reauthorization contract was signed, KNOM reported. Little Diomede is 2 1/2 miles from Big Diomede Island, Russia.

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More flights arriving late; complaints are rising

Wed, 2014-07-09 12:22

WASHINGTON — More flights on U.S. airlines are running late or getting canceled, and complaints are rising.

The Transportation Department said Wednesday that 76.9 percent of flights arrived on time in May, down from 79.6 percent in April and 79.4 percent in May 2013.

Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which get good weather on many routes, rank best. ExpressJet and Envoy, which fly smaller planes for big airlines, rank last.

The government says the largest airlines canceled 1.9 percent of their U.S. flights in May, nearly double the rate in April and last May.

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News photographer Hall Anderson retires

Wed, 2014-07-09 10:45

Grand Marshal Hall Anderson, still taking photos, rides at the front of the Fourth of July parade.

Ketchikan Daily News staff photographer Hall Anderson retired July 3 after three decades of documenting nearly every noteworthy event that’s happened on the island.

Grand Marshall Hall Anderson got out of the Fourth of July parade’s lead car to wave at bystanders near Ketchikan’s downtown tunnel.

Anderson first arrived in Ketchikan in 1977, when he came up from Oregon to visit for a couple of weeks. He came back in 1983, and filled in as a relief photographer a couple of times at the Ketchikan Daily News before then-editor Heidi Ekstrand hired him in 1984 as the full-time staff photographer.

Anderson sat down with KRBD’s Leila Kheiry to talk about the past 30 years, and what his plans are for the future. Here is a portion of their conversation.


Anderson also is a longtime on-air volunteer DJ for KRBD.

A flash mob halted Ketchikan’s Fourth of July parade briefly, as friends and fans of retiring news photographer Hall Anderson, wearing T-shirts printed with his photo, danced and “flashed” cameras at Anderson, the parade grand marshal.

Alaska Lieutenant Governor candidate visits Petersburg

Wed, 2014-07-09 09:58

Hollis French, a Democratic Lieutenant Governor hopeful, is on the campaign trail in Southeast Alaska. He served in the State Senate in 2002, and now chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yesterday, he stopped by KFSK to talk with Elizabeth Jenkins about his political beliefs and doing the dishes.

He did a meet and greet at Java Hus and the Petersburg Medical Center. His next stop is Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Visitors’ Bureau Report

Wed, 2014-07-09 08:09

Anna Marie Mestes gives details about the new KVB website, changes to the visitors’ guide, the Ketchikan Story Project and more. KVB070914

Guard mulls closing Kodiak golf course

Wed, 2014-07-09 00:02

KODIAK — Losses over the last three years may lead the U.S. Coast Guard to close a golf course in Kodiak.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s base commander expects to make a final decision on the fate of the nine-hole Bear Valley Golf Course after this season, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

The course opened in 1986 and is operated by the guard’s Morale, Well-Being and Recreation (MWR) program. The course is supposed to be self-sustaining and have Coast Guard members and dependents as majority users, Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Veronica Colbath said.

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Man gets 4 life terms in Coast Guard deaths

Wed, 2014-07-09 00:02

ANCHORAGE — An Alaska man was sentenced Tuesday to four consecutive life terms in the 2012 shooting deaths of two co-workers at a Coast Guard communications station that mystified an island community for nearly a year before an arrest was made.

Prosecutors contended that James Wells resented the growing influence of the two victims at the rigger shop where he was a nationally recognized antenna expert. They said Wells meticulously planned an alibi, sneaked onto the station and gunned the men down.

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Who's next? Pot changes won't stop with Washington

Wed, 2014-07-09 00:01

SALEM, Ore. — Advocates seeking more lenient marijuana laws have no intention of stopping with Colorado and Washington. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have allowed marijuana for medicinal purposes, and more could follow. Here’s a look at five of the states that may be welcoming more permissive marijuana laws in the near future:

Alaska: legalization

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Parnell passes on pot ahead of November vote

Wed, 2014-07-09 00:01

FAIRBANKS — Gov. Sean Parnell said he will not use state resources to study the implications of legalizing marijuana unless voters approve a pot initiative this fall.

Parnell said he would work to implement the initiative if it passes in November; the Republican is up for re-election this year. He said he personally opposes the measure, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana by those 21 years of age or older.

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