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Alaska and Yukon Headlines

In the area

Mon, 2014-07-14 22:08
In the areaWhat's happening in sports and recreation around Anchorage.July 14, 2014

Oil tax debate revolves around dueling statistics, and how they should be interpreted

Mon, 2014-07-14 21:57
Oil tax debate revolves around dueling statistics, and how they should be interpreted With five weeks until voters hit the polls to consider repealing the oil-production tax cut, experts on both sides squared off at a debate in Juneau on Monday night.July 14, 2014

Photos: Alaska's endangered historic properties

Mon, 2014-07-14 21:55
Photos: Alaska's endangered historic properties

Ten structures have been named the "most endangered historic properties" in Alaska, but saving them is a much more daunting prospect than just identifying them.

 

July 14, 2014

Rising mercury levels leave their mark on yellow-billed loons, study says

Mon, 2014-07-14 20:06
Rising mercury levels leave their mark on yellow-billed loons, study says Mercury levels in yellow-billed loons were, in general, twice those found in birds collected before 1920, a new study found. Birds that migrate from Alaska to Asia -- the wintering grounds for most of the Alaska-nesting yellow-billed loons -- are more likely to encounter mercuryJuly 14, 2014

Pro-Begich group reports $3.6 million in income in latest filing

Mon, 2014-07-14 19:40
Pro-Begich group reports $3.6 million in income in latest filingThe independent group that has been supporting Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s re-election efforts reported Monday that it had raised $3.6 million between April 1 and June 30, with almost all the money coming from another group in Washington, D.C. that supports Senate Democrats.July 14, 2014

Joe Miller website a for-profit platform for conservative news -- and boosts his Senate campaign

Mon, 2014-07-14 19:30
Joe Miller website a for-profit platform for conservative news -- and boosts his Senate campaign Joe Miller, the right-wing Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, says he has turned over day-to-day operations of his for-profit website to his daughter, but joemiller.us still churns out a reliable supply of conservative news — and at least one advertiser says it’s a great investment.July 14, 2014

Small step toward settlement taken in fight over spilled sulfolane

Mon, 2014-07-14 19:25
Small step toward settlement taken in fight over spilled sulfolane While the state has agreed to pay up to $585,000 for preliminary engineering and design to expand a water utility near a shuttered North Pole refinery, it remains locked in a three-way court fight with the past and present refinery owners over spilled sulfolane. July 14, 2014

Immigration rules are a mess; no wonder people enter illegally

Mon, 2014-07-14 19:10
Immigration rules are a mess; no wonder people enter illegally OPINION: The federal immigration process is so complex with bureaucratic nonsense that it's no wonder so many people decide to “jump the fence” rather than run the gauntlet.July 14, 2014

State working exclusively with Enbridge on proposed small gasline

Mon, 2014-07-14 18:12
State working exclusively with Enbridge on proposed small gasline Alaska’s long-sought mega-gasline project from the North Slope recently moved forward. But don’t forget the small gasline that might one day be built instead of its larger cousin, primarily to serve in-state natural gas needs.July 14, 2014

We the chronically forgetful thank you, the returners of lost things

Mon, 2014-07-14 18:05
We the chronically forgetful thank you, the returners of lost things OPINION: If it weren't for so many good people watching out for us, people like myself who often leave behind valuable or expensive things would probably even lose ourselves.July 14, 2014

Alaska News Nightly: July 14, 2014

Mon, 2014-07-14 18:04

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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 Scientists Use Satellites to Track Polar Bears

Joaquin Palomino, APRN – Anchorage

With sea ice in the Arctic melting, the region’s most iconic animal—the polar bear—is in peril.  Researchers have monitored the threatened predator for decades, but tracking bears in remote and harsh climates can be costly and dangerous.  Which is why federal scientists have started using a new tool to study polar bears: satellites.

At Democratic Lt. Gov. Debate, Differences In Style Over Substance

Alexandra Gutirrez, APRN – Juneau

When voters go to the polls in August, there will be just two statewide primary contests on the ballot. There’s the Republican Senate primary, which is attracting national attention and millions of dollars to match. And then there’s the Democratic lieutenant governor’s race. The two candidates for the Democratic nomination debated Monday at a lightly attended Anchorage Chamber of Commerce event. The pair differed more in style than substance.

Flooding Cleanup Starts in Juneau

Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau

A handful of homes in Juneau are cleaning up after a river flooded over the weekend. The unusual event has become a regular, almost expected occurrence in the Capital City.

Entrepreneurs Get Second Chance for Awards

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Southeast Alaska entrepreneurs are getting a second chance to win $40,000 to develop regional businesses. It’s part of a partnership involving a Native corporation and a conservation group that made its first awards last year.

Calista Looking to Expand

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

Facing federal budget slashing and continued pressure on 8(a) contracting, the Calista Regional Native Corporation is continuing to look beyond federal contracts. The company acquired STG, a major construction company last year and is hoping to grow across the economy.

Memorial Dedicated to WWII Internees

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Juneau’s Japanese population was forced from their homes and sent to internment camps in the Lower 48. Teenager John Tanaka was among those shipped out. He was the valedictorian of Juneau High School in 1942, but didn’t get to graduate with everyone else. An empty wooden chair was put on stage in his place. Now, a bronze replica of that chair will remain at the Capitol School Park permanently. The sculpture was dedicated at a memorial to the interned on Saturday.

“Key Ingredients” Highlights Local Foods

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Eating is, by nature, a social activity. But these days, with the frenetic pace of American living and a disturbing reliance on fast food, it’s hard to get the whole family together for a meal. Now a traveling Smithsonian exhibit at the Palmer Museum attempts to get people connected to their local foods. A sampling of old time Palmer colonists’ recipes is helping to highlight the use of native grown produce.

 

 

 

At Democratic Lieutenant Governor Debate, Differences In Style Over Substance

Mon, 2014-07-14 16:08

From the very beginning, it was clear that there weren’t going to be fireworks at the lieutenant governor’s debate.

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The event had a capacity of 150, but just over 40 people showed up and a couple of tables were entirely empty. And then, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce President and debate moderator Andrew Halcro introduced the office of lieutenant governor like this:

“The lieutenant governor’s position is commonly referred to as simply watching over the state seal, or waiting for the governor to die,” said Halcro.

After State Sen. Hollis French and Wasilla teacher and political newcomer Bob Williams established that, yes, serving as lieutenant governor is a worthwhile job, they laid out their positions on everything from energy to education. And over and over again, their answers echoed each other.

They both expressed concern that the state wasn’t spending its money on the right things, both calling out the expensive and controversial renovation of the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. And one place where they would like to put more money? Well here’s French.

FRENCH: One area where we’re failing to make the adequate amount of investments is in education.

And here’s Williams.

WILLIAMS: We need to think about what is an adequate and reasonable amount for education.

They both support increasing the minimum wage. But they have reservations about allowing the sale of marijuana in the state, even if neither of them think possession of the drug should land someone in jail. Again, here’s French.

FRENCH: The ballot initiative I think goes too far. It legalizes not only marijuana but the derivatives and the condensed products, and you end up with storefronts. And I don’t think Alaska’s quite ready for that.

And Williams.

WILLIAMS: That idea of criminalizing and spending a lot of money to put people in prison for recreational drug use I think is wrong. But I will be voting no.

And as far as the new tax ceiling on oil production goes, both French and Williams want to go back to a higher profits tax. If anything, they ended up debating moderator Andrew Halcro more than each other on the oil tax question, given that the Chamber’s taken a position against the referendum. Halcro repeatedly pressed them on their arguments before the business-friendly audience.

When it came time to ask each other questions, neither one focused on substantive differences. Williams asked French how he planned to try to work across the aisle and why he wanted to be the running mate of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott, given that French has for governor before. French didn’t even ask Williams a combative question, instead asking him to talk about his experience teaching during years of flat funding.

The primary election is August 19. The Republican Party already has its nominee, as Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is in an uncontested race to be Gov. Sean Parnell’s running mate. Independent candidate Craig Fleener, who is running alongside Bill Walker, will not appear on the primary ballot and will instead be submitting signatures to get his name on the general ballot.

Scientists Use Satellites to Track Polar Bears

Mon, 2014-07-14 16:08

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Studying polar bears in the Arctic can be difficult. Scientists rely on boats, helicopters, and low flying planes, which can’t access many remote regions where polar bears live.

An adult female polar bear and her two cubs travel across the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean north of the Alaska coast (photo courtesy of US Geological Survey).

The U.S. Geological Survey, though, recently started tracking polar bears from space, using high resolution satellites. “The advantage that we see for the satellite imagery is we don’t have to put people in helicopters and fly them over the sea ice,” says Todd Atwood, research leader for the USGS Polar Bear Research Program. “It’s [also] completely non-invasive to polar bears.”

Atwood is currently analyzing satellite images from Rowley Island in Nunavut, Canada, where polar bears amass in large numbers during the summer. Researchers have used the images to complete a bear count on the island, which seems to be accurate. As an end goal, Atwood hopes to better understand how the threatened animal is responding to climate change.

The new tracking method could also produce information about a predator that’s not very well understood. “We lack sufficient data, we lack sufficient information for nearly half of the polar bears range,” says Geoff York, director of conservation for polar bears international. “I think one thing we need to do straight away is fill in those blank spots on the map.”

York and other researchers are particularly eager to use satellites to study the predator in the arctic sea ice: an environment that’s rapidly changing.  But spotting white bears in a sea of snow has its challenges. “It’s a great target to shoot for, but I don’t think the technology is there yet,” York explains. “You’re looking for white on white, and that’s next to impossible.”

More immediately, USGS researchers plan to use polar-bear spotting satellites in coastal Alaska, and other parts of the Arctic.

 

Flooding Cleanup Starts in Juneau

Mon, 2014-07-14 16:06

Download Audio

A handful of homes in Juneau are cleaning up after a river flooded over the weekend. The unusual event has become a regular, almost expected occurrence in the Capital City.

Entrepreneurs Get Second Chance for Awards

Mon, 2014-07-14 16:05

Download Audio

Southeast Alaska entrepreneurs are getting a second chance to win $40,000 to develop regional businesses. It’s part of a partnership involving a Native corporation and a conservation group that made its first awards last year.

Calista Looking to Expand

Mon, 2014-07-14 16:03

Download Audio

Facing federal budget slashing and continued pressure on 8(a) contracting, the Calista Regional Native Corporation is continuing to look beyond federal contracts. The company acquired STG, a major construction company last year and is hoping to grow across the economy.

Memorial to WWII Internees Dedicated

Mon, 2014-07-14 16:02

Download Audio

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Juneau’s Japanese population was forced from their homes and sent to internment camps in the Lower 48. Teenager John Tanaka was among those shipped out. He was the valedictorian of Juneau High School in 1942, but didn’t get to graduate with everyone else. An empty wooden chair was put on stage in his place. Now, a bronze replica of that chair will remain at the Capitol School Park permanently. The sculpture was dedicated at a memorial to the interned on Saturday.

“Key Ingredients ” Highlights Local Foods

Mon, 2014-07-14 16:01

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“What we’d better do is fortify you with a glass of our lovely vintage punch.”

 Janet Kincaid presides over a punch bowl on white cloth – trimmed table spread with sweets made from 1930s recipes. Kincaid owns the Old Colony Inn in Palmer, a vintage building where she’s hosting a recipe sampling.. most made from local produce.

“This building was built in 1935 as a dormitory for single teachers and nurses for the Colony. They found they could not get teachers and nurses to come up here an live in a tent. “

 Barb Thomas with the Palmer Historical Society and Kincaid came up with the recipe swap idea, featured at last weekend’s Palmer Midsummer Garden and Art Fair

“I love nutmeg with rhubarb. Anything rhubarb”…”And the swap means I get to take one of those recipes.”… “You can taste”..”Can I taste? Theses are your cookies?.. Yummy!”

 Kincaid directs me to a long table with elaborate place settings for six, and explains the proper etiquette in preparing a table for dinner. Even the doughty first colonists in Palmer brought along their sets of china, colorful “depression glass” plates and silverware.

“This china is Bavarian china, and it was my mother’s who got married in 1930. And in those days, they had silverware that matched. What I think is interesting, is how many of the glasses were goblets. You had goblets instead of solid glasses. And many pieces. They used a lot of dishes.”

Elegant stemware and a special dessert fork are rarely seen nowadays. But at one time, supper was the glue that drew the family back together at day’s end. And a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian traces how American eating habits influenced our society through the years. Selina Ortega-Chiolero is the director of the Palmer Museum.

“Every country has a very clear distinction of what their food is.. their native food. But when you think of America, where such a combination of different cultures, it’s really hard to define what American food is. So the Smithsonian did a lot of research, they compiled this wonderful exhibit, and it explores that question.. what is American food culture in the United States. ” ..”So, let’s step in.”.. “Sure”

Inside the tiny log structure that houses the museum, the Key Ingredients exhibit literally stretches floor to ceiling. The panels trace American food festivals — think Thanksgiving — from their earliest start in pre-Revolutionary times, through corn huskings, lobster bakes, and the advent of the frankfurter right up to our current eating habits. One thing food trends of the past had in common.. they brought people together.

“And it explores that idea of sharing food in a more social gathering. So, food festivals, like state fairs. When they started to commercialize and had restaurants. The whole idea of eating out is considered a special thing, a special occasion event. The exhibit explores that idea as well. One of my favorites is actually this one over here, the Art of Hospitality.. especially the younger generation that comes in here.. they don’t know what a table setting is. “

 We walk through the exhibit, which is eclectic, to say the least. Two little girls in sun bonnets are marveling at a model of a Wisconsin cheese head hat. One panel shows the evolution of the roadside diner. There are photos of the Washington Apple Queen and of New Mexico Indian women grinding corn. Selina says Key Ingredients has special resonance for Palmer, because it is a farming community

“It really did start with the fact that we were a fertile land. And the fact that we can have a lot of things produced here, locally. We’re very self-sustaining that way.”

 She says when mass food production and marketing entered the scene in the 1950s, people were influenced to buy a certain way.. leading to eating packaged and frozen foods.

“Even though that’s what took off, because it was convenient and fast. At least here in Alaska, we are starting to see a return back to eating fresh, eating local.”

 And that’s something Janet Kincaid says the original colonists took for granted. They made their own fun, and food was central to their social networking.

“The entertainment was social. And we are just kind of reproducing that, and letting people know how important is is to connect. “

 The Key Ingredients exhibit has traveled state to state, with Alaska it’s last stop. It’ll be at the Palmer museum until July 20, then it moves to Talkeetna for it’s final run.

More Alaska connections, including Rapuzzi, on the move

Mon, 2014-07-14 13:53
More Alaska connections, including Rapuzzi, on the move An update on where some Alaska-connected players are headed in the upcoming season.July 14, 2014

Aces announce preseason "Paint the Rink Pink'' exhibition games

Mon, 2014-07-14 13:21
Aces announce preseason "Paint the Rink Pink'' exhibition games Along with the Alaska Aces' two annual exhibition games in October, the ECHL champions will also unveil the new tricked-out scoreboard at Sullivan ArenaJuly 14, 2014