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From Our Listeners

Alaska and Yukon Headlines

UAF Med Students Inject Wrong Substance

Wed, 2014-04-09 17:29

Some University of Alaska Fairbanks students received doses of a substance not approved for humans or animals. The medical course students were practicing giving injections.

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Statewide Smoking Ban Gains Traction In Senate

Wed, 2014-04-09 17:28

A proposal that would ban smoking in most public places in Alaska is making headway in the state Senate. Senate Bill 209 passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee last week.

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The bill would ban smoking in office buildings, sports arenas, taxicabs, bars and restaurants, among other public places.

Many places in Alaska, including Anchorage, Juneau and Bethel, already have similar bans. As a result of those bans, nearly half of Alaska’s population is already affected by a workplace smoking ban.

Soldotna Senator Peter Micciche is the bill’s sponsor. He told the Senate State Affairs Committee Thursday that normally, he a “small government kind of guy.” In this case, however, he feels it’s appropriate for the government to get involved to protect the health of workers.

“Just as it’s appropriate for government to set safety standards in automobiles, electrical codes for wiring (and) requirements for infant and child carrier seats,” he said.

Micciche says the state takes on much of the economic costs associated with second-hand smoke, which he said kills more Alaskans each year than automobile accidents. He also made the point that second-class cities and unorganized boroughs in Alaska do not have the legal authority to enact their own smoking bans.

But most importantly, Micciche said the issue is for him, a very personal one. He spoke about his father, who passed away from a smoking-related illness.

“My father made his personal choices,” said Micciche. “But my siblings and I didn’t. I’m the lucky one of the three. They all had respiratory issues from living through second-hand smoke effects.”

Micciche said more than 400 businesses and organizations have signed on in support of his bill. Committee Chairman Fred Dyson said most of the comments his office has received about the bill have also been supportive of the state doing something.

Larry Hackenmiller testified from Fairbanks on behalf of the Interior Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailer’s Association. He said Fairbanks rejected a similar law. He also took issue with some of the numbers put forward about hazards related to second-hand smoke.

“There is no hazard to second-hand smoke in a workplace … period,” said Hackenmiller.

Gary Superman owns the Hunger Hut bar in Nikiski. He called the smoking ban an infringement on his rights as a business owner. Superman described his bar as a “blue-collar tavern” that would be “irreparably harmed economically” by the ban.

Kenai businessman John Parker spoke in favor of the proposed ban, saying it would “level the playing field” for business owners on the Kenai Peninsula who may be afraid that banning smoking would give a leg up to their competition. More importantly, Parker said that customers and employees have a fundamental right to smoke-free air.

A couple of amendments have been proposed to the bill. One would include the use of e-cigarettes in the ban. The other would set up an appeal process for businesses who would like to “opt out.”

The bill also provides an “opt out” clause for local municipalities, which would be granted only if a local election is held and a majority of voters choose to exempt themselves from the smoking ban.

After nearly an hour of testimony, SB 209 passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee. It heads now to the Health and Social Services Committee. A companion bill is also working its way through the Alaska House.

Howard Weaver Speaks On Anchorage Daily News Sale

Wed, 2014-04-09 17:27

There are still a lot of unknowns about how the sale of the Anchorage Daily News to Alaska Dispatch will play out. But former Anchorage Daily News writer and managing editor Howard Weaver is thinking a lot about that question. Weaver wrote the book “Write Hard, Die Free” about the Anchorage newspaper wars in the 1970′s and 80′s.

Weaver says he was saddened to learn about the sale of the Daily News.

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Where No Shop Class Has Gone Before

Wed, 2014-04-09 17:26

Metlakatla Science teacher Jason Pipkin watches as the printer creates metric screws for a quadcopter his students are building. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

This is not your grandfather’s shop class.

Late last month a group of high school and college shop teachers and a few of their students gathered for a three-day workshop in Sitka’s state-of-the-art Design and Fabrication Lab.

The use of 3D printers and other computer-controlled equipment has revolutionized shop, and turned one of the most remote classrooms in the building into the coolest place in school.

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KCAW – Tell me your name, where you’re from, and what you’re doing here.
Neibergall – John Neibergall, Sherwood High School. I’m helping some teachers and students get into digital design and fabrication.

Sherwood High is outside of Portland, Oregon.

Neibergall – You got an idea, you want to make a model or an output of something in three dimensions — whether you build it in wood, metal, plastic, 3D print it. You have to visualize it, and then you get to print it. You have an output of a product in your hand. And that’s what get kids excited.

Read a story about a recent project created by shop students in the Sitka Design and Fabrication Lab.

Yes, digital fabrication gets kids excited. But in this workshop the teachers can barely contain their enthusiasm.

My name is Pat Kraft. I’m one of the instructors at Portland Community College, in Portland. I grew up in an era where Star Trek was, you know — Star Trek was young, I was young, and the thought of having a replicator, where you could put something in there and create something just like it.

And now they have the tools to create just about any kind of machine part. Even parts that are not for machines.

Winship — I’m Kent Winship with Bristol Bay/Dillingham campus, UAF
KCAW — What are you working on right now?
Winship — This is a scan. We’ve got a fetal orca whale that swam up the Freshwater River. Two parents, and one of them was pregnant. So we’ve got the fetus. It’s mostly cartilage. And we’re going to try to scan it, and then print it out in plastic before we lose those cartilage parts.
KCAW – Scan it how?
Winship – A laser scanner than can measure a surface at 20,000 points per square inch. It will record it and put it into a CAD — computer aided drafting program — and we can actually print it out in plastic. And were even talking about trying to mill it out of a CNC mill out of bone or something.

CNC stands for computer numerical control. Besides a pair of 3D printers, this lab has a CNC vinyl cutter, and a laser engraver. What’s got these guys most excited is not necessarily the ability to make a whale fetus, it’s about trying to make that fetus, and failing.

Neibergall and Kraft are pioneering the integration of technology into shop class. They say repetition is education.

Neibergall — Kids are afraid to fail, and this forces them to fail — or fail forward, if you will. If it doesn’t work, you can tweak it…
Kraft — Failure’s okay. Because that’s part of the improvement process.
Neibergall — Because that’s what industry wants: People who aren’t afraid to fail forward. Reinvent. Remodify. And make it right. And it might take four or five iterations. But we can do it quickly.

“I failed…”

Randy Hughey is the recently-retired wood shop teacher at Sitka High. He wrote the grants for Sitka’s Fab Lab and helped a local grant writer, Lily Herwald, develop the proposal for this workshop.

Hughey has microwaved some chocolate chips, with unfortunate results.

“Well, I was just trying to melt chocolate to put into this mold that John has made.”

Digitally fabricated custom candy bar molds. This technology gives kids the ability to aim for the stars, but a prom date is not a bad start.

Neibergall — What my kids did is made prom invitations for the young ladies, wrapped it up in chocolate, and it said Prom? on it.
KCAW — Wow!

For a moment, it sounds like the shop class I remember. But it’s not. John Neibergall assures me that I’m looking at a different sort of future for technical education.

KCAW — Shop used to be the dark space at the end of the hall.
Neibergall — Dumping grounds? That’s the term we tend to say. But now the creative piece that is driving the economic recovery is manufacturing. And if we can get young people excited about that and see the career potential, that’s what’s going to help us get out of our slump, if you will.
KCAW — It comes back to Star Trek, eventually.
Neibergall and Kraft — Right!

Alaska News Nightly: April 9, 2014

Wed, 2014-04-09 17:19

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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Troopers Name Two Pilots Killed In Crash Near Bethel

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

Two pilots are dead after a fiery plane crash Tuesday just outside Bethel.

Murkowski Signs Onto ‘Regulatory Fairness Act’

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Leaders in the Bristol Bay area say they’re upset U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has co-sponsored a bill that would undo their biggest regulatory success in fighting the Pebble Mine project.

Legislature Suspends Anchorage’s Tennis Court Grant

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The State is looking into the legality of using money earmarked for building repairs to construct a new tennis complex in Anchorage. The multi-million-dollar grant was suspended after Mayor Dan Sullivan’s opponent in the lieutenant governor’s race called the decision into question.

UAF Med Students Inject Wrong Substance

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Some University of Alaska Fairbanks students received doses of a substance not approved for humans or animals. The medical course students were practicing giving injections.

Statewide Smoking Ban Gains Traction In Senate

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

A proposal that would ban smoking in most public places in Alaska is making headway in the state Senate. Senate Bill 209 passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee last week.

Howard Weaver Speaks On Anchorage Daily News Sale

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

There are still a lot of unknowns about how the sale of the Anchorage Daily News to Alaska Dispatch will play out. But former Anchorage Daily News writer and managing editor Howard Weaver is thinking a lot about that question. Weaver wrote the book “Write Hard, Die Free” about the Anchorage newspaper wars in the 1970′s and 80′s.

Weaver says he was saddened to learn about the sale of the Daily News:

Where No Shop Class Has Gone Before

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

This is not your grandfather’s shop class.

Late last month a group of high school and college shop teachers and a few of their students gathered for a three-day workshop in Sitka’s state-of-the-art Design and Fabrication Lab.

The use of 3D printers and other computer-controlled equipment has revolutionized shop, and turned one of the most remote classrooms in the building into the coolest place in school.

Sponsor Of Judicial Council Amendment Set On Getting Floor Debate

Wed, 2014-04-09 16:24

(Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

The sponsor of a constitutional amendment to reconfigure the Judicial Council says he wants a vote on the bill, even if the outcome is not guaranteed to be favorable.

Sen. Pete Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, has been trying to shore up support for Senate Joint Resolution 21 since Monday, when the measure was initially scheduled to appear on the Senate floor. A vote on a the amendment has since been delayed three times, because Kelly is shy the two-thirds approval needed for passage.

“If the rules are you can’t debate if you don’t have the 14, then not only is the issue struck down by one person, but the discussion about it,” says Kelly.

SJR 21 would make two major changes to the commission tasked with vetting and nominating judges. It would increase the number of political appointees on the Council, so that they would outnumber the attorney members two-to-one. It would also require the attorney members to be subject to confirmation by the Legislature. Kelly believes this will lead to more public oversight of the judiciary, while critics say it would politicize it.

It is extremely rare for the Legislature’s political leaders to let a measure come to a vote without knowing that its passage is guaranteed. Earlier this session, a constitutional amendment to allow the use of public funds at private schools was scheduled for a vote, but then pulled from consideration because of insufficient support.

Canada’s Humane Society says it doesn’t oppose Inuit seal hunt

Wed, 2014-04-09 16:07
Canada’s Humane Society says it doesn’t oppose Inuit seal hunt A spokeswoman for the Canadian arm of the Humane Society International is clarifying the group’s position on the Inuit seal hunt, as a protest in the North against TV star Ellen DeGeneres gains support.April 9, 2014

Canada’s Fair Elections Act could discourage voting in the North

Wed, 2014-04-09 15:55
Canada’s Fair Elections Act could discourage voting in the North A proposed national voting law would require government-issued IDs and prohibit "vouching," the in-person verification commonly used in small communities in the far north.April 9, 2014

Finland: ‘Smart’ public transport could cut car journeys

Wed, 2014-04-09 15:50
Finland: ‘Smart’ public transport could cut car journeys Helsinki’s ‘Kutsuplus’ service offers public transport with the convenience of a taxi, but at a much lower price. Rides are arranged via computer, tablet or smartphone.April 9, 2014

Woman accused of stabbing 3-year-old son in neck arraigned

Wed, 2014-04-09 15:45
Woman accused of stabbing 3-year-old son in neck arraigned Charging documents say that Tracia Jordan-Sainte was found half-naked in a multi-unit residence and repeatedly asked another resident to kill her after she allegedly sliced open her 3-year-old son's neck.April 9, 2014

Community Food Security: Angoon Garden Assistance Program

Wed, 2014-04-09 14:29

The only permanent settlement on Admiralty Island, 55 miles Southwest of Juneau and 41 miles North of Sitka, Angoon is a small community of about 570 residents. Because of the community’s remote location, produce available in town is very expensive and has often traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles before reaching the consumer.

Angoon’s climate is much drier than that of other Southeast communities, providing residents with an excellent opportunity to grow produce that will offset the expensive and reduced-quality produced currently barged in.

Meredith Pochardt talks local foods with Angoon students.

Meredith Pochardt, Takshanuk Watershed Council’s Food Security Coordinator is working with the community of Angoon to initiate the Angoon School/Community Garden Project. The goal of the projects is to establish a garden that will be utilized by teachers, students, and the community as a whole to grow healthy local produce at a reasonable cost. 

Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) has developed and implemented a successful food security program in the Haines community that incorporates a school garden, a fish to schools program, and local gardeners and food producers into local foods network to make fresh, locally produced food more available to community members. The goal of TWC’s role in this project is to provide support for the initiation of Angoon’s community gardening program. An Angoon community garden support group has also been established to see the project through the stages of growth and development.

Angoon students learn about growing food.

In support of the project, Meredith Pochardt has assisted with garden-based lesson plans to educate young students, as well as development of a community festival to celebrate local food. The project has also received support from Darren Snyder and Sarah Lewis of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service who contributed to lesson plan development, student cooking class presentations, and planning for the community festival.

The School/Community Garden Project is a new undertaking for the community of Angoon and will require a good amount of community support and commitment to get the project off the ground. The project has been building progress, and with the establishment of the community growing space and accompanying school curriculum Angoon students and community members alike with reap the benefits of learning to grow, cook, and enjoying eating local produce.

Company inquires about storing crude oil in Skagway

Wed, 2014-04-09 14:20
The chair of Skagway’s port commission says it would welcome the opportunity to export oil from the Yukon.

Flaw in law triggers human rights complaint

Wed, 2014-04-09 14:18
It was roughly two weeks after her son Mirek was born that Corinne Gurtler discovered she’d have to adopt him if she wanted her name to appear on the birth certificate.

Officials counter criticisms of care facility planning

Wed, 2014-04-09 14:15
The Yukon Liberals are questioning the planning process behind the new 300-bed continuing care facility announced last month by the territorial government.

Mental health grievance bill for Alaska a blessing, or burden?

Wed, 2014-04-09 13:52
Mental health grievance bill for Alaska a blessing, or burden? Some say a House bill seeking to place the state in charge of mental health grievance procedures will provide needed oversight to the process. Others argue the bill will simply add another layer of bureaucracy that will burden the system and could detract from patient care.April 9, 2014

DEC staff says it followed state rules in setting strict sulfolane standard for Flint Hills

Wed, 2014-04-09 12:54
DEC staff says it followed state rules in setting strict sulfolane standard for Flint Hills While the Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner says his staff didn't do enough to explain its tough cleanup standard on sulfolane outside the North Pole refinery, the Division of Spill Response and Prevention presented detailed backup material in February.April 9, 2014

Hanna scores scholarship to Vermont

Wed, 2014-04-09 12:47
A career year for Whitehorse centre Trevor Hanna ended with his biggest score yet – a scholarship to a Div. III college in Vermont.

Physio Plus claims women’s hoops title

Wed, 2014-04-09 12:46
The Whitehorse Women’s Basketball League wrapped up its 2013-14 season in late March with a tight game between The Roadhouse and Physio Plus.

Leas, Winterhawks win Westerns

Wed, 2014-04-09 12:43
Yukon hockey player Jonas Leas helped a Vancouver-based club win the Western Canadian Bantam AAA Championship title in Kelowna last weekend.

In Barrow, Pepe's is likely history, but town's biggest hotel ever will open soon

Wed, 2014-04-09 12:38
In Barrow, Pepe's is likely history, but town's biggest hotel ever will open soon The new Barrow hotel on Alaska's North Slope will have 70 guest rooms, about twice as many as the old one, and three conference rooms. It will be the largest ever in Barrow by far.April 9, 2014

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