KHNS is looking for someone traveling from Haines to Skagway on the ferry Tuesday that can carry...
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From Our Listeners
The public is invited to Sheldon Museum’s Open House this Saturday December 14th from 1 to...
Public Health Nurse, Ty Esposito, will be in Skagway December 10 thru 13th. Call Public Health...
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Alaska and Yukon Headlines
A man fired several shots at an Anchorage police officer today, but the officer was not hit.
Police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro says the suspect fled on foot, and police have set up a perimeter in the midtown area to search for the man.
Police dogs and SWAT team members are involved, and area schools were in “stay put” mode.
The officer was conducting routine business in the area of the 200 block of East Dowling Road just after 12:30 p.m. when Castro says he spotted a suspicious looking white male in a parking lot. The officer got out of his cruiser and went toward the male. Castro says the suspect started walking away from the officer, but turned and fired multiple shots before fleeing.
Over the past ten years, state education funding has more than doubled while student enrollment has stayed about the same. Still, educational outcomes haven’t seen dramatic improvement. This week, lawmakers got together to ask why that is. The information they received in these meetings could shape a fight over education funding that’s expected to play out this next legislative session.
Communities that were hit by last fall’s floods do not need to start heading for high ground, yet. Rivers are rising in the Mat-Su and Anchorage, but major flooding is not expected right now.
Global unrest is forcing oil prices to rise just as rural Alaskans are purchasing heating oil for the coming winter.
This spring, state legislators considered a controversial bill that would define what counts as a “medically necessary” abortion for the purpose of Medicaid reimbursement. Now, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is considering regulations tackling the same issue. The proposed rule would require doctors to get specific on why they think the state state should cover the procedure.
The Anchorage Police Department says it arrested 34 people for driving under the influence during the first weekend of an expanded effort to crack down on drunken drivers. There have been five drunk driving deaths in the city in the last two months.
A state Superior Court judge has sided with Municipality of Anchorage employee’s unions in a dispute over a city labor law. Judge Eric Aarseth heard arguments from union and city attorneys yesterday, and made his decision from the bench only minutes after their conclusion.
Tribal leaders from around the state will be gathering in Anchorage this week to address the suicide epidemic. It’s sponsored by the Alaska Tribal Leaders and is their 13th annual summit meeting. All 229 tribes in Alaska are invited.
Geophysical Institute is forecasting strong auroras at the end of the week. Some of that activity could be in response to changes in the suns magnetic field. Over the next few months, the sun will undergo a magnetic flip.
With climbing season over, mountaineering rangers in Denali National Park have turned some of their attention to conservation. A team just returned from the Muldrow Glacier after spending two days picking up decades-old trash from climbers that has begun melting out of the ice.
The Matanuska Susitna Borough is working on a plan to dry-dock the ferry Susitna in Cook Inlet. But the move would cost the borough more than one million dollars.
The Alaska Marine Highway System Manager says the first of two day boats will be sailing Lynn Canal even before the summer of 2016.
Captain John Falvey and other state transportation officials are holding meetings on the new ferry design this week. The first was in Juneau last night.
“The purpose of this was to have a lunch box boat.”
Will Nickum is an engineer for Elliott Bay Design Group in Seattle, architects for the day boats and other Alaska Marine Highway ships.
But the paradigm of state ferries is changing; instead of operating 24-hours a day, the proposed 280-foot shuttles would be tied up at the end of 12-hours, like the fast ferries Fairweather and Chenega.
“At the end of the day, the crew would go home and then come back the next morning and start all over again.”
The current design of the ferries show a closed car deck – but state officials originally said it would be open. That drew a lot of criticism from passengers who are familiar with Lynn Canal’s rough seas and spray. Boat architects Elliott Bay have advised against it. Nickum says it would cost slightly more.
“But the weather protection and the potential for lower maintenance, the recommendation was pretty strong back to the state and state’s accepted that recommendation and the design you see now has a closed car deck.”
The day boats would first serve Juneau, Skagway and Haines, carry 53 standard-size vehicles and 300 passengers, and travel at about 15 and a half knots.
There wouldn’t be much time in port.
“Rapid unload and load of the passengers and vehicles is important to meet this day boat concept,” Nickum said. “For rapid turnaround, need to drive through loading and unloading; not too much monkey motion around through side doors and what not. Really want to come on the bow, go off the stern or come on the stern and go off the bow.”
Juneau resident Bob Millard wonders how realistic that turnaround is. He rides the Alaska Marine Highway often, and also Washington State ferries, which are day boats.
“You know I’m concerned about crew fatigue and the time it takes to load in ports, like Haines, (where) you have a lot of tourists. The turnaround time I s probably a factor given all the traffic and inexperience of people loading and unloading.”
Millard says the potential delays would make that 12-hour day a very tight schedule.
The preliminary design study for the shuttle ferries came out last month and a public comment period is underway. This week’s meetings in Juneau, Skagway and Haines are strictly informational.
Marine Highway manager Falvey believes both ships will be operational by the middle of 2016. The funding comes from a previous Alaska Class Ferry project.
“We have approximately $118 million to work with and we feel very confident we can deliver both of these boats all said and done for that price.”
Falvey says the design team is now working detailed scenarios:
“What would the system look like when the first Alaska Class Ferry comes on. What would it look like when the second one comes on and there will still be mainliners running up through the canal.”
The public comment period on the preliminary design ends August 30. Comments should be made online through the Department of Transportation website.
Glacier Bay Lodge will stay open, at least for another 2 years.
Several weeks of negotiations between National Park Service and the current concessionaires ended yesterday. This resulted in a 2-year extension of the contract held by Aramark and Huna Totem Corporation.
“That will keep the Glacier Bay Lodge open, keep the day tour boat running, as well as other services that they provide in the park, such as the restaurant and the gift shop,” explains John Quinley, spokesman for the National Park Service in Anchorage.
He says the extension begins in January 2014. Before it runs out, NPS plans to put out a new prospectus.
Based on conversations with Aramark and other companies about why they didn’t bid, Quinley says reasons include costs of operation and maintenance.
“We’re going to be relooking at those numbers and seeing if there are maintenance tasks that perhaps were overstated, if there were things that would better belong on the park service’s side of the ledger, ways to get that work done less expensively perhaps. So we have a lot of work to do to rebuild a prospectus that will get some bidders,” he says.
Glacier Bay Lodge contains 56 rooms, which accounts for about half the lodging available in all of nearby Gustavus, a town of 450 residents.
JoAnn Lesh is president of the Gustavus Visitors Association and owns Gustavus Inn with her husband Dave. She and the association have been working on keeping the lodge open since the end of March.
“Everyone said it couldn’t be done,” she says. “I’m very excited that we will get a chance to have two years of stability for our economy here in Gustavus.”
Lesh says the association is holding a luncheon tomorrow at Glacier Bay Lodge to celebrate.
The Chugach and Tongass National Forests have released two new posters in their series, More Than a Place to Visit—It’s Where We Live. The new 16×32 inch posters are available for free at your local Forest Service office.
The posters depict the link between bears, salmon, forests and streams, visually exploring the cycle of life that bear and salmon represent, and underscoring the importance of forests to animal and human communities.
Alaska’s first forest reserve, the Afognak Forest and Fish Culture Reserve, was established in 1892 expressly for the conservation of salmon. Today, five species of salmon thrive in the rivers of Alaska’s national forests: the king, coho, sockeye, pink, and chum.
More than 100 million salmon are caught each year on the Chugach and Tongass National Forests. As salmon become plentiful, bears become more active. Respecting and living alongside bears is a fact of life for Alaskans.
The posters blend photography, art, and words to evoke the spirit and the beauty of these wonderful public lands. Rich in symbolism and representation, the powerful design of these posters encourages viewers to explore and respect the wild lands and inhabitants of Alaska’s national forests.
The Chugach and Tongass are the two largest national forests in the nation. Together, they encompass more than 22 million acres and provide a backyard experience for nearly two-thirds of Alaskans. From Anchorage to Juneau, Ketchikan to Cordova, Prince of Wales to Prince William Sound, Alaskans in 43 different communities recreate, make a living, and meet the subsistence needs of their families in and around Alaska’s national forests.
The Anchorage Police Department has released exclusive photographs of a public memorial service for the teenaged victims of a suspected drunk driver.August 20, 2013