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From Our Listeners

Alaska and Yukon Headlines

Rugged research in Alaska's Big White Empty tests scientists' resolve

Sat, 2014-04-19 12:12
Rugged research in Alaska's Big White Empty tests scientists' resolve Unplanned events -- like fixing or replacing a broken snowmachine -- come with the territory for scientists whose research takes them to broad, bare expanses of the North Slope's coastal plain.April 19, 2014

AK Beat: After collision, Anchorage driver arrested for DWI

Sat, 2014-04-19 11:26
AK Beat: After collision, Anchorage driver arrested for DWI After an early morning collision, Anchorage resident Ariel McGrew was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated.April 19, 2014

Tesoro, looking to lower costs with Bakken oil, doesn't need state subsidy

Sat, 2014-04-19 08:19
Tesoro, looking to lower costs with Bakken oil, doesn't need state subsidy ANALYSIS: State officials say there is a public interest in keeping the Petro Star refineries in business, which is why they support a subsidy plan. No one has said that the Tesoro refinery is likely to shut down, though, which is a good reason to take Tesoro out of the bill.April 19, 2014

Education bill prioritizes funding hike for special programs over per-student funds

Fri, 2014-04-18 21:07
Education bill prioritizes funding hike for special programs over per-student funds Alaska schools are being offered what Senate Republican leaders are saying is generous funding for next year, but it is less than school advocates say Alaska schools need to stave off another year of teacher and other cuts.April 18, 2014

For some Northwest Arctic students, Kobuk 440 trail becomes a classroom

Fri, 2014-04-18 19:40
For some Northwest Arctic students, Kobuk 440 trail becomes a classroom Students and teachers from Kotzebue, Kiana and Noorvik formed a snowmachine caravan, volunteering with the race and learning about mushing and its history.April 18, 2014

Alaska should heed federal court decisions against same-sex marriage bans

Fri, 2014-04-18 19:35
Alaska should heed federal court decisions against same-sex marriage bans OPINION: Instead of leaving Alaska's fate in the hands of the federal justices, let's make a statement together -- Alaska is a place that accepts, loves, and provides equal opportunity to all Alaskans. April 18, 2014

Photos: The frantic pace of development in the Mat-Su Borough

Fri, 2014-04-18 19:24
Photos: The frantic pace of development in the Mat-Su Borough

As house hunters in Anchorage desperately seek affordable homes, attractive, affordable real estate is readily available -- for those who are willing to live with a bit of a commute.

April 18, 2014

Mat-Su housing, rental markets flourish

Fri, 2014-04-18 19:20
Mat-Su housing, rental markets flourish After the national economic crash in 2007-08, the housing and renting market in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough fell off. But these days both the construction and buying markets have become quite competitive. April 18, 2014

Tragedy on Everest has echoes on Alaska's Mount McKinley

Fri, 2014-04-18 18:54
Tragedy on Everest has echoes on Alaska's Mount McKinley Though significantly lower in height than Everest, Mount McKinley climbing is rendered difficult by the mountain's extreme northern location. It's much colder than Everest, too. April 18, 2014

Alaskan claimed 'unbearable' physical disability, went fishing

Fri, 2014-04-18 18:50
Alaskan claimed 'unbearable' physical disability, went fishing Despite claiming disability over the course of five years, he allegedly went dip netting and fishing. Now Amancio Zamora Agcaoili Jr. has been indicted for fraud and stealing money from the government.April 18, 2014

Traveling Music 4-20-14

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:44

Traveling Music

Shonti Elder

4-20-14

Concerts mentioned:  Bela Fleck (banjo) and Chick Corea, Sunday, 7:00 PM, April 27, PAC and David Bromberg, Saturday, May 3, 8 PM, Wendy Williamson

Format:

Song Title

Artist / Composer

CD Title

Label

Duration

 

Strongest Man Alive / Maydelle’s Reel / Jenny’s Chicken

David Bromberg / David Bromberg; Kelly Lancaster; traditional

Only Slightly Mad

Appleseed

5:07

 

Merry-Go-Round

Antje Duvekot / Antje Duvekot

The Near Demise of the Highwire Dancer

Black Well. www.antjeduvekot.com

3:55

 

Till the Stars Come Down

Danny Carnahan & Robin Petrie / Danny Carnahan

House on Fire

Red House

5:18

 

Stairway to Heaven (instrumental)

Taimane / Jimmy Page, Robert Plant

Ukulele Dance

www.mountainapplecompany.com/Tamaine

5:45

 

Scotland Yet

Old Blind Dogs / Davy Steele

Wherever Yet May Be

Compass Records

3:27

 

The Fields Have Turned Brown

David Bromberg / Carter Stanley

Only Slightly Mad

Appleseed

3:56

My First Night Alone Without You

Bonnie Raitt / Kin Vasey

The Bonnie Raitt Collection

Warner

3:03

 

Ohio and West

Will Putman / Will Putman

15 Hours of Driving

www.trillmusic.net

4:11

 

It Takes Love to Make a Home

Guy Davis / Guy Davis

Our Side of Town

Red House

5:12

 

You’ve Got To Mean It Too

David Bromberg / David Bromberg

Only Slightly Mad

Appleseed

4:08

 

Cattle in the Cane (instrumental)

David Bromberg / trad.

Only Slightly Mad

Appleseed

1:30

Education Activists Wary of Latest School Funding Bill

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:16

Sen. Kevin Meyer (File photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

In Juneau, the latest version of the education funding bill emerged today, and it isn’t what school advocates were hoping for. Senate Finance co-chairman Kevin Meyer says it’s a comprehensive bill that would add $100 million to education, and he says the Republican majority is committed to keeping that money in the budget for each of the next three years. He distributed copies of the bill in his committee room this afternoon.

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“Some things you’re going to like, some things you may not like, but hopefully overall it’s going to be a balanced package that everyone can support,” he said.

As they studied the pages, education advocates in the front row looked grim. Alyce Galvin, an Anchorage parent and activist, left the room to study it further.

“My first reaction is Ooo, this sounds a little scary, like we’re still going to have severe cuts, now and particularly even more so in the future because if it is flat, that means it’s not keeping up with any sort of inflation costs,” she said.

Sen. Meyer says the funding amounts to a $300 increase in the BSA, referring to the per-student allocation, but Meyer says the money would not come through the BSA. The bill describes a series of special programs, for Internet upgrades and charter schools, boarding schools and vocational education. Galvin says the special programs may look good, but they are funds the Legislature can give and take.  She says the BSA provides stable funds schools can rely on.

” I think that their methodology is different than what parents want to see,” she said. “I think they’re missing the boat, that most kids are in neighborhood schools, and most parents are seeing neighborhood schools get cuts.”

Meyer says only about a quarter of the $100 million would fund special programs and the rest will go to school districts to use as they like. The bill may undergo more changes and still has to be passed by both chambers.

Legislators Enter Session’s Home Stretch

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:09

Education isn’t the only thing left on the Legislature’s plate. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez is our Capitol correspondent, and she’s joining us today to walk us through what lawmakers need to do in the 60 hours before they gavel out.

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Series Of Quakes Rattle Northwest Alaska

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:08

A series of earthquakes rattled Northwest Alaska about 40 miles northeast of Kotzebue on Friday morning.

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The tremors began with a strong 5.6 magnitude earthquake at 10:44 Friday morning.

“It’s a very striking earthquake,” Michael West, a state seismologist and the director of the Alaska Earthquake Center in Fairbanks, said. “I’m not aware of anything in the last 30 years in the area anywhere close in size.”

He says the initial quake was the one of the largest on record for the region, and was followed by a series of less-powerful quakes, including a 5.3 magnitude aftershock that struck just 12 minutes later.

“We’ve recorded at least ten or so aftershocks in the last couple of hours, I’m quite sure there are many more that are a lot smaller,” West said.

The quakes occurred about 20 miles northeast of Noatak – a community of 500. The massive zinc mining operation at Red Dog is also 20 miles from the center of the series of quakes.

The centers of the quakes were about 20 miles northeast of the 500-strong community of Noatak, Also 20 away, the Red Dog Mine.

Staff at the Noatak school say it shook the whole building for nearly a minute. Ice fishermen on the Noatak River say it pushed water through their fishing hole and up on top of the ice.

“We have a VHF here and people were going on that,” Amy Mitchell, a health aide in training at the Noatak clinic, said. “Our other health aide and our supervisor were telling people to go under tables and under the doorframe – interesting and scary for me.”

Despite rattling buildings, no damage or injuries have been reported.

Seismologist West says there’s no evidence suggesting the quakes are a prelude to something bigger. Dozens of aftershocks continued through Friday but West says the seismic activity should die down by next week.

“Our alarms have been going crazy all morning with each one of these sort of updating into our system, but they’ll die off into the coming days,” West said.

The Earthquake Information Center says the quake was felt as far away as Kotzebue.

‘Recall Lindsey Holmes’ Group Takes Petition Dismissal To Court

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:07

Representatives from the “Recall Lindsey Holmes” group and Alaska’s Division of Elections met in State Superior Court on Thursday.

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(Photo by Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage)

The two sides are arguing over the state’s rejection of a petition to recall Anchorage Representative Lindsey Holmes, who switched parties from Democrat to Republican just days before the 2013 Legislative session was set to gavel in.

Elizabeth Bakalar represents the Alaska Division of Elections. She says the recall process is aimed at dealing with issues of misconduct that arise during a representative’s time in office, and because the event took place before Holmes was sworn in, the circumstances deal more with the candidacy and primary process, which is separate.

“It’s a political discontent, not legal discontent, that’s reflected in the grievances, and the remedy lies with the voters at a regular election and not a special recall election and not with this court today,” Bakalar said.

The recall effort began shortly after Holmes made the announcement in early 2013. Over the next several months, the “Recall Lindsey Holmes” group gathered 904 signatures, turning them into the State Division of Elections in November – nearly 100 more than were necessary.

Rep. Lindsey Holmes speaks to reporters during a House Majority press availability, Feb. 27, 2014. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

Roughly a month later, the Division of Elections rejected the petition, saying the effort to recall Holmes did not meet the requirements laid out by the state constitution.

Louis Tozzi, who represents the “Recall Lindsey Holmes” group, disagrees with that assessment, arguing a “lack of fitness” on the part of Representative Holmes’, which would allow the recall effort to move forward.

“The issue is we believe that Ms. Holmes corrupted the intent of the closed primary and that she raised money disingenuously and made misrepresentations to the voters – and that the voters, especially the contributors, feel defrauded by that,” Tozzi said.

At the close of the hearing, Judge Gregory Miller said he would take the arguments into consideration and issue a written opinion at a later date.

Talkeetna Guides With Everest Experience Speak About Deadly Incident

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:06

On Friday, a deadly incident claimed the lives of at least 12 people on Mount Everest.

Willi Prittie and Ellie Henke, both residents of Talkeetna, have extensive experience on Everest.

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Even with the most current gear and knowledgeable guides, mountain climbing carries inherent risk. Willi Prittie has led six expeditions on Mt. Everest, and currently works as a coordinator for a guide service on Denali. He says that major incidents remind people of the risks involved in trying to reach the world’s tallest peaks.

“It’s a roll of the dice whether you’re going to be there when something big moves or not, and people forget that,” Prittie said. “They forget that you are incurring risk any time you’re going through an area like this, just like you would when you get in your vehicle and you drive down the Parks Highway you’re incurring risk.”

“We forget that as well; we tend to have a very convenient memory as a species on these sorts of things.”

On Friday, reports conflicted regarding where the avalanche actually took place. Willi, says that the description that makes the most sense is that the “avalanche” was in the area of the Khumbu Icefall. An icefall occurs when a glacier, which is essentially a very slow river of ice, crosses steep terrain, causing stress fractures. Willi Prittie says that the Alaska Range also has a number of large icefalls, but that climbing routes avoid them because of differences in conditions.

“Something of that size and scale here in Alaska is far more active, and you’d have to have a death wish to walk into it,” Prittie said.

Speaking about Friday’s tragedy, Ellie Henke, who managed base camp for 10 seasons of Everest expeditions, says that using the word “avalanche” may be premature.

“Because it could have been something like a serac collapse,” Henke said. “It could have been ice-fall from way up on the West Ridge somewhere, coming quite a distance down.”

“At this point, I haven’t heard anything that tells exactly what this was.”

Mt. Everest is in a remote region, and even in the age of satellite phones and internet, there is still a human factor in reporting accurate information. Ellie says that one year, falling ice destroyed much of a large camp on the climbing route. Willi Prittie was the first one to reach the site, but had not reported back with accurate information. Still, Ellie says someone sent word to the outside world.

“Somebody in base camp put it out internationally, and next thing we know, BBC is carrying this story of, ‘The biggest disaster in Everest history: Dozens killed.’  Once the dust settled, nobody was killed,” Henke said. “BBC had to do a total retraction later on because it was so inaccurate.  That is really common that that kind of stuff happens.”

The story of the Everest incident resonates in Talkeetna, the launch point of nearly all expeditions on Denali. Willi Prittie says that while there are environmental hazards to contend with, the most popular route to North America’s tallest peak is very different from the climb up Mt. Everest. On much of Denali, the danger does not come as much from avalanches above climbers, but the cracks in the ice, or crevasses, below their feet.

“Generally, the majority of those crevasses will be covered over by wind and snowfall in the winter time,” Prittie said. “You’re often crossing many hundreds of those snow bridges without even knowing those crevasses are down there.”

“Quality of the snow on top of the snow bridges deteriorates as the season warms up, so hidden crevasses are probably the single biggest problem.”

Despite the dangers, Willi Prittie says that the reason stories like the Everest tragedy make news is that they are fairly uncommon.

“It’s not like climbers go up and have this death wish to kill themselves,” Prittie said. “For the most part, you can mitigate a lot of these risks, and you can stay safe in these areas.”

“Look at Everest; there has been many thousands of people up and down there in the last couple of decades or so, and this is the first one of these incidents that’s happened in a very long time, there.”

Conditions and the lack of an official agency, like the National Park Service in the U.S., mean that it could be awhile before the full details emerge of exactly what happened to claim the lives of the 12 or more Sherpas on the world’s highest mountain.

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Fatal Hageland Crash

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:06

The National Transportation Safety Board has published a preliminary report about the crash that killed two pilots near Three Step Mountain.

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Investigators still don’t know what caused the Cessna 208 to crash, but they are digging through data sent from the aircraft that could give some clues. The data show that plane was flying at about 3,400 feet when its altitude changed.

Clint Johnson is the NTSB Regional Office Chief.

Wreckage of the Cessna 208. (Photo courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

“It would appear there was a deviation in altitude, probably two different deviations, immediately after that the plane went into a very, very steep dive, a very rapid dive and continued all the way until ground impact,” Johnson said.

Investigators on the ground found that the wreckage travelled about 180 feet before stopping in an area of heavy brush. A post-crash fire burned much of the fuselage.

The NTSB is investigating other crashes among the Ravn, formerly Era, family of companies. Johnson says they are individual investigations at this point, but they are looking for similarities between the accidents.

“But at this point right now, especially for this most recent accident we need to be able to center in on the on the facts that surround this accident. But that may come a little later on where we start connecting the dots and see if there is similarities throughout the accidents,” Johnson said. “Whereas, training, FAA oversight, maintenance procedures, there’s a whole litany of things. It’s a process of elimination. At this point, nothing has been eliminated.”

The plane was not equipped with cockpit voice or data recorders and was not required to have them. The plane’s wreckage is in Bethel and will be sent to Anchorage.

A full report from the NTSB is expected in about a year.

Alaska News Nightly: April 18, 2014

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:05

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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School Advocates Unhappy With Education Bill’s Latest Rendering

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

In Juneau, the latest version of the education funding bill emerged today, and it isn’t what school advocates were hoping for. Senate Finance co-chairman Kevin Meyer says it’s a comprehensive bill that would add $100 million to education, and he says the majority is committed to keeping those funds in the budget for each of the next three years.

Legislators Enter Session’s Home Stretch

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Education isn’t the only thing left on the Legislature’s plate. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez is our Capitol correspondent, and she’s joining us today to walk us through what lawmakers need to do in the 60 hours before they gavel out.

Series Of Quakes Rattle Northwest Alaska

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

A series of earthquakes rattled Northwest Alaska about 40 miles northeast of Kotzebue Friday morning.

The tremors began with a strong 5.6 magnitude earthquake at 10:44 on Friday morning.

‘Recall Lindsey Holmes’ Group Takes Petition Dismissal To Court

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

Representatives from the “Recall Lindsey Holmes” group and Alaska’s Division of Elections met in State Superior Court on Thursday.

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Fatal Hageland Crash

Ben Matheson, KNOM – Nome

The National Transportation Safety Board has published a preliminary report about the crash that killed two pilots near Three Step Mountain.

Talkeetna Guides With Everest Experience Speak About Deadly Incident

Phillip Manning, KTNA – Talkeetna

A deadly incident claimed the lives of at least twelve Sherpas today on Mount Everest. Willi Prittie and Ellie Henke, both residents of Talkeetna, have extensive experience on Everest.

AK: Hazing Birds

Emily Forman, KCAW – Sitka

At most major airports someone is paid to chase birds off the runway. But at Sitka’s airport, that job is especially challenging. That’s because 3/4 of Sitka’s runway is surrounded by water. Fish spawn along its banks, attracting hungry birds. That problem was highlighted four years ago when two Alaska Airline jets collided with eagles on takeoff.

300 Villages: Akiachak

This week, we’re heading to Akiachak, in Southwest Alaska. The village is the first in the state to formally decide to dissolve its local government in favor of traditional tribal representation. Jonathan Lomack is the executive director for Akiachak Native Community Tribal Government.

300 Villages: Akiachak

Fri, 2014-04-18 17:05

This week, we’re heading to Akiachak, in Southwest Alaska. The village is the first in the state to formally decide to dissolve its local government in favor of traditional tribal representation. Jonathan Lomack is the executive director for Akiachak Native Community Tribal Government.

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With no one at the rudder, Alaska is losing control in fiscal free-fall

Fri, 2014-04-18 16:39
With no one at the rudder, Alaska is losing control in fiscal free-fall OPINION: Alaska is suffering from a crisis in finances and in leadership. Alaska is in danger of proving Wally Hickel's fears correct by slipping from an "owner state" to an "owned" state.April 18, 2014