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Alaska and Yukon Headlines
Due to hefty cuts in Governor Parnell’s proposed capital budget, the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project is having its timeline pushed back by four months.
Just weeks after top executives for Buccaneer Alaska were fired, the company is making moves to shore up its financial situation.
This week, you can travel to the Anchorage museum without going further than the local public library.
The umbrella brand Era Alaska brought together Hageland Aviation, Era Aviation, and Frontier Flying Service five years ago. That’s history now.
“The bird raven really covers the whole state of Alaska, it’s prolific, it’s smart, it’s strong, it’s efficient, all the things we want to be. In that regard it was like the perfect mascot, for lack of a better word,” said Hajdukovich.
The name change has been in the works for several months. When Era came together in 2009, there was and one for helicopters and one was for the airlines. Last January, the independent Era helicopters went public and began to advertise nationally.
“So the confusion between the two names came to a discussion point where it just made sense to try to change our name because we had become more than what Era was originally and the history of Era,” said Hajdukovich.
The state department of transportation must approve the registration and then Era can do business as Ravn Alaska. There will be a logo of a raven in flight. Passengers will see those on the aircraft tails over the next 12 months.
Ravn is the name to remember, but the companies that make up the Ravn family retain some identity, at least on paper. Era Aviation’s corporate name is now Corvus airlines. That’s actually latin for Raven. And Frontier Flying Service and Hageland Aviation are now flying as Ravn Connect. That reflects the nature of smaller commuter aircraft trips.
The change comes as many are still struggling with the aftermath of the fatal crash of a Cessna 208 outside St. Mary’s. Hajdukovich says the name change is unrelated.
“That hit us close to home it was a personal even for a lot of our company. We don’t want to diminish the trauma and anxiety. From that timing standpoint, it’s just awkward. But we’ve been planning this for the last eight months certainly,” said Hajdukovich.
People can contact the airline at its usual phone numbers, and atflyravn.com.
The City and Borough of Juneau has yet to join the more than one billion users on Facebook, though other governments use social media regularly. While city employees may be personal users, most don’t use it in a professional capacity to push information or interact with the public. But the city of Juneau is beginning to develop a social media policy.
“We’re kind of in this, like, social media limbo right now,” says Laurie Sica, clerk for the City and Borough of Juneau. She’s helping to develop a social media policy, and admits she has a lot to learn:
“I’m learning how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – what else – Instagram, Pinterest. There’s just tons of them. I’ve just been trying to get up to speed so that I can speak intelligently about it and how it’s used. These things change so fast, it’s like, ‘Ah.’”
Until the City and Borough of Juneau has a social media policy, city departments are not to open accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Those that already use social media, like Juneau Public Libraries and Eaglecrest ski area, can continue to do so.
Sica says there’s a lot to consider when developing a social media policy for government use, like how much staff time should be allocated to using it, “What happens if staff update the city’s twitter account from home? ‘Oh my gosh, they’re working, we’ll have to pay them.’ That kind of stuff, you know.”
Juneau Public Libraries Director Robert Barr doesn’t consider social media much of a time suck for his staff.
“It’s not a whole lot of effort on behalf of staff. We just kind of lump it in to our typical promotional efforts. This is just one more check box on the list. Just do a quick post on Facebook,” he says.
City manager Kim Kiefer knows it’s time for Juneau to establish a policy that allows other departments to be active online.
“We’re behind the curve for sure with social media. In government we need to try and reach out to everybody in the community and I think we’re probably missing a group of the population because they don’t go to juneau.org to get information. They want it yesterday and I don’t know that we’re providing it in a way that they can get it.”
The City of Fairbanks has had a social media presence since March 2010, and an internal city policy for six months. Public information officer Amber Courtney says the social media policy makes sure all information is shared in a positive and honest manner, “It’s just ensuring that we have a level of trust with the people who are sharing the information, to make sure that our tone is always professional and respectful, that we’re cognizant of the things we’re sharing and how they’re going to impact the public. For example, we definitely don’t want people sharing photos of accident scenes where somebody might have been injured.”
The push for Fairbanks to get on social media stemmed from attending FEMA workshops. Courtney learned that the public relied on Facebook and Twitter to get information from the government about disasters and emergencies.
“And so I thought, ‘Well, we definitely need to kick that into gear and start building our audience so that should something untoward happen, we have access to as many people as possible and I know that that information goes exponentially. There’s 44,000 people within a 10-mile radius of where I sit that have a Facebook account so if I can get to ten percent of them, that’s amazing, because it just goes from there,” Courtney says.
The City of Fairbanks has more than 340 likes on its Facebook page, which Courtney hopes will grow to at least ten times that. She says posting information about snow removal doubled thecity’s Twitter followers, now at more than 800. Courtney will soon have more time to grow the audience on both sites. Her job duties have recently shifted to make social media a primary responsibility.
A sampling of social media sites geared for Juneau residents:
A new version of Anchorage Election law, or Title 28, will be before the Assembly at their next meeting. Officials began reviewing the law after problems with an election in 2012.
The rewrite comes after polling places ran out of ballots in 2012, even though the turnout was expected to be high and extra ballots had been printed, but not quickly distributed to polling sites. The result was long delays or citizens being turned away. Deputy Clerk Amanda Moser says the clerk’s office worked closely with the election commission along with the department of law for about a year to streamline the voting process.
“So for example, if a voter is unexpectedly out of state we’ve increased the amount of time to request a ballot by fax. And we’ve also increased opportunities should there be an emergency situation to allow the clerk to make quick decisions to allow for more voting opportunities.”
Moser says a new section in the law empowers the clerk to extend voting through a judge instead of going to the Assembly if something extraordinary happens on election day. In 2012, other problems arose when some people voted on photocopied ballots which were not counted as official ballots. The rewrite allows photocopied ballots to be counted if they’re used in the future. Moser met with the Assembly and the Election Commission Monday to review the change. Assembly members’ were focused on a small section of the code that bans poll watchers from using electronic devices in polling locations. Moser says the clerks office is concerned about the possibility of poll watchers recording confidential information at polling places.
“It’s not saying that poll watchers can’t have electronic devices. It’s just preventing the use actually in the physical polling location. And the concern from the clerk’s office and from the election commission is just the confidential information.”
Information like social security numbers and signatures – which are required to file question and absentee ballots. Citizen observers of the recount process, Moser says, will still be allowed to take photos and video. In addition, many changes were made for clarity, to modernize language, to making the code gender neutral and more accessible to citizens. The Assembly meeting on Tuesday, January 14th is the last chance for the public to weigh in on changes to Anchorage election law.
Anchorage police say a plane with three people on board made an apparent emergency landing on the median of a major street.
Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says there were no injuries in the incident reported at 1:09 p.m. Tuesday. But she says the lanes closest to the median were blocked where the landing occurred at Boniface Parkway south of DeBarr Road.
Shell says she does not know what kind of plane is involved in the incident.
No one was injured when a red and white Cessna crashed onto Anchorage's Boniface Parkway about 1 p.m. Tuesday. Anchorage police and firefighters responded to the scene immediately.January 7, 2014
Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser, has become an Alaskan icon through his exploits behind a dogsled team.
While much has been written about the Swiss-born musher, many have never heard the story of Buser deciding to make a life for himself and his family in Alaska and his long road to becoming a U.S. citizen.
Alaska Public Media’s Lori Townsend sat down with Buser at Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake, Alaska to talk about what it takes to build a career and business around mushing.
TV: Monday, January 13 @ 8 PM