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Alaska and Yukon Headlines

AK: Puppet Town

Fri, 2014-04-11 17:37

(Photo by John S. Hagen)

Haines seems like a quintessential Southeast Alaska town. There are eagles, bears, salmon, big mountains and rough water. It’s a picture-book no stoplight, no movie theater, low crime type of community. But there’s a seedier and eclectic side of Haines that emerged late this winter: the underground puppet scene.

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We aren’t talking about Muppets. Those fuzzy, funny and googly-eyed characters are not the same as puppets. Not in Haines, Alaska.

Here, there are at least three puppet troupes, dozens of self-taught puppeteers and puppet makers and one artist who has traveled to Europe to explore the history of puppetry, Byrne Power.

(Photo by John S. Hagen)

“What I saw was a puppet troupe who was doing a show – it looked like stuff from their backyards, stuff you’d find at the Salvation Army, rusting metal, old toys – and I said ‘We could do that,’” Power said, at the Sheldon Museum in Haines where he helped curate the puppet exhibit Strung Up and Reconfigured.

Power is sort of the father of puppetry in Haines. Almost 10 years ago he gathered a group of artists and formed a puppet troupe. Here’s artist Debi Knight-Kennedy explaining how she fell into the puppet scene.

“Byrne came up to me one day before I knew him very well and he said ‘So, you’re a doll maker.’ And I said, ‘No, I make figurative sculpture.’ And he said ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever. So you can make your dolls talk. I’m starting a puppet troupe.’ And that was it. It was all over for me,” Knight-Kennedy said.

After a few years, Power stayed with traditional puppetry, while some in the group wandered in a different direction. Now the group is called Geppetto’s Junkyard and consists of more than a dozen people including a plumber, a yogi, a boat builder, retired teacher, jujitsu instructor and others.

This winter, they created a show called “Space Lust.” It was described on posters as a cross between steam punk, space cowboy and puppet space opera. It was wild scene of live music, special effects, acting and of course, puppets.

The puppets are all hand-made and usually assembled from found objects, like bicycle parts, kitchen gadgets, vacuum hoses and carved wood.

Knight-Kennedy’s husband, Gene Kennedy is also in the troupe. He’s a handyman and plumber, but is drawn to creating puppets, like the carved wooden horse he made, with multiple moving parts.

(Photo by John S. Hagen)

“It’s all wooden cut out plywood,” Kennedy said. “Basically there are four parts to the body and two levers that work in tandem. And the head swings on its own and it’s counterweighted with lead weights so it always comes back to the same place.”

Geppetto’s Junkyard has their fans. They pack in the sporadic shows. But no one – especially the puppeteers and actors, pretend they are traditionalists. Power is more so. Back at the museum he says he doesn’t think anyone in Haines is true to traditional puppetry.

“There are some puppet styles for instance that take real skill to manipulate. It’s not as simple as you stick your hand up and wiggle it around,” Power said. “You learn very definite things about how to move your hand and it takes months and months of training, years, to be good.”

Of the more than 100 puppets in the exhibit, about two-thirds were made locally. There was even one that might be local from several generations ago. It’s a bone, shell and sinew Tlingit puppet on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Puppets, Power said, cross all cultures.

In Haines this winter, puppets were everywhere. Besides the museum exhibit and Geppetto’s Junkyard show, Power also put on a show. Students at the Haines School created their own puppets. There was even a visit from Carlton Smith of Juneau who performs Tlinigt ventriloquism with his puppet, Charlie.

Power says he’s drawn to puppets because they still surprise people. He says when he goes on the road with a show, he’s not pigeon-holed because puppets are still edgy and intriguing enough to cross all ages and interests.

“Because if you have a music group, you say to someone, ‘Oh what kind of music do you have?’ and they say whatever style of music it is and you say ‘Oh, then you play here.’ But if you have a puppet troupe, the first question is ‘Is it for children?’ and I say, ‘Well, not really.’ And they look kind of blank and say ‘OK’ and you can play for anybody.”

And maybe that’s why puppets and Haines go together. For puppeteers like Melina Shields with Geppetos Junkyard, it makes perfect sense.

“I think that there’s just something inherently creative that happens by taking these found objects and letting the puppets be born into whoever they are,” Shields said. “And it’s just magic.”

300 Villages: Kasaan

Fri, 2014-04-11 17:36

This week, we’re heading to Kasaan, located in Southeast Alaska on Prince of Wales island. The coastal Native village is home to the oldest Haida building in the world. Frederick Otilius Olsen Junior is from Kasaan.

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Alaska News Nightly: April 11, 2014

Fri, 2014-04-11 17:00

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 and on Twitter @aprn.

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Sullivan Maintains Fundraising Momentum

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Republican senate candidate Dan Sullivan has kept up his fundraising momentum. Sullivan’s campaign reports he raised $1.3 million in the first quarter of the year. That’s a bit more than Sullivan, the former state attorney general and natural resources commissioner, raised during the prior quarter.  Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich also reports raising more than a million dollars during the first quarter.  Other challengers in the race haven’t yet announced their totals, which aren’t due until next week.

Little Progress Made In Dealing With Looming Retirement Problem

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The legislature has made little progress on Governor Sean Parnell’s goal of addressing the state’s looming retirement problem. Parnell hopes to change that by filing a bill that reintroduces his plan to deal with Alaska’s $12 billion unfunded liability.

Inuit Circumpolar Council Discussing Food Security

Anna Rose MacArthur, KNOM – Nome

The Inuit Circumpolar Council is holding a meeting in Nome next week. The topic is food security, and the goal is to create a framework to understand the issue from an Inuit perspective.

Delta Western Workers Approve Union Membership

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

After two months of protests, Delta Western fuel workers in Unalaska have voted to unionize. The Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific got the support of a slim majority in an election on Thursday night.

The Alaska Innocence Project Challenging 1987 Murder Conviction

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Evidence used to get a conviction for a 1987 Fairbanks murder trial is in question.  The Alaska Innocence Project is pursuing post conviction relief for Michael Alexander, who was imprisoned for the March 23, 1987 kidnapping and killing of Fairbanks teenager Kathy Stockholm. The Innocence Project request challenges biological evidence that helped convict Alexander, and the group’s Director Bill Oberly says the FBI has concurred it could be suspect.

Fire Season Likely To Start Early In Southcentral Alaska

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Wildland firefighters are gearing up for the upcoming 2014 fire season. According to the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska Fire Service, fire season could come fast to parts of the Tanana Valley and Southcentral Alaska.

HAARP Research Facility To Shut Down

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Gakona’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, better known as HAARP, is slated for the junk pile.  But a group of University of Alaska researchers are trying to stave off a Department of Defense move to scuttle the often-misunderstood scientific facility.

AK: Puppet Town

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

Haines seems like a quintessential Southeast Alaska town. There are eagles, bears, salmon, big mountains and rough water. It’s a picture-book no stoplight, no movie theater, low crime type of community. But there’s a seedier and eclectic side of Haines that emerged late this winter: the underground puppet scene.

300 Villages: Kasaan

This week, we’re heading to Kasaan, located in Southeast Alaska on Prince of Wales island. The coastal Native village is home to the oldest Haida building in the world. Frederick Otilius Olsen Junior is from Kasaan.

Getting Ready for Paddling Season

Fri, 2014-04-11 15:00

The ice will soon go out soon on our lakes and rivers. The sea otters are ready to pose for our pictures. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re getting ready for paddling season. Host Charles Wohlforth and guests will be talking about canoeing, kayaking, rafting, rivers, lakes and the ocean — gear, safety, planning and packing. We’ll be dreaming about the trips we would love to take, and talking to folks who have done them.

Photo by Alaska Kayak Academy

HOST: Charles Wohlforth


PARTICIPATE: Facebook: Outdoor Explorer (comments may be read on-air)

BROADCAST: Thursday, April 17, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. AKT

REPEAT BROADCAST:  Thursday, April 17, 2014, 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. AKT

SUBSCRIBE: Receive Outdoor Explorer automatically every week via


Audio to be posted following broadcast.


Legal challenge launched against Mount Lorne subdividing

Fri, 2014-04-11 14:23
Two Mount Lorne residents have launched legal action against the territorial government over a recent amendment that could change the character and density of the area.

Premier ‘shocked and saddened’ by Flaherty’s death

Fri, 2014-04-11 14:21
Jim Flaherty “was a truly great Canadian,” Premier Darrell Pasloski said Thursday, joining the long line of Canadian and foreign dignitaries offering tribute to Canada’s former Finance minister.

Little Salmon-Carmacks challenges YESAB decision to advance project

Fri, 2014-04-11 14:14
The Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation has launched legal action in Yukon Supreme Court against the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board and the Casino Mining Corp.

Alaska jobs reach record level, but oil industry isn’t powering the growth

Fri, 2014-04-11 14:02
Alaska jobs reach record level, but oil industry isn’t powering the growth The Alaska Labor Department said the seafood processing industry added more than 1,000 jobs to handle last year’s record run of pink salmon. Also important were 750 additional workers added in the health care and the social services sector.April 11, 2014

'Boneheaded' former Anchorage officer sentenced for misuse of police database

Fri, 2014-04-11 13:32
'Boneheaded' former Anchorage officer sentenced for misuse of police database A former Anchorage police officer was sentenced Friday for using police resources to share private information with a woman he’d arrested then started seeing casually. April 11, 2014

Photos: Mission of Mercy offering $1 million worth of free dental care

Fri, 2014-04-11 13:30
Photos: Mission of Mercy offering $1 million worth of free dental care

The sound of dental drills filled the air at the Dena'ina Center Friday, the site of a massive free dental clinic sponsored by the nonprofit organization Alaska Mission of Mercy. By 10 a.m. 700 people had walked through the doors hoping to receive no-cost dental care.

April 11, 2014

No horsing around, Anchorage rider Hancock excels in equestrian for TCU

Fri, 2014-04-11 13:13
No horsing around, Anchorage rider Hancock excels in equestrian for TCU Kari Hancock of Anchorage has been around horses her whole life, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same.April 11, 2014

Imagining a Town Square Park for Everyone

Fri, 2014-04-11 13:00

An historical rendering of Town Square Park, courtesy of USKH.

All of Anchorage is invited to an April 26 event in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts to imagine a modified Town Square Park. Organizers are calling it a charrette. What the heck is a charrette? It sounds like a $1M word when a five-cent one might do; as if  only the people who understand that word get to participate.

Nothing could be further from the intent. According to the planners’ website, “a charrette is a collaborative design process where, over a short time frame, a group of individuals address a design issue.” It’s a public meeting where you not only come together to discuss something, you  might even draw your vision of what it could look like.

Change is in the air for Town Square due to a number of reasons. Some feel the hilly and treed space isn’t safe. Others think there’s too much cement in what should mostly be green space, a respite from downtown concrete. Still others say a busy park is a safer park and opening up the space may make it easier to stage events there. A consortium of community groups joined forces to host this free event open to everyone. Ideally, diverse users of Town Square will participate so multiple visions of a successful park will emerge.

Our show today hopes to set that stage. We’ll talk about the park’s formation and history, the challenges of living with the current design, and some of the redesign potential for the park. Helping us along in the studio will be longtime Alaska resident John Blaine and landscape architect Dwayne Adams. By phone, we’ll include some additional perspectives to enrich the conversation. Most importantly, we hope to hear from listeners on their views of the park and if and how it should change.

Town Square Park Charrette
Saturday, April 26, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

Jointly sponsored by UAA Center for Community Engagement and Learning, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Alaska State Council on the Arts, The Parks Foundation, Anchorage Parks and Recreation, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, The Municipality of Anchorage/Long Range Planning Section and Anchorage Economic Development Corporation.

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • John Blaine
  • Dwayne Adams



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, April 16 2014. 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, April 16, 2014. 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

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Firth edges EDI in oldtimer title game

Fri, 2014-04-11 12:37
Goalie James Billy kept the Firth Rangers in the game until their offensive guns finally woke up in the second period.

Uphill Climb

Fri, 2014-04-11 12:35
A Peel Climb-A-Thon held in a Porter Creek home Saturday helped raise $2,375 to support Peel Watershed lawsuits this summer.

Pasloski impresses at Canadian swim trials, NCAAs

Fri, 2014-04-11 12:31
Bronwyn Pasloski was unable to squeak onto Canada’s swim team bound for the Commonwealth Games, despite an impressive performance at the Canadian swim trials.

Violence Against Women Act and Recent Developments Over Tradition

Fri, 2014-04-11 12:30

This week on Addressing Alaskans, UAA Atwood Chair of Journalism Mark Trahant speaks as part of a series titled “Women and Agents of Violence,” held in honor of Women’s History Month. Trahant has worked in print and broadcast journalism for many years, with organizations like the Seattle Times, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Arizona Republic. He reported for the Frontline episode “The Silence,” documenting the Catholic Church’s abuse of Alaska Natives.

Trahant is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and former president of the Native American Journalists Association. He authored the 2010 book “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars.” Trahant is currently serving as the 20th Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

BROADCAST ON KSKA: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)


  •  Mark Trahant, UAA Atwood Chair of Journalism

RECORDED: March 17, 2014 at the UAA Bookstore

HOST: UAA Bookstore Events


Addressing Alaskans features local lectures and forums recorded at public events taking place in Southcentral, Alaska. A variety of local organizations host speakers addressing topics that matter to Alaskans. To let us know about an upcoming community event that you would like to hear on Addressing Alaskans, please Contact Us with details.

SUBSCRIBE: Get Addressing Alaskans updates automatically via e-mailRSS or podcasts.


Sweden to spend billions on infrastructure

Fri, 2014-04-11 12:15
Sweden to spend billions on infrastructure The plan includes a mix of investment in roads, railways, tunnels and other transportation projects.April 11, 2014

ADD, ADHD and Academic Performance

Fri, 2014-04-11 11:00

Maximizing academic performance depends on the educational system and the student. On the next Line One, host Dr. Woodard will discuss a leading cause of school underachievement, attention deficit disorder, with Dr. Lyn Clark of Anchorage. Topics discussed will include causes of ADD/ADHD, symptoms, diagnosis, other problems often accompanying ADD/ADHD, and treatment options proven to be effective.

HOST: Dr. Thad Woodard 


  • Dr. Lyn Clark, Anchorage


LIVE BROADCAST: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. AKDT

REPEAT BROADCAST:  Monday, April 14, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. AKDT


SUBSCRIBE: Get Line One: Your Health Connection updates automatically by:


Audio to be posted following broadcast.

AK Beat: Injured man evacuated from Arctic Man ski-snowmachine contest

Fri, 2014-04-11 08:14
AK Beat: Injured man evacuated from Arctic Man ski-snowmachine contest A 40-year-old man was injured at Arctic Man in the HooDoo Mountains and had to be evacuated by helicopter.April 11, 2014

Alaska Edition April 11, 2014

Fri, 2014-04-11 07:58

Revenue forecast for North Slope oil provokes controversy. Rio Tinto leaves the Pebble Partnership. Minimum wage bill gathering steam in House of Representatives. The Anchorage Dispatch purchases the Anchorage Daily News. No-sell booze bill gets committee OK. Gov. Parnell offers tax relief to refineries. Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation steps into battle over clean up of North Pole refinery. Anchorage police officers writing fewer traffic tickets.

HOST: Michael Carey


  • Tony Hopfinger, Alaska Dispatch
  • Dermot Cole, Alaska Dispatch
  • Paul Jenkins,  Anchorage Daily Planet

KSKA (FM 91.1) BROADCAST: Friday, April 11, at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 12, at 6:00 p.m.

Alaska Public Television BROADCAST: Friday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 12, at 4:30 p.m.

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