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Alaska Tapped To Be UAV Test Site

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:50

A University of Alaska lead consortium has been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle test center. It will be one of six centers across the country charged with helping integrate the technology into national airspace. Alaska partnered with Oregon and Hawaii on the successful proposal.

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Part 1: Lt. General Russell Handy On Arctic Strategy

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:47

Last month, the Department of Defense released an eight-point Arctic Strategy. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel presented the document at the Halifax international security forum in Nova Scotia. It is a military blueprint for managing the future of international shipping, territorial sovereignty, tourism and security in a rapidly changing Arctic. In the first of a two part interview, Alaska’s top military official, Lt. General Russell Handy says what stands out from the plan is how much is yet unknown.

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When you saw Hagel’s strategy, were there elements that stood out as more challenging to accomplish? Are there areas of the Alaskan Arctic that are of greater concern than others?

I think the biggest challenge is to look into our crystal ball on what our requirements will be. There’s not total agreement on the ice melt and the rate at which that is occurring or the impact that’s going to have on increased econ development in the arctic. We’re responsible to maintain an awareness of that domain and try to ensure with partnership with the international community freedom of navigation in international waterways in accordance of international norms, but how much of that is there going to be? And then how much infrastructure do you have to put there, if there’s going to be a lot of tourism in the arctic for example, well, we and state and local officials need to be ready for that. If there’s some sort of a search and rescue requirement that we over land in Alaska command or admiral Ostebo in US Coast Guard district 17 over water, we need to have thought through that in advance, so that’s the most challenging is envisioning what will the arctic look like in 20 or 25 years.

Are there elements of the Arctic strategy that will be implemented immediately?

There are, in fact there’s elements of that strategy that are ongoing right now. Which is why it was so exciting for us to offer input because it allowed us to say, that’s a great idea, let us show you what we’re already doing. So our team has been conducting many things that you sort of read between the lines in that arctic strategy for some time. We have a series of working groups, where we bring together public and private partners where we talk about activities that are ongoing. We brought everyone together and we’ve learned quite a bit, up at the UAF for example, nationally, internally recognized as a center of excellence for arctic studies. What’s going on in the corporate world up on the northern slope and we’re learning many things that we can capitalize on from a defense department perspective from the people who have been doing this for a number of years.

In fact my predecessor signed an MOU with President Gambell from the University of Alaska that outlined areas that we will partner and we have an active partnership going in everything from arctic awareness, maritime domain awareness, how you might employ remotely piloted vehicles for command and control purposes, so we’re actively partnering with them and others.

As you’re probably aware, there is a lot of controversy over unmanned arial vehicles, how could that be a way to enhance surveillance in that area?

I think there’s tremendous growth opportunity for unmanned aerial vehicles, but we have to carefully look at what, how and who is doing it. There’s a big difference between a private corp looking at their facilities, or UAF doing research or even the CG who has law enforcement authority. Big difference between that and the DOD, a title 10 activity. As you know we have legislation that protects our citizen from the military doing things that looks like civilian law enforcement.  So we have to be very careful to be sure we’re doing it for the right reasons. That said, we’re will partner with our public and private partners that we’re working with to insure we help each other, the DOD has tremendous capacity in remotely piloted vehicles, we’ve got a lot of experience with them so we can work together with them or pass on our expertise to those that will use them.

Secretary Hagel said the DOD must evolve its Arctic infrastructure at a pace with current conditions. That would seem to suggest a nearly immediate start considering how quickly the Arctic is changing and the lack of facilities there now, and where. Kotzebue? Barrow? Nome?

As I indicated earlier, Sec Hagel did say that but he also emphasized a cautionary note and that is let’s be careful and analyze where we need investment so we take taxpayer dollars that we really need when it lines up against other needs. I read in that he is going to be very careful in large scale investment. That said, we can get a lot done with a very small investment with partnering, partnering with UAF, other private organizations, our international partners. I think that’s a key area for growth. When you look at the Arctic Council and others that want to be on the Arctic council, I think that’s our center of gravity. You continue to evolve capabilities together. So to do that you need to understand what international norms are and so talking often in forums like the arctic council, is important and then working to build those capabilities. I wouldn’t say there’s a total lack of infrastructure and equipment. If you look at everything that is in place in the public and private world and with international partners, it might surprise you to know what capabilities does exist or could with a reasonable investment, in the near term to satisfy the DOD strategy. In the far term, the trick will be understanding what the arctic will look like in 2030. The DOD doesn’t build anything quickly. If we’re going to field programs we need to look in advance and build a program to be able to fund that and understand where those capabilities need to be in 2025 or 2030 will be the cornerstone to any investment strategy.

Pioneering Alaska Doctor Marcell Jackson Dies

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:47

M. Marcell Jackson, one of Alaska’s first female doctors, has died at age 84.

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Jackson’s medical career dated from territorial days. During early statehood, Jackson was one of a handful of women doctors practicing in the state.

She died on Dec. 8 in Anchorage.

Jackson was born in Lewistown, Mont., in 1929. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Montana State University, moving to Alaska in 1951. She became a lab technician for Anchorage doctors, one of whom urged her to pursue a medical degree.

A service is scheduled for Jan. 19 in Anchorage.

Slow Business, High Costs Shut Down Paxson Lodge

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:47

The Paxson Lodge is closed. The owner of the roadhouse at the junction of the Richardson and Denali highways says he shut the lodge down due to slow business and high operating costs. It’s the latest of several Richardson Highway roadhouses that have closed down in recent years.

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BLM Builds Long-Term Clean Up Plan For Red Devil Mine Site

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:47

The Bureau of Land Manage is planning do a quick field season at the Red Devil mine to try to stop the large tailings piles from eroding into Red Devil Creek and sending more metals into the Kuskokwim River. But there are more than 250,000 cubic yards of contaminated ground at the site.

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Red Devil Creek runs right past the abandoned mine site, where leeched metals like mercury, arsenic, and antimony enter the water system and make their way towards the Kuskokwim. Earlier projects have plugged old mining shafts and removed barrels of chemicals, but the biggest legacy of 40 years of mercury mining is the rocks. Those continue to leech chemical into the watershed. Mike McCrum is the Red Devil Project Manager.

“We’re looking at the groundwater, we’re looking at sediments in the creek, and we’re looking at the large piles of tailings on site that were left by the mining operation. And we’re looking at those three media in different way because they each present their own set of problems,” said McCrum.

The four site wide alternatives address each of those areas of concern. The first option is to take no action. The second would involve putting an 8 foot high fence around the site to keep people and wildlife out. The third actually addresses the tailings and moves them to higher ground in an on-site repository.

“Which is sort of like a landfill, we’d prepare the ground, put them all in one place we would cover them with some sort of material that would help prevent snowmelt and rainfall from infiltrating into the pile and leaching metals,”said McCrum.

The 4th and most extensive option involves digging up the tailings and shipping all of the material to the Lower 48 for disposal in a special facility.

The BLM hopes to have the feasibility study done by next summer. It’s currently making the rounds in a multi agency in depth analysis.

“These are documents that BLM is developing with its contractor, but then it’s extensively reviewed by the EPA, by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources…,” said McCrum.

The BLM would then turn the studies into a proposed plan and bring it out for public input before the final record of decision and work could go ahead. That could still be a number of years. A link to the project website is here.

Preventing Language Loss: A 3-Step Process

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:47

Indigenous languages throughout North America are teetering on extinction. In Southeast Alaska, less than 200 people can speak Tlingit, Haida, or Tsimshian. But a Tlingit language expert suggests indigenous language loss can be prevented by addressing it at three levels.

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Lance Twitchell says it’s time for a dramatic shift in the way Alaskans look at endangered languages, like Tlingit. Twitchell is an assistant professor of Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast. “Sometimes we say the language is dying, we don’t have many speakers. And some of these things get so insurmountable in your mind that you don’t really know where to start,” he says.

The first place to start, Twitchell says, is at the individual level. He says it’s important to speak as much as you can on a daily basis:

“I tell students, ‘Find something that that’s the only thing you speak Tlingit to – dog, cat, steering wheel, shower head, mirror – and make that switch.’”
Since the 1800s, Alaska Natives have experienced discrimination, forced assimilation, and boarding schools that prohibited children from speaking their language. Twitchell says due to post-traumatic stress disorder and intergenerational trauma, many students of Tlingit have a fear of failing or being chastised:

“Our grandparents experienced great violence for our language, our parents experienced great neglect with our language, we are trying to look at all those things so that our children and grandchildren will just speak.”
Learning the language is an act of healing, Twitchell says. At an individual level, it’s not about changing the world, but by trying to speak a Tlingit word every day.

The next step is making a dramatic shift at the community level. One way to do this is by implementing language into place. “When I want to Hawaii, I came off the plane and the first thing I heard was Hawaiian, and I thought, ‘That’s what we need to do,’” Twitchell says. “We’re trying to put Tlingit on the ferries, so that when you get on the ferry and you’re pulling into Hoonah, you can hear Tlingit telling you about this place Xunaa.”

Twitchell says community also means surrounding yourself with other Tlingit speakers and doing everything with them, “You guys shop together, you eat together, you do a lot more things together, and it’s a challenge.”

Rebuilding an endangered Native language also requires non-speakers. Twitchell advises non-speakers to be encouraging and supportive of those trying to speak a second language.

Twitchell says it’s up to the community to make room for Tlingit through the implementation of language immersion spaces, like a Tlingit daycare or a community center where only Tlingit is spoken:

“If you want to learn French, you can go to France. If you want to learn Spanish, you can go to different countries. If you want to learn Tlingit, you have to manufacture a place where Tlingit really exists.”
The state also must be involved in the rebuilding of a language, Twitchell says. Part of this involves admission. “We see a trail of responsibility that does go to federal governments, state governments, and religious organizations as far as what has put us in this situation with our languages,” Twitchell says. “So there has to be conscious efforts made to reverse language shift.”

Linguist Alice Taff says the language resurgence in Southeast Alaska is part of a worldwide movement against language loss, “Every nation in this planet has small language communities that are standing their ground against language loss. And it’s a relatively new phenomenon that there is a pushing back from within the communities saying, ‘This is us and we are going to use our own voices.’”

Of the estimated 20,000 Tlingit people in the world, Twitchell says only 140 can speak the language. He says the dramatic shift that needs to be made at the individual, community, and state levels is not a matter of tolerating Tlingit speaking but embracing it.

MAP Students Train For ETT

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:46

ETT instructor Ron Bowers watches as David Roehl and Kaylene Chuckwak practice emergency obstetrics on a manikin. Photo from KDLG.

Students at Dillingham’s Alternative School had the opportunity to train for an Emergency Trauma Technician certification this month. An ETT can provide basic medical care in emergency situations, and graduates in years past have not only helped save lives in their communities, but have also gone on to further careers in the medical field.

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Drug trafficking brothers who led tax return conspiracy will do time

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:46
Drug trafficking brothers who led tax return conspiracy will do time Two brothers from the Dominican Republic will spend the next several years behind bars for their roles in a large cocaine and tax fraud ring they ran from Anchorage.December 30, 2013

Timber, election districts among region’s top stories

Southeast Alaska News - Mon, 2013-12-30 18:36

The Southeast portion of the final redistricting map, which shuffles the region’s election boundaries.

2013 finally brought firm election boundaries to the region. A redistricting plan shuffled communities for the 2012 elections. But a judge ordered changes.

The new boundaries move Haines to a downtown-Juneau-Douglas-Gustavus-Skagway district. They also put Petersburg in with Sitka and some villages. And they kept Wrangell in with Ketchikan.

“We’re all together and we just need to make sure we’re all paddling in the same direction so we don’t get left behind,” said Sitka Senator Bert Stedman.

He’s the only Southeast lawmaker not on the 2014 ballot. The other five incumbents have indicated they’ll run again. At least three will face challengers.

2013 was another year for logging battles in the Tongass National Forest.

Shelly Wright, of the Southeast Conference, introduced a plan to make more timber available for harvest.

“Rather than set aside a big chunk for logging and a big chunk for no logging, open up all of the regulated set-asides and use it as a flexible forest,” she said.

On a different side of the issue, about 230 scientists petitioned Congress to protect more than 75 watersheds they consider critical salmon habitat.

And an Oregon group released research saying there’s enough second-growth stands to keep the industry going without cutting older trees.

Dominick DellaSala is with the Geos Institute.

“The faster we can get the Forest Service to move out of old-grown logging, the better it will be, because the Tongass is such a global resource,” he said.

The Logjam timber sale area on Prince of Wales Island.

Meanwhile, new legislation to turn more timberlands over to the Sealaska Region Native Corporation came before Congress.

New compromises brought an endorsement from a former foe, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. But nine communities near the proposed selections continued their opposition. The Senate measure passed its only committee, but moved no further.

In other Sealaska news, Chris McNeill, CEO for the past dozen years, announced plans to retire by the corporation’s 2014 annual meeting.

The Alaska Marine Highway System had some rough times in 2013, with breakdowns that cancelled LeConte and other ferry sailings. It also restructured, hiring a new top official, who oversaw a scale-back of plans for two Alaska Class Ferries serving Lynn Canal.

On the upside, the system celebrated its 50th anniversary — with a commemerative voyage on the Malaspina, port-city parties and a songwriting contest.

(Click on the links above to read the full stories.)

Alaska News Nightly: December 30, 2013

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 17:48

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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Alaska Tapped To Be UAV Test Site

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A University of Alaska lead consortium has been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle test center. It will be one of six centers across the country charged with helping integrate the technology into national airspace. Alaska partnered with Oregon and Hawaii on the successful proposal.

Part 1: Lt. General Russell Handy On Arctic Strategy

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Last month, the Department of Defense released an eight-point Arctic Strategy. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel presented the document at the Halifax international security forum in Nova Scotia. It is a military blueprint for managing the future of international shipping, territorial sovereignty, tourism and security in a rapidly changing arctic. In the first of a two part interview, Alaska’s top military official, Lt General Russell Handy says what stands out from the plan is how much is yet unknown.

Pioneering Alaska Doctor Marcell Jackson Dies

The Associated Press

M. Marcell Jackson, one of Alaska’s first female doctors, has died at age 84.

Jackson’s medical career dated from territorial days. During early statehood, Jackson was one of a handful of women doctors practicing in the state.

She died on Dec. 8 in Anchorage.

Jackson was born in Lewistown, Mont., in 1929.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Montana State University, moving to Alaska in 1951. She became a lab technician for Anchorage doctors, one of whom urged her to pursue a medical degree.

A service is scheduled for Jan. 19 in Anchorage.

Slow Business, High Costs Shut Down Paxson Lodge

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Paxson Lodge is closed. The owner of the roadhouse at the junction of the Richardson and Denali highways says he shut the lodge down due to slow business and high operating costs. It’s the latest of several Richardson Highway roadhouses that have closed down in recent years.

BLM Builds Long-Term Clean Up Plan For Red Devil Mine Site

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

The Bureau of Land Manage is planning do a quick field season at the Red Devil mine to try to stop the large tailings piles from eroding into Red Devil Creek and sending more metals into the Kuskokwim river.  But there are more than 250,000 cubic yards of contaminated ground at the site.

Preventing Language Loss: A 3-Step Process

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

Indigenous languages throughout North America are teetering on extinction. In Southeast Alaska, less than 200 people can speak Tlingit, Haida, or Tsimshian. But a Tlingit language expert suggests indigenous language loss can be prevented by addressing it at three levels.

MAP Students Train For ETT

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

Students at Dillingham’s Alternative School had the opportunity to train for an Emergency Trauma Technician certification this month. An ETT can provide basic medical care in emergency situations, and graduates in years past have not only helped save lives in their communities, but have also gone on to further careers in the medical field.

Alaska gets FAA approval as 1 of 6 drone test sites nationwide

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 17:46
Alaska gets FAA approval as 1 of 6 drone test sites nationwide The University of Alaska will help lead the nation in developing rules and regulations for unmanned aircraft systems after being selected as a Federal Aviation Administration test site.December 30, 2013

Thompson ends bid for Alaska House seat

Southeast Alaska News - Mon, 2013-12-30 17:11

Ketchikan resident Glen Thompson announced Monday that he has ended his campaign to become the next House District 36 representative.

In a statement emailed to local media, Thompson writes that, “After considerable reflection upon my existing personal commitments to work, family and the community, plus the added sacrifices that come with a campaign for higher public office, it does not make sense for me to continue to pursue election to state office at this time.”

He adds that the financial sacrifice and time commitment is not workable now, and that he can be more effective continuing in local politics.  Thompson is an elected member of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly.

Thompson writes that by suspending his bid for the House seat now, he hopes that other candidates will have enough time to launch their own campaigns.

Thompson had filed in September to run against Peggy Wilson of Wrangell in the Republican primary. The primary election is August 19th.

Brain-Dead Girl Can Stay On Life Support, Judge Orders

NPR News - Mon, 2013-12-30 17:04

Jahi McMath, 13, has been on a ventilator since a tonsillectomy operation went wrong earlier this month. The hospital has sought to terminate life support, but the family says there's still hope for the teen.

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Train Derailment In North Dakota Causes Explosion, Fire

NPR News - Mon, 2013-12-30 16:26

A train carrying oil collided with one carrying soybeans, causing multiple explosions and a fire in the town of Casselton, about 10 miles west of Fargo.

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‘He was the face of the supreme court for years and years’

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 15:16
Yukoners are mourning Harry Maddison, a retired judge who served on the Yukon Supreme Court for 30 years, staunchly defending judicial independence and integrated First Nations approaches to justice into the legal process.

Committee accused of poor community engagement

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 15:13
Don Roberts is concerned that the select committee regarding the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing will only hear one side of the story during its upcoming trip to Alberta.

Sima snow volumes ‘pretty amazing’

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 15:11
After more than a week of heavy snowfall, Mt. Sima is about to crest one metre of the white stuff.

The Other 'F Word': Brewer Responds To Starbucks Over Beer Name

NPR News - Mon, 2013-12-30 14:58

Getting a cease-and-desist letter from a big corporation isn't usually the mark of a good day. But after a brewery owner got a letter from a law firm representing Starbucks, he saw a chance to draw distinctions between the businesses — and to be funny.

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Was 2013 Really The Year Of The Paleo Diet?

NPR News - Mon, 2013-12-30 14:51

Paleo was Google's most searched diet for 2013, but that doesn't mean it went mainstream. Instead, media coverage of one book criticizing the diet may have stoked much of the interest in the diet.

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Soul to Soul: December 21, 2013

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2013-12-30 14:16

Here’s the music playlist from the December 21, 2013 edition of Soul to Soul with Marvel and Sherry Johnson. All tracks played are listed below in the following format:

  • Song Title
  • Artist Name
  • Album
  • Label
  • Duration

Joyful Christmas
Divine Brown
3:30

Little Drummer Boy
Donald Lawrence / The Tri-City Singers

Soulful Noel
Donald Lawrence / The Tri-City Singers

These Are The Special Things
Christina Aguilera
BMG Special Products
04:30

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Extended Mix)

This Christmas
Christina Aguilera
BMG Special Products
04:01

The Little Drummer Boy
Myron
Island
03:57

Fool For You (Feat. Melanie Fiona)
Cee Lo Green
03:41

Why (MMG Remix)
Mary J. Blige f./Rick Ross, Wale, Stally & Meek Mi
Matriarch/Geffen / Interscope
03:56

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Tamar Braxton
02:34

Christmas Kiss (Instrumental)
Alex Young
02:33

Christmas Kiss (Radio)
Alex Young
03:37

All I want for Christmas
Angela Winbush
03:32

Be Your Santa Claus
Keith Sweat
04:15

My Favorite Thing (Radio Edit)
Ronald Isley Feat. Kem
03:46

Christmas Kiss (Instrumental)
Alex Young
02:10

Soul Holidays
Sounds of Blackness
A&M
06:01

Be My Holiday (Clean)
TGT
03:42

Christmas Kiss (Instrumental)
Alex Young
02:42

Can You Stand the Rain
New Edition
Geffen
04:48

Silent Night
The Temptations
06:04

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Donald Lawrence/The Tri-City Singers
Crystal Rose Records 05:00

Christmas Kiss (Instrumental)
Alex Young
02:36

Kenny Lattimore n Chante Moore
You’re All I Need To Get By

Fantasy (Clean)
Chris Brown ft Ludacris
04:28

I’ll Be Missing Your (Street Tracks 32)
Wu-Tang Forever (Radio Edit)
Drake
03:37

Remember Love
Tanya Blount
03:40

LoveZone 2010 Theme  - Love

Rock the Best 2010 Jet Fades end

More (Radio Edit)
Avant
04:06

More
Lalah Hathaway
05:09

All In The Name Of Love
Atlantic Starr
Warner Bros.
05:26

The After 6 Mix (Pt. 2)
[JuicyFruit][Instrumental]

Jet Passing Over Sound Effect 00:37 00:35

Juicy Fruit
Mtume
Epic
05:59

COD (I’ll Deliver)
Mtume
04:03

It Won’t Stop (Remix) (RadioEdit)
All The Way
R. Kelly
03:50

Legs Shakin’
R. Kelly
04:26

Christmas Kiss (Instrumental)
Alex Young
01:46

Merry Christmas Darling
Tamar Braxton
03:39

Christmas In New York
Joe
03:18

Christmas Time Is Here
Will Downing
Island
03:34

A Christmas Without You
Xscape
03:59

This Christmas
The Whispers
04:20

Summer Madness
Kool & the Gang
02:10

White Christmas
SWV
04:17

In Love At Christmas (featuring Mary Mary)
Kelly Price
Universal Distribution
03:22

Love’s Holiday
Donald Lawrence / The Tri-City Singers / Men Of Standard
Crystal Rose Records
05:19

Never Would Have Made It
Marvin Sapp
Zomba
06:56

Little Drummer Boy
Donald Lawrence / The Tri-City Singers
Crystal Rose Records
06:32

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Extended Mix)
Toni Braxton & Babyface
04:18

(If Loving You Is Wrong), I Don’t Want To Be Right
Millie Jackson
11:08

Jet Passing Over Sound Effect 00:37 00:00

STS Full Landing – June 1 2004

 

 

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