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Drinking Too Much? Don't Count On Your Doctor To Ask

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 11:11

Alcohol uses causes a lot of health problems, and most of the trouble strikes drinkers who aren't alcoholics. Something as simple as a five-question screening test and a brief chat about cutting back can help people change course. But more than 80 percent of adults say they've never discussed alcohol use with a health professional.

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Skiing Siblings Hope To Make It To Sochi, Together

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 11:09

Four years ago, cross-country skiers Erik and Sadie Bjornsen tried to make the Olympic team but came up short. This year, one has earned a spot; the other is waiting to find out.

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Pacific High: A (new) century of education in downtown Sitka

Southeast Alaska News - Tue, 2014-01-07 10:38

“The greatest iteration yet,” is how Pacific High co-principal Phil Burdick describes the remodeled school, which has been an educational center for over a century. (KCAW photo/Emily Forman)

Sitka’s Pacific High School students returned from winter break today (1-7-14), to find one last holiday gift: a new school. For the past two years, Pacific High has been housed in the Southeast Alaska Career Center, while the Lincoln Street building was remodeled from the ground up. KCAW’s Emily Forman visited the all-new Pacific High the day before students arrived and learned how this state-of-the-art facility has been over a century in the making.


Listen to iFriendly audio.

It’s the first week of the New Year. Resolutions are fresh, and we’re still optimistic that they’ll stick. It’s a time focused on new beginnings, and Sitka’s Pacific High School is honoring that sentiment in a big way – with a brand new building.

The central area of the school is filled with natural light. (KCAW photo/Emily Forman)

KCAW: So here I am this is the new building.
Burdick: Looks great doesn’t it? It’s hard to see on the radio but…
KCAW: Describe it
Burdick: Looking from office you get this great rotunda. Which has this light from the sky coming down in this scoop. So, we have this great space where everyone can meet and gather. That’s my favorite spot.

If it sounds quiet for 11:30am on a Monday, that’s because the students are still on break. When I ask Phil Burdick co-principal of Pacific High about how the renovation came to fruition, he starts from the beginning. The very beginning. All the way back to the late 1800s.

Education was segregated for a long time in Sitka and this place where we sit now was a part of that history. This site has gone through many many incarnations.

Tracking the history is a little murky, but the point is that for well over 100 years the Lincoln Street site has been dedicated to education. And today’s version is worlds away from the original: a one room, segregated, Native training school. Burdick is confident that the current iteration is the best.

KCAW: So are there way in which the curriculum will be able to be expanded because of this space?
Burdick: Yeah, if you look around every classroom has door to the outside, which ties into our model that learning happens out in the community. It doesn’t have to happen in the school. So, everyone has an opportunity to get out, everyone has an opportunity to get messy, everyone has an opportunity to find a quiet space, everyone has an opportunity to learn in the way that suits them best.

This building is all about options. For instance, Burdick loves the “flex” room – a room flanked on either side by large glass door that lead to two additional classrooms. The doors slide open – transforming what was three separate rooms into a large open space.

My name is Mandy Summer and I teach English and health.

Summer says the space is a huge luxury. It’s roomy compared to the career center where teachers had to share classrooms. Once Summer started listing the new perks, it was hard to stop.

Summer: It’s nice to have sinks in our rooms. The little things that you don’t realize. And it’s just new, I have only worked here with the ceiling dripping on me, and moldy tiles above my head. That’s the only Pacific High I’ve ever known. So, this is really nice.

Hillary Seeland teaches English, History and Government and really appreciates her large windows overlooking crescent harbor.

Seeland: And the windows are really lovely, I love all the light in here. I love the color pallet in here. I love the storage.
KCAW: Look at your view.
Seeland: I know right!
KCAW: How many teachers have this kind of view?
Seeland: No one.

Rest assured that the Pacific High crew is feeling pretty grateful, and optimistic about 2014.

Burdick: There’s a lot of history on this site and we’re just the latest and hopefully greatest iteration of what has gone on here.

Breaking the new American class system

Southeast Alaska News - Tue, 2014-01-07 10:07


Listen to iFriendly audio.
Shannon Haugland, with the Sitka Film Society, discusses this Friday’s screening of Inequality for All, a documentary featuring former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. (5:30 PM Fri Jan 10, Coliseum Theater downtown, tickets $8 in advance at Old Harbor Books)

Tue Jan 7, 2014

Southeast Alaska News - Tue, 2014-01-07 10:01


Listen to iFriendly audio.
Remodeled Pacific High building a century in the making. Ocean acidification changing behavior of some fish. USGC’s Polar Star steaming to Antarctica to free Russian, Chinese ships.

Scores Of NYC Officers, Firefighters Charged In Fraud Case

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 10:00

Authorities say many falsely claimed they were disabled by their response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Frolicking Fido, Cozy Cats: How Your Pets Are Chilling Out

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 09:09

Some pets enjoyed playing outside in the snow, while others preferred curling up near the fireplace. We asked you for photos of how your pets are dealing with the weather — and you folks delivered.

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AK Beat: Police want to interview acquaintance of dead Eagle River man

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Tue, 2014-01-07 09:03
AK Beat: Police want to interview acquaintance of dead Eagle River man Anchorage police working on the case of the deceased Eagle River man, Andrew Conn, are looking to find, interview Brett William Hopper, an acquaintance.January 7, 2014

What Is The Polar Vortex And Why Is It Doing This To Us?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 09:00

This super cold air is usually whirling around the Arctic. But a big piece has plunged further south than normal. One way to think about what's happening: If a spinning ice skater extends her arms, she slows down. Sometimes, she wobbles and falls. The polar vortex has sort of stretched out an arm.

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Smithfield Prods Its Pork Suppliers To Dump Pig Crates

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 08:57

The world's largest hog and pork buyer wants its contract farmers to move pregnant sows out of constrictive crates and into group houses, generally considered more humane, by 2022. The move is significant because independent farmers supply about 40 percent of the company's sows.

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Fallujah Veterans Ask Hard Questions About Their Sacrifices

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 08:55

A radical group with links to al-Qaida has taken intermittent control of key parts of Fallujah in western Iraq. It's the same area where U.S. troops saw some of their bloodiest fights during the Iraq war a decade ago, costing the U.S. more lives than in any other region in Iraq.

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New Law Allows Transgender Students To Choose Bathrooms And Sports Teams

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 08:40

A new California law allows transgender students to choose restrooms and sport teams based on the gender they identify with. Host Michel Martin speaks with a parenting roundtable about the pros and cons.

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Chris Kluwe On What Cost Him His Job With The Minnesota Vikings

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 08:39

The punter says his outspoken support of same-sex marriage got him fired, but adds that he has no regrets. He tells NPR's Michel Martin: "If you're not willing to speak out for the rights of other people, then who do you expect to speak out for you when it's your turn?"

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How To Successfully Link GED Tests And Jobs

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 08:39

For hundreds of thousands of adult students, the General Educational Development test is a good way to finish their education. LaGuardia Community College in New York is going a step further, by tailoring prep courses for jobs in particular fields. Host Michel Martin speaks with Gail Mellow, the president of LaGuardia Community College to learn more.

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Health Care Inbox: From Medicaid Eligibility To Tax Credits

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 08:33

If you buy insurance through a marketplace and you lose your job, it will pay to let the marketplace know. The reduction in income while you're unemployed could make you eligible for a bigger tax credit to help pay for coverage.

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How Al-Qaida Returned To A Troubled Part Of Iraq

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 08:16

Western Iraq was one of the most chaotic parts of the country during the U.S. war there. Al-Qaida extremists were defeated once, but with U.S. forces gone, they've managed to return as Iraq continues to slide into chaos.

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Run Run Shaw, Kung Fu Movie Pioneer, Dies

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 07:59

The Hong Kong movie mogul's films included 1972's Five Fingers of Death, which was a kung fu classic. With his brother Ronnie, Shaw produced more than 1,000 films over five decades. He also helped produce some American films, including Blade Runner. Later, he became a prominent philanthropist.

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First Batch Of Chemical Weapons Material Shipped Out Of Syria

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 07:57

A U.N. official said a Danish commercial vessel carrying the cache is now in international waters, waiting on another batch.

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U.N. Suspends Counting Deaths In Syria's Civil War

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 07:55

The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says it can't verify its sources and so will leave the figure at 100,000, where it stood in July.

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Dennis Rodman Defends North Korean 'Basketball Diplomacy'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-01-07 06:39

In a combative interview with CNN, the former NBA star implies that imprisoned American businessman Kenneth Bae, sentenced in May to 15 years' hard labor, is guilty of trying to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong Un.

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