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On Base And In Town, Shooting Summons A Dread All Too Familiar

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 12:02

From Killeen, Texas, where Fort Hood is based, Melissa Block talks to soldiers who were on base during the shooting, as well as with Killeen's mayor. The mayor explains how the town is trying to cope.

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What's Known — And Still Unclear — About The Fort Hood Shooting

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 12:02

A shooting at Fort Hood has left four people dead and 16 wounded. Robert Siegel reports on the latest news unfolding in Killeen, Texas.

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In The 1870s And '80s, Being A Pedestrian Was Anything But

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 12:02

Huge crowds packed arenas to watch the world's best pedestrians walk in circles for six days at a time. And trainers encouraged the athletes to drink champagne — at the time considered a stimulant.

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Council to hear about KPU’s new electric meters

Southeast Alaska News - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:48

The Ketchikan City Council will hear a presentation Thursday about Ketchikan Public Utilities Electric Division’s move to new electric meters.

KPU Electric Division Manager Andy Donato provided the slides for his presentation in the City Council’s meeting packet. Those slides start with a history lesson, noting that electric meters first were used in the mid-1880s. Those old-style meters are no longer made, according to Donato. New digital electronic meters are now the norm.

Donato says the new meters provide better accuracy, are more reliable, and have lower maintenance costs. The new meters can allow utility companies to manage a customer’s electric use through two-way communication, but Donato says KPU doesn’t use its meters that way.

He notes that there are critics of the new style of meters, who believe that the new technology is intrusive and potentially harmful to health. Regarding the health concerns, Donato says the radio frequency exposure from smart meters is lower than, for example, the natural radio frequency from the Earth, and much lower than the exposure from talking on a cell phone.

A group called Ketchikan for Meter Choice has formed, and has an online petition asking the local government to not require KPU customers to have the new meters on their homes. The group was formed by Amanda Mitchell, who also is spearheading the effort to stop the city from switching to chloramine water disinfection.

In an email sent Thursday to the Council and cc’d to KRBD, Mitchell writes that Donato’s presentation is based on inaccurate science. She has asked the city to host a forum to provide information about the issue.

There is no Council action related to electric meters on the agenda. Tonight’s Ketchikan City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers, with public comment at the beginning of the meeting.

Time To Relax The Sodium Guidelines? Some Docs Say Not So Fast

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:39

A new study suggests that when it comes to the optimal amount of salt intake, there may be more leeway than we thought. But some doctors say we still need to lower sodium to control blood pressure.

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Prison in Canada’s eastern Arctic ‘appalling’ and should be closed, report says

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:27
Prison in Canada’s eastern Arctic ‘appalling’ and should be closed, report says The facility is so dilapidated and overcrowded that it is unsafe for staff and inmates, an investigative report concludes.April 3, 2014

Homer man fatally shoots himself with Alaska State Trooper's gun

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:25
Homer man fatally shoots himself with Alaska State Trooper's gun A Homer man fatally shot himself with an Alaska State Trooper's gun during a struggle Wednesday night, according to the agency. Twenty-four-year-old Aaron Michael Rael-Catholic perished. April 3, 2014

NPR Poll: GOP's Older Voter Advantage Slips From 4 Years Ago

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:23

The new NPR poll indicated that Republicans had a 10 percentage-point advantage over Democrats with voters over age 59. In 2010, it was 21 points.

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Should Soldiers Be Armed At Military Posts?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:22

Away from combat, troops often can't carry firearms. The shooting at Fort Hood raises the question of whether they would be better able to protect themselves if they could.

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Senate Panel Votes To Declassify Report On CIA Interrogations

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:10

The vote does not mean the report will be made public just yet. The CIA will have a chance to flag portions it believes could compromise national security.

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Stay Or Go: How Israeli-Palestinian Peace Would Redefine Home

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:09

More than 1 million Arabs are Israeli citizens. About 350,000 Jewish Israelis live in the West Bank. What happens to them if a formal border is ever set between Israel and the Palestinians?

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Petersburg musicians gear up for Alaska Folk Festival

Southeast Alaska News - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:08

Scott Hursey performs on stage at Alaska Folk Festival in 2011. Photo/Scott Hursey.

Three groups of Petersburg musicians will be performing at the 40th annual Alaska Folk Festival that’s happening next week, April 7-13. Some are new to the big event and some are veterans.

Angela Denning stopped into Kito’s Bar in Petersburg where a few of them were practicing up.

The knocking of pool balls accent the music coming from the stage. It’s the usual sound at open mic night. The musicians agree–it’s not an auditorium–but it’s consistently available to them every Thursday to play together. And tonight, the duo Mc2 (M-C Squared) is using it as an opportunity to try out some tunes for Juneau.

Couple Nicole and Alec McMurren are Mc2 and they’re performing Arlo Guthrie’s version of “St. James Infirmary”.

“Alec and I met many years ago at different musical fundraisers for the community of Petersburg long before we were a couple,” Nicole says, “and so we’ve been playing together as a duet for about 7 or 8 years now.”

Alec says he’s been songwriting his whole life but he’s gotten more serious about it over the last few years. So, what does he write about?

“I like to write songs about boats and fishing, that’s sort of what started it off,” Alec says. “There’s not that many songs around about local stuff and I thought it would be fun.”

The song “Emily Jane” is about the local boat, which was sunk and then salvaged out of Frederick Sound.

Although Nicole has performed at the Juneau festival with other musicians, it will be the McMurren’s debut together.

Angela: “What are you looking forward to the most out of the festival?”
Nicole: “Hearing some good music and getting inspired to play some different tunes.”
Alec: “Yeah, the whole spirit of the thing, just be a part of it, to participate, yeah, to participate and learn stuff and meet people, yeah, for sure it’s always an opportunity for like-minded or different minded people that would bend you in their direction.”
Nicole: “It’s a good vibe.”

On the stage warming up is Scott Hursey, a long-time Petersburg singer songwriter. He too will be performing at the Juneau Folk Fest as he’s done many times before. In fact, he’s not quite sure how many times he’s been there.

Scott: “This is the 40th annual Folk Festival. I played at…the first time I played at the second one, so it was 39 years ago that I played at the first one. And I played, I don’t know, 10 or 15 in a row and I took a break for a while and been back off and on since then. So many different bands, by myself a few times, I’m going to play by myself this time, I think, so it will be the first time in quite a few years that I’ve done a solo act. . . played with several different bands there before.”
Angela: “What’s it like for somebody who hasn’t been there?”
Scott: “It’s a lot of fun. I mean there’s music all over town. Lots of different venues, the bars, the Silver Bow has a singer songwriter event of Friday and Saturday afternoon, lots of workshops, they’re dances, besides the main stage there are a couple of different dance events. There’s a dance stage that goes on with different bands for two nights. You know, the crowds can be several hundred people on the evening concerts.”
Angela: “Do you ever get the jitters, I mean, you’ve been doing it for so many years, do you ever get jitters still?”
Scott: “I get the jitters but it’s a lot of fun. The crowd there is probably the best crowd you’ll ever play in front of so, it’s really fun to get up in front of them because they’re very, very welcoming.”
Angela: “How often do you play? There’s an open mic every Thursday. . . do you play at home?”
Scott: “Oh yeah, I play almost every day.”
Angela: “And what does that do for you? What do you like about it?”
Scott: “It’s a creative outlet, it’s relaxing. You know, we get wrapped up in the work we do and it’s a nice way to get away from that and then also when I can play with friends around town it’s a good way to interact with people with people and have a great time. It’s really great to play with other musicians because you feed off of each other and it’s fun to create together.”
Angela: “So, a different kind of connection than you’d have any other way?”
Scott: “Oh, yeah, definitely.”

It’s this kind of connection that brings Nicole McMurren and her tambourine back onto the stage to join Hursey for a duet.

The Alaska Folk Festival runs April 7-13.

Scott Hursey performs Friday night at 10:45 p.m.

The McMurrens–Mc2–perform Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The youth group, Double Rock Band, will also be performing at the festival. They’ll take the stage Friday at 10:15 p.m. just before Hursey. We’ll hear from the young musicians in KFSK news Monday.

KRNN in Juneau is audio streaming the entire Folk Fest, and video streaming each evening at krnn.org There is no video stream during the Sat. and Sun. afternoon stage acts.

Swedes pondering climate-change adaptations, more carbon-emissions cuts

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:05
Swedes pondering climate-change adaptations, more carbon-emissions cuts The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stimulated discussion in Sweden of coping measures and potential new curbs on greenhouse gases.April 3, 2014

Legislature abandons $28 million plan to buy Anchorage building for office space

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Thu, 2014-04-03 11:00
Legislature abandons $28 million plan to buy Anchorage building for office space The Legislative Council, after asking its chairman to negotiate a purchase of a downtown Anchorage building, reversed course today and decided to stick with a costly 10-year lease instead.April 3, 2014

A Pill For Grass Allergies May Replace Shots For Some

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:59

Allergy shots work, but they're inconvenient and painful. Now there are pills that can help people tolerate grass pollen. But allergies are rarely limited to grass alone.

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Washington Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 30

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:50

Authorities in Washington state's Snohomish County say all of the victims recovered so far died of blunt force trauma and not from suffocation, as some family members had feared.

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White House: Creation Of 'Cuban Twitter' Was Not Covert Program

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:30

According to a report by the Associated Press, the U.S. funded the creation of a social media platform designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba.

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Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:14

Climate change will likely hurt food production, raise food prices and increase hunger. But those calamities may not be inevitable, according to a group of international agriculture researchers.

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Immersing artists in the wild

Southeast Alaska News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:11

Jennifer MacDonald, wilderness manager with the USFS, and Becky Latanich, chief interpreter with the National Park Service, discuss the Voices of the Wilderness exhibit on display now through April 8 at the Sitka NHP Visitor Center and at UAS. Learn more about the residency program online.

Thu Apr 3, 2014

Southeast Alaska News - Thu, 2014-04-03 10:04

Listen to iFriendly audio.
Pro-life group remains concerned over Planned Parenthood’s involvement in health education at Blatchley middle school. The Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery through the eyes of biologist Dave Gordon.

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