There will be a garage sale at Sue Folletti’s on Willard Ave. Saturday March 15th from noon...
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From Our Listeners
JUNEAU — State Senate and House lawmakers voted Thursday to end the practice of administering their own office spending accounts, which had allowed them to keep whatever cash was leftover at the end of the year.
The Legislative Council, which handles administrative issues for lawmakers, voted to move all 60 lawmakers to a plan in which the Legislative Affairs Agency administers the accounts.
ANCHORAGE — Sarah Palin’s Alaska hometown is auctioning an SUV she drove when she was mayor, years before she skyrocketed to fame.
The small town of Wasilla listed the 1999 Ford Expedition with 74,188 miles on eBay Monday with a minimum bid of $10,000. The listing’s photo shows the tan SUV with a cardboard cutout of Palin in the driver’s seat.
ANCHORAGE — Bret Kolb, the director of the Alaska Division of Insurance, has announced he is resigning next month.
Kolb is leaving to take a position as the director of business development for Palmer-based Victory Ministries of Alaska, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Kolb’s resignation letter says his last day with the state position will be Dec. 19. He said he is leaving the government and insurance industry altogether.
Victory executive director Brian Headdings said Kolb will start his new job in January.
The Department of Natural Resources announced that Bob Swenson, the leader of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys for nearly a decade, will serve as its deputy commissioner.
He is replacing the vacancy left when Joe Balash was appointed commissioner on Nov. 13.
“Bob’s significant leadership experience and his breadth of knowledge of Alaska energy and geology-related issues make him an excellent fit for this important post at DNR,” Balash said in a statement.
JUNEAU — The president and CEO of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. said Thursday that he’s confident the Canada-based company will find a new partner for the proposed Pebble Mine project within the next year.
PETERSBURG — Federal wildlife officials have approved new guidelines for using sea otter hides in clothes and handicrafts by Alaska Natives.
The guidelines aim to clarify how Alaska Native artisans can use pelts and avoid running afoul of federal law regulating the take of the protected marine mammals.
The change clarifies how hides under federal law must be “significantly altered” to be considered authentic Native handicrafts or clothing that can be sold to non-natives, KFSK-radio reported.
The proposal would prohibit a corporate executive from making more than 12 times what a company's lowest-paid worker makes. Opponents warn it could drive companies and jobs out of Switzerland. But there is a growing mood across Europe in favor of limiting corporate pay.
A few short years ago, Simon Gratz in North Philadelphia was among the state's most troubled, violent and academically underachieving high schools. Today, now a charter school, Gratz is very much on the rebound. But critics say Philadelphia can't charter its way out of its school crisis.
This year, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. NPR's Susan Stamberg explores how to combine the best dishes for the double holiday, which won't happen again for another 70,000 or so years. And of course, she shares the recipe for her famous Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish.
On its face, pulling chilly water from Resurrection Bay for heat doesn't make sense, but emerging renewable energy technology is making it possible for the small community of Seward to move beyond paying a high price to heat their buildings.November 21, 2013
A former Apple executive thinks providing every student in Alaska with a tablet computer is possible in the near future — with enough funding.
Bob Whicker used to work as in education development for Apple Computer. Now, he’s the director of the Alaska Association of School Board’s Consortium for Digital Learning, or CDL.
Listen to iFriendly audio.
Whicker outlined a strategy for the so-called 1:1 (one-to-one) Digital Initiative for the Sitka Chamber of Commerce this week (11-20-13).
Whicker’s roots in Silicon Valley were evident throughout his presentation, which was peppered with terms like “beta”, and through the live demos of eReaders.
So what we’ve done with this book we got Shelly, she’s a whale biologist, and then we’ve added narration to it.
[SOUND OF DEMO: TO CHEW OR NOT TO CHEW]
So that helps kids as they’re reading this book. We’ve also made it so that it can change into different levels of reading. So this would be for an earlier reader, but it’s the same content. So teachers can be using this with a broad range of kids within their classrooms.
Whicker says it’s not just about supplying the devices. Results depend on the content and creative ways teachers can craft lesson plans using the devices. He says interactive digital content allows teachers to cater their lessons to a broad range of students.
It’s about the cheapest way to change education there is. If I wanted to really make things happen and if I want to get to a teacher ratio that would really change things I would have to dramatically change the structure of my school to get there.
A $5 million state legislative grant started the initiative in 2004. Whicker says that in order for the 1:1 initiative to realize its full potential it needs a total of $15.6 million from the state and a $9.6 match from local districts, allocated over four years.
Nevertheless, Whicker says over 140 school sites across the state practice a preliminary version of 1:1 at a cost of $200 per student – with the state contributing $120 and local district $80. He says teachers report positive changes.
We’ve had these 1:1 projects out and about for a while and CDL districts across the state we get teachers reporting to us that student engagement is up, attendance is up, behavior is down, We also see that student achievement can really be affected. This was an iPad project across 9 districts in 2011 and it was aimed at literacy and we saw a doubling of expected gains in literacy by all student and for those student 2.5 years behind in reading we actually saw those scores triple. So I’m not saying that’s going to happen, we’re not guaranteed this, but it’s looking like there is something going on.
Sitka School District Superintendent Steve Bradshaw thinks the initiative is appealing because of the cost of replacing outdated textbooks. He believes a digital curriculum could dramatically reduce costs.
You hear more conversation about the fact that we are going to have to change almost 100% of our curriculum materials over the next 24 to 36 months because of the new common core standards. That expensive. I’ve thrown out numbers anywhere between two hundred and fifty to five hundred thousand dollars per curriculum subject material. So I have hopes this is some way we can get material in a less expensive fashion.
Sitka School Board President Lon Garrison emphasized that $28 million statewide is already being spent on technology into the classroom. While the 1:1 initiative would require additional funding, Garrison feels that if it satisfies schools’ technology needs and increases student engagement and performance, districts should be free to reallocate the existing budget.
But, in order for many schools to fully participate they need bandwidth. Sitka’s school board is considering a capital request to the legislature this year to increase bandwidth, primarily to meet the state’s new requirements for online testing. That additional capacity — if the legislature funds it — might make the 1:1 initiative a reality in Sitka.