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  • The public is invited to an Easter Sunday service at 10am at the Haines Christian Center. A...

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POW, Metlakatla Schools Awarded Tech Grants

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:03

Hydaburg and Annette Island school districts were among three Alaska Native groups that received advanced telecommunications technology grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development office.

Hydaburg School District was awarded $500,000 to purchase video conference equipment for distance learning and training, in cooperation with the University of Alaska Southeast. According to USDA, the equipment will serve schools in the Hydaburg, Southeast Island and Craig districts.

The equipment also will be used for staff professional development, virtual field trips, education for all community members and to connect Alaska Native students with other Native American students in the U.S.

Annette Island School District was awarded about $400,000 for video conferencing to connect Metlakatla students with other rural Native students.

The third recipient was the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, which received about $260,000 for video conferencing equipment to rural clinics. The equipment will allow face-to-face medical consultation.

John Boehner Foe Targets 'Electile' Dysfunction

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:58

A high school French teacher who is challenging House Speaker John Boehner has come up with a novel campaign approach: an ad spoofing virility drug commercials.

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Swimming Superstar Michael Phelps Emerges From Retirement

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:56

Phelps, who has won 22 Olympic medals, including 18 gold, plans to compete in Arizona later this month.

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Doesn't look very clear out right now, but maybe the eclipse will peek through i...

Facebook Feed - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:47
Doesn't look very clear out right now, but maybe the eclipse will peek through in the Upper Lynn Canal tonight.


Timeline Photos
There will be a lunar eclipse tonight around 11 PM AKDT. The majority of the state will be able to at least see a portion of it, weather permitting. Will you be out to capture it? Find your latest forecast information at www.weather.gov/Alaska

Eclipse specifics:

Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 04:53:37 UTZ (8:53 PM AKDT)
Partial Eclipse Begins: 05:58:19 UTZ (9:58 PM AKDT)
Total Eclipse Begins: 07:06:47 UTZ (11:06 PM AKDT)

Greatest Eclipse: 07:45:40 UTZ (11:45 PM AKDT)

Total Eclipse Ends: 08:24:35 UTZ (12:24 AM AKDT April 15))
Partial Eclipse Ends: 09:33:04 UTZ (1:33 AM AKDT)
Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 10:37:37 UTZ (2:37 AM AKDT)

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2014.html

Sitka Tribe Names New General Manager

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:46

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska has hired a new general manager. Lawrence SpottedBird, currently of Washington State, will start work on Monday.

STA’s previous manager, Ted Wright, resigned in October, after about two years on the job. Tribal Attorney Allen Bell has been serving as the interim manager since then.

Speaking with KCAW on Thursday, SpottedBird, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, said he has spent the last 34 years working with tribes and Native American entrepreneurs on business and economic development. He currently runs a consulting firm, SpottedBird Development.

Lawrence SpottedBird will take over as general manager of STA on Monday, April 14. (Photo by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska)

“I consult with primarily tribes and Native American individuals in business development, with a focus on federal contracting development, looking for opportunities in contracting with the U.S. federal government,” SpottedBird said. “A lot of tribal governments and Native American entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the many incentive programs in the federal government and developing contracting enterprises to do so.”

SpottedBird has also spent time in Southeast Alaska: from 1999 to 2000 he served as general manager of Shaan Seet, the village Native corporation in Craig, on Prince of Wales Island.

Tribal Council Chairman Michael Baines said SpottedBird’s background in economic development is exactly what the Sitka Tribe needs. One key priority for STA in coming years will be finding new sources of revenue, Baines said.

SpottedBird agreed.

“Getting a solid footing financially and budgetarily is very important,” he said. “So I will be focusing on looking at ways to address the budget and financial situation that any tribe – or any government really – faces around the country.”

Baines said the Council received about sixteen applications for the position, and flew in three finalists for interviews. All of the finalists came from outside of Sitka.

SpottedBird will be formally introduced to the Tribal Council and public at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, April 16, at the Sheet’ka Kwaan Na Kahidi, immediately before the council’s regular meeting.

Grey Cup fever sweeps Yukon capital

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:43
Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Mike McCullough gained a new appreciation for the Yukon during his whirlwind tour through Whitehorse with the Grey Cup this weekend.

Legislature Votes To Create Dr. Walter Soboleff Day In Alaska

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:43

Walter Soboleff passed away in 2011 at the age of 102. (Sealaska Photo)

The Alaska Legislature has finalized work on a bill that would name November 14th as Walter Soboleff Day in Alaska. He was a revered Tligit elder and religious leader.

Senator Fred Dyson from Eagle River carried House Bill 217 on the floor of the Senate and spoke eloquently about his friendship with Soboleff.

“Here’s a man who lived with dignity. He had a tremendous impact on individuals wherever he went. He was a magnificent example for all of us.”

Walter Soboleff was a well-known Tligik language translator and scholar and he was the first Native Alaskan to be ordained as a Presbyterian minister. The members of the Alaska Senate voted unanimously Saturday afternoon in favor of House Bill 217, which passed the House in late March. The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Sean Parnell for his signature.

Yukon claims fifth at broomball nationals

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:40
After struggling to score goals throughout the Canadian Senior Broomball Championship,

Fewer students in Kenai school district, but they're doing well

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:29
Fewer students in Kenai school district, but they're doing well Kenai students are performing well on state tests, and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Steve Atwater said reading proficiency scores are about 10 percent above those of students elsewhere in Alaska -- with science scores about 15 percent higher.April 14, 2014

After Deaths, Renewed Focus On Leaky Gas Pipelines

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:27

The effort to replace thousands of miles of aging, corroded pipes — which could take decades and cost billions — is receiving fresh attention after an explosion last month in New York killed eight.

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Pair makes 2-week human-powered trek from Aniak to Dillingham

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:25
Pair makes 2-week human-powered trek from Aniak to Dillingham Anchorage's Luc Mehl and Derek Collins, of Jackson Hole, Wyo., made the 250-mile trek on skates, skis and foot, experiencing extremes ranging from no snow to a full-blown March storm.April 14, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Passover Sandwich

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:11

For this week's Sandwich Monday, our non-Jewish colleagues get an introduction to the wonders of the Passover lunch. Manischewitz rules this meal.

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Nevada Ranch Dispute Ends As Feds Back Down — For Now

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:01

A Wild West-style dispute between a Nevada rancher and the Bureau of Land Management has subsided — at least for the moment. Saying Cliven Bundy owed substantial back fees for allowing cattle to graze on federal land, the BLM had begun rounding up his cattle. But following protests from Bundy and hundreds of others, some armed, the BLM backed down, for now.

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Suspected Kansas Shooter Had Ties To KKK

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:01

The man suspected of killing three people at a Jewish community center and retirement home is a white supremacist formerly of the Ku Klux Klan. As Frank Morris of KCUR reports, 73-year-old Frazier Glen Cross once ran a paramilitary camp in North Carolina. Cross may have been planning the shooting for months.

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Defiant Of Deadline, Pro-Moscow Occupiers Persist

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:01

Pro-Moscow militants have taken over more government buildings in eastern Ukraine, ignoring a government deadline for them to lay down their weapons. The Ukrainian army may enter to retake the region.

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Is there more important funding than schools?

Southeast Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 12:00

As board member Tonia Rioux looks on, Superintendent Steve Bradshaw told assembly members to “love every kid who walks down our streets.” (Image courtesy KSCT-TV)

Should the state do more for schools when local governments — like Sitka’s — are not doing all they can?

That was the question hanging over a joint work session between the Sitka School Board and Sitka Assembly Thursday night (4-10-14).

The board presented a draft budget to the assembly with a modest increase in local support to schools — less than $200,000 — but also delivered a clear message that more was needed.


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They’re calling themselves the “Education Legislature,” but Juneau has not settled on a level of school support this year that most districts consider adequate, and there was a serious attempt to amend the constitution to allow public education dollars to flow to private schools — including religious schools.

This was the backdrop for two recent lobbying trips to Juneau by Sitka school board members Lon Garrison and Jennifer Robinson.

During the work session with the assembly, Robinson said her efforts to advocate for more state funding for local schools were undermined by one issue: Sitka does not contribute the maximum funding allowed by law to its local schools.

Robinson is also director of the Sitka Chamber of Commerce, as well as daughter of Sitka mayor Mim McConnell.

She told the assembly she did not often get on a soapbox, but Sitka’s failure to fully fund schools locally was beginning to take a toll on her.

There are two things that I considered when I moved here: It wasn’t how beautiful it is; it wasn’t that this has been my home. Number one, my family was here, and Number two, Sitka has an amazing school system. It’s a place I know my kids are going to get a great education. If either one of those hadn’t been here, I would not have moved back to Sitka. Because as a single parent, it’s not worth the struggle of trying to survive without family support, or where my kids are not going to get a quality education. I have to pay so much to live here, and I have to work so hard to make it happen, that without education it wouldn’t have been worth it. I’d rather live someplace else where I can afford to live, and can make sure my kids are well-educated and can be successful. And I’m not the only one that feels this way. And if we don’t make sure that we are funding the programs our kids need, we are going to be losing more and more families. There has to be a way to make a living, and there has to be quality schools for families to stay here. I don’t care how affordable the housing is, or what kind of economic development we bring in — if we kill the school system now, we’re not going to keep the families long enough to get to that point.

Robinson asked assembly members — as they prepare to write their own budget — to consider what they were spending money on that “might not be as important as schools.”

The City of Sitka contributed a little over $5-million in funding to schools this year — about $1.6-million less than the “cap,” or the amount allowed by state law.

The city contributes thousands more to the district in ways that don’t count against the cap — through Community Schools, for example, and sports activities. But Robinson and Garrison said they repeatedly were questioned by legislators about Sitka’s failure to fund education to the cap.

Assembly members had no direct response to the board’s appeal. Pete Esquiro was concerned that the district was reducing staff at Baranof and Blatchley.

He questioned the wisdom of cutting people, while pursuing technology goals that would put a computer tablet in every child’s hands in the near future.

Board president Lon Garrison responded that the landscape of education was changing.

There’s no turning back. We’ve taken the exit on the new digital freeway. And there really is no going back. And the way education will be delivered: By the time the kindergarteners this year graduate, my guess is that well over 50-percent of them will go on to get higher education and it will all be distance-delivered. Brick and mortar is fast disappearing, and the world is changing quicker than you can imagine. Things that we did in 2007 and 2008 — it seems like decades ago, especially when you figure that the iPhone was introduced in 2007. It’s difficult to get a grasp on that — I grant you that, Pete. I hear a lot about It’s the People, and I totally agree.

The work session was a more cordial exchange between the two elected bodies than it’s been in the past. In fact, assembly member Mike Reif complimented the board on it’s conservative approach toward its use of reserves, and its expectations for state funding.

One notable difference with past meetings was that outgoing superintendent Steve Bradshaw did not speak until he was invited to share his opinion by the assembly. Over his thirteen years on the job, Bradshaw has occasionally used this forum to press the assembly hard. His swan song, however, was conciliatory.

And I know you’re faced with tough choices. I know the budget’s tight. But I also know that we find ways to get the things done that we want in life. Whether that’s in our personal budgets, our state budgets, community budgets, or federal budgets. And far too often you hear people providing lip service to what’s best for education. This community has always supported education. From Pacific High School to the auditorium, to everything else we’ve asked for. So I would urge you in the future to continue to do that. Because that, I believe, is our goal, is to try to make each generation a little bit better. And again the only way I think we can do that is to teach children to think, to be creative, and to be proud of who they are and where they’re from.

One bright note in school funding this year is Secure Rural Schools. The federal program for states with significant National Forest Lands has funneled $500,000 into the Sitka district over the last several years. Secure Rural Schools was considered a non-existent possibility at the beginning of this budget cycle, but powerful western senators have revived it. The school board is confident enough to add the money to its revenues, and reduce the amount it now expects to take out of reserves to balance the budget to $400,000.

The school board will hold a final budget hearing on April 21, and submit a final budget to the assembly shortly thereafter.

Restaurants: The Modern-Day Lab For Our Smartphone-Obsessed Ways

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:57

Servers and bartenders say those addictive glowing screens are changing restaurant experiences, and not for the better. "This is just sort of the new norm," psychology professor Thomas Plante says.

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In My Family: How are you?

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:39


Dewey Hoffman teaches Raven how to say, HOW ARE YOU? in the Denakk’e – Koyukon Athabascan language.

Pulitzer Prizes Are Out: 'Washington Post,' 'The Guardian' Win For NSA Stories

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:15

Months after exposing the National Security Agency's surveillance program, The Washington Post and The Guardian win a Pulitzer for public service. Donna Tartt won for fiction with The Goldfinch.

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Local blood draws give window into your health

Southeast Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:09

(From left) Liz Bacom, Jessica Fetters, Laurie Miller, Nancy Higgins, and Cindy Fisher stand in front of the “Siemens Dimension Chemistry Analyser” screening machine in the Petersburg Medical Center. Photo/Angela Denning

Advances in technology have made knowing your health a lot easier. Medical equipment at the Petersburg Medical Center allows local lab workers to read fine details of a person’s blood, to find out how their sugar and cholesterol levels are doing and much more. Every other year, Petersburg residents get a chance to check their blood through blood draws associated with the Petersburg Health Fair.

The blood draws have been going on for about the last thirty years. To find out more, Angela Denning spoke with Liz Bacom and Jessica Fetters with the Petersburg Medical Center:

The Health Fair happens April 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the community gym. People can pick up their blood draw results there. The results will NOT be mailed out this year so people must pick them up at the fair. If you miss the fair, you can pick them up later at the lab.

Here is a link to the Health Fair and scheduling.

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