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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.

Listen to iFriendly audio.

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.

Why Babies Cry At Night

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 10:51

Maybe she's not just hungry. One scientist thinks the chubby bundles have a devious plan: Exhausting a mom delays the arrival of another brother or sister.

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A Trip to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 10:10

Photo by Doug Lindstrand.

Click for the full audio story:

Today we’re visiting the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. When driving along Turnagain Arm, you might miss the modest sign for the AWCC near Portage Creek. But if you do manage to find your way into the wildlife center, you’ll find some interesting animals with equally fascinating stories.

“Everybody comes in with a special or unique reason. The end goal with as many of them as possible is reintroducing them back to the wild. It’s one of the big areas we differ from the zoo,” Scott Michaelis says.

Michaelis is the Director of Marketing and Sales for the AWCC. He says most of the animals will find their way back to the wild at some point. But not all of them.

“With some of them due to the conditions they’ve come into captivity to us, reintroduction will never be a possibility. Like brown bears for instance, they gain such a high comfort level in captivity with humans that it’s actually been made illegal to reintroduce bears,” Michaelis says.

A lynx, hanging out near the edge of the enclosure.

And that’s fine by the AWCC. After all, two of their brown bears are national celebrities. Their mother was killed in a defense of property shooting.

“The Department of Fish and Game went in and didn’t know that the mother had cubs. And shortly after they found two cubs up in a neighbor’s tree,” Michaelis says.

So one Fish and Game investigator, who happened to be a former gymnast, scaled the tree and carried the bears down to safety. The story went national, and ended up getting the cubs a pair of sponsors.

“They said whatever we have to do to sponsor these bears and bring them into captivity and not put them down we’ll do. And our two adult brown bears, Joe Boxer and Patrón are named after their respective sponsors,” Michaelis says.

The AWCC operates a tour bus that offers a short drive, but some vast viewing.

“It surprises people; a lot of them think we’re just that roadside ranch. But once you actually make the turn in you get into the landscape, and it’s very expansive,” Michaelis says.

This eagle only has one wing.

The center spans more than 200 acres, and is home to some interesting creatures. There’s an eagle with an amputated wing, several black-tailed deer, and more than 200 wood bison.

“We’re currently the only facility in the United States that has any wood bison. The wood bison are the only animal to be taken off the extinction list, so it’s a very unique undertaking,” Michaelis says.

The center also owns some one-of-a-kind real estate.

“This is where the Kenai Peninsula meets the mainland of Alaska; it’s where Turnagain Arm comes inland. We technically own the last five feet of Turnagain Arm property. And we’ll see everything from hooligan and salmon runs to wild beluga whales down here during high tide,” Michaelis says.

And Michaelis touts that as one of the center’s biggest selling points. He says on a daily basis, you can see the captive wildlife interacting with the actual wildlife. Eagles perch the trees, fish swim under the boardwalk and bears will occasionally roam on to the grounds to check out Patrón and Joe Boxer. Michaelis says if that’s not enough to draw you in, the final stop on the tour just might do it. The last enclosure holds a pair of lynx, and they are the fan favorite; probably because they behave more like house cats than wild animals.

“They absolutely love that window in the top of their enclosure. They’ll sun bathe up there in the early morning because it gets good sunlight. Some of the wild birds that are in the area, they’ll keep very close tabs on. Very much like a house cat, they’re very interested in the birds,” Michaelis says.

Algo Nuevo: April 13, 2014

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-04-14 09:51

Here’s the Sunday, April 13, 2014 edition of Algo Nuevo con Dave Luera — Something New with Dave Luera. If you have questions, comments or music requests for host Dave Luera, send email to algonuevo [at] alaskapublic [dot] org or post your comment at the bottom of this post. All tracks played are listed below in the following format:

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



Shape Shifter







EMI Latin



Aguita De Melon

Abel Lucero

Los 15 Grandes 2013

El Baile Grande



You’re Still a Young Man

Jay Perez

All the Way, Live

Tejas Records



No Puedo Estar Sin Ti/All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down

Lorenzo Antonio

Los 15 Grandes 2013

El Baile Grande



Manana Que Me Vaya

Latin Breed


Tejas Records



Mi Inspiracion

Patsy Torres

Mi Inspiracion

World Class Records


La Mucura

The Pete Dominguez Orchestra






Los Lonely Boys

Los Lonely Boys

Or Music



Mar Y Arena

Ana Gabriel

Canciones De Amor

Sony Music



El Chupa cabra Cumbia

Jake Y Grupo Firme

Sabor De Las Vegas Nuevo Mexico

The Music Album




Mariachi Paisano Del Valle

Las Chispas

Sena Music



Mil Amores


Tejano Old School Vol. 1




Diferencieas Sociales

Johnniel Y La Raza

Tejano Old School Vol. 1




Cerca De Mi

Samuel D

Cowboy Cumbia

Samuel D Productions



Sexy Cumbia

Texas Latino

Un Nuevo Camino

New Village Records



Steve Jordan Tribute

Tejano Sound Band

Cierra Los Ojos

Cuni 52 Music



Al Pie De Un Crucifico

Preston Garza

Yo Soy Chicano




Dime Que Me Quieres

Gary Hobbs

Dime Que Me Quieres










Si Tu Te Vas






Reyes Ruiz

Daniel Lee Gallegos

Sabor De Las Vegas, Nuevo Mexico

The Music Album



El Viejon

Los Tucnaes De Tijuana

Lo Mejor





Tanya Griego





El Chlifado

Texas Latino


EMI Latin



La Guadalupana

Miguel Timoteo

Los 15 Grandes 2013

El Baile Grande



Fui Sonador

Grupo Quemoso

El Regreso

Q Zone



Senorita Tequila



Steve Chavez Studios



En El Amor

Ram Herrera

En El Amor




Don Luis El Tejano

Latin Breed

Juan Manuel Barco – Mis Canciones




Flor De Entrana

Al Muniz

Llego El Buen Amigo

AM Latin




Laura Canales

Juan Manuel Barco – Mis Canciones




Ando Brindando

Jerry Lopez

Mis Raices

CR Records



Un Dia A La Vez

Bryan Olivas




Dutch Test Glow-In-The-Dark Road Of The Future

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 09:35

Luminescent paint absorbs energy during the daylight hours and then glows green in the dark. If widely adopted, the inventor envisions an energy-saving smart highway.

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