Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage
afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8443 | About Annie
Lonnie Dupre says cold weather is his forte. And it’s a good thing too. The mountaineer has spent the last three winters trying to become the first person to summit Denali solo in December and January. He’s failed all three times and encountered harsh storms, temperatures well below zero and death defying ice along the way. But the Minnesota explorer – who now spends part of the year in Homer, says he’s still optimistic the climb can be done.
Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood says the tram will be running Saturday afternoon for the first time in six weeks. One of the tram cars was severely damaged New Years Eve, when a wind gust blew it into the tram tower. The tram car was impaled in the incident, and the five people aboard, including the tram operator had to be evacuated on ropes by ski patrol. One guest suffered a minor head injury.
Kikkan Randall won the world cup skate sprint near Sochi, Russia today, on the same course that will serve as the Olympic venue next year. The Alaska Pacific University skier won all three heats.
Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska’s beaches. It’s debris from the devastating Japanese tsunami in the spring of 2011. One of the hardest hit beaches is on Montague Island at the entrance to Prince William Sound. APRN’s Annie Feidt visited the beach with a marine debris expert and has this story.
A new report shows Alaska would see a big economic boost if the state decides to accept federal dollars to expand the Medicaid program. But Governor Parnell has expressed serious reservations about the expansion.
Governor Sean Parnell has appointed Judge Joel Bolger to the Alaska Supreme Court. He currently serves on the Alaska Court of appeals. He will replace Justice Walter “Bud” Carpeneti, who announced his retirement last year.
Tsunami debris from Japan is fouling shorelines all along the west coast of the United States. It’s also providing a unique research opportunity for scientists studying invasive species. At the Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage this week, Oregon State University associate professor Jessica Miller gave an update on her research work on the two massive docks that washed up in Oregon and Washington last year.
A group of health reform advocates went through heroic efforts to meet the deadline for applying for an innovative program under the Affordable Care Act. They were hoping to start what’s called a health cooperative in Alaska- an organization that would offer an alternative to buying insurance from the major carriers. But a day after the application was submitted, the fiscal cliff deal in Washington erased all new funding for the program.
Even though the legislative session doesn’t start until tomorrow, lots of behind the scenes work is underway at the state capitol. APRN’s Annie Feidt wandered the halls today looking for activity and has this story.
The Tram at Alyeska Ski resort won’t be running again for at least another month. One of the tram cars was damaged in an accident on New Year’s Eve when a wind gust blew it into the tram tower. One guest suffered a minor injury in the incident.
Shell’s Kulluk drill rig has successfully been anchored in Kiliuda Bay, on the east side of Kodiak Island. It took the Kulluk about 12 hours to be towed 45 miles to the bay. It was re-floated a little after 10 p.m. last night.
It’s hard to imagine a person crazy enough to want to climb Denali alone in the depth of winter. But Minnesota adventurer Lonnie Dupre has tried – and failed – twice in the last two years. Earlier this month, heavy winds forced him to abandon his latest attempt and retreat back to base camp.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is one step closer to finalizing a management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope. Salazar signed off today on the preferred alternative for the reserve and released the full details on what’s included in the plan.
The Interior Department is expected to finalize its management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska this month. The proposed plan sets aside half of the reserve for environmental protection. The state has several grievances against the federal government over NPR-A. But one of the thorniest issues involves dozens of exploratory oil and gas wells the government drilled decades ago but did not properly clean up.
Walruses face an uncertain future as sea ice disappears from the Arctic Ocean. But two recent scientific papers shed some light on their plight. One study looks at where walruses forage in the summer as the ice retreats far off the continental shelf. The other predicts how the disappearing sea ice could impact walrus population numbers in the years ahead.
A 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook Anchorage at 4:42 this afternoon. The earthquake was centered 27 miles directly west of Anchorage in Cook Inlet, right next to Tyonek.
This was a remarkable year for the federal government’s annual aerial whale survey in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Observers spotted several species that had rarely or never been documented in the more than 30 years the survey has been running. Researchers say the unusual sightings may be part of the “new normal” that has taken over the Arctic Ocean as global warming fuels sea ice retreat.
In Barrow, the sun has set until January. In Fairbanks, residents have five hours and 22 minutes of sunlight right now. So in comparison, Anchorage’s six and a half hours of sun each day sounds generous. Still, that leaves quite a bit of time for dark in the state’s largest city.
Governor Sean Parnell wants the State Board of Education to make student performance an important part of teacher evaluations. The board has been working for months on drafting a new rule that bases 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on student achievement. The Governor wrote a letter to the board this week, asking to boost that figure to 50 percent.
Democrat Hollis French has retained his state senate seat by just 54 votes. The Division of Elections released the final vote tally Wednesday. French’s race against Republican businessmen Bob Bell for a seat that represents southwest Anchorage attracted the most campaign spending for state races this election.