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Ellen Lockyer, KSKA - Anchorage

elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

Borough School District Seeks Pre-K Funds

The Matanuska Susistna School District’s pre-school program is in jeopardy. “Widening the Net ” brings pre-kindergarden education into selected district schools, but school funding reductions (this year) may force the district to shut down the innovative program in the fall. School district officials vow to continue the program on a reduced basis, if a state grant does not come through in time.

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June 5, 2014

Property Thefts Linked To Drug Use

A jump in property thefts in Matanuska Valley communities spurred the Alaska State Troopers to start a new Crime Suppression Unit in Palmer this year. Property crimes in the Valley may be linked to the increased use of drugs, like heroin, and the trend upward – of both drug use and burglaries, has social costs that have yet to be tallied

June 3, 2014

Alaska Farmers Eligible for USDA Transportation Help

Starting July 21, Alaska farmers can sign up for the US Department of Agriculture’s Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program. Under the 2014 Farm Bill, farmers outside the contiguous US can now receive a portion of the costs of shipping their agricultural products over long distances.

May 27, 2014

Wildfire Smoke Cloaks Anchorage

A thick haze of smoke covered Anchorage and much of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Thursday morning.

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May 22, 2014

Legislators Honor Mat Su Fish Experts

Alaska’s salmon resource often tangles in the nets of politics, but Tuesday night, members of the Matanuska Susitna Borough’s legislative delegation were all smiles as they acknowledged the Borough’s Fish Commission.

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May 21, 2014

Borough Assembly Upholds School Funding Veto

A mayoral veto of a school district appropriation prompted dozens of people to plead with the Matanuska Susitna Assembly for an override at Tuesday night’s meeting, the votes just were not there.

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May 21, 2014

Tyonek Fire Draws Response From State Firefighters

Another fire near the Alaska Native village of Tyonek is drawing a full response from state firefighters. The blaze erupted late Monday afternoon at the village airport, which is across the Chuitna River from Tyonek. But heavy winds in the area pushed the fire across the river in several spots by evening, forcing an evacuation of the village.

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May 20, 2014

Crews Work To Contain Wildfire Near Tyonek

State fire crews are scrambling to contain a wildfire near Tyonek on the west side of Cook Inlet.

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May 19, 2014
(Copyright Bill Benish. Taken on Feb. 28, 2009 in Bronx, New York City)

AK: 2014 Rusty Blackbird Blitz

Rusty Blackbirds are beginning to show up in Alaska for their annual migration to breeding grounds in our boreal wetlands. But researchers are worried that the once abundant bird is disappearing, and they don’t know why.

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May 16, 2014

Motorcycle Collisions Claim 5 Lives This Year In Southcentral

A string of motorcycle collisions have taken five lives in the Southcentral area during the past several weeks. And on a narrow highway shoulder near Palmer last week, riders lined up for an impromptu memorial service at the site of an accident on May 3 that claimed the lives of three members of the Harley Owners Group Alaska Chapter. They placed flowers and flags at the site.

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May 12, 2014

Borough Passes Lower Mill Rate, Okays 2015 Budget

Efforts to maintain a congenial atmosphere during budget deliberations paid off on Thursday evening, as the Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly approved the Borough’s 2015 fiscal plan with minimum debate.

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May 9, 2014

Few Turnout For Borough Budget Hearing

The last in a series of budget public hearings hosted by the Matanuska Susitna Borough brought out few people in Palmer on Monday evening. The budget comes up for discussion before the Borough Assembly on Wednesday, May 7.

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May 7, 2014
(Photo courtesy Matanuska-Susitna Borough)

Borough School Honors Redington, Sr.

Ground was broken Tuesday for the first new school to be constructed in more than a decade in the Matanuska Susitna Borough. The new Joe Reddington, Senior school is located near the original homestead of the father of the Iditarod.

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May 7, 2014

Great Land Trust Planning To Buy Top Of Bodenburg Butte

The Great Land Trust plans to buy the top of Bodenburg Butte in Palmer.

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May 6, 2014

Two Alaska State Troopers Slain In Tanana

A 19-year-old Tanana man has been arrested in connection with the murder of two Alaska State Troopers on Thursday. The bodies of the two slain law officers were brought to the state medical examiner’s office in Anchorage on Friday, accompanied by a Trooper escort.

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May 2, 2014
Photo by Ellen Lockyer, KSKA - Anchorage.

Forestry Trainees Brush Up On Essential Fire Suppression Skills

It’s only April, and already a dozen brush fires have erupted in the Matanuska Susitna area. State foresters are looking ahead to a busy fire season, and fire suppression trainees are brushing up on essential skills – including driving the fire truck.

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April 28, 2014

Court Rules In Favor Of Same-Sex Couples In Property Tax Case

State Supreme Court on Friday justices decided in favor of two same sex couples in a property tax case that could have wider implications for the state.

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April 25, 2014

Survey Finds Mat-Su Residents Want To Maintain Rural Profile

A survey sponsored by the Nature Conservancy indicates that Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents want to maintain a rural profile a quarter of a century from now. The Institute of Social and Economic Research collected the data used in the survey. The results were released last week.

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April 23, 2014

Mat Su Borough FY 15 Budget Outlook

This week, the Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly got a preview of the Borough’s preliminary FY 15 fiscal plan. This year’s budget outlook indicates that some cost cutting may have to be done before the Borough Assembly makes a decision on the final spending package.

April 17, 2014

MEA Official Accuses Anchorage Assembly Of Misusing City Funds

A Matanuska Electric Association official charges that the Anchorage Municipal Assembly is spending city funds on private interests. Joe Griffith, MEA’s executive director, has contacted Anchorage officials with concerns that city money is being spent on one Assemblyman’s legal fight against a power station upgrade.

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April 15, 2014