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Ellen Lockyer, KSKA - Anchorage

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

Bears Maul Hiker Near Bird Ridge

A bear mauling in the Bird Creek area has sent one woman to an Anchorage hospital. At about 10:20 Monday morning, Alaska State Troopers got a call for help from a hiker on the Penguin Ridge trail.

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July 7, 2014

Alaska Highway Projects Likely Safe Despite Federal Shortfalls

News that the Federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money is worrying a lot of states, but not Alaska. In a letter to transportation departments all over the country earlier this month, the federal Department of Transportation announced that if Congress did not take immediate action, the trust fund would be depleted in a matter of weeks, forcing federal highway officials to institute cash management procedures in August.

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July 7, 2014

Spring Creek Prison Death Ruled Homicide

The death of an inmate at Seward’s Spring Creek maximum security prison has been ruled a homicide. In the early hours of Sunday, 29-year-old Elihu Gillespie was found unresponsive in his cell, and taken to Providence Seward Medical Care Center. Gillespie was pronounced dead about an hour later.

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June 30, 2014
(Photo courtesy Rant & Raven)

AK: Dance

Although the ancient form of dance called English Morris was born so long ago its origins are murky, it remains alive and well, even in frozen Alaska. Rant and Raven, Anchorage’s Morris dance group, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, with a tour on the Alaska Marine Highway.

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June 27, 2014

Air Quality Permit Raises Ire

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has given the go ahead for an air quality permit for Usibelli Coal’s Wishbone Hill mine near Palmer. The move has been met with outrage by members of the Castle Mountain Coalition, an anti-coal group in the Matanuska Valley.

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June 12, 2014

Air Force Confirms Delay Of HAARP Demolition

The U.S. Air Force is expected to slow down the demolition slated for Gakona’s HAARP facility. Wednesday, Air Force Research Lab public affairs representative Charles Gulick, emailed APRN saying, “Air Force Leadership is currently considering the option of deferring the dismantling for up to 10 months to allow time for a potential transfer to another entity.”

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June 11, 2014

Alaska Judicial Council Recommends All But 1 Judge For Retention

The Alaska Judicial Council has released its recommendations for retention of state District and Superior court judges. The judges will come up for vote on the November ballot.

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June 11, 2014

HAARP Demolition Reportedly ‘Put On Hold’

The Gakona High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program may have been saved in the nick of time.

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June 10, 2014

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