Emily Files, KHNS - Haines

Emily Files is a reporter at KHNS in Haines.

The Trump administration’s federal hiring freeze is creating uncertainty for Alaska’s national parks. A Jan. 31 announcement that seasonal employees may be exempt from the order eased some of the stress on national parks. But there are still questions about the future, including for Alaska’s most-visited national park. Listen now

A family of self-described “serial entrepreneurs” in Skagway think they’ve found their final adventure: a craft distillery.

It was a historic year for the Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan. After more than a decade of work, the Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center was opened in May. The center tells the still-evolving story of the Chilkat people. It also houses some of the world’s most admired works of Northwest Coast Art, the Whale House Collection. Listen Now

The Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner will be in Haines next week. Dean Williams is traveling to far-flung corners of the state in preparation for more budget cuts. He is visiting all 15 towns that are part of the DOC Community Jails Program. Listen Now

Alaska’s campaign finance watchdog group held a hearing Tuesday morning on a complaint against former Skagway Assemblyman Dan Henry. The complaint against Henry involves incomplete public office financial disclosure forms. During the hearing, Henry said he misunderstood what information is required on those filings.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker visited Haines and Skagway Friday in what he says was a crucial step toward making a decision on the controversial Juneau Access Road. Listen Now

In less than a month, Skagway voters will cast ballots for two open borough assembly seats, but one more seat may be vacant soon. Listen now

When you think of Buffalo Soldiers, does Alaska come to mind? Probably not. But the African American units formed in the 19th century before the US military was de-segregated are a part of Alaska’s history – specifically, Skagway’s history – during the days of the Klondike Gold Rush.

For more than 20 years, Skagway School was small enough that all students were taught in multi-age classrooms. Listen now

A Canadian company conducting exploration for a potential mine about 35 miles north of Haines was recently granted permission to grow its project. Listen now

Skagway School went through a restructuring this year. An influx in students enabled the school to create single-grade classrooms in the elementary school, increase Spanish and music classes, and start an accelerated learning program. It also opened space for three new teachers.

Whether nonprofit and for-profit businesses should have an equal voice in the Haines Chamber of Commerce has been debated for a while. Members will vote this week on amended bylaws that would clarify the role of nonprofits — allowing them to be members and vote, but not to serve on the board.

Some of the circumstances that led to a brown bear attack near Haines this spring came to light when a wildlife biologist interviewed the victim recently.

Alaska is earthquake country. But many people don’t know the basic safety measures they should take to prepare for an earthquake. The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management wants to change that. The Division hopes to jolt people into awareness with a mobile earthquake simulator. The ‘Quake Cottage’ is scheduled to visit ten communities in Southeast Alaska and the Yukon for the first time ever this fall. Listen now

The Haines Borough is working to replenish its water supply after storage tanks drained so low Sunday that some neighborhoods were left with dry taps. The water shortage sprung from a problem with the transmission line from the borough’s main water source, Lily Lake.

A Haines tribe is calling a recent decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals a ‘historic victory.’ The Chilkoot Indian Association was among five plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging what is known as the ‘Alaska exception’ – which prohibited Alaska tribes from placing their lands into federal trust. After years of litigation, including an appeal from the state, the federal court sided with the tribes. Alaska tribes can now petition for sovereignty over their lands. Listen now
Dead murres on the beach in Haines on Jan. 12, 2016. (Tim Ackerman)

Earlier this year, dozens of dead seabirds washed up on beaches in Haines and Skagway. It wasn’t an isolated event. An estimated hundreds of thousands of dead common murres were found on shores across the West Coast.
A passenger on the deck of an Alaska Marine Highway ferry. (Flickr Creative Commons – supafly)

Sustaining and strengthening the Alaska Marine Highway System is the top priority in a recent plan from a Southeast Alaska economic development group. Southeast Conference puts together a plan about every five years that outlines goals for job and business growth in the region. The state budget picture plays a crucial role in this latest proposal.

A Haines teenager was likely the first transgender student to compete at a statewide high school athletic competition. Nattaphon Wangyot was born male, but has identified as female since she was about five years old. Her participation in last weekend’s track meet in Anchorage drew a lot of attention, both positive and negative. Download Audio

The Alaska Legislature failed to pass a budget Wednesday and will reconvene in special session next week. One proposal that was recently passed in conference committee and could come back in the special session has leaders in cruise ship port communities concerned. The measure would leave those towns without millions of dollars they normally receive from state head-tax revenues. Download Audio