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Lisa Phu, KTOO - Juneau

Lisa Phu is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

About 30 Juneau residents attended a recent meeting about USDA’s Rural Development housing programs. Under the new Farm Bill, potential home buyers in the capital city now qualify for loans under the programs. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Rural Housing Loans Open Doors For Affordability In Juneau

Residents of the capital city now qualify for “rural” federal housing loans from the Department of Agriculture after Congress raised the population cap for communities to qualify. The loans make home ownership more accessible in a city that lists affordable housing as one of its top issues.

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July 2, 2014
The City and Borough of Juneau and Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Mendenhall Valley Public Library at Dimond Park on Friday. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Breaking New Ground With Mendenhall Valley Library

The city of Juneau held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Mendenhall Valley Library at Dimond Park last week. This means the Juneau Public Libraries branch now located inside a mall will soon be its own stand-alone building. About 50 people attended the event, including many who had a role in making the project happen.

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June 30, 2014

NOAA Considers State’s Petition To Delist Humpback

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will look into whether to take the Central North Pacific humpback whale off the Endangered Species list.

The State of Alaska submitted a petition to remove the whale from the list at the end of February. NOAA announced today it has enough information to warrant further research. This is the second petition NOAA has received to take endangered protections away from the humpback whale.

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June 25, 2014
Front Street Clinic Opens Its Services to All

Front Street Clinic Opens Its Services to All

Juneau’s Front Street Clinic is now providing service to the general public while also continuing care for the homeless.

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June 18, 2014
Volunteer searchers Devon Barrett and Luke Holton make their way to the top of Bear Ridge above Last Chance Basin Sunday, June 15. (Photo courtesy Chelsea Karthauser)

Still no leads on Juneau’s missing hiker

The Juneau Police Department is reaching out to the community for information on still missing hiker Sharon Buis. Detective Nick Garza is with the criminal investigations unit. He’s been working on the missing persons case since Alaska State Troopers exhausted the initial search May 29th. Garza says there have been no developments or leads. 48-year-old Buis was last seen May 23 at Alaska Marine Lines.

June 18, 2014
Gail Cheney holds open the finished “Leadership and Change” robe, woven by her mother Della Cheney. It’s made of merino and alpaca wool. (Photo by James Franco)

Weaving A Journey Of Change

The biennial culture and dance festival Celebration ended Saturday night in Juneau with a Grand Exit. The gathering of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshians began in 1982 with just a few hundred people. This year, 7,000 were expected in Juneau for the 4-day event. The festival, organized by Sealaska Heritage Institute, included performances, lectures and language sessions. The Juried Art Show features Della Cheney’s Ravenstail robe “Leadership and Change.”

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June 16, 2014
The volunteer search table is located behind the Mt. Roberts Tramway building. Volunteers are needed. The team will meet up Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Volunteers can also contact Luke Holton on Facebook. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KT

Volunteers Still Searching For Missing Juneau Hiker

Luke Holton doesn’t know 48-year-old Sharon Buis, but he’s helping to organize the volunteer search effort that started Wednesday, less than one week after Alaska State Troopers called off the official search.

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June 6, 2014
Martin Stepetin digs a hole for the Atka memorial plaque. Onlookers are those who also joined the Friends of Admiralty Island tour. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Remembering The Internment Of 83 Alaska Natives During WWII

More than 70 years have passed since the U.S. government forced the people of Atka from their homes to an internment camp on Killisnoo Island in Southeast Alaska. To protect them from Japanese invasion during World War II, they were moved 1,600 miles from the Aleutian Islands to an old whaling and herring village across the water from Angoon on Admiralty Island.

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June 5, 2014

Searchers Continue Looking for Missing Hiker

Volunteers spent a fourth day searching for missing hiker 48-year-old Sharon Buis. Tuesday’s efforts resulted in no new leads. Buis has been missing since Saturday.

May 28, 2014
Insurance will give SEARHC members more flexibility in health care and generate revenue for the Native medical organization. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Trial Program Aims To Increase Number Of Insured Alaska Natives

A tribal health organization in Southeast Alaska is encouraging members to enroll for health insurance. Through a new program, some Alaska Natives will have an opportunity to get it at no cost.

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May 16, 2014
The theme of this Girls on the Run 5K was tutus. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

‘I Am A Girl On The Run’

When Molly Barker exclaimed, “I feel beautiful,” the crowd of runners, running buddies, volunteers and family members cheered. When she yelled, “I am a girl on the run,” everyone – female and male alike – shouted, “I am a girl on the run!”

May 13, 2014
Doug Sanvik took this photo of a Long-billed Curlew on May 3. To the left of it is a Whimbrel. (Photo by Doug Sanvik)

Juneau Birders Photograph Rare Long-Billed Curlew

A Juneau couple has likely made the first verified sighting of a Long-billed Curlew in Alaska. North America’s largest shorebird, rarely seen in this part of the country, may become No. 502 on the Checklist of Alaska Birds.

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May 12, 2014
The Juneau Community Charter School wants to use part of the additional funding to improve its building. The school leases one and a half floors of commercial space downtown. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Education Bill Boosts Juneau Community Charter School

The Juneau Community Charter School is getting a 56 percent increase to its budget through an upcoming change in state law. New mandates in House Bill 278 give charter schools more parity with other public schools.

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May 8, 2014
Minecraft could help engage students in science, technology, engineering and math. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Minecraft In The Classroom: When Learning Looks Like Gaming

The popular video game Minecraft has made its way into Juneau high school classrooms.

A graduate education course at the University of Alaska Southeast showed teachers how to implement the game in their classes.

KTOO’s Lisa Phu went to a high school algebra class to hear what students have to say about Minecraft – not as a game but – as a learning tool.

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May 7, 2014
Juneau Woman Found Off Salmon Creek Trail Dies

Juneau Woman Found Off Salmon Creek Trail Dies

A 61-year-old woman died after being found in the water off Salmon Creek Trail near Juneau Sunday afternoon. Her body is being sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

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May 6, 2014
Erin Merryn, a victim of sexual abuse as a child, testified last year in the House Education Committee on House Bill 233, also known as Erin’s Law. Rep. Geran Tarr is the bill sponsor. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

Sexual Abuse Prevention Bill Falls Through The Cracks

A bill requiring school districts to implement sexual abuse education seemed poised to become law during the recent Alaska legislative session. Governor Sean Parnell supported Erin’s Law, the Senate passed it, and the House version had 21 co-sponsors. But, House Bill 233 got stuck in Finance.

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April 30, 2014
Delta Air Lines performs a test flight into Juneau. (Photo by Doug Wahto)

Delta vs. Alaska: Dueling Airlines Benefit Juneau

In preparation for daily flights between Juneau and Seattle starting May 29, Delta Air Lines performed test flights in the capital city on Wednesday. For a long time, Alaska Airlines has been the only one flying that route.

Juneau is set to benefit from the competing partner airlines.

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April 21, 2014
The origami peacock for peace is made of more than 2,000 pieces of paper. It’s three feet wide and roughly two feet tall. (Photo by Lisa Phu, KTOO - Juneau)

Origami Peace Peacock Finds Home In The State Capitol

Middle East exchange student Haytham Mohanna and Juneau’s Thunder Mountain High School Art Club presented an origami peacock of peace to the Alaska State Legislature on Monday. The peacock is made of more than 2,000 pieces of folded paper.

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April 16, 2014
Engineers make some of the highest salaries in the state, but only 18 percent of them are women. (Photo courtesy of BP p.l.c.)

Why Alaska women earn less and what they can do about it

President Obama signed executive orders on Tuesday that aim to tighten the pay gap between men and women. The President’s actions take place on national Equal Pay Day, a day symbolizing how long women have to work into 2014 to catch up with what men earned in 2013. Equal Pay Day originated in 1996 to raise public awareness of the wage gap. While discrimination may contribute to Alaska’s pay gap, a state economist says other factors are just as important.

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April 8, 2014
Community outreach librarian Andrea Hirsh points something out to club member Mike Ricker. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

AK: Book Club

Several people at Juneau’s downtown shelter and soup kitchen The Glory Hole are part of a new club. Every Tuesday, they come together on the second floor of the facility to discuss a different topic. The club is helping to build a different kind of community within the homeless shelter, a community not based on need, but on the exchange of ideas.

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April 4, 2014