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Lisa Phu, KTOO - Juneau

Lisa Phu is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

From his bedroom window, Haytham Mohanna took this photo of Israeli flares about a week ago. (Photo by Haytham Mohanna)

Former Haines Exchange Student Now Living In War Zone

Just days after exchange student Haytham Mohanna made the long journey from Southeast Alaska to his home in the Gaza Strip, the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated into war.

Haytham lived and studied in Haines through a U.S. Department of State program that brings students from Muslim countries to America.

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August 5, 2014
The Lemon Creek Correctional Center. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Corrections)

Troopers Investigate Inmate Overdose at Juneau Prison

Two male inmates at Juneau’s Lemon Creek Correctional Center overdosed on drugs last week. Both men survived and are still in custody.

Now, the Department of Corrections and the Alaska State Troopers are investigating what happened.

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August 1, 2014
This isn’t the first time Sophia Nylen has donated her earnings to a cause. Her mother says she’s given money to The Glory Hole. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Eight-Year-Old Busks For A Cause

One of Juneau’s youngest buskers is raising money this week for a good cause. Elementary school student Sophia Nylen can sometimes be seen playing her violin in downtown Juneau with an open violin case to collect money. This week, all proceeds will go to the family that lost their Twin Lakes home to a fire on Friday.

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July 31, 2014
Insurance will give SEARHC members more flexibility in health care and generate revenue for the Native medical organization. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

SEARHC to Receive $53 Million Settlement from Federal Government

The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will receive a $53 million settlement from Indian Health Service for about fifteen years of unpaid contract costs.

Now SEARHC president and CEO Charles Clement hopes the federal agency will continue to pay its bills.

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July 30, 2014
A considerable amount of city resources is spent on addressing the needs of chronic inebriates who are homeless. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Why Juneau Should Be Next For Housing First

Momentum is building in the capital city to provide housing for the homeless who suffer from substance abuse.

Housing First is based on the idea that the homeless can’t deal with problems like alcoholism and medical issues until they have a permanent place to live.

Anchorage and Fairbanks have Housing First facilities. In Juneau, some non-profit organizations, city officials, and legislators think it’s a good idea.

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July 29, 2014
Visiting Japanese fishermen photograph salmon returning to the hatchery. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Japanese Fishermen Visit Alaska for Ideas on Sustainability

A group of Japanese fishermen is touring the Northwest United States to get an education in fisheries. The group’s first stop was Juneau where they toured the hatchery at DIPAC Monday morning.

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July 24, 2014
Corey MacDonald and his wife (not pictured) have three children – Miles, 7; Leland, 5; and Chloe, 4. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

In Transition: When a Family of Five Calls One Room Home

Juneau charity organization St. Vincent de Paul has a record high number of people staying in its transitional housing shelter. Usually, around 55 people live in the 26 units. At the moment, there are 66 occupants, almost half are children.

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July 17, 2014
Naturalist Steve Merli shares a little known fact - a bear has never been documented harming a person that’s in a group of five or more. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

AK: Bear Aware

For naturalist Steve Merli, bear education isn’t just about staying alive. The way he sees it, knowing how to behave in bear country allows Alaskans to explore wilderness more deeply.

Merli works with Discovery Southeast, a Juneau organization that connects kids with nature programs.

Earlier this month, KTOO’s Lisa Phu joined campers for a lesson that had some questioning their assumptions about bear encounters.

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July 11, 2014
TODAY Show anchor Natalie Morales powders her face before going on camera. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

TODAY Show Live From Juneau

About 1,500 people showed up for an early morning live broadcast of the TODAY Show from Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier. They waved signs, cheered and waited hours for a chance to be on national TV for a few seconds.

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July 10, 2014

TODAY Show to Broadcast Live from Mendenhall Glacier

The NBC TODAY Show will broadcast live from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center early Thursday morning. Juneau residents are invited to attend.

TODAY’s Natalie Morales will host a portion of the show from the visitor center pavilion from 3 to 6 a.m. to air live on the East Coast.

July 9, 2014
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