Lisa Phu, KTOO - Juneau
Lisa Phu is a reporter at KTOO 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.