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Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage

ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori

Court Decision Allows Tribes To Apply For Lands To Be Placed In Trust

Tribes in Alaska are celebrating a decision that allows them to apply for lands to be placed into trust status with the federal government.

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December 18, 2014
Valerie Davidson. (Photo by Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage)

Medicaid Expansion, Child Welfare Top Priorities For New DHSS Commissioner

Valerie Davidson has been one of the biggest advocates in the state for Medicaid Expansion. Now implementing that expansion is one of her top priorities as Alaska’s new Commissioner of Health and Social Services. Another focus for Davidson will be child welfare- she just served on the U.S. Attorney General’s advisory committee on Native children exposed to violence.

Davidson started in the job December first. She says when she accepted the appointment she consulted her two daughters and her mom.

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December 10, 2014

Assistant District Attorney Killed In Barrow

A state attorney was shot and killed in Barrow last night. Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Law’s Criminal Division Rick Svobodny says Brian Sullivan was killed some time before midnight. Barrow police are leading the investigation.

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December 9, 2014
Alaskans March In Anchorage To Support Justice For All

Alaskans March In Anchorage To Support Justice For All

Carrying signs and chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot”, and “Black lives matter”, a crowd of more than 150 Alaskans marched peacefully through downtown Anchorage Saturday afternoon to draw attention to issues of racial inequality and justice, after the shooting of an unarmed black man in Missouri and the choking death of another black man in New York ended with no charges for the officers involved.

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December 6, 2014

Alaska’s Top Military Commander Checks In After A Year On The Job

Alaska’s top military commander, Lieutenant General Russell Handy has been on the job here for more than a year. He’s overseeing ALCOM here at a time when the U.S relationship with Russia has grown frosty. In September, Russian military flights that were within 50 miles of the Alaskan and Canadian coast lines caused enough concern that F22s were sent from JBER to intercept them. Lt. General Handy says the Russian flights did not cross into the 12 mile international boundary zone and were not considered hostile.

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December 4, 2014
Valeri Davidson (left) and Walt Monegan (middle), talk with host Lori Townsend (right) on Alaska Edition. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)

Reports Highlight High Rate of Violence in Alaska

Two recent reports highlight the tragically high rate of violence in Alaska. One from the FBI is a revision of how rape is defined in the state. The new definitions have resulted in much higher numbers in a state that already suffers from being the worst in the nation for sexual violence. The second report looks at the impact on Native children from exposure to violence in their homes and communities.

KSKA: Friday, 11/21 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, 11/22 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, 11/21 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, 11/22 at 4:30 p.m.

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November 21, 2014

Alaska Ocean Observing System Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Alaska Ocean Observing System is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary of aggregating information about ocean conditions and sharing that data with a wide range of partner organizations and other ocean users. Molly McCammon is the executive director of AOOS. A former director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill trustee council, she was asked to head up a new ocean observing organization in 2003. McCammon says Congress wanted a better system to integrate ocean research and in 2004, AOOS was launched. She says traditional research looks at what needs to be learned, but AOOS starts with who the users are and what they need to know to make decisions.

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November 19, 2014

Scientists Report Steep Decline in Number of Polar Bears

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey are reporting a steep decline in the number of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea. In a study published on Monday, they show the population dropped 40 percent in the first 10 years of this century.

November 17, 2014
Alaska Edition Host Lori Townsend, left, is joined by APRN Juneau correspondent Alexandra Gutierrez, right, and APRN Washington DC correspondent Liz Ruskin, not pictured. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)

As Final Ballot Count Looms, Potential Electees Plan Next Move

The Division of Elections will continue counting ballots today – Friday – 8 business days after the November 4th election. As Alaskans wait for final counts in especially the Governor and U.S. Senate race, the presumptive winners, Bill Walker and Dan Sullivan, are planning their way forward. However, it’s important to note that as of today, Friday—neither Governor Sean Parnell or Senator Mark Begich have yet conceded, that of course could change later today based on ballot counting that will take place later today.

KSKA: Friday, November 14 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 15 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 15 at 4:30 p.m.

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November 14, 2014

YWCA Presents 25th Annual Women of Achievement Awards

Tonight in Anchorage the YWCA will present the 25th annual Women of Achievement award to 10 Alaskan women who have helped others. Some as well known news makers and others, who have quietly gone about the tasks of improving the lives of those around them, without much attention. Hilary Morgan is the YWCA’s CEO. She says the women’s advocacy organization has a theme for this year’s event of honoring the past, inspiring the future.

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November 13, 2014

Filmmaker Documents Emotional Toll Of Caring For Alzheimer’s Patients

Local filmmaker Mary Katzke of Affinity Films, has taken on the subject of family members caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease. Katzke says she started out documenting friends in the sandwich generation: Those with careers, children at home and also caring for aging parents but she focused in on five families dealing with Alzheimer’s because of the emotional toll of caring for a family member who may not recognize you. One of those caregivers is Janet Burts, who has been caring for her mother since her father passed away in 2010. Katzke says in a state with the fastest growing elder population per capita of any other, exploring the individual decisions that each family has to make is timely.

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November 11, 2014
Host Lori Townsend was joined by UAA Atwood Professor Mark Trahant and Poynter's Rick Edmonds (not pictured). (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)

Who Do Voters Trust For Election-Related Information?

The elections are finally over, although in Alaska, there is still uncertainty over the U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial race outcomes. Those race results will not be clear until more than 20,000 early, absentee and questioned ballots are counted next week.

KSKA: Friday, November 7 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 8 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 8 at 4:30 p.m.

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November 7, 2014

‘The Fortunate Child’ Focuses On Education, Equality

A novel by first time author Archana Mishra focuses on the need to make education more readily available to women. The Anchorage resident is a Native of India and lived and worked in Australia before moving to Alaska. She says for rural women in India, indigenous people in Australia and rural women in Alaska, the need is the same. Education creates equal societies. Mishra is an attorney and says all of the women in her family are highly educated. Her book, The Fortunate Child follows a girl who dreams of changing the world through helping others. She says women can’t be part of a thriving economy if they are not educational equals.

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November 6, 2014

Alaskan Voters Opt To Legalize Marijuana

Voters approved ballot measure two last night. The measure makes legal the production, sale and use of marijuana for Alaskans over 21 years old. Washington DC and Oregon approved similar measures.

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November 5, 2014

More National Guard Documents Released, Most Unresponsive

The Alaska Attorney General’s office released a fourth set of documents concerning the Alaska National Guard on Saturday. The 171-page packet contained mostly press releases and official photographs.

November 1, 2014
Host Lori Townsend (left), speaks with retired judge Elaine Andrews (middle), and retired Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti (right) on Alaska Edition. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

Alaska Edition: Judicial Council

One of your duties as a voter is to select judges for retention. Toward the back of your voter guide, you will find considerable information about those judges. Their basic biography-everything from their age to what communities in the state that they have been residents of. Their education, the political and government positions they have held, their interests and a statement from the judges themselves.

KSKA: Friday, October 31 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 1 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, October 31 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 1 at 4:30 p.m.

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October 31, 2014

Alaska Federation of Natives Wraps Up Annual Convention

The Alaska Federation of Natives wrapped up their annual convention with the usual process of amending and voting on resolutions. The resolutions process was similar to past conventions except for the notable difference this year of candidate endorsements.

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October 27, 2014
From left, Libertarian candidates Mark Fish (U.S. Senate), Carolyn Clift (Governor), and Andrew Lee (Lt. Governor). (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)

Libertarian Candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate

Libertarians believe citizens should be free to engage in any activity that does not violate the rights of others. Their party wants government out of the way so people can pursue liberty and freedom. How would this translate to elected positions?

APRN: Tuesday, 10/28 at 10:00am

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October 24, 2014
Forrest Dunbar is the Democratic candidate for U.S. House.

U.S. House Candidate Forrest Dunbar

Lifelong Alaskan and political newcomer Forrest Dunbar is young and determined. This Yale Law grad wants to be Alaska’s next Congressman. Dunbar is running as a Democrat. His social policy fits with that party, but he says he is more in line with Republicans on resource development.

APRN: Wednesday, 10/29 at 10:00am

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October 24, 2014
(Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)

Statewide Legislative Races; And The Alaska Federation Of Native Convention

From Southeast to the Northwest Alaska and many places in between, some interesting races and ballot issues top voter concerns. Also, the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention is happening in Anchorage, covering a variety of rural issues.

KSKA: Friday, October 24 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 25 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 25 at 4:30 p.m.

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October 24, 2014