Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori
The Alaska State Legislature sign at the Legislative Information Office in Downtown Anchorage.

State lawmakers called themselves into a third special session to pass a scaled back capital budget. It was a long time in the making, but does the compromise signal that lawmakers can come together on a longer term budget plan for the state? What sticking points remain? Listen Here

Malcolm Ribot is a transgender man from Illinois who's been traveling around the U.S. for the past nine months helping trans men connect with one another. When his journey started, he just wanted to meet some of his many social media followers. He soon realized his network could support people as they go through gender transition and increase the visibility of the trans community. Now he's in Alaska -- his 49th state. Listen now

This spring, a controversy erupted when an extreme environmentalist launched an online attack on a teenage whaler from St. Lawrence Island. Listen now

State lawmakers called themselves into a third special session in order to pass the smallest capital budget in 17 years. Legislators reached compromise -- but still don't have a long term budget plan for the state's future. Will they call a fourth special session? Listen Here

This morning the president declared that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, but thousands already do. That includes service members based in Alaska. Alaska Public Media's Lori Townsend spoke with Air Force Staff Sergeant Emma Horner, who came out as transgender to her fellow military members in October. Listen now

Disability claims for veterans can take up to five years to process. Why? The VA has been plagued with problems for decades. Funding shortages, poor coordination, and a range of complex health issues faced by service members have all created barriers for vets seeking care. Amid increased attention on the problems, are improvements on the horizon? Listen Here

Environmental groups lost their fight to stop the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. But along the way they brought to light an obscure bit of federal code that requires intense scrutiny of every major construction project. Listen Here
Alaska News Nightly by Alaska Public Media

In Kotzebue, An aging trove of Inupiat photographs, books and recordings at risk of deteriorating are being assessed in the hope they can be digitized for future use. Listen now

Alaska lawmakers avoided a state government shut down by passing an operating budget, but the deal doesn't address long term stability and both Republicans and Democrats expressed disappointment over things they had to give up. The political divisions remain. Listen Here

40 years ago, the first barrel of oil started flowing down the trans-Alaska pipeline. Completing the pipeline was an epic, three-year saga that required tens of thousands of workers, great feats of engineering and perilous work on mountain passes. On the next Talk of Alaska, we'll explore that pipeline history as part of the series Midnight Oil, from Alaska's Energy Desk. Listen Here

The study by U.S. Geological Survey researchers and others said the already at-risk bears have to burn more calories to stay within their preferred habitat as sea ice drifts. Researchers have documented declining body condition, reproduction and survival among polar bears as diminished sea ice gives them fewer opportunities to hunt for seals.

Polar bears need sea ice to survive. Scientist Steven Amstrup has devoted his career to polar bear research and is definitive in calling for global action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as those outlined in the Paris climate accord. The U.S. is no longer party to the agreement. So now what? LISTEN HERE

Over the last few decades, the role of women in media and newsrooms has dramatically changed. From being confined to writing mostly about humor or household tips, now, women commentators and columnists write about politics, sports, the economy and yes, family life, too. From Erma Bombeck to Molly Ivins, the role for women in society's dialogue has matured. Three of the state's columnists join us on the next Talk of Alaska. Listen Now

Russian fighters have flown near Alaska's coast 5 times in recent weeks. U.S. military officials stress the flights and intercepts are within the realm of normal, a Russia expert says it's a test of American readiness. Where do these incidents fit within the current and future role of security in the region? Senator Dan Sullivan will discuss it on the next Talk of Alaska. Listen Now

Alaska is in a recession...again. There's a lot of hand wringing about the state's fiscal future but beyond simply bridging the current funding gap, what can and should a diversified economy look like? A new 5-year economic strategy developed with state and private sector business leaders focuses on addressing Alaska economic future. Listen Now

For a teacher who loves nurturing confidence in students as much as he loves mathematics, being the first Alaskan to be inducted into the National Teacher's Hall of Fame was the fitting cap on nearly 30 years of inspiring young people in Alaska and other parts of the world. Listen now

Allergy and asthma sufferers beware, the pollen and mold season is upon us. There are only two spore collection sites in the state, Fairbanks and Anchorage, and the instruments were activated this week. The University of Alaska and the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center run the monitoring program. Listen now

Last week, Russian military planes flew near Alaska's coast on four separate occasions. American military intercepted two of the flights and Canadian fighters joined their U.S. counterparts during the fourth intercept. All were legal, in international airspace and American military leaders have downplayed concern. Listen now

What does it take to be a sustainable fishery? One that provide healthy food and healthy oceans? A new Frontline Documentary entitled the Fish on my Plate by bestselling author Paul Greenberg tackles that question. Greenberg visited Alaska and traveled the world's oceans and fish farms to find out, eating only seafood for a full year. Listen Now

In a new memoir, Alaskan author Kate Troll tackles the issue of conservation and climate change. The book is called The Great Unconformity: Reflections on Hope in an Imperiled World. Listen now