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Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage

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

Holly Brooks atop the Birkebeiner podium. (Photo courtesy Holly Brooks)

Holly Brooks Wins American Birkebeiner Ski Race

Holly Brooks won the 51 kilometer American Birkebeiner ski race in Hayward, Wisconsin this Saturday. Brooks is leading the International Ski Federation – or FIS – Marathon Cup – competing in long distance races in Europe, the U.S and later this spring- Russia. She gave up her spot on the U.S. Ski team to pursue an overall win on the Marathon Cup this season.

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February 23, 2015

Anchorage Man Indicted On Sex Trafficking, Sexual Assault, Weapons Misconduct Charges

Xavier Lanell Cook Benson is facing 12 counts related to what law enforcement officials allege in a written release, was a brutal and exploitative sex trafficking and prostitution operation in Anchorage, Juneau, Kenai and Fairbanks.

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February 20, 2015

Seward Highway Reopened After Rock Slide

Alaska Department of Transportation and Anchorage police report the Seward highway is open again. It was closed this morning due to a rock slide near the scales south of Potter Marsh. Both lanes of the highway were closed.

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February 19, 2015

Anchorage YWCA Works for Gender Pay Equity

The Anchorage YWCA has taken on the topic of pay inequity for women. Nationally women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, but in Alaska, the rate is 67 cents, placing Alaska at 48th for women’s pay in the nation. Hilary Morgan is the CEO of Anchorage YWCA, she says when she researched the pay disparity, she thought it may be skewed due to jobs in the resource development industry that required more physical strength, so she examined industries that didn’t require brawn.

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February 18, 2015
Practitioner of Traditional Medicine Stresses Personal Responsibility

Practitioner of Traditional Medicine Stresses Personal Responsibility

Ted Mala grew up in a family that covered a broad career spectrum; from medicine people to movie stars. Dr Mala is the son of Alaska Native movie star Ray Mala and before he became the first Alaska Native to attend medical school and return to Alaska to practice, he learned about traditional medicine from relatives in the region of his childhood home in Buckland.
He believes deeply in the power of traditional healing, but he also makes a clear distinction between it and shamanism.

February 16, 2015
(USGS Photo)

Seabird Decline Could Signal Drop In Ocean Productivity

Seabirds are on the decline in the North Pacific, from the Western Aleutians to Vancouver Island. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey compiled and filtered the data of hundreds of thousands of surveys of different species conducted in the last 40 years to document the decline. They say the decline could signal a drop in the overall productivity of the ocean.

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February 10, 2015

What Do Wilderness Designation Proposals Mean For Arctic Development?

The Obama Administration has proposed designating more than 20 million acres of both on and offshore federal areas be made off limits to development such as oil and gas exploration. The announcement was described as a gut punch by Senator Lisa Murkowski and had the entire delegation and the governor so steamed, they said it was a “war on Alaska.”

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

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January 30, 2015

Sugar Creates Genetic Trouble For Coastal Alaska Natives

The idea that traditional diets are best for coastal Alaska Native people is being further confirmed by the discovery of a gene deficiency that doesn’t allow their systems to process sugar. Dr Matthew Hirschfeld is the director of maternal/child health services at the Alaska Native Medical Center. The intolerant gene causes a condition know as as C-Sid.

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January 28, 2015

Leaner Times In Store For Alaska’s Budget

Governor Bill Walker’s State of the Budget speech made clear that leaner times are ahead for Alaska. His address was a somber departure from the optimistic state of the state address. He noted almost right away that managing the state’s finances into better standing will not be easy.

KSKA: Friday, 1/23 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, 1/24 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, 1/23 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, 1/24 at 4:30 p.m.

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January 23, 2015

Alaska’s 29th Legislature Gavels In

The state legislature began the 29th session this afternoon. House Speaker Mike Chenault gaveled in at 1 pm. The State Senate followed an hour later. Senate President Kevin Meyer is a Republican from Anchorage. He says the caucus has several priorities this year,-the gas line, education, Arctic policy and development and federal over-reach. But he says the state budget will – of course – need the most attention.

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January 20, 2015
Gov. Walker Outlines Priorities For Legislative Session

Gov. Walker Outlines Priorities For Legislative Session

The Alaska Legislature gavels in tomorrow afternoon for the 29th session. Lawmakers – along with all Alaskans will get a better sense of Governor Bill Walker’s agenda for the next 90 days in two speeches this week – the State of the State and the State of the budget. Walker took some time today to talk about his priorities. He says he has a few guiding principles as he crafts a budget this year.

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January 19, 2015

A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale

A new film produced by the University’s Museum of the North in Fairbanks, seeks to reveal the secrets of the undersea migration life of bowhead whales. The animated film is called A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale. The film features English, Inupiaq and St Lawrence Island Yupik narration.

Roger Topp heads up digital media at the museum. He wrote and directed the film. He told APRN’s Lori Tow nsend the project started four years ago and was inspired by the linear passage of time.

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January 16, 2015

More Than 40,000 Earthquakes Detected In 2014

The Earthquake Information Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks logged more earthquakes in 2014 than in past years, a lot more. 40,000. An increase of about 10,000 from the average of the years before it. Michael West is the state seismologist at the center. He says part of the reason they counted more last year was because of better technology.

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January 14, 2015

State’s New Attorney General Outlines Department’s Challenges

Alaska’s new attorney general is a 39-year-old who has spent the last 10 years practicing law with Governor Bill Walker. Craig Richards grew up in Fairbanks. He’s enthusiastic about his new position. Richards says the department of law is dealing with two big challenges right now- the first is the National Guard issue.

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January 13, 2015
Larry Persily on Alaska Edition, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)

The Future Of Alaska’s LNG Pipeline Project

As the Federal Coordinator’s office for an Alaska North Slope LNG pipeline prepares to close its doors, we take a look at the history of the office, the current state of proposed Alaska LNG pipelines and the outlook on the future of the project.

KSKA: Friday, 1/9 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, 1/9 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, 1/9 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, 1/9 at 4:30 p.m.

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January 9, 2015

Is SB21 Working?

Since the Frank Murkowski administration, every Alaska governor has offered his or her own version of oil tax reform. Now, Governor Bill Walker is expressing concern with aspects of the current tax regime.

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January 8, 2015

Post-Holiday Lull Means Less Public Attention For Homeless Needs

Quiet after the frenzy of the holidays is a welcome change for many Alaskans, but for those who live from paycheck to paycheck or are homeless, the quiet can mean less. Less public attention to donations of clothing, food and money during the coldest part of the year. In December, Lisa Aquino took the helm as executive director for Catholic Social Services, the organization that runs Brother Francis Shelter, Clare House and other assistance programs in Anchorage.

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January 5, 2015

Fish and Game Commissioner: All Resources Important

Fish and Game resources are important to nearly every Alaskan and the state’s new acting commissioner of Fish and Game says he’ll take that to heart as he makes decisions. Sam Cotten is a former Democratic state lawmaker. More recently, he’s been a commercial fishermen and a member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

December 31, 2014

Pat Pitney Prepares To Address State’s Budget Issues

OMB’s new director Pat Pitney says she wants Alaskans to be involved in the conversation on how to trim the state budget as the price of oil falls. Pitney is a former vice chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She says budget cuts are necessary, but the Walker administration wants to be strategic about where they happen.

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December 29, 2014

Legislators Urge Governor Walker To Rein In Budget

Alaska lawmakers sent a letter to Governor Bill Walker this week urging measures to rein in budget items. Incoming Senate President Kevin Meyer, a Republican from Anchorage and House Speaker Republican Mike Chenault of Nikiski signed the letter, along with the chairs of the finance committees for both chambers. The letter lays out suggestions such as a hiring freeze for all state departments, limiting agency travel and requesting department budgets for the first six months of 2015.

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December 26, 2014