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Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage

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

What Should Alaska’s Fiscal Plan Be?

What Should Alaska’s Fiscal Plan Be?

The level of spending by Alaska’s state government cannot be sustained. In the coming years as reserves are spent down, what are the choices that will have to be made? And when will they have to be made? Early next month, there will be a public forum to try to get some clarity about the state’s fiscal future.

APRN: Tuesday, 9/23 at 10:00am

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September 19, 2014

Researchers, Academics Convene On Arctic Development Issues

Researchers and academics from multiple nations are gathering at the University of Alaska Anchorage this week to aggregate research on Arctic development. There are two efforts underway. The first is the initial meeting of Arctic Frost or Arctic Frontiers of Sustainability, looking at resources and development in a changing north. The idea is to bring together existing international research, clarify the new knowledge and get the information out to the public and schools. Dr Diane Hirshberg is the Professor of Education Policy and director of UAA’s Center for Alaska Education Policy Research. She says in addition to Arctic Frost, the second Arctic Human Development report will be released. The base line study was conducted 10 years ago.

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September 18, 2014

Energy Development Proponents Meet In Anchorage

Proponents of energy development are in Anchorage for the 10th annual Alaska Oil and Gas Congress. Canada’s Northwest Territories Premiere Bob McCloud says Alaska and the Territories have a lot in common – great resources that are stranded in remote locations.

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September 17, 2014

Alaska Democrats Vote To Support Independent Candidate for Governor

The Central Committee of the Alaska Democratic Party voted Monday evening to support an Independent party ticket for Governor and Lieutenant Governor comprised of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott. Mallot has been the Democratic nominee for Governor but would run as Lieutenant Governor with Walker on the Independent ticket. The vote was 89 to 2.

September 1, 2014

One Company Bids In Sealed Bid Lease Sale

Only one company bid for a single exploration lease this morning at a state division of oil and gas sale. Bill Barron, division director said the exploration area is on state land on the Iniskin Peninsula area of southwest Cook Inlet near Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. He said the first exploration of the area started in 1902 near Oil Bay and continued through the 1950s.

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August 6, 2014

Business leaders and Politicians Meet in Whistler BC for Economic Summit

The Pacific Northwest Economic Region, or PNWER, summit is happening right now in Whistler British Columbia.

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July 24, 2014

Alaska Supreme Court Affirms Tribal Court Jurisdiction

The Alaska Supreme Court issued a decision today in a long running tribal court jurisdiction case. The case stems from a Minto tribal court decision that terminated parental rights.

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July 18, 2014

Smithsonian Channel Program Attempts To Encapsulate 49th State

A program airing this Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel tries to capture the majesty of the 49th state. Toby Beach is the producer and director of Aerial America. The show features all 50 states, but only Alaska was given a two hour treatment rather than one. Beach says the program cuts through the distorted view of Alaska that people may get from the flood of so-called reality TV shows about the state.

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July 4, 2014

ANTHC Wins $153 Million Settlement

153 million dollars is the huge new settlement for back contract support costs due the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium from the Indian Health Service. The settlement clears up a 15-year backlog of underpayments and was announced on Friday.

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June 30, 2014
Alaska Edition: Earthquakes

Alaska Edition: Earthquakes

Even by Alaska standards, there has been a lot of seismic activity recently. Alaska is located in the Ring of Fire, so it’s not unusual for there to be frequent earthquakes and volcanoes kicking up occasionally, but starting in April, there has been some unusual seismic activity in the Brooks Range. An area near Noatak has, since April, seen a spike in earthquakes after a 30-year quiet period.

KSKA: Friday, June 27 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m.
KAKM: Friday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 28 at 4:30 p.m.

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June 27, 2014
(Graphic from Marine Exchange of Alaska)

Shipping Safety Advocate Criticizes Arctic Preparedness Plans

As the summer arctic shipping season gets underway, a member of a group that formed after the Selendang Ayu ran aground a decade ago, is calling for more rescue tugs, monitoring and risk management measures in the Bering Strait and Unimak Pass.

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June 24, 2014
(Photo by Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage)

Urban Yeti Improv Group Enters Second Season

How can you tell when a town has matured into a city? You could use sheer population numbers, but that’s boring. How about entertainment offerings? Anchorage can now boast two comedy Improv groups. Scared Scriptless has been around for several years, and newcomer Urban Yeti Improv is starting its second season.

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June 12, 2014
NCAI president Brian Cladoosby. (Photo by Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage)

Land Trust For Alaska Tribes Is A Popular Concept

At a wide ranging press conference during day three of the NCAI gathering in Anchorage today, BIA Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn said the concept of taking land into trust for Alaska tribes is a popular one.

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June 10, 2014
Justice Department To Work With Tribes To Enhance Voting Access

Justice Department To Work With Tribes To Enhance Voting Access

The National Congress of American Indians is holding their mid-year conference in Anchorage this week. Titled-Claiming our Rights and Strengthening our Governance, the conference started yesterday and runs through Wednesday.

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June 9, 2014
(Photo by Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage)

Graduation Marks 10th Anniversary Of Dental Health Aide Therapist Program

A group of six dental health aide therapists graduated from training Friday in Anchorage. The ceremony also marked the 10th anniversary of the innovative program that places mid-level dental practitioners in under-served rural communities across Alaska. 81 villages in the state now have therapists.

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June 9, 2014
Wind Gusts Push Over Trees In West Anchorage

Wind Gusts Push Over Trees In West Anchorage

Wind conditions in Anchorage were not predicted to be strong enough to cause damage today, but sporadic gusts fell at least two trees in the Turnagain neighborhood in west Anchorage.

May 31, 2014
Begich Speaks On VA Care In Alaska

Begich Speaks On VA Care In Alaska

Amid national outrage over the Veterans’ Administration’s handling of medical services for veterans and congressional calls for the resignation of VA secretary General Erik Shenseki, Senator Mark Begich today stopped short of calling for a resignation, but Begich said officials from the top down will be held accountable when Shenseki’s report comes out.

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May 29, 2014
Evacuation Order Lifted for Funny River Road Residents

Evacuation Order Lifted for Funny River Road Residents

Residents of the Funny River Road community were allowed to start returning to their homes as state fire officials lifted the evacuation order at 9 am this morning. Although all evacuation orders have been suspended at this time, residents were cautioned that there is still an evacuation advisory in place which could result in another evacuation order should conditions change.

May 27, 2014

Tyonek Fire Almost Contained

The Tyonek fire, which started a week ago Monday, is currently burning at just over 1,900 acres. The blaze is between the villages of Tyonek and Beluga. Tyonek fire incident commander Bob Allbee reports the fire is now 85% contained with full containment expected by tomorrow, May 28th.

May 26, 2014

Feds Updating Development Scenarios for Chukchi

The federal government on Friday released a status update on the court ordered revision of an Environmental Impact Statement for Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in an April ruling that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) had underestimated how much oil may be recoverable in Arctic Ocean development.

May 26, 2014