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Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage

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

(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

Anchorage Air Quality Affected by Funny River Fire

Smoke from the Kenai Peninsula wildfire drifted into Anchorage and Eagle River this weekend. The Anchorage Municipal air quality hot line reported Monday afternoon that conditions in Anchorage were considered moderate, but for Eagle River residents, the index was 110, which means the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

May 26, 2014

Conditions Challenging As Funny River Fire Grows to More Than 140,000 Acres

Amid strong winds and dry conditions the Funny River fire has continued to advance through the weekend. State Fire Information officer Michelle Weston said this evening the fire has grown well past 140,000 acres although she did not have a new estimate.

May 25, 2014

Former ADN Executive Editor Pat Dougherty Speaks On Newspaper’s Sale

It’s been a little more than two weeks since the Alaska Dispatch took ownership of the Anchorage Daily News. Pat Dougherty was the Executive Editor of the Daily News and had been with the paper for 34 years. He’s speaking publicly about the sale for the first time. He says he retired from that position when the sale became final because he and Dispatch founder Tony Hopfinger wouldn’t have been able to work together.

Dougherty says he was surprised when he first heard that Alaska Dispatch publisher Alice Rogoff was buying the paper. And he says there’s one thing about the sale he wants the community to understand.

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May 19, 2014

How Much Is The Pipeline Worth?

This week the State Assessment Review board or SARB has been holding hearings in Anchorage over the dispute in how much the Trans Alaska Pipeline should be worth.

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May 15, 2014

Old And Bold Pilots: Chuck Sassara

Alaska is celebrating a century of aviation. As part of an occasional series on Alaska aviators, we’re gathering stories of flying. Chuck Sassara came to Alaska in 1955 after graduating from UCLA. He and his wife Ann drove the Alaska Highway in a VW bus. He got a job the day they got to Anchorage with Pacific Northern Airlines.

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May 14, 2014

Old And Bold Pilots: Warren Polski

Alaska is celebrating a century of aviation. As part of an occasional series, we’ve invited seasoned aviators to tell us about their adventures at the controls. Retired Anchorage pilot Warren Polski came to Alaska with his family when he was 9 and got his pilot’s license at age 16. He flew with the Civil Air Patrol for the next 50 years on search and rescue missions. One memorable flight was right after the 1964 earthquake. Polski took the first plane into Whittier, flying in two workers from the department of public safety. He says the ground was covered in debris and he needed to attempt to land on an airstrip maintained by the railroad.

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May 13, 2014

Panel Discussion Addresses Effects Of British Columbia Mines

Over the weekend, the Western Mining Action Network held a panel discussion in Anchorage on the development of large scale mines in British Columbia that could impact the Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers. All are prolific salmon producers for Alaska.

Chris Zimmer is the Alaska Rivers without Borders campaign director. He says there are a number of mines proposed for BC and two of the most concerning are the Tulsequah Chief mine and the much larger Kerr Suphurets Mitchell or KSM prospect which is half the size of the Pebble mine proposal and 50 times larger than Tulsequah.

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May 12, 2014

Study Finds No Discernable Impact From Tulsequah Chief Mine Discharge On Fish

Chieftan Metals Corporation, based in Toronto, is the owner of the Tulsequah Chief Mine. Company President and CEO Victor Wypryski was traveling and could not be reached for comment today, but a recent posting on the company’s website highlights the results of a February water quality study.

Conducted at the request of the British Columbia ministry of the environment, the study tested four sites on the Tulsequah River, near the confluence of the Taku River near the mine site. Chinook, Coho, sockeye salmon and dolly varden were tested. Researchers reportedly found no discernable impact in fish tissue samples from historic mining discharge.

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May 12, 2014

UAF Mining Extension Offering Basic Prospecting Class

The University of Alaska Fairbanks mining extension program will offer a basic prospecting class in Palmer on Saturday.

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May 9, 2014

Major General Thomas Katkus Responds To National Guard Sexual Assault Allegations

Governor Sean Parnell has been responding to allegations that sexual assault crimes within the state’s National Guard were reported to him four years before he requested a federal investigation. The Governor says as soon as he had specific information, he acted. Parnell’s commissioner of the Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs, Major General Thomas Katkus says the federal investigation should help improve the system.

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May 1, 2014