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 enormous $940 million class-action lawsuit against the BIA on behalf of tribes cleared the last court hurdle today in New Mexico. The case stems from decades of short-funding tribal contracts. More than $100 million will be awarded to tribal organizations in Alaska. Download Audio

The Alaska Legislative session started today in Juneau. The Senate gaveled in at 11 a.m. and House speaker Mike Chenault started things off for the House at 1 p.m. Lawmakers have a lot of work ahead of them as they attempt to address the state’s massive budget deficit. Download Audio

Gov. Bill Walker is in Juneau preparing for tomorrow's start to the legislative session. Regardless of other considerations, the big challenge will be finding common ground with lawmakers over how to fix the state's large and growing budget deficit. Download Audio

University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen was direct in his recent comments about budget cuts the university system is facing. “We face terrible challenges, horrible challenges, tough challenges,” Johnsen said at the recent State of the University address. What does this mean for the future of higher education in Alaska? APRN: Tuesday, 1/19 at 10:00am Listen now

Nearly three decades after the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, the litigation for the remaining cash the state and federal governments could pursue from Exxon is at an end. But one biologist says the spill's after-effects may linger for centuries. Download Audio

Nearly three decades after the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, the litigation for the remaining cash the state and federal governments could pursue from Exxon is at an end. But one biologist says the spill's after-effects may linger for centuries. Download Audio

The Anchorage Museum is getting a big financial boost from the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Rasmuson family, for an expansion. It's a gift of $24 million -- $12 million from the foundation will be matched by the Rasmuson family. Download Audio

Sea birds are having a tough time in Alaska. Thousands of dead murres have been washing up on beaches in coastal communities and even found inland. biologists are working to pinpoint what's causing this massive die off. Is it El Nino? The warm water blob? Or something else entirely? APRN: Tuesday, 1/12 at 10:00am Listen now

Federal scientists discovered the battered remnants of two whaling ships near Wainwright in the Chukchi Sea this fall. The ships are believed to be from 1871 when 33 ships were trapped by sea ice. Miraculously, all 1,219 people stranded survived the harrowing ordeal. Download Audio
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (left) and Alaska Arctic Adviser Craig Fleener in the Talk of Alaska studios. (Photo by Josh Edge/APRN)

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan has been on the job for one year and has focused on military and veterans issues. He's also been highly critical of the Obama Administration's Arctic strategy, saying a more comprehensive policy is required. In a time of state and federal budget restraints, how will Arctic needs be addressed? APRN: Tuesday, 1/5 at 10:00am Listen now

A lifelong Alaskan and a relative newcomer to the state combined forces recently to make a short film called Arctic Contrast, winning a video contest sponsored by the Norwegian Embassy in DC.

More than 30,000 Alaska residents were called for jury duty last year. Were you one of them? The state court system relies on a steady stream of jurors to fairly try cases across the state. A Jury Management Committee including judges and court administrators is currently examining ways to improve the overall jury selection process and to contain rising costs. Download Audio

Prisoner treatment has been a national topic of discussion and a recent report on the Alaska Department of Corrections found numerous problems in the state's system. Governor Bill Walker called the system broken, fired the commissioner and put long time Alaska law man Walt Monegan in charge of making changes at DOC. APRN: Tuesday, 12/29 at 10:00am Listen now

George Frese, Eugene Vent and Kevin Pease are spending their first day out of prison today in 18 years. They were released yesterday in Fairbanks after the court approved a settlement in the case of the murder of 15-year-old John Hartman. The other member of the Fairbanks Four was Marvin Roberts, who was paroled earlier this year. Download Audio

On Sunday evening, the issue of Alaska coastal erosion will be featured on the Al Jazeera America program "Fault Lines." The correspondent for the story is former APRN reporter Libby Casey. She says they highlighted Newtok and Kivilina on the northwest Arctic coast. Download Audio

The chairman of the marijuana control board says the state is on track with its regulatory process work. But regulatory hurdles at the federal level -- like product inspection, transport and banking -- still linger. Download Audio

A story in Audubon magazine this month details how regulators cut corners and rushed the work schedule as they worked to accommodate Shell's plan to drill in the Arctic last summer. The article follows an Inspector General report released last week showing federal scientists felt they were too rushed to do an adequate job on the environmental review of Shell's proposal. Download Audio

What will it mean to have legal marijuana in Alaska? State and local governments are working right now on regulations for licensing marijuana retail businesses and growers. What kind of shops will be allowed? Who will be able to grow for commercial sales and where? What are the security implications? APRN: Tuesday, 12/10 at 10:00am Listen now

Republicans in Alaska are suing in federal court to overturn the state’s strict limits on donations to political candidates and groups. Download Audio

A lot of Americans would welcome a forecast for a mild winter, but in Alaska a lack of snow and ice can mean hardship for those in rural communities who depend on cold for traveling and hunting. What happens when the land of ice and snow isn't so frosty? APRN: Tuesday, 11/24 at 10:00am Download Audio