Phillip Manning, KTNA - Talkeetna
Earlier this summer, paleontologists confirmed that fossilized vertebrae found in the Talkeetna Mountains belonged to an ancient sea creature, the elasmosaur. This is the first time that remains of the species have been found in the state.
After a spending freeze by the governor and multiple attempts by the legislative minority to place it back into the state’s general fund, the Susitna-Watana Hydro Project team will now be allowed to spend over six million dollars it has left from previous years.
On Monday, the State of Alaska filed charges against two Anchorage residents for starting the debris burn that turned into the 7,200-acre Sockeye Fire.
The Alaska State Troopers have identified the bodies of two people found near the Denali Highway on Sunday after what they believe to be a double homicide.
The Sockeye Fire is nearly contained, and fires continue to burn throughout the state. Now, many are questioning whether or not fireworks will be available and legal for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The state has lifted its fireworks ban, with the exception of Western Alaska. Many municipal and borough restrictions are still in place, however.
Update: Wednesday, June 17. 5:45 pm.
Lightning strikes are thought to be the cause of two new fires that started Tuesday near the Kenai Peninsula community of Cooper Landing. Both fires are at zero percent containment and power lines have been shut off near the larger fire.
The Sockeye fire near Willow has jumped to more than 6,500 acres, consumed structures, closed the Parks Highway and is headed south. How the fire started has not been determined yet, but officials say it is human caused.
“We just know it was a human caused fire and it is under investigation,” said Tim Mowry, an information officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry.
Update: 10:18 p.m. The Division of Forestry now estimates the size of the Sockeye Fire at over 4,000 acres.
Willow residents from Sharen Road south to Nancy Lake Parkway are evacuating, and many people are stuck on one side or the other of the fire, which has closed the Parks Highway.
A required progress report on the proposed Talkeetna River Dam is overdue, according to the federal agency that licenses large energy projects.
The National Transportation Safety Board has released the preliminary report on a midair collision at the Talkeetna Airport on May 31.
On Sunday evening, an airborne collision between two airplanes hospitalized an Eagle River man. At 5:15 pm, the Alaska State Troopers responded to a report of the collision at the Talkeetna State Airport.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s would-be ferry, M/V Susitna, has suffered expensive damage, and now the Borough estimates repairs could cost as much as $1 million.
The National Park Service reports that the remains of an Argentine climber have been found at a camp high on Denali.
The National Park Service reports that two Idaho climbers have been rescued after an avalanche on Mt. Dickey in the Alaska Range.
The Alaska State Troopers say that both men involved in an overnight shooting on April 18 have died.
On Monday, Army helicopters flew the last round of supplies to Denali base camp for the 2015 climbing season. The unit, dubbed the “Sugar Bears” is well-known in Talkeetna, and has a history in Alaska of combining training and supply runs.
This week, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly went through the quarterly process of approving the next three months of funding for storage and maintenance of the MV Susitna, which currently amounts to about $18,000 per month.
The Mat-Su Borough Assembly unanimously opposed Mayor Larry DeVilbiss’ request for an advisory vote on banning commercial marijuana operations in unincorporated areas of the Valley.
Tuesday night, the Upper Valley experienced an impressive display of the Aurora Borealis. The lights are caused by particles from the sun being thrown into space and interacting with the charged particles in Earth’s ionosphere, which begins about sixty miles above the surface. This is referred to by scientists as a geomagnetic storm. Donald Hampton researches those storms for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He says the geomagnetic storm on Tuesday was very rare.
This year’s Iditarod restart will be in Fairbanks for only the second time in the race’s 43-year history. Poor trail conditions prompted the move, and many some mushers are happy with the change. For businesses in the Susitna Valley, however, there will be a significant economic impact.