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AK

The Begich Tower, a large pastel residential tower, would look more at home in New Jersey than small town Alaska.

Teaching in the City Under One Roof

It takes a different kind of person to live in Whittier, Alaska. The town is accessible only by water or by tunnel, the weather is extreme, and the only housing option is an ugly apartment building. But the community has managed to win over grade school teacher Erika Thompson. 

Alaska Public Media video producer Travis Gilmour spent a day with Thompson and found out life in this one-building town is unique, even by Alaska’s standards.

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November 22, 2013 - 7:00 am
Charlie is Carlton Smith’s second puppet. Smith first started doing ventriloquism 50 years ago as a ten year old boy. Photo by Lisa Phu, KTOO - Juneau.

AK: Tlingit Ventriloquism

Like many other indigenous languages, Tlingit is in survival mode. Revitalizing the language was the focus of this year’s Tlingit Tribes and Clans Conference held in Juneau last week. A Juneau resident has one solution for how to keep the language alive. During a conference session, realtor and assemblyman Carlton Smith gave participants a lesson in how to teach Tlingit to children with puppets. And he does it with the help of a special guest.

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November 15, 2013 - 4:09 pm
The students crowd into the control room to review the Halloween show and go over problems. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/ KTOO)

AK: Live TV

Outside room 119 at Juneau-Douglas High School, a sheet of paper taped to the wall says, “FOG MACHINE IN USE.” It’s the Friday before Halloween, and the usually no-nonsense control room and JDTV News anchor desk is dressed with spider webs, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, black lights, and strobes.

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November 8, 2013 - 6:03 pm
Photo by Ariel Van Cleave, KBBI - Homer.

AK: Road Trip

There aren’t many highways suitable for road-tripping in Alaska, but the ones we do have are dotted with plenty of interesting road-side attractions.

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November 1, 2013 - 11:47 am
Photo by Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage.

AK: Native Crafts

The Alaska Federation of Natives Convention is focused on serious issues and politics. But one of the most popular attractions at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks is a massive ten filled with Native arts and crafts. The vendors’ tent offers a lot of traditional works, with a few surprises.

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October 25, 2013 - 5:24 pm
Whitefish only spawn at night. Locals say they’re best smoked. Photo by Emily Schwing, KUAC - Fairbanks.

AK: Spear Fishing

For one month each fall, Interior residents wade into the crystal clear waters of the Chatanika River to catch whitefish. They spawn in the fall, unlike other fish in Alaska. The state limits both the number of permits and the harvest. This isn’t your typical fishery. Instead of rods and reels, or nets, fishermen use spears.

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October 18, 2013 - 10:49 am
Photo by Alison Eskelin,  DNR.

AK: Float

At 1.6 million acres, the Wood Tikchik State Park is the largest of its kind in the United States. With no road or trails, the park remains a quiet preserve for the fish and wildlife it was created to protect.

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October 11, 2013 - 11:57 am
Ivory cribbage boards sit in custom storage mounts made by museum professional Jon Loring. Photo by Lisa Phu, KTOO - Juneau.

AK: Museum Moving

Construction workers in Juneau are making progress on the State Library Archives Museum building – otherwise known as SLAM. What most people don’t see is all the work behind the scenes.

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October 4, 2013 - 7:00 am
AK: Baby Boost

AK: Baby Boost

As in many small towns in Alaska, there are no babies delivered in Wrangell’s hospital. Expectant mothers have to leave town to give birth. When they return, there aren’t many services to help them adjust to life with a new baby. Hannah’s Place is a non-profit that provides free courses for expecting couples and new parents. In exchange for taking these classes, parents have access to a “free” store that has nearly everything an infant needs.

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September 27, 2013 - 4:29 pm
Photo by Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB - Unalaska.

AK: Salvage

For more than 30 years, Dan Magone has run around Alaska bailing out vessels in distress. In the process, he’s developed a multimillion-dollar marine salvage business – and a reputation. Magone is a daredevil to some, and a savior to others. But now, he’s the one being saved. Facing rising debt, Magone is selling his shop in Unalaska to a larger company. It’s enough to keep the lights on, but it’s going to be a big adjustment for the man at the center of Alaska’s salvage industry.

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September 20, 2013 - 5:38 pm
Photo by Casey Kelly, KTOO - Juneau.

AK: Football

It’s football season in Alaska. The sport continues to gain popularity in the 49th state, where the first official high school football championship game was played less than 25 years ago. But in Alaska and nationally concerns over football’s safety have grown, and more and more parents are refusing to let their children play youth football because of the risk of injury. Football officials at all levels have responded by trying to make the game safer.

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September 13, 2013 - 11:40 am
AK: Preservation

AK: Preservation

In June, the Keku Cannery in Kake was named one of the 11 most endangered historic places in the country by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The building is an artifact of Alaska’s salmon canning industry and its a reminder of the different people that worked there.

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September 6, 2013 - 4:42 pm
AK for August 30, 2013

AK: Surfing Turnagain Arm

It’s one of the few sports that most Alaskans haven’t tried in the state. Our water is freezing, our beaches are rocky and there aren’t many places to catch good waves. But none of that kept Anchorage resident Robert Stormo from attempting a daring surfing adventure along Turnagain Arm.

August 30, 2013 - 6:31 pm

AK: Fishing

This week on AK: We go fishing. A group of four female soldiers spent a weekend last month on the Naknek river. The weather was gorgeous, the fish were biting, and the company was unmatched at the Project Healing Waters retreat. Through the program, the fishing community and veterans organizations hope to help injured veterans in their long recovery. KDLG’s Ben Matheson takes us out on the water.

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August 23, 2013 - 4:05 pm
Photo by John Hagen.

AK: Home Grown Garlic

The Chilkat Valley near Haines in Southeast is known as the Valley of the Eagles. But some residents are trying to bring the valley back to its roots, literally. Agriculture is making a comeback in the where longtime resident George Campbell believes he has the largest crop of garlic in the state this year.

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August 16, 2013 - 5:03 pm

AK: Doves

One of the most rapid and successful invasions of a continent did not happen in any war. It’s happening now – maybe right outside your window. The Eurasian collared dove first came to North America in Florida in 1982, and was seen in Alaska as early as 2009. Experts say the dove represents no threat to the environment or native species. But it is changing how Alaska sounds.

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August 9, 2013 - 5:12 pm

AK: Fish Camp

Dotting the coast line of Cook Inlet from Ninilchik to Nikiski are some of the Kenai Peninsula’s oldest businesses. Many of these commercial fish camps are still owned and operated by the families that started them two or three generations ago. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran has a closer look at the family traditions that are at the center of the culture of setnetting.

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August 2, 2013 - 6:16 pm
Shawaan Jackson-Gamble cleans a halibut for the Kake culture camp. Photo by Erik Neumann, KCAW - Sitka.

AK: Culture Camp

The Organized Village of Kake is a small tribal community on the northwest side of Kupreanof Island. Like many villages this time of year, they just hosted a culture camp, a week of teaching Native youth about traditional food gathering and processing. But during this week of hunting, smoking, and canning, there are a few bigger health issues being addressed too.

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July 26, 2013 - 2:54 pm
Bill Luedke sends weather data to Juneau from a desk in his Port Alexander home. Next to him are two barometers and, on the shelfs above, hundreds of sheets of handwritten weather data from the last few years. (KCAW photo by Ed Ronco)

AK: Eyes On The Sky

For most Americans, local weather information comes from a variety of high-tech instruments. There’s Doppler radar, digital thermometers and barometers, satellite images, weather buoys and more. But in Port Alexander, a small Southeast community, the daily weather report depends on two human beings.

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July 19, 2013 - 3:50 pm
Rusty and Raymond demonstrate their game, War Command. Photo by Shady Grove Oliver, KSTK - Wrangell.

AK: Game Entrepreneurs

Hundreds of years in the future, Earth is rendered uninhabitable. Brothers Raymond and Rusty Hayes are battling for survival. Their weapons? A board, a deck of cards, and some dice. KSTK’s Shady Grove Oliver takes us inside the world of War Command.

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July 12, 2013 - 4:01 pm