What was the original intent of the Alaska Permanent Fund? A rainy day savings account for Government funding after oil was depleted or a fund to pay citizens a dividend and subsidize programs? What happens if the fund is drawn down to help shore up budget shortfalls? We’ll discuss a UAF course designed to answer these questions with former state government officials who were there during the early days.
Alaska's immigrant population is growing at a faster rate than almost any other place in the nation, and most of the people who arrive in the state are of working age. Immigrants are starting new businesses, paying taxes, and helping build our local economies. On the next Talk of Alaska we'll talk about the contributions of foreign-born Alaskans and the challenges they face when starting a life here. Listen Now
More than two dozen murders have taken place in Anchorage since the beginning of the year. APD reports that of the 15 homicides since June, six were engaged in drugs or other criminal activity. Four were domestic violence killings. Five were in isolated areas of the city in the late evening/early morning hours, prompting APD to caution citizens to “Be extra aware of their surroundings and to report any suspicious person or activity to police.” The long message also says, “If you plan to be out late at night, make sure you travel with several friends and not alone.” Listen Now
The pinch of state budget cuts is being felt across the state. How will these impacts affect Alaska University system campuses, especially the smaller campuses? What can the university system do to build in sustainability and long term fiscal stability? Listen Now
The village of Shishmaref voted to move their village and along the coast of Alaska, discussions are taking place about how to adapt to survive into the future. Workshops designed to move beyond studying change to look for solutions within communities are happening and our guest host will lead the discussion about their findings. Listen Now
There was a lot of concern about a big fire season this summer after a winter of very low snow fall and a dry spring. There were some burns but the season was not remarkable for fire, it was more of note for hot temps, then rainfall, mudslides and flooding. El Nino is getting to the geriatric stage and La Nina may be moving in. What will that mean for the next 6 months? We’ll talk to the climate experts and find out. Listen Now
Wind impacts everything from seed distribution to powering light bulbs. In the fascinating, deep dive tradition of his first two best-selling books ‘Cold’ and ‘Heat’, author Bill Streever examines all aspects of moving air in his latest book, ‘And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind.’
Opioid abuse and addiction is a national crisis and Alaska is suffering the impacts of prescription and illegal drug problems right along with the rest of the country. An upcoming summit on opioid abuse will take place in Palmer next week and the nation’s top Health and Veterans officials will be here for it. Listen Now
Governor Walker’s plans for overhauling the system of funding state government has met with resistance from lawmakers and the public. Lawmakers are unhappy with his vetoes and cuts to the PFD but they haven’t mustered an override and they haven’t passed a fiscal plan. What can possibly break the divide between the Governor’s plans and the desires of lawmakers and the public? Listen Now
In the wake of more police shootings of black men, the attacks in Dallas, and subsequent protests nationwide, including in Alaska, the time is ripe to have an open conversation about race and law enforcement in Alaska. Though we’ll be talking specifically about the Black Lives Matter movement, you can’t talk about these topics without touching on the disproportionate number of Alaska Native men who are incarcerated and why that happens. Download Audio
From hydroponic basil grown in an Anchorage café basement, to high-tunnel green houses in Homer, to hot-springs heated tomato farms in Fairbanks to local produce at the base of Brooks Range, climate change, technology, government grants and a greater interest in local food are changing agriculture in Alaska. Download Audio
The loss of high paying oil industry jobs has economic impacts that ripple throughout the state’s economy. From industry support service jobs to engineering firms and even the local coffee shop, further job losses are not only possible, but likely. How are Alaskans dealing with these cuts and how much might industry job loss affect the broader economy? Download Audio
Words have power. Recently the federal government quit using certain words to describe ethnic groups. Words like Eskimo and Aleut. Young Alaska Native people are increasingly using their Native names on social media and professionally. There's also a push by some to return to the original Native descriptors for places and landmarks.
Alaska Pridefest week runs from June 18th to the 25th and is an opportunity to celebrate and support diversity in the broadest sense, mixing fun with education about the triumphs and ongoing struggles for equality for LGBTQ citizens. This year's event will also be a time of somber reflection after the Orlando massacre. We'll discuss pride week, respect and safety on the next Talk of Alaska. Download Audio
Engineers 97th Regiment assigned to build the Alaska section of the Alcan Highway were composed of African American soldiers. Talk of Alaska has gone into Alaska's hidden military history a number of times, discussing the secret fire balloons launched by Japan, for instance, and the Aleutian battlefield debris, Cold War spying, and other things. Both of our panelists have researched these issues and written on them
The world's bear researchers meet every 18 months. Past meetings have been in Greece, the Georgian Republic, etc. This one's in Alaska, starting June 12. This is a big deal. Among other events, there are evening lectures open to the public, one by mauling survivor Dan Bigley, the guy who had the top of his face removed by a bear in Alaska, another by well-known public broadcaster Richard Nelson. But our guests will be biologists. Our panel will delve into the science of a subject that is always of acute interest to Alaskans, from Polar Bear tundra to Brown Bear stream to Black Bear rainforest. Bear biology, status and bear/human behavior will be on the agenda. Download Audio
How much do you pay for electricity? If you live in rural Alaska- the answer is likely a lot. Most rural Alaskans pay at least three times more for their electric bill than residents in Anchorage
Lawmakers couldn't pass a budget plan during 121 days of regular session and will now try to break the gridlock in a special session. All current proposals include using permanent fund earnings to fill the deficit. But the idea of the permanent fund is that it will be...permanent and some Alaskans say, don't touch it.
What happens when a ship runs aground or sinks in Alaska and the owner abandons it? The state is potentially on the hook for what can be a huge expense. Derelict vessels are a big problem in Alaska. State, federal and environmental organizations work together to try to get these hazards out of our waterways but it's difficult and dangerous.
Alaskans have strong, wide-ranging opinions on just about any topic, but one thing most agree on is a love of the state’s most iconic fish - salmon! A new book brings the stories of 50 Alaska writers together to celebrate what many will be doing this summer-casting nets and lines, hoping for a good story and a great meal.