Treadwell Rejects Setnetting Initiative
Shaylon Cochran, KDLL-Kenai
Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell rejected a proposed ballot initiative aimed at banning commercial setnetting throughout most of the state on Monday. The language in the initiative didn’t agree with a previous Alaska court ruling.
Coast Guard Icebreaker Heads for Antarctica to Free Two Ships
Annie Ropeik, KUCB-Unalaska
A newly refurbished Coast Guard icebreaker is en route to Antarctica to free two vessels stuck in ice. The stuck ships are a Russian research vessel and a Chinese icebreaker, says Allyson Conroy, the Coast Guard’s chief warrant officer for the Pacific Area. The Russian ship has been stranded since before Christmas. The Chinese vessel got stuck when it tried to help.
Ahtna Traditional First Chief Ben Neeley Dies
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA-Anchorage
Ahtna Traditional First Chief Ben Neeley passed away Saturday at his home in Gulkana. He was 99. Ben Neeley was born in 1914 to Tom Neeley and Fanny Ewan at a time when the Ahtna people still practiced a primarily nomadic lifestyle, traveling throughout the Ahtna region following traditional food sources. As a child, Neeley did not attend school. Instead, he learned the traditional Ahtna way of life from people like his father . It wasn’t until much later in life that “Ben” was adopted as his English name.
Environmental Leader Rick Leo Killed in Accident
Phillip Manning, KTNA-Talkeetna
A December 23rd traffic accident claimed the life of Rick Leo of Trapper Creek. Leo was a well-known writer and advocate for environmental stewardship in the upper Mat-Su Valley.
Begich Calls for Restraint in Ivory Trade Policy
Zachariah Hughes, KNOM-Nome
Alaska Senator Mark Begich has written Interior Secretary Sally Jewell asking her to exercise restraint in upcoming policy recommendations on the ivory trade.
Sitka, Anchorage Teachers Win White House Award
Robert Woolsey, KCAW-Sitka
A Sitka educator has won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science. Rebecca Himschoot teaches science. She is one of two Alaskan teachers honored by the White House this year, and one of only 102 teachers nationwide who receive the recognition, which includes a $10,000 cash prize from the National Science Foundation. Amy Laufer, a Math teacher at Kasuun Elementary in Anchorage, also won the award.
Medevac System Undergoing Changes
Ed Schoenfeld, Coast Alaska – Juneau
If you get sick – really sick – there’s a good chance you’ll end up on a flight out of town. Medical evacuations, called “medevacs,” are taking more and more Alaskans to in-state and Lower 48 critical-care facilities. But the medevac system is undergoing changes, with new aircraft, more competition and a shift in patients’ needs.
Justice Department Files Charges Against Heli-ski Company
Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS-Haines
The Department of Justice last week filed criminal charges against a Haines heli-skiing company for repeatedly operating tours on federal land without a permit. The violations came to light because of a fatal accident within the off-limits area in March of last year.