Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO - Juneau

Rosemarie Alexander is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

The number of ships through the Bering Strait grew 118 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. As nations attempt to stake claims for rich Arctic resources, the U.S. currently has little presence there.   The Coast Guard has two ice breakers capable of operating in the region.  That’s four short of the six required to fulfill the agency’s mission in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Download Audio

The Arctic ice cap reached a new low a year ago. In just six months, 4.5 million square miles of Arctic Ocean ice melted, according to a 2012 report by the United Nations.While that may be hard to imagine, the commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star says Arctic ice was the lowest he’s ever seen in all his ice breaking trips to the region. Download Audio

The U.S. Coast Guard is 223 years old. The maritime service was created on Aug. 4, 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service under the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The designer and creator of the popular line Kodiak Coats is moving on to leather and silks, and leaving Juneau. After making her trademark coats in Juneau for more than a decade, Bridget Milligan is moving to Washington state. Download Audio

A new documentary tells the story of one of the most riveting stories of disaster at sea. Download Audio

A smoking ban planned for state-subsidized senior public housing has been postponed. Download Audio

Alaska Administration Commissioner Becky Hultberg is sending a decision on a multi-million-dollar furniture contract back to the judge.

Singing the Alaska Flag Song, supporters of a referendum to repeal the state’s new oil tax turned in more than 51,000 signatures on Saturday to the Division of Elections Anchorage office.

Government subsidized senior public housing will go totally smoke-free in August. The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation will implement no-smoking rules in residents’ apartments, forcing smokers outside to common areas. But some folks at Juneau’s Mountain View Apartments are fighting back. Download Audio

More than 25,000 Filipinos live in Alaska, and now they’ll have an easier time accessing their government. The Filipino Ambassador and Consul General to San Francisco have been in Juneau to celebrate the appointment of the first Honorary Consul of the Republic of the Philippines to Alaska. Download Audio

Alaska continues to add jobs to its seasonal economy. The preliminary statewide unemployment rate for April is 6 percent, the lowest since mid-2007. It dropped a full percentage point from April 2012.

Salt Lake City Police Assistant Bureau Commander Bryce Johnson has been selected to head the Juneau Police Department.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 31st in King County Superior Court for a Seattle-area man convicted of the 2012 murder of 22-year-old Ashton Reyes of Juneau. A King County jury earlier this month found Jacob Andrew Mommer guilty of first degree murder and second degree assault, while armed with a deadly weapon.

A new turboprop aircraft will make it easier for a medical transport service to land in some Southeast Alaska communities. Airlift Northwest will operate a Turbo Commander as well as the Learjet between Juneau and rural communities. Listen for full story

The so-called Coastal Caucus has given some Alaska senators a louder voice in the lopsided Republican majority that favors the state’s urban centers.

Former Juneau Mayor Bill Overstreet is being remembered as a persuasive and successful spokesman for Alaska’s capital city during the capital move fights of the 1970s and 80s. Overstreet died last week in Sun City West, Arizona, where he and his wife Jean have spent their winters in recent years. He was 86-years-old. Download Audio

Friday will be the first Vietnam Veterans Day in Alaska. Gov. Sean Parnell has signed legislation designating March 29 of each year as a day to honor those who served in Vietnam. The law takes effect immediately.

The more than 30 speakers at Monday’s Save Our Schools hearing were preaching to the choir; that is, the Alaska House and Senate Democrats who called it to bolster their fight for increased public school funding. Download Audio

The Parnell administration and two public employee unions have reached tentative agreement for a new three-year contract to begin in July. The Alaska Public Employees Association settled earlier this week; the Alaska State Employees Association finished late Thursday afternoon.

It may be months before the Federal Communications Commission rules on GCI’s application to take over two small television stations in Southeast Alaska and one in Anchorage. Commercial broadcasters have lined up to oppose the purchase and request a hearing before the commission, something the FCC is often reluctant to do. The question hinges on whether the merger is in the public’s interest.