Ketchikan campus director takes interim UAS provost position

first_imgEducation | Southeast | University of AlaskaKetchikan campus director takes interim UAS provost positionJuly 24, 2015 by Leila Kheiry, KRBD Share:University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Campus Director Priscilla Schulte has accepted a temporary assignment as provost for UAS in Juneau. (Photo courtesy of University of Alaska)University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Campus Director Priscilla Schulte has accepted a temporary assignment as provost for UAS, effective Aug. 9, and will relocate to Juneau for the coming academic year.According to UAS, Schulte will continue in her role as director of the Ketchikan campus, and will return periodically to Ketchikan during her stint as interim provost.A university provost is a high-ranking administrator, in charge of academic programs. As provost, Schulte will represent UAS in leadership venues, including Board of Regents and Summit Team meetings, and Statewide Academic Council, according to the university.A search for a permanent provost is expected to commence in August, and UAS plans for the new provost to start work in early summer of 2016.Share this story:last_img read more

On 40th anniversary, Southeast’s smallest city remains defiant

first_imgCommunity | Government | History | Local Government | SoutheastOn 40th anniversary, Southeast’s smallest city remains defiantAugust 12, 2015 by Joe Sykes, KFSK Share:The view over to Kupreanof from Sharon Sprague’s house on Sasby Island. (Photo by Joe Sykes/KFSK)Most people in Petersburg don’t give much thought to the handful of houses which sit on the other shore of the Wrangell Narrows.But to the people who live there it’s a place they are proud to call home. It’s name is Kupreanof and with just 24 residents it’s Southeast’s smallest, and Alaska’s second smallest, city. And this week it turns 40. It’s a community still proud of their little piece of Alaskan independence and unified against their older brother across the water.When Sharon Sprague and her husband Dick moved to Sasby Island, in the middle of the Wrangell Narrows in 1975, they had to build a life from scratch.“We started with nothing. There was no electricity, there was no water here. Nothing,” Sprague said.Sharon Sprague picks vegetables in her garden on Sasby Island. (Photo by Joe Sykes/KFSK)Since then they’ve created what some might call a homestead. They have their own hydroelectric power system, chickens run around in the garden, and plump fruit hangs off trees ripe for picking.They came here to get away and live out on their own. And together with a group of other isolation inclined individuals they helped found the city of Kupreanof, the smallest city in Southeast Alaska.It sits on the shore of Kupreanof island just next to the Sprague’s house and on the opposite side of the narrows from Petersburg.It began when residents who lived on the island decided they were sick of Petersburg and so organized themselves into an independent city. And the Spragues went with them.And Sharon Sprague says Petersburg and Kupreanof are separate for a good reason.“The two communities are so opposite,” she told me.That opposition still simmers and boiled over in 2013 when Kupreanof fought the establishment of the Borough of Petersburg. They lost that battle meaning they had to pay more money into Petersburg’s coffers but retained their status as a city.At a recent council meeting, jokes at Petersburg’s expense flew over breakfast of watermelon slices, sausages and eggs.“Has the assembly over there every provided you with breakfast?” Kupreanof Mayor Tom Reinarts quipped as he offered me my share of their Saturday morning spread. In a city so small the mayor is not just the mayor.“I’m also the police chief and the fire chief,” he said.Everyone has to play a hand in Kupreanof.Butch Anderson’s been living here for about eight years. He turned up to the council meeting one day just to see what was going on.“There was an extra seat open. So they voted. I got one vote,” he said. “I got in by a landslide, one vote was all it took.”He likes it here because he can kind of do what he wants.“I’m a hermit. I live alone and enjoy life. I don’t like heat. In my house, it will get down to 25 inside. Then I’ll go light the fire,” he said.They’re idiosyncratic. They keep to themselves and because of that sometimes it’s hard to remember just how many people actually live here.“Our official population is 24, I think,” Tom Reinarts said.“I thought it was 25. I read 25,” Butch Anderson jumped in.“Maybe 25, I concede,” Reinarts replied.Kupreanof Mayor, Tom Reinarts, heads up a meeting of the Kupreanof City Council. (Photo by Joe Sykes/KFSK)Either way, their six-member council makes up about a quarter of their population. And while they say they’ve not always seen eye to eye, they do have a common bête noire: The Borough of Petersburg.“We’re like Petersburg’s red-headed step-child. They’re like ‘we want you guys to follow our rules. So we can tell you how to live your life over here, ” Anderson said.So now it’s their 40th anniversary and they’re determined to show Petersburg they’re here, they’ve been here for a long time and they are here to stay.“I think we need to make a big splash for our friends across the bay in Petersburg East,” Reinarts announced at the meeting.He says he calls them Petersburg East because people in Petersburg often refer to Kupreanof by its original name, Petersburg West.They’re proud to be Kupreanof and they know with so few people it will always be a struggle to survive. But Sharon Sprague, standing on her dock looking out over both communities has the answer.“If you’ve got a group of people and they have one goal and they all feel the same and they’re a unit, they have strength,” she said.I ask her what she thinks that goal should be:“To keep it as it is,” she says. “This is a jewel.”And it’s a jewel that will always be a bugbear to Petersburg.“They hate us, they hate us. We’re a thorn in their side. They just wish we’d go away. But we’re not going to,” Sprague tells me with a glimmer in her eye.They’re not going anywhere and if it was up to Sharon Sprague they’d be a thorn in Petersburg’s side for another 40 years to come.Share this story:last_img read more

JPD: Unidentified human remains, items of man missing since 2010 found in Mendenhall Valley

first_imgJuneau | Search & Rescue | SoutheastJPD: Unidentified human remains, items of man missing since 2010 found in Mendenhall ValleySeptember 14, 2016 by Tripp J Crouse, KTOO Share:Jeffrey Walkenford (Photo courtesy of Juneau Police Department)Human remains awaiting identification and items reportedly belonging to a man reported missing in 2010 have been found near Dredge Lake in the Mendenhall Valley, the Juneau Police Department announced Wednesday.The remains have not been positively identified. Identification is estimated to take about six months, according to a police news release.A hiker located the remains at 11 a.m. Aug. 28. Police officers collected the remains, a cellphone and miscellaneous personal items.The items belonged to Juneau resident Jeffrey “Scott” Walkenford, according to police. Walkenford was reported missing in the Dredge Lake area on May 15, 2010. A family member had contacted him on his cellphone to check on him, but he would not tell the family member where he was located, according to North American Missing Persons Network. That was his last known contact.Family members found his car at Mendenhall River Community School parking lot before reporting him missing.Extensive searches at the time failed.In 2010, a donation account was established at Wells Fargo for Walkenford’s daughters, Kayla Walkenford and Brittany Walkenford, according the Juneau Empire. Funds from donations were expected to cover food, clothing and shelter for the youngest daughter and bills related to Walkenford’s disappearance.Share this story:last_img read more

Dan Ortiz calls for Republican candidate Bob Sivertsen to denounce ‘dark money’

first_imgPolitics | Southeast | Southwest | State GovernmentDan Ortiz calls for Republican candidate Bob Sivertsen to denounce ‘dark money’October 20, 2016 by Aaron Bolton, KSTK-Wrangell Share:House District 36 incumbent Dan Ortiz called for Republican candidate Bob Sivertsen on Monday to denounce so-called “dark money” in this year’s campaign.He was referring to the independent expenditure group known as Southeast Voters for Bob Sivertsen, which has spent about $4,000 opposing Ortiz, some of which funded various ads.The Accountability Project, an Anchorage-based group with ties to Southeast Voters for Bob Sivertsen, has one TV ad on its Facebook page attacking Ortiz for voting with Democrats.Ortiz said he sees nothing positive coming out of these ads.“It’s not the way we’ve done things in the past. I’m concerned that groups like that might have more influence as to what happens in elections throughout the district in the future,” Ortiz said. “I think this is not just this year’s issue, it’s an issue of the future as to what our elections will look like as move forward.”Ortiz said the Accountability Project is a vessel for corporate-backed Washington DC money.State records show that a little under half the Accountability Project’s $130,000 in contributions came from Alaska-based groups and that $80,000 came from DC-based groups – and it contributed $5,000 to the Southeast Voters for Bob Sivertsen group.By state law these groups can’t have ties with or fund candidates.Sivertsen said due to their nature, he won’t denounce the money spent.“I think that the bottom line is that they are asking you to not support Dan Ortiz. You can consider that negative in the sense that they’re not asking you to support him,” Sivertsen said. “I don’t think they’re publishing stuff that I would consider non-factual.”Former District 36 Rep. Peggy Wilson chairs the Southeast Voters for Bob Sivertsen group.Wilson could not be reached in time for this story.Two groups, The Alaska Center and Working Families of Alaska, have spent about $4,500 supporting Ortiz.The Southeast Voters for Bob Sivertsen and Accountability Project groups spent about $2,400 dollars in support of Sivertsen.Share this story:last_img read more

Skagway marijuana shop is first to get state license to open

first_imgBusiness | Government | Marijuana | Southeast | State GovernmentSkagway marijuana shop is first to get state license to openOctober 22, 2016 by Abbey Collins, KHNS Share:Tara Bass in The Remedy Shoppe with her license to open. (Photo by Tara Bass)A retail marijuana store is ready to open its doors in Skagway, but it’s waiting on one major detail: the pot.Tara Bass is the owner of The Remedy Shoppe, a red and white building on Skagway’s Third St.Earlier this month it became the first business of its kind in the state to pass its final inspection and receive a license to open.Several other businesses around Alaska have been given state and city approval but Bass is the first to pass the final inspection.Local regulations require a conditional use permit to open in Skagway’s Business General Zone and Bass received that permit in April.There’s one hold up, though, and that is right now Bass cannot stock her shelves. She’s still waiting on testing facilities to open once they get the final go-ahead from the state’s Marijuana Control Office.Bass didn’t want to be recorded for this story, but she says she could open her doors tomorrow if she had the product. She plans to buy marijuana from the local licensed cultivator Coyote and Toad’s Garden.Bass and her husband run the Mile Zero Bed and Breakfast in town. Originally, she planned to turn her downtown location previously owned by her parents into a pharmacy. Instead, it was a vacation rental for several years. Then, she started looking into marijuana after Alaska voted to legalize it in 2014.Bass says she feels there’s a need for a retail store and she doesn’t look at it any differently than alcohol.There are several rules about where pot shops can be located. For instance, they have to be at least 500 ft. from schools and churches. Bass realized that her building was a sweet spot. She also feels it’s a good fit for the community and says she’s gotten a lot of positive feedback.The Remedy Shoppe is the product of several years of work and Bass says she’s grateful for the support that she’d gotten from her community. She doesn’t yet have a set opening date; it all depends on when the other pieces fall into place.Share this story:last_img read more

Mendenhall Valley home burglary suspect arrested, guns reported stolen

first_imgCrime & Courts | JuneauMendenhall Valley home burglary suspect arrested, guns reported stolenMarch 8, 2017 by Tripp J Crouse, KTOO Share:Juneau police arrested a burglary suspect Tuesday after getting a call for a suspicious person in Mendenhall Valley, according to a department news release.Brandon L. Bowhay, 36, of Juneau was arrested on three felony charges including burglary and theft.Shortly after noon, Juneau police said someone reported a suspicious man walking out of a residence in the 9900 block of Stephen Richards Memorial Drive. The caller did not recognize the person, later identified as Bowhay, and said the homeowner wasn’t there.The suspect was seen walking out of the residence with backpacks and a duffel bag. He was wearing a hood pulled up and something covering his mouth.Police contacted the subject near a trailer park and identified him. Another officer responded to the residence and reported a back door had been forced open. Shoe prints were found in the area.The door frame and lock were broken. Damage was assessed at about $1,000. Several items were missing including a shotgun, a rifle, two handguns and a pool stick.Bowhay is being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center.An investigation is ongoing.Share this story:last_img read more

Senate kills Alaska predator protection order

first_imgFederal Government | Syndicated | WildlifeSenate kills Alaska predator protection orderMarch 21, 2017 by Liz Ruskin, APRN Share:A Denali wolf carries part of its prey. Congress is overturning a predator protection measure put in place by the Obama Administration. (Photo by Ken Conger/National Park Service)The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to overturn an Obama Administration rule that banned certain methods of killing predators on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.The vote was 52 to 47.The Obama administration wanted to ban killing bear cubs and wolves in their dens, killing bears over bait and other practices that opponents deem inhumane.The methods aren’t broadly allowed in Alaska anyway, but the state Board of Game said they’re tools that it should be able to deploy, when needed, to restore a balance between predator and prey species.Alaska’s congressional delegation argued the state has the right to manage hunting throughout Alaska and that the rule violated the statehood compact and other federal laws.The House has already voted to overturn the regulation. President Trump is expected to sign the repeal.An identical Park Service regulation remains on the books related to hunting on Alaska’s national preserves.Share this story:last_img read more

Keystone Pipeline oil spill reported in South Dakota

first_imgEnergy & Mining | Environment | Nation & World | NPR News | Public SafetyKeystone Pipeline oil spill reported in South DakotaNovember 16, 2017 by Richard Gonzales, NPR Share:TransCanada, the company that owns and operates the Keystone Pipeline, says that an estimated 210,000 gallons, or 5000 barrels, of oil have spilled near the small town of Amherst, S.D.The cause of the leak is under investigation, according to the company’s website. TransCanada crews detected a drop in pressure at about 6 a.m. CT Thursday morning and shut down the pipeline. It runs from Hardesty, Alberta, to Cushing, Okla., and Wood River/Patoka, Ill.Amherst is about 200 miles north of Sioux Falls, S.D., and about 25 miles from the state’s border with North Dakota.The conduit is not the controversial and long-delayed Keystone XL Pipeline which TransCanada is still shepherding through the approval process.But as NPR’s Jeff Brady reports, the spill comes at a sensitive time for TranCanada.“Regulators in the neighboring state of Nebraska are expected to announce a decision on the company’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline next week. The project and its route through Nebraska has been controversial. Some landowners are concerned about how an oil spill might harm their property and water supplies.”The spill does nothing to enhance prospects for the XL Pipeline, which critics argue should not be allowed to operate.“TransCanada cannot be trusted,” said Jane Kleeb, head of the Nebraska Democratic Party and a longtime activist opposed to Keystone XL, as quoted by the Washington Post.“I have full confidence that the Nebraska Public Service Commission is going to side with Nebraskans, not a foreign oil company,” she added.In its statement, Transcanada said “The section of pipe along a right-of-way approximately 35 miles (56 kilometres) south of the Ludden pump station in Marshall County, South Dakota was completely isolated with 15 minutes and emergency procedures were activated.”The company says that it is providing state and federal regulators “with accurate and confirmed information on an ongoing basis.”Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit this story:last_img read more

Prudhoe Bay job numbers fell to lowest since 2007 this year

first_imgAlaska’s Energy Desk | Energy & Mining | North SlopePrudhoe Bay job numbers fell to lowest since 2007 this yearNovember 29, 2017 by Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk Share:A ConocoPhillips worker at one of the company’s North Slope facilities last winter. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk.)This year, job numbers in the Prudhoe Bay region dropped to the lowest levels in a decade, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.State data shows that in May, 8,923 workers were employed in the region, which is dominated by the oil sector and the industries that support it. The last time numbers were that low was in May 2007, when 8,836 workers were employed there. That’s compared to record-high of 13,485 jobs in March 2015.Oil prices have gone up a bit recently, but Neal Fried, an economist with the state, said it’s hard to predict whether the industry will stop shedding jobs any time soon.“We’re not quite sure whether those numbers are beginning to flatten out or not,” Fried said. “We can’t answer that question.”Fried estimates that in the first half of this year, 2,100 people lost their jobs in Alaska’s oil sector. Fried introduced the data at a recent Resource Development Council conference in Anchorage.The oil price crash that began in 2014 — and the industry layoffs that followed — are at the root of Alaska’s current recession.But Fried said an economic recovery for Alaska doesn’t have to lean entirely on the oil industry.“It’s not going to take a recovery in the oil sector to necessarily cause the recession to come to an end,” Fried said. “There could be other industries that even are just growing marginally.”For the first half of 2017, overall job losses in Alaska slowed. Fried said sectors like fisheries, tourism and the military could help pull the state out of the recession, even if the oil industry doesn’t start adding jobs again.Share this story:last_img read more

Climate task force begins work — and push-back begins, too

first_imgAlaska’s Energy Desk | Climate Change | Energy & Mining | State GovernmentClimate task force begins work — and push-back begins, tooDecember 19, 2017 by Rachel Waldholz, Alaska’s Energy Desk Share:Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott chaired the inaugural meeting of Gov. Bill Walker’s climate change task force on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017. Lisa Busch of the Sitka Sound Science Center is one of 20 people chosen for the commission. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/Alaska’s Energy Desk)Gov. Bill Walker’s climate task force met for the first time Monday in downtown Anchorage.The 20-person team, formed by the governor this fall, is supposed to come up with a list of recommendations for how the state should respond to climate change.But the team is facing questions before it even begins work.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.During the day-long meeting, team members expressed a combination of fear and hope: Fear at how fast the natural world is changing, but hope that climate change might turn out to be as much an opportunity as it is a risk.Isaac Vanderburg, who runs the Anchorage business accelerator Launch Alaska, put it most succinctly.“Climate change is the one thing that keeps me up at night,” Vanderburg said. But, he added, if Alaska can seize the moment, “this is the greatest wealth-creation opportunity the planet has ever seen. I think in Alaska there’s an enormous opportunity here.”Ralph Andersen, head of the Bristol Bay Native Association, said the issue that’s gotten his attention is erosion.“We’re seeing way too many of our villages wash into the sea,” Andersen said. “We’re losing schools, power plants. Basic village infrastructure is either being lost or threatened.”Former state lawmaker and Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule encouraged the group to be realistic in its recommendations. He said promises have been made to Alaska communities in the past, especially on issues like village relocation.This time, Joule said, he’d like a frank discussion of what actions can really be taken, and, most crucially, who will pay for them.“Or whether or not they can be paid for,” Joule said. “At any level. I’ve seen communities that have been hanging out there, thinking that somebody’s going to pay for their move. Are we really?”Several team members have been here before — ten years ago, when then-Gov. Sarah Palin created a similar climate change task force.Molly McCammon, of the Alaska Ocean Observing System, was a part of that effort. She said the last decade has only made things more urgent.“The difference now is the rapidity of the change,” McCammon said. “I think ten years ago, we thought there was going to be more time to prepare and respond to things. Now, we are really facing some really immediate changes, and it’s just happening so much faster. We need to be able to act faster.”One big question is whether the team will be able to build support for whatever recommendations they come up with — not least from state lawmakers.In an indication of how hard that might be, Nikiski Republican Rep. Mike Chenault issued a blistering press release Tuesday complaining that the task force doesn’t include enough representation from business leaders and the resource industries. He said that leaves the team with an “obvious left-leaning foundation.”The task force includes just one representative from the oil and gas industry — BP Alaska President Janet Weiss — and none from mining or timber.It does include two representatives from commercial fishing, along with current and former local and tribal officials; representatives from the University of Alaska and other research organizations; several members with experience in renewable energy; and one from an environmental group.Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who is chairing the task force, defended its make-up. He noted that the Walker administration has also taken heat from environmentalists for not moving fast enough, and said the task force would engage the oil industry in “virtually every aspect of our work.”“The broadest range of voices, of Alaskans being involved and heard is, we believe, crucial to this effort,” Mallott said.Team members will split into working groups to come up with potential recommendations in four areas: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to environmental changes, research and immediate actions.The task force will meet in person just one more time before it must deliver formal proposals to the governor in September 2018.Share this story:last_img read more