The state has intervened in a case on the side of a man convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault of the mother of his children. At issue is the authority of a tribal court over a non-tribal member and tribal court procedures.
The Interior is coming off what’s likely to be a flat tourism season. Official numbers are not in yet, but Fairbanks Convention and visitors Bureau president and CEO Deb Hickock doesn’t expect anything surprising.
“If we had a little bump it was just a tiny bump and nothing to write home about, so I would say essentially flat,” Hickock said.
Hickok says a trend of declining long haul road traffic likely continued with more people flying north for Alaska travel. She points to this summer’s hot sunny weather as a plus, but adds the season suffered a late start.
“I know all of us can’t think back that far, but it was a very cold May and operationally, for example for riverboat tours we actually had new ice forming on the river, which was unprecedented, I think,” Hickock said. “But then, I think we regrouped in June, July and August [and] September.”
“People are still coming.”
Looking ahead, Hickok says winter tourism continues to grow in Fairbanks. She cites recognition in the past year by Lonely Planet, National Geographic and the L.A. Times with helping pump up interest. Hickok says Japan Airlines, a major conduit for winter visitors, has a robust draft schedule for the upcoming season.
As the summer tourism season wraps up, Interior operators are already looking to next year – and worrying how they’ll deal with a move by a major industry player.
The Westmark Hotel in Tok is about to shut its doors for another tourism season. But unlike previous years, they won’t open again next May, because Westmark’s owner,Holland America Line, is permanently closing its hotels in Tok and Beaver Creek, in the Yukon.
An owner of a motel in Tok says her business may benefit by gaining customers that would’ve checked-in at the Westmark. But, says Diane Young, co-owner of Young’s Motel, the Westmark’s closure is going to hurt thecommunity’s tourism-dependent economy.
“I mean, it’s going to impact Tok a lot, because that whole complex is closing,” Young said. “That’s a big business for our small community. And I’m sure the same is true with the Westmark in Beaver Creek.”
Holland America officials say the two hotels won’t be needed to accommodate the tourists that the company’s buses bring, because starting next season, Holland America won’t be busing tourists from Fairbanks to Dawson City. Instead, they’ll travel by air.
Company spokesman Erik Elvejord says that’ll enable tourists to spend more time in Fairbanks and Dawson, and less time on the road.
“So, what used to be a two-day motor coach drive of Fairbanks to Tok and then Tok to Dawson City, or the other direction, is now about a two-hour flight with transfers,” Elvejord said.
Young believes Holland America made the change in part due to the often-marginal condition of the rugged Taylor Highway that runs from Tetlin Junction to Dawson City.
But Elvejord says his company’s decision was based on customer feedback.
“We’ve been doing some research with our guests, trying to figure out where to take our product up there, the land-cruise tours, and what people were looking for,” he said. “And we were getting back a lot of research and answers about wanting to spend more time in destinations.”
Elvejord says the change will affect 21 tours around the state. Six of those ran between Fairbanks and Dawson.
He says the company’s new policy reflects what seems to be a growing preference among travelers to Alaska.
“Travelers have evolved,” Elvejord said. “It’s become more of a focus on let’s get there and what can we do when we’re there. And the there has been primarily Dawson and Fairbanks and Denali.”
Elvejord says Holland America will use buses next year to transport tourists on some tours between Fairbanks and Denali National Park that had previously used the Alaska Railroad. The company announced that plan earlier this summer, as part of its efforts to get tourists to their destinations more quickly.
Holland America’s decision has prompted at least one other Interior firm to get out of the tourism business. Officials with Delta Junction-based Whitestone Farms cited Holland America’s move as the main reason that after 27 years Whitestone will pull out of the restaurant and gift-shop concessions at Big Delta State Historical Park.
State Parks Northern Region Area Superintendent Brooks Ludwig says he intends to seek offers from other businesses interested in operating those concessions next year. Ludwig says if he can’t find a suitable concessionaire, he’ll consider operating the businesses with volunteers.
That 911 call a Matanuska Susitna Borough resident dials when emergency medical, fire or law enforcement help is needed, gets answered promptly, but critical response time depends on a long list of variables.
As it stands now, both the Palmer and Wasilla police departments have public safety answering points or PSAPs. The Borough contracts with Palmer dispatch for all fire, rescue and EMS resources, and for law enforcement calls within Palmer city limits. The Alaska State Troopers use MatCom, a division of the Wasilla Police Dept., as a dispatch for law enforcement calls for unincoporated areas outside Palmer or Wasilla city limits and for the city of Houston. All calls made from a cell phone in the Borough go to Palmer. Dispatchers there determine the location of the caller, then re-route the call to Wasilla, if necessary. It’s the re-routing that is causing problems within the system. Joe Blatschka is with Bothell, Washington – based ADCOMM Engineering.
“The population in the Borough, as everybody knows, shouldn’t be any surprise, is growing as well as the call volume is growing, and that will force at some point some operational and structural changes in 911 dispatch. Staff utilization region – wide is not optimized and consolidating can address all of these issues. There’s a pretty significant improvement in call processing time and call processing flow if you were to consolidate.”
Blatschka’s company recently presented a draft feasibility study on consolidating the two dispatch centers within the Borough at a special meeting of the Borough Assembly and the city councils of Palmer, Wasilla and Houston. Blatschka said there is a framework in state law that allows consolidation. That task will take 5 to 7 months, construction or renovation of a new building and a hike in phone surcharges within the Borough.
Dave Magonette , also with ADCOMM, said the two systems are performing the same functions. They both use the Computer Aided Dispatch system, orCAD, which is the primary tool for tracking and handling incidents, but the CAD’s are not communicating with each other.
”Some 911 callers basically have to tell their story twice in order to get assistance, because of the way calls are routed. There is a potential for uncoordinated responses, and this occurs when emergency medical might be dispatched to a location where law enforcement has also been dispatched, but because they’re dispatched by two different agencies, there is the potential that they may not know each other are responding. “
Magonette says nationwide the most common 911 call is a domestic violence call. If a domestic violence call comes in to Palmer from an unincorporated area, it would be transferred to Wasilla to determine if law enforcement or medical help is needed. If EMS is needed, the call is then re-routed back to Palmer. The bouncing back and fourth forces the caller to tell his or her story multiple times, delaying response time and confusing the record keeping.
”The higher call volume due to the population increases was a big driver, we think, for change. That’s going to get even trickier, because of course, the areas of growth are in those unincorporated areas, which, you’ll remember, are being dispatched by somebody different than the folks who are dispatching EMS.”
But the Alaska State Troopers do not see the consolidation as a boon to statewide law enforcement efforts. Major Matthew Leveque, a deputy AK Trooper director, told the group that the Department of Public Safety would prefer to have a number of dispatch centers in small communities to better serve outlying areas
”We just don’t see a way that we can integrate, because there is no model that supports it, and it would seem to harm our ability to serve all of the citizens of the state. “
Other aspects of the study recommend a reduction in dispatch staffing. Magonette says the Borough spends about $3.5 million annually to provide emergency services. He said the consolidation would not necessarily save the Borough money, in fact, it may cost more, but the service level to the public and to emergency responders would be higher.
The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears and North Pole Patriots football teams are playing in the medium schools football division this year. The two used to compete against Alaska’s largest high schools. Now they’re part of the small Southeast Conference.
“There’s not many conferences left, so we’re kind of making the rounds through all of them.”
Head coach Rich Sjoross has seen JDHS enrollment fall from a high school with nearly 1,800 students to less than 700.
North Pole High School near Fairbanks also has a dwindling enrollment. Head coach Richard Henert says it’s down to about 740 students this fall.
“Ultimately it came down to the fact that ASAA has a cut off and we’re below that cutoff. “
In 2011, the Alaska School Activities Association added a third football division for schools with enrollments of 326 to 800 students.
ASAA is the sanctioning organization for athletics and other activities.
State Championships Director Isaiah Freeman says three divisions help small schools compete, like Barrow, Eielson, Valdez, or Seward.
“A lot of the smaller schools could never, ever beat the medium schools. Just like the medium schools have a harder time beating like the Bartlett, Chugiak and Dimond’s. That was kind of the reasoning behind the division,” Freeman says.
For years, Juneau and North Pole competed at the top of the large schools division. They made the state playoffs several times; JDHS won the championship twice in the last decade.
Both schools opted to stay in the Railbelt for the first two seasons after their size shrunk. Now it’s hard for JDHS and North Pole to compete with the large schools from Anchorage, Fairbanks, and the MatSu.
Where once there were 70 to 80 Crimson Bears, 47 boys signed up this season, says coach Sjoross. There’s little depth.
It was predictable, Sjoross says, when TMHS was built and started its own football program. “You knew the numbers were going to decrease and something was going to have to happen, and money was going to get tighter and that kind of stuff,” Sjoross says. “So I think we’re making the most of it.”
Thunder Mountain also has about 47 players. The Falcons have been in the Southeast Conference since the team formed five years ago.
While North Pole still has a lot of kids going out for football, Coach Henert calls the move to the SEC realistic.
“Pretty much one out of every three boys that go to North Pole High School plays football. We get a lot of bodies out. Whereas West Anchorage, they have so many kids it’s probably one out of every 10 to 15 boys that plays of football, but it’s the biggest boys in school that play football,” Henert says.
He says making the move was a tough issue for coaches and players.
“You never want to play down, so to speak. Those that are competitive want to step up to challenges.”
But coaches Sjoross and Henert believe Juneau and North Pole can help make the small Southeast Conference stronger.
“We’d like to see programs like Sitka and Ketchikan grow and we hopefully can advocates in the conference there, and maybe help them out and find ways to make football better in Alaska,” Henert says.
Crimson Bears’ Coach Sjoross says the medium schools division, which includes the Northern Lights and Southeast conferences, may be the one to watch this season.
In the Southeast, however, Sitka will not to play JDHS and North Pole. That leaves only four SEC teams and eight weeks in the regular season, so the two stronger teams have scheduled games against some of Alaska’s tougher squads from other conferences.
JDHS players say they’re comfortable in the SEC, especially since the schedule does offer them more competition. The motto this year, says running back Demetrius Campos, is the same as when they played the bigger schools:
“State conference. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Every two years, a special ceremony is held on the beach in Homer to celebrate the heritage of Alaska tribes living in the region. KBBI’s Peter Sheppard attended this year, as the final installment of our series looking at culture in Alaska.
Bethel police arrested a man for possessing what they believe to be heroin. On August 29, police arrested 30-year-old Travis Longbotham of Nikiski. He was staying at the Long House Inn Hotel when employees noticed the smell of drugs coming from his room and called police.
A police officer contacted Longbotham who was the only person staying in the room that night and after investigating arrested him on drug possession charges. He was booked into the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center in Bethel.
A presumptive test on the drugs tested positive for heroin.
The seized drugs and paraphernalia will be sent for testing and confirmation.
The Village of Alakanuk is getting a $2.2 million grant to pave almost three miles of dirt roads. The money is coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation and will pay for part of the road project. The total amount is estimated to cost around $5.2 million.
According to DOT, the repairs will enhance mobility and improve the quality of life in the village by making drainage improvements. They say paving the roads would also reduce dust, eliminating a significant source of air pollution that coats fish that are drying.
The roads would also allow residents access to the village store, tribal office, and city office.
It would also allow easier access to the barges that are shipping in goods.
The project has been listed as a priority in the region for years, according to DOT.
Marine mammal responders have wrapped-up efforts to try and disentangle a southeast humpback whale after removing more gillnet from the animal this week.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the whale’s tail and pectoral fins are free of gear. It was last seen in robust condition and swimming vigorously despite a necklace of line that remained behind its blowhole.
Alaska Region Spokesperson Julie Speegle says NOAA’s Juneau response team was out on the water until late in the afternoon Thursday in Chatham Strait near Angoon.
“They were successful in removing some additional gear from the entangled whale,” Speegle said. “As I understand it, several additional fathoms of netting were removed.”
“And so at this point, the whale still has some netting on it and we’re hoping that it can shed the remaining gear on its own.”
Specially-trained professionals and volunteers made multiple attempts to free the animal since it first got tangled in a gillnet in Frederick Sound near Petersburg on Aug. 23.
In a NOAA news release, Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network Coordinator Aleria Jensen was quoted as saying responders had exhausted all appropriate techniques that were available in the very challenging disentanglement effort.
According to Jensen, it’s likely that less than 30 fathoms of gear are still trailing from the animal and the entanglement is not immediately life threatening.
Along with removing more netting Thursday, the team also recovered a satellite tracking buoy that Petersburg volunteers had attached to the animal.
A variety of organizations have worked to help the animal including NOAA, The Alaska Whale Foundation, the Petersburg Marine Mammal Center, Alaska Sea Grant, and the Chichagof Conservation Council.
The Arctic sea ice has been surprising scientists for the last six years.
It set a new record for melting back during the International Polar Year in 2007. Last year it beat that record, but at the same time the seasonal ice in the Bering Sea has been increasing – also to a record last winter.
Whatever is driving these changes is also beginning to affect the vegetation on land.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology set up a series of test plots along the Dalton Highway and north, for the International Polar Year, hopping islands into the Canadian Arctic.
This summer, permafrost researcher Vladimir Romanofsky went out to check them. The line of plots ends at Ellef Regnes Island, less than 10 degrees below the North Pole.
Biologist Skip Walker could hardly believe what Romanofsky sent back.
“So he revisited the site and sent us pictures back of our plots, and they were unrecognizable,” Walker said. “The whole landscape has changed.”
What Romanofsky saw and what will be reported at a scientific meeting in December, is permafrost melting and slumping, in a place that is normally frozen year round.
The sea ice was not sufficient this summer to keep the air above the test plots from warming up. What that means for a whole category of plant life on land that needs year round ice to exist is largely a matter of speculation.
Skip Walker is one of the authors of a report published last month in Science magazine that seeks to survey the impacts on land of less ice in the sea.
He says the picture is not going to be as simple as less ice leading to more warmth and more vegetation. Satellite imagery that can basically read the amount of plant material on the ground is not showing such a simple response. And temperatures in some areas are for some reason no longer continuing to rise as more sea ice is lost.
“Temperatures have been going up but recently there seems to be a more heterogeneous pattern,” Walker said. “We’re seeing some areas of the Arctic that continue to warm very quickly and dramatically, and then other areas – mainly in Eurasia – that, we’re not seeing that trend.”
“It’s either flat, or actually declining in some areas. And we’re seeing the same thing with the biomass response.”
It’s a big mystery right now.
UAF atmospheric scientist Uma Bhatt is another co-author of the article. She and Walker are seeing reduced vegetation, less green-ness and more brown-ness. Along with Russia it’s happening along the Alaska coast of the Bering Sea.
“There seems to be a decline in greening and there’s been a decline in warming in the summer, and we think it’s related to cloudiness, but that’s our next paper to figure that out,” Bhatt said.
Both collaborators have noticed that the browning correlates with the way the sea ice has been disappearing from the Bering Sea later in recent years.
“So the vegetation has not become more productive in that area, but we don’t know if it’s related to the sea ice, because the sea ice is gone before things green up in that part, because it’s so far south,” Bhatt said.
For more than a decade now, nearly all the changes hitting the Arctic due to reduced sea ice have added up to warming effects exceeding anything the computer models have predicted.
The warming has fed more warming as positive feedbacks have been stronger than predicted – warmer waters circulating under the ice, more heat stored by increased vegetative growth and a darker ocean all feeding yet more warming. But, the browning begins to look like a negative feedback, and Bhatt says some recently observed changes in sea ice do, too.
“And I think one of the things that is coming out of some of the meteorology work is as you take sea ice away, when you take a little bit away you have one response – things warm up,” Bhatt said. “But when you take more away it might change the circulation totally, and it may not keep warming.”
“There are some new studies that are suggesting that it’s not a linear thing, it changes.”
It’s all frontier science – new observations demanding new theoretical explanations.
The negative feedbacks, while intriguing, remain greatly outweighed by the positive ones, but they no doubt complicate things for the computer modelers and give them some new material to try to integrate.
After 40 years in western Alaska, salvager Dan Magone is selling his namesake diving and marine rescue business. But, Magone will still be there to help when disaster strikes.
Magone says he’s been kicking around the idea of selling for a long time. Then, a new tide of Coast Guard vessel safety rules came along.
“We’re having so much trouble keeping up with the regulations,” Magone says.
Magone says he’s spent millions of dollars trying to get his response vessels up to code. In the meantime, more companies started to show up in Alaska to do salvage and rescue.
“You have the competition and then you have the increase in magnitude of the response needs and the combination of those — I just couldn’t ante up to that level,” he says. “So that’s why I’m merging with Resolve.”
That’s Resolve Marine Group. They’re a salvage and oil spill response company based out of Fort Lauderdale. They worked on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and helped clean up New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Magone won’t say how much Resolve paid him. And Todd Duke, a project manager for Resolve who’s been sent to Unalaska, says the company’s still working out the details out of the acquisition.
“Quite frankly, we are still developing our plan,” Duke says. “We don’t expect anything to change much.”
Resolve has plenty of international salvage experience, but relatively little in Alaska. That’s why they’re keeping Magone in charge of the shop in Unalaska, until the 61-year-old wants to retire.
Beyond that, Duke says the biggest shift is in the maritime resources that will be staged in Unalaska. Resolve has already sent a barge, a crane, and an ice-class anchor-handling rescue tug to join Magone’s fleet in Unalaska.
“We’re making the area better because we brought some assets that are different than the assets that are currently here,” Duke says.
They’ll be put to use over the next week, when the Resolve crew joins Magone Marine in Dillingham to work on the salvage of the F/V Lone Star.
The vessel’s been stuck at the bottom of the Igushik River for two months. The Lone Star is a small job compared to the bulk freighters, ship fires and large-scale oil spills that Magone’s tackled over the years.
For his new partner, though, it might be a good look at what Alaska has in store.
A helicopter, its pilot, and two researchers are still stuck near the top of 7,100-foot Mount Mageik in Katmai National Park and Preserve. They’ve been there since Wednesday evening.
Winds will not be significant for Southcentral Alaska this weekend, but rain is hammering the Valdez and Cordova area.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Shaun Baines says rain is falling at a rate up to a quarter inch per hour. He says that is creating concern for small streams that feed rivers.
“Six to 10 inches of water on the Richardson high way at about mile 6.5, so the low river that flows along there is moving onto the road,” Baines said. “They have done some work putting in earthen berm along there to block the water but that’s only helping a little bit, so that sort of flooding is just a little bit of overflow from smaller streams as the rain continues to fall.”
Baines says today’s rain accumulation in Anchorage and the Mat-Su valley has not been significant and there are no flood concerns.
The world’s largest cruise corporation will soon install new pollution-control equipment on 32 of its ships. Carnival, Princess and Holland-America vessels sailing Alaska waters are likely to be among those getting the gear.
Carnival Corporation owns 10 cruise lines operating about 100 ships from ports in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
It’s a significant player in the Alaska market.
Corporate officials say the technology, called scrubbing, will meet new international requirements for sulfur and smoke emissions. They say they’ll spend about $180 million on the equipment over the next two to three years.
“We haven’t determined which ships of the 32 will be implemented in what markets and what ports,” says Roger Frizzell, spokesman for Carnival, which is headquartered in Miami and London.
“Alaska’s obviously an important market, and I’m expecting that if they don’t have it right away they will have it shortly,” he says. (Read Carnival’s announcement.)
The equipment has been tested on one ship’s diesel engines so far. The evidence helped win conditional approval from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Frizzell says Carnival eventually plans to use scrubbing on all of its 102 vessels.
“This is going to be a real change in our industry and I think it’s something for Alaska and some other key ports it’s going to be beneficial to the environment,” he says.
Carnival’s scrubbers target sulfur oxides, which contribute to global warming and acid rain. They also remove soot and other small particles that make up ships’ exhaust. (Read an EPA paper on scrubber technology.)
Frizzell says the technology is common onshore.
“This is the first time this combination is being developed to accommodate restricted spaces on the ships. Q: Did that require significant reengineering of the technology? A: It did. When we moved it from the power plants and the factories to the ship it really was a complete overhaul of the systems and resizing.”
“I think there’s just been a whole shift at Carnival, with all the problems they’ve had and everything,” says industry critic Chip Thoma of Juneau.
He says the corporation is making a significant – and welcome – change. But the president of the group Responsible Cruising in Alaska says it’s not all good attentions.
“They’re making so much money. It’s such a lucrative corporation that they’ve decided to switch gears and get into the 21st Century. And it’s a wonderful move that they’ve done so,” Thomas says.
The EPA says the agreement is a trial effort and the technology will be closely monitored. (Read the EPA’s announcement.)
Carnival spokesman Frizzell says it exempts equipped ships from new, stronger air-quality regulations aimed at lowering pollution along the coast.
“The exemption gives us the flexibility to use whatever fuel source we determine. And that’s significant for us because it gives an economic value,” Frizzell says.
That’s because low-sulfur fuel is more expensive than what cruise ships usually burn.
The agreement still requires Carnival ships to use that fuel while in port – or plug into an onshore power source.
The EPA has also reached agreements with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise lines, as well as barge companies and owners of some other large vessels. Some are using different approaches.
The clinic for Juneau’s homeless and low-income residents will stay open at least through April 30 thanks to the fundraising efforts of local community members and organizations.
The domestic violence shelter in Sitka is stepping up its community training program following the release of new survey data last year.
SAFV, or Sitkans Against Family Violence, has routinely offered volunteer advocate training, but now the organization is hoping to involve more of the community in how to recognize – and address – Sitka’s incredibly high rate of intimate partner violence.
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.
“The heartbeat of the community surrounded the operations at the cannery, back in its heyday,” said Gary Williams.
He’s the Executive Director of the Organized Village of Kake, the town’s tribal government.
Williams and I are standing in front of the Keku Cannery. It’s a series of buildings, propped up on pilings. In front are the tide-flats and Keku Strait on the northern edge of Kupreanof Island. The cannery is a complex of huge pale green warehouses and little outbuildings. There are houses where workers lived and boardwalks connecting them all together.
The cannery is vast and filled with big pieces of machinery. Inside, there are conveyor belts and funnels where cans moved through the plant.
“See these over here was called the retorts, which were essentially gigantic pressure cookers where the canned fish was put in for the sealing process; cooking and sealing.”
In June, the cannery was named one of America’s most endangered historic places. The decision came from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was already a National Historic Landmark, a designation it got in 1997. Unlike the historic register, which is usually for houses, landmark designations are reserved for big things. Also on the endangered list this year was the Houston Astrodome, a section of Virginia’s James River, and a lighthouse in Massachusetts.
Basically, naming it an endangered historic place means its nationally important, and it needs attention. Urgently.
“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when this building falls over, said Rob Meinhardt.”
Meinhardt is the owner of True North Development Solutions, a historic preservation firm that created a plan to stabilize the cannery so hopefully it doesn’t fall over.
He says the Keku Cannery is important because its a good example of the cannery industry in the nation as a while, but even more so, because of the way it shows the labor practices in the industry.
“You would have the Filipinos staying in the bunkhouses over here, fulfilling these sort of roles in the cannery. You would have the Japanese population over here, you would have the Tlingit population, the Alaska Native population over here. It was a highly segregated business operation.”
Gary Williams and the tribe want to tell this old story of the cannery business. But they also want to make it usable, so it can be part of Kake’s economy, again.
“One thing I’ve learned from working with the historic preservation world, is making quote unquote, adaptive reuse is one of the goals, so that the building is utilized and not just sitting dormant.”
Williams says the restored building could be an opportunity for cultural heritage tourism. He lists examples like a performance space for the Ke ex ‘ Kwan Dancers, and shops for local merchants and craftsmen.
But that’s a long way off. Getting the endangered designation doesn’t come with any money. Williams says the estimate for the initial stabilization would be $500,000, and that it would cost millions to restore the cannery.
According to planner, Rob Meinhardt, “The pilings have undergone severe rot, so basically, this huge structure sitting over the tidelands, is sitting on hollow pilings. It’s really kind of scary.”
In the years since the cannery got its initial Historic Landmark status, two buildings in the complex have collapsed. The last one was during a particularly bad windstorm three years ago.
But Meinhardt says the residents of Kake have a reputation for being a very determined group of people. He believes, with their track record and the effort they’re putting in, there’s hope the cannery can be saved.
This week, we’re heading to Nelson Lagoon, a tiny fishing community on the Bering Sea side of the Alaska Peninsula. Justine Gundersen is the administrator for the Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council.
For some years now, Alaska has produced more than its share of competitive athletes for the Winter Olympics. Is it just because it’s cold up here? We’ll find out from the athletes themselves, as they take a break from training for Sochi to appear on the next Talk of Alaska.
HOST: Steve Heimel, APRN
- Kieffer Christianson, USA Men’s Alpine Ski Team
- Andrew Kurka, USA Men’s Disabled Alpine Ski Team
- Rosey Fletcher, 2006 Olympic Snowboarding Bronze medalist, founder, Alaska Winter Olympians Foundation
- Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).
- Send e-mail to talk [at] alaskapublic [dot] org (comments may be read on air)
- Call 550-8422 in Anchorage or 1-800-478-8255 if you’re outside Anchorage during the live broadcast
LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.
Audio will be posted following radio broadcast
Shell will pay the Environmental Protection Agency $1.1 million in fines for allegedly violating air permits during their 2012 drilling season in Alaska.
According to a press release from the EPA, Shell has agreed to pay $710,000 for violating the Clean Air Act permit on the Noble Discoverer drill rig, and $390,000 for infractions on the Kulluk.
Shell asked the EPA to revise the air permits for both rigs last year. The oil company conducted extra tests on the vessels and discovered that they weren’t built to match the emission limits that the EPA set out in their initial permits.
In today’s settlement, the EPA alleges that the Noble Discoverer didn’t have the right kind of emission monitoring system, and its ventilation wasn’t up to EPA standards. The agency also contends that the vessel’s exhaust reduction system wasn’t working properly, and that the vessel emitted more nitrogen oxides than the permit allowed.
The EPA says that the Kulluk exceeded nitrogen emission limits, too, and that the crew failed to submit emission test results according to the terms of their permit.
The settlement outlines additional violations on the Tor Viking and Nanuq — two other vessels in Shell’s Arctic fleet.