Wrangell’s Shakes Island Clan House was rededicated over the weekend. Hundreds of visitors from across Alaska, Canada, and the Lower 48 poured into the small island town to witness the historic event.
The Interior Department says a test of an offshore well capping system in the Gulf of Mexico was successful.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says Noble Energy and the Helix Well Containment Group have shown the device could contain a deep-water blowout.
The unannounced test began April 30. It involved waters about a mile deep and pressures of 8,400 pounds per square inch. The device is 20 feet tall and weighs 146,000 pounds. It was not announced so that it would test the full mobilization capability of the system.
There is a state oil and gas lease sale for tracts in the Cook Inlet area on Wednesday. The state Oil and Gas division opens bids at the Convention Center at 9 this morning.
Early Tuesday, a woman flipped her four wheeler in Alakanuk and died in the crash. State Troopers say it looks like alcohol was involved. Lois Chikigak was 30. The crash was reported at 1:43 Tuesday morning.
The Anchorage Assembly heard from the public on an ordinance that would change the way public testimony conducted, last night. Despite the issue being placed at the end of the agenda and testimony beginning after 9 p.m., many lined up to speak.
Ernie Hall made the proposal after a controversial ordinance that sought to limit unions resulted in what he perceived as several endless nights of public testimony. Eventually the Assembly voted to close testimony before everyone had a chance to speak. Sabrina Martino said she liked the way testimony was conducted during the consideration of AO37 and that she felt the new ordinance would discourage public participation in city politics.
“I kind of think that this is almost like a rebuttal for the attendance shown for Anchorage Ordinance 37 as if maybe you are trying to maybe discourage people from actually coming and speaking your two sense,” Martino said. ”And that is almost like you guys are making up your own rules and don’t want to hear what anybody has to say and I don’t agree with that.”
The ordinance would require people to sign up in person on the first night of the hearing in order to testify. Tom Stenson from the ACLU of Alaska said, what’s important is that the Assembly come up with firm, objective standards to make sure that testimony is conducted fairly and legally.
“I’m not claiming to read anybody’s minds, but I think one of the problems that has arisen is that the public fears that when testimony is cut off on an ad hoc basis that it may be influenced by the chair’s view of whether the speech that’s being made is good or not,” Stenson said. ”And that kind of viewpoint discrimination is clearly not permitted. And so what we need are clear standards.”
Hall worked with the ACLU to craft the ordinance. He expressed surprise at Stenson’s criticisms. Public Testimony is expected to be continued at the next regular Assembly meeting on May 21.
With two big studies out on the proposed Pebble Mine, there’s been a fight over whether work by the Pebble Partnership or the Environmental Protection Agency is more credible. Now, members of a science panel sponsored by the Pebble Partnership are criticizing the Partnership’s own research.
The Keystone Center’s science panel met in Anchorage this week to review the Pebble Partnership’s baseline environmental studies for the mine it hopes to build in Southwest Alaska. The studies are meant to serve as a reference for what the region looks like now, without any major development.
On Tuesday, panelist Falk Huettman, a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, expressed concern that the baseline reports hadn’t fully considered the issue of biodiversity in the region. He also suggested that the work done on habitat use in the area was “insufficient.”
Ecologist Robert McFarlane had the harshest words, and he focused his criticisms primarily on the study of birds.
“I can say the documents is adequate as a list of species that are present,” said McFarlane. “It is not adequate for any type of study that you might want to come back to from some years in the future to ask, ‘Have there been any changes?”
McFarlane acknowledged that when it comes to building a mine, it will be more important to look at the impact on fish than on birds. But he still slammed the methodology used to study the birds, calling the research presented “backwards,” “frustrating,” and “disturbing.”
Terry Schick is the environmental consultant who handled the bird studies for the Pebble Partnership. He said they were limited in the field in how much data they were able to collect. And, he added, their team wasn’t given enough money to use a more current methods.
“We were not given the budget to produce those for this report,” said Schick.
Pebble Partnership’s study isn’t the only big piece of research on the mine out there. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency released its revised assessment of the project, which concluded that a mine in the Bristol Bay region could affect major salmon streams. The Pebble Partnership has called that work “deeply flawed,” because the EPA based its studies on a hypothetical mine plan instead of waiting for the partnership to file the plan they intend to use.
The city of Fairbanks is giving the owner of the Polaris Building more time to advance a plan to renovate the vacant and deteriorating downtown high rise. KUAC’s Dan Bross reports.
Tribal leaders and representatives met in Anchorage last week to denounce the exclusion of Alaska Native tribes from the Violence Against Women Act reauthoritization and other problems facing Alaska’s tribal people.
Harold Napolean is the tribal administrator for the Native village of Paimuit near Hooper Bay. Looking around the room at the sparse attendance, Napolean said many of the tribes could not send representatives because they’re broke. He said they are dealing with third world conditions because tribal governments have no land.
“They have no land on which to exercise their jurisdiction,” Napolean said. “So, the tribes are sovereign, but they’re sovereign over air.”
Napolean said the Venetie court decision that stated tribes had no land rights and therefore could not tax was a great defeat for tribal governments.
During a presentation, Napolean ticked off statistics about Native people in the state. He pointed out that Anchorage is the area with the largest percentage of Native people and the majority of them are young women with children. He likened them to refugees.
“They’re escaping conditions in the villages,” Napolean said. “The poverty, the violence, so this is very significant number.”
“They go from one place of having a hard time to another place of having a hard time.”
He said 25 percent of Alaska Native children live in poverty. The VAWA reauthorization angered Ambler resident Virginia Commack. She says women are the core of the family and violence against them must stop.
The upper Kobuk River community resident says she often reads policy and helps interpret it for the tribal council. She says VAWA is an act of discrimination against Alaska Natives.
“We’ve been able to do things in the village to try and minimize that kind of violence in our village,” Commack said. “Violence against children, violence against women, violence against each other, we don’t get the dollars that other people, other organizations get on our behalf, but we do it voluntarily anyway, because that’s our culture.”
One-hundred-sixty tribes in the state currently support three changes to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to put forward to Congress. Restoring tribal ownership to lands selected under ANCSA, restoring hunting, fishing and gathering rights extinguished under ANCSA and mandating enrollment of all Alaska Native children born after December 18, 1971.
Alaska State Museum Exhibit Curator Jackie Manning is confronted by some imposing figures every time she enters its main gallery.
They’re well-armed, well-armored mannequins, displaying years of carving by Sitka Tlingit artist Tommy Joseph.
“And when you first walk in, you’re met by all six of them and they‘re up and they have this presence that I think really gives you the sense of what it would be like to encounter these warriors in life,” she says.
She points to one of the figures, with an abalone-eyed helmet, shelled, protective neck gear and the historic equivalent of a kevlar vest.
“Every time I see it, it leaves quite the impression because it’s fully dressed with the slat armor and the collar and the tunic and the bow and the arrow as well as the dagger. It’s just such a beautiful example of all of the armor on one figure,” she says.
The museum is a popular Juneau tourist destination, catering to cruise-ship passengers and independent travelers, as well as locals.
It, and other parts of the tourist industry, will likely see more people visit the state this year. Larger cruise ships are on their way, bringing visitors through Southeast and across the Gulf of Alaska. Many tourists continue north, riding and flying to the Railbelt and on to places north and west.
This season’s visitors to the state museum will also view Juneau’s Kay Field Parker’s Ravenstail weaving and Sitka’s Nicholas Galanin’s contemporary Tlingit-Aleut art.
“I think the three shows really work together very well and are going to give our all of our visitors a great impression of the kind of artwork that’s done in Alaska,” she says.
The museum is but one of hundreds of attractions and excursions ready for Alaska’s 2013 tourist season.
“It looks excellent,” says John Binkley, president of the Alaska Cruise Association, which represents Princess, Holland America and other large-ship lines sailing Alaska waters.
“It looks like this will be the first time since 2009 that we’ll get back above the 1 million mark for cruise visitors coming to Alaska.”
He says the ships will bring nearly 70,000 more visitors north this season.
They’ll come aboard 28 large ships, one more than last year. And three lines will send larger vessels than last year, making close to 500 separate voyages.
“The indications that we’ve gotten are that the prices are holding steady, which means that there’s less discounting and usually people who are a little more affluent are coming to Alaska. That should be good news for retail merchants as well as those who have shore excursions that hopefully people purchase when they get off the ship,” Binkley says.
“The industry is cautiously optimistic that it will be a great summer and total visitor season,” adds Sarah Leonard, president of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, a statewide tour-business group.
“Last summer we know that visitors reached 1.8 million in Alaska. And that was the first increase we saw in over four years. And then with some new … airline service and new cruise-ship berths, we see positive growth,” Leonard says.
Back at the Alaska State Museum, dozens of Kay Field Parker’s ravenstail weavings are on exhibit, in a summer show called “Playing with Lightning.”
Leggings from the “Playing with Lightning” exhibit.
“Lightning is one of the patterns, a triangle pattern that repeats, but it reverses,” says Manning, the museum curator.
She describes ravenstail as highly geometric. The technique was rediscovered in the 1980s after being out of use for about two centuries. Manning says Parker’s work follows the old ways, with some variations.
“The traditional colors were white and black and yellow. And the majority of Kay’s work reflects those traditional colors. And based on materials, because they’re so hard to come by for weavers that do this kind of work, she also has some other colors she’s introduced,” she says.
This is the final summer exhibits will be on display in this aging museum. It will be torn down next year and eventually replaced with a modern structure including the state library and archives.
Meanwhile, the cruise-and-tourist season continues through late September. In addition to large-ship lines, the number of smaller tour vessels is increasing this year.
Bethel students had a special visitor recently: 2014 Winter Olympic hopeful Liam Ortega. The Fairbanks athlete took time out of his training schedule to talk to young people about setting goals and overcoming adversity, something he knows all-too-much about after fighting back from a traumatic brain injury. KYUK’s Mark Arehart has more.
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, a Democrat from Sitka, won his seat last fall by 32 votes. Kreiss-Tomkins was 23 years old at the time. His opponent, Republican Bill Thomas of Haines, was a four-term incumbent and co-chair of the House Finance Committee.
Close elections are common in Alaska, but the April 22nd issue of The Nation calls Alaska’s House 34 race a “lesson” for the left.
The Nation magazine contributor Russell Mokhiber says he grew up in a political family, and has been a political activist all his life. The last election cycle generated a huge amount discussion about the relationship between money and politics. Much of it he considers whining.
“Anytime you hear people talking about, The system is out of control, there’s too much money in politics, there’s too much corporate power — my question is, What are you going to do about it?”
He sees the election of Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins as an antidote to inaction. He thinks the 24-year-old Sitkan has — by his headlong plunge into politics — demonstrated that actions speak louder than words.
“You hear a lot of rhetoric about Citizens United and corporate takeover of the country and We need a constitutional amendment, and all these big plans. Could it be that we just haven’t figured out the fundamentals of democracy? How to run for and win office, even at the local level.”
Mokhiber is solidly rooted in the left. He edits a high-end Washington DC-based newsletter called the “Corporate Crime Reporter.” Mokhiber has covered Alaskan politics before, most notably the 2006 Cruise Ship Initiative. One of the co-authors of the initiative, Gershon Cohen of Haines, was instrumental in urging Kreiss-Tomkins to make a bid for the new legislative seat recently created by redistricting. Cohen tipped Mokhiber to the potential story in Kreiss-Tomkins’ unexpected win. Mokhiber then pitched it to The Nation, the country’s most prestigious left-of-center magazine.
His subsequent piece examines several facets of the election: Kreiss-Tomkins’ home-town advantage, the name recognition of his mother, Dr. Connie Kreiss (who is well-known in the district’s smaller villages), some ways that his opponent Bill Thomas was unpopular, and Kreiss-Tomkins’ use of social media.
None of this, says Mokhiber, necessarily added up to a win.
“To me, what struck me as a bigger factor was that he went to almost all of the little towns around. He met a lot of people, and he was receptive, he was a listener — he connected with a lot of people face to face. Clearly without that, he would not have won this thing.”
Gershon Cohen agrees that voters chose Kreiss-Tomkins for reasons other than party affiliation. “This shouldn’t be about parties anymore. It should be about policies, and about the people that are going to be in government,” he says. “So it doesn’t surprise me at all that it would be getting looked at by a lot of people around the country, and frankly I think that’s great.”
Cohen was the Debate coach in Haines when Kreiss-Tomkins was in high school in Sitka. That’s when they first met.
Cohen agrees with Mokiber’s assertion that Kreiss-Tomkins won his election by making personal connections — a strategy that undermines conventional thinking about party politics in Alaska.
“I think that he would have won as an independent, and I think that there’s an opportunity for that to be replicated around the state, frankly. We had a lot of races in the last election where people were running unopposed. And people go, Well, how come someone from the other party isn’t running? It shouldn’t be about party, it should be about the people and what they support, and what they would do in office.”
In fact, there were seven unopposed legislative races last year in Alaska — one in the Senate and six in the House. In Mokhiber’s home turf of West Virginia, in the eastern panhandle, there were at least ten state house delegate seats that went unchallenged, any one of which could have been won with three-thousand votes.
He’s hoping the lesson of Kreiss-Tomkins’ election sinks in.
“We’re starting to do a recruitment drive, where we’re passing around the article, looking for people who it resonates with.”
Mokhiber is not expecting miracles. At the moment, he sees Kreiss-Tomkins as the exception to the rule in a political environment where constituents don’t always come first.
He wants people to look at this election and take heart.
“Now I think he’s a special young man in a special district. And not everybody who’s going to take this on is going to win, or even come close. But the reason it’s such a good model is because he put aside the rhetoric and he went and he listened to people. He said, Here’s my card, give me a call. If I don’t answer, I’ll call you back within 24 hours. I want to be your person in the state capitol.”
In mid-April, a hiker in Sitka found an eagle dead in the woods. It was picked up by the Alaska Raptor Center. Ordinarily, this would not be a news story, except that this eagle was wearing some jewelry.
OK, so the jewelry the eagle was wearing was a metal band, which identifies the bird officially as 62934715. But back in 1995 he was known simply by the name “Windex.”
“Because he flew through a double-paned glass window,” said Jen Cedarleaf, who works at the Raptor Center. She’s flipping through Windex’s chart, which is dated July 1995. “We didn’t X-ray, we checked for fractures and lacerations. Didn’t have any fractures. We gave him fluids because he was in shock.”
Cedarleaf had just arrived in Sitka when the Windex incident happened.
“I pretty distinctly remember the call, because he flew through their window and knocked himself out, and they have this eagle in their living room, and they’re like, ‘What do I do?’” she said.
As it turns out, Lee Krause and his wife, Tina, still live in the house where it happened. During our interview, Lee sits in the same place he was 18 years ago when Windex dropped in for a visit — at the dining room table with his back to the window, not more than five feet away.
“A total explosion, that’s what it was,” Tina Krause says.
“It was like a gun going off or something,” her husband adds. “And then I was just peppered up my back. I really thought somebody got me with a shotgun or something.”
Tina Krause says the glass flew clear to the other side of the house. When the eagle started coming to, they quickly put a throw rug on him, standing on the edges to keep the bird from causing more damage.
“And our grandson was sitting there watching TV, and he says ‘Holy cow! Grandma does this happen often?’ Because he’s from down below,” she said. “He was about 8.”
Raptor Center staff showed up, and with a makeshift stretcher, took the bird off for treatment. The Krause family cleaned up the glass and threw out the chunk of halibut Windex dropped when he made his entrance.
But that wasn’t the end of things for the Krause family. For starters, they made the front page of the Sitka Sentinel.
Krause reads the headline and the beginning of the story: “Eagle crashes party, sends guests flying. The Krauses aren’t used to uninvited guests showing up at their home for dinner, but at least this one brought his own entree…”
The newspaper article led to mentions in the press outside of Alaska, and they even became a tourist attraction.
“We ended up putting a great big piece of plywood over the window here, and the tour buses would all park down here, and tell the story about the eagle,” she said. “All the people would walk up our little driveway and stand there and take pictures of our house.”
Tina Krause and her husband have wondered what happened to Windex, and how he died. For the answer to that, we turn again to Jen Cedarleaf at the Alaska Raptor Center.
Flies are buzzing around Windex as she brings in the trash bag holding his carcass. It is the afternoon after Windex was found in the woods.
“He’s really stinky,” she said as she removed him from the bag. “He’s probably been dead a few days.”
Cedarleaf positions Windex on a table and we hide behind a lead screen as the bird is zapped by X-rays. When the film is developed, we see a small little fracture on one of the bones in his wing.
“I think his radius is broken,” she said, looking at the film. “I still don’t think that’s the cause of death, because he should have been skinnier. He should’ve lost a lot of weight from having the broken wing. But I don’t see anything else.”
Windex was an adult eagle when he flew through the Krauses’ window. That was 18 years ago, which means Windex was probably between 20 and 25 years old when he died — about normal for an eagle in the wild.
Cedarleaf says the fact that this eagle was found, identified, and returned to the same clinic where he was treated nearly two decades ago is extremely unusual. As is his claim to fame. Lee and Tina Krause say they still tell the story of the day Windex came to visit.
“Yeah, it’s kind of sad,” Tina Krause said. “I thought he would live forever.”
And, in a way, he just might.
Cleveland Volcano continues to be active, with two additional blasts shaking the volcano on Sunday evening, and Monday morning. Neither explosion produced ash clouds large enough to interfere with air traffic transiting the region.
According to Alaska Volcano Observatory scientist-in-charge John Power, the volcano’s continuous, low-level eruption appears to be waning.
“So far it has not presented anything that would give us an indication of a larger eruption or a greater hazard to come.”
Nevertheless, because of the possibility that sudden explosions could produce ash clouds rising above 20,000 feet, the aviation alert level remains at orange.
Original story: Saturday, May 4, 8:04 pm
Cleveland Volcano is erupting once again. Three small explosions shook the volcano Saturday morning, and a low-level eruption is ongoing.
John Power is a seismologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory. He writes in an email that the explosions were “similar in size to what we have seen over the past several years,” although he notes that it is unusual to have three in a row.
Power says satellite imagery and a webcam in the nearby village of Nikolski show that the volcano is continuing to emit small amounts of gas, ash and steam, with plumes rising to 15,000 feet. There’s no real-time monitoring network on the volcano.
Cleveland lies on a major international flight path, and in light of the explosions the Observatory has raised the aviation alert level from yellow to orange. They warn that there is the possibility of sudden explosions reaching above 20,000 feet, but so far there have been no reported disturbances to air travel.
Cleveland is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutians, erupting roughly two dozen times in 2012. It’s last major eruptive period was in 2001, when the volcano sent ash clouds up to 39,000 feet.
An Era Alaska Cessna 207 went down Saturday near the village of Newtok. Some passengers suffered injuries after the plane landed short of the runway and skidded across a local river. But Era is disputing the extent of the injuries. KYUK’s Mark Arehart has more
Hundreds of Juneau residents flocked to the downtown waterfront Saturday to celebrate two major components of Southeast Alaska’s economy – the Alaska Marine Highway System and the fishing industry. KTOO’s Casey Kelly has more.
At the onset of World War II, the territory of Alaska was seen as too big, too remote, and too sparsely populated to defend. That is, until it was attacked by Japanese forces. In response, a few thousand residents came together to form the Alaska Territorial Guard. Once the war was over, the guard disbanded, and those who served went back to their daily lives. But they were never formally released from duty. Decades later, these guardsmen are now finally getting their discharge papers. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports that some notable Alaskans are among them.
When Dennis Egan opened up some official looking mail before heading into work last week, he wasn’t expecting to find his late father’s discharge papers.
“It was this formal U.S. government [package], and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been summoned to jury duty.’ So, I open this box, and there it is. And I just broke down, in fact, I didn’t even come in.”
Dennis, a state senator who represents Juneau, knew that his dad Bill was part of the Alaska Territorial Guard. Before serving as delegate to the constitutional convention and then as the state’s first governor, Bill Egan had flown planes during World War II. He even earned a medal for making it through a kamikaze attack. Dennis figured his dad had been released from service when the war ended, and that the papers had just been lost back in 1964.
“I didn’t have a clue,” says Egan. “I thought all this thought was just destroyed in the earthquake in their home in Valdez.”
Bill Egan isn’t the only member of the territorial guard not to have his discharge papers. He’s one of six thousand. After the war, the guardsmen were thanked for their help with the war effort, but there was no formal paperwork documenting that their service had come to an end.
“They were busy. They were trying to protect us,” says Egan. “They weren’t too worried about fancy medals and crap back then. And things were just overlooked.”
Back in 2000, Congress passed a bill to rectify that. It requires the Secretary of Defense to issue discharges to everyone who had served in the Territorial Guard. Those papers let living guardsmen apply for benefits available to every other veteran of World War II, and they also carry a lot of emotional significance for family members of guardsmen who have already passed.
Verdie Bowen directs the Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs, and he’s in charge of the effort. So far, they’ve completed more than 1,500 discharges. With so much time since the war, it’s been tough tracking down every member of the guard. He says that often, relatives of deceased guardsmen don’t even realize their family members served. That hit home at one ceremony he was involved in last year.
“What caught me off guard was the crew chief, who was on the Black Hawk helicopter that is currently serving the Alaska National Guard, stood there and did not realize that his grandfather had served in the Alaska Territorial Guard,” says Bowen. “He didn’t know we were presenting that medal to his grandfather when we flew in.”
Bowen says that the Territorial Guard was critical to the war effort, and that there’s no reason to treat them differently from veterans in other states. They came from a hundred different communities, stretching from Ketchikan to Barrow, and they served without pay. They picked up downed pilots, they reported on the movements of Japanese ships, and shot down fire balloons.
Dennis Egan wishes he knew more about that history and his father’s time in the Territorial Guard. Bill died in 1984, and he didn’t really talk much about the war when he was alive. That’s part of why it was only this year that Dennis learned his dad had never been discharged. He says that even though it’s been so long since the war and so long since his father passed, he’s glad to have these papers now and thankful for the connection.
“I had an enormous sense of relief. An enormous sense of closure.”
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. The turboprop will allow the medical service to fly into Gustavas, Skagway, Haines, Hoonah, Kake, and Prince of Wales Island.
Juneau Director of Operations and pilot Greg Clausen says the new plane is easier to land on these small towns’ shorter runways.
In our on-going series about culture in Alaska, we’ve been talking about how we define ourselves and live our lives as Alaskans. Last week, we asked how long you have to live here to call yourself an Alaskan. In many of our state’s communities, there’s a transient population – seasonal workers, or folks in town for a finite term of service at a job…or as a volunteer. They’re not going to stay beyond a year or two….at least, they don’t plan to. But as Ed Ronco found out in Sitka, just because they’re short-timers, doesn’t mean they don’t belong.
Students at the Kodiak High School and Middle School dabbled in theatric storytelling last week. A handful of classrooms participated in a two week artist in schools program that culminated with a presentation of their work on Thursday. KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs attended the performance and filed this report.
It’s about 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and the foyer at the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium is a buzz with students from the Kodiak Middle School. Groups of 7th graders are putting the finishing touches on a series of tableaux – the final product of two weeks working with visiting teaching artist Ryan Conarro.
“I am here as a theater teaching artist and we’re doing a project with middle high and high school classrooms on using drama-based activities for integrating with academic content,” he said.
Conarro has a rich background in theater, both as a teacher and performer. He has worked with the Alaska State Council on the Arts’ Artist in Schools Program for about ten years and taught in districts across the last frontier.
In Kodiak, Conarro had middle school students interview family members about their first job as part of the program.
“That’s related to their unit that’s happening this spring on career preparation. And we’ve taken some of the stories from those interviews and are dramatizing them.”
The students reenacted the stories through a series of tableaux. But what exactly is a tableau?
“A tableau is basically a picture formed with actors, it’s still besides the fact that you switch between scenes. You’ll have usually four or five people and you’ll take elements from the story and you’ll act them out silently in a picture,” said 7th grader Eli Griffin, who interviewed his dad, Kodiak Island Borough Assemblyman Aaron Griffin.
“He worked at Papa John’s Pizzeria. And then he went into the Air Force.”
Griffin said his dad’s past with Papa John’s isn’t the topic of his group’s tableau.
“We’re doing one about a paper boy’s first job, I’m pretty sure. I’m a newspaper. I think that I play it awesomely. I just get to sit there.”
Conarro narrates the first job accounts, and the students shuffle into intricate, telling positions. Three frozen scenes later, the story is told.
For Griffin, the experience has opened his eyes to a new form of acting. He said he’s always been a part of theater, but he didn’t realize the power of a solid position.
“I think it’s really cool to be able to act without actually moving and speaking. It seems to me like it’s a lot more powerful,” Griffin said. He isn’t the only that learned from the experience.
“Well I learned that there’s a lot of actor’s tools. Like there’s more than just a script and you just act it out. There’s like body gestures and all that stuff. I think it’s cool how the pictures can just show the whole stories. It’s definitely a new, like, interesting way I learned to look at stories. And I thought that was cool.”
The Artist in Schools program is funded through the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Alaska State Legislature, the Rasmuson Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, with help from the Kodiak Island Borough School District.
Conarro, who is based in Juneau, wrapped up his two week artist residency on Friday. During his time in Kodiak he also worked with high school students on dramatic representations of personal essays.
And as for Eli Griffin’s portrayal of the newspaper, he was indeed awesome.
For months, there has been speculation as to whether Gov. Sean Parnell would run for reelection or choose to go up against Democrat Mark Begich in the Senate race. Tonight, he made his announcement in Fairbanks at a meeting of the Alaska Federation of Republican Women.