Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: August 29, 2014

APRN Alaska News - Fri, 2014-08-29 16:38

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn

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State Ferry Union Averts Strike

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Alaska Marine Highway System captains and deck officers have avoided a strike that could have shut down ferry service across the state this weekend.

Juneau Police Reach Community One Cup Of Coffee At A Time

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

With the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., police departments across the country are under a lot of scrutiny. Questions are being raised about use of force, police militarization and racial profiling.

Comment Period on FEMA Disaster Declaration To Close

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Sunday, Aug. 31, is the deadline for comments to FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on a policy carrying out a law that would allow tribes to request emergency and major disaster declarations.

Cold, Wet Front Drops 3 Inches of Snow On Deadhorse

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A cold front is ushering in wet, chilly conditions across much of the state. The Alaska Department of Transportation reported three inches of snow in Deadhorse earlier this afternoon.

‘You’ve Got To Defend It’ – Denali Celebrates Wilderness Act 50th

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Denali National Park is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act in the next weeks. A series of events marking the historic conservation legislation is planned.

NSF Earmarks $1.5M for Native Students Studying STEM Subjects

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

A $1.5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a five-year pilot project to help American Indian and Alaska Native college students achieve advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM subjects.

AK: Haines Songwriter Dreams Big, Courts Her Inspiration’s Ear

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

It’s hard not to dream big among the tall mountains and wild sea in Southeast Alaska – especially in Haines where Christy Tengs serves dreamers and misfits alike in her family’s downtown institution, the Pioneer Bar and Bamboo Room. Even she has a dream – to meet the famous person who has inspired her and propelled her to become a star in her hometown.

300 Villages: Anvik

This week we’re heading to the Yukon River community of Anvik. William Koso is the mayor of Anvik.

Categories: Alaska News

NSF Earmarks $1.5M for Native Students Studying STEM Subjects

APRN Alaska News - Fri, 2014-08-29 16:38

A $1.5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a five-year pilot project to help American Indian and Alaska Native college students achieve advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM subjects.

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National Science Foundation program officer Sally O’Connor says the “Lighting the Pathway” project is aimed at full-time college students, undergraduate or graduate, majoring in science, math, computer science, or engineering. She says NSF wants to encourage Native Americans with an aptitude for STEM subjects to reach their full potential. “There is so much talent in the Native community,” says O’Connor, “and it’s mainly untapped. And hopefully this project will make a little dent into that and bring out the talent so that they can become leaders in our country.”

O’Connor says several factors contribute to the low number of Native Americans with advanced degrees and tenured faculty positions:  a lack of role models in STEM, and inadequate academic training, which she says is related to inadequate funding of schools on reservations and in rural areas. “I mean if we provide them with the same resources we give the best schools in the cities, those students would be well prepared,” said O’Connor. “But the sad fact is, that is not happening.”

Participants will receive a stipend of $2,500 dollars over two years, plus funding to travel to meetings and program events. Each student will be teamed up with a mentor, an expert in the field they’re studying, to set goals and get some training and support to achieve them. The project itself will be evaluated to find out what works and what doesn’t, to help in the design of future programs.

Herb Schroeder is Vice Provost and Founder of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, or ANSEP, at University of Alaska Anchorage. He says the mentoring is important to get students socially and academically prepared for college. But he says ANSEP starts at an earlier age. This year, it’s working with 868 kids in middle school. “In our mid school, 83% of the kids finish algebra 1 before they graduate from 8th grade. And the national average for that is 26%,” says Schroeder. “So, then they’re on track in their freshman and high school. They can immediately take math and science courses from university professors that count for university credit and high school credit. And that’s how we’re getting the students hyper prepared.”

Schroeder says students can also apply for scholarships through ANSEP. “The students, once they arrive at the university, are eligible for scholarship funds. It’s merit based scholarships that are five thousand dollars a year. Plus we connect the students with internships with all of our partner organizations so they can make up the difference that they need to go to school.

And for the students who go to graduate school, ANSEP kicks up the financial support. “Once they’re in graduate school, we offer stipends for students for masters and PhD students of $30,000 total over the course of their graduate studies,” says Schroeder. “Plus we pay their tuition and connect them with research projects so that they can complete their degree programs.”

To provide that level of support, ANSEP has 70 partners who help support the $7.5 million dollar program.  Still, Schroeder hopes ANSEP students will be able to take advantage of the national program. “I’ll certainly encourage my students to apply for some of that funding,” says Schroeder. “Every dollar helps.”

For more information, visit the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s webpage.

Categories: Alaska News

3 Officials Accused of Failing to Disclose Gifts

APRN Alaska News - Fri, 2014-08-29 13:58

Three Kenai Peninsula residents have filed complaints with the Alaska Public Offices Commission against statewide public officials for failure to disclose gifts.

The three complaints were all filed August 25th with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, or APOC.

They were filed against Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell, and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, Ed Fogels.

Homer resident Elaine Chalup filed the complaint against Fogels. It states that in 2013, he failed to report attending the Kenai River Classic and accepting numerous gifts from the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, or KRSA. The Classic is a fundraising event for fisheries education, research, and management.

Fogels says he did report the attendance and gifts, but not to APOC.

“I did disclose it internally, with our departmental ethics process, to our ethics officer. That was filed with the Department of Law. So, it was all in the open,” Fogels says. “I did not realize I was also supposed to file that with APOC, so that was my mistake.”

He says he’s already taken steps to rectify the problem.

“As soon as the complaint was originally filed on me, I called APOC to find out and verify and I found out that I had made a mistake. I went back right away and amended my APOC filing for 2013.”

According to the KRSA financial disclosure forms for that year, Fogels was given a gift estimated at $6. That’s the estimate for a pair of gloves. Other items KRSA gave out included a shirt, a baseball cap, a jacket, and a gear bag. In total, they are worth about $162. But, KRSA notes that promotional items with KRSA’s name on them do not count as gifts, so that reduces the gift amount to just the $6 pair of gloves.

Fogels’ disclosed gifts came to a much higher dollar value.

“My disclosure for 2013 was that the total value of the gifts were for $565 and the gift was for meals, and the fishing down there to participate in the event.”

Another Homer resident, Garland Blanchard, filed the complaint against Commissioner Campbell. According to the filing documents, Blanchard shares a PO Box with Chalup. The complaint states that in 2011, Campbell failed to report attending the Classic or accepting numerous gifts. KRSA discloses Campbell received a gift estimated at five dollars, which was the cost of the pair of gloves in that year. Campbell was unable to be reached for comment by deadline. Her office stated she is out of the office for a few days.

Kasilof resident Benjamin Clare filed the complaint against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. It states that Treadwell failed to report his daughter attended the Classic in 2013, failed to report the gifts she accepted, and failed to report the waived entry fee of $5,000.

According to Treadwell’s financial disclosure documents, he reported a gift in the $250-1000 range.

Treadwell was approached for comment. He declined to speak on tape, but said he would be requesting that the complaint be dismissed and said it is not valid and is groundless.

Treadwell, Campbell,and Fogels have until Sept. 11 to file their responses.

Categories: Alaska News


APRN Alaska News - Fri, 2014-08-29 10:54

Candidates for Alaska governor will be in Kodiak on August 28 to take part in a unique debate that focuses on a single topic:  Alaska’s seafood industry. Airing live on KSKA and statewide from 7:00  to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 28.

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“Chinook salmon, Yukon Delta NWR.” (Photo: Craig Springer, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Incumbent Governor Sean Parnell faces stiff competition from two opponents: Democratic candidate Byron Mallott and Independent candidate Bill Walker.

Since 1990 Kodiak has hosted fisheries debates for candidates vying both for Alaska governor and U.S. Congress.  The event has always attracted 100 percent participation by candidates.

“The fishing industry is Alaska’s biggest employer, and it produces over 60 percent of our nation’s wild caught seafood. Seafood also is Alaska’s top export by far,” said Trevor Brown, director of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event.  “The fisheries debate lets candidates share their knowledge and ideas about this vital industry to a statewide audience.”

The fisheries debate is set for Thursday, August 28th from 7-9 p.m. at the Kodiak High School auditorium. The lively format will include written questions from the audience and ‘lightening rounds’ where candidates compete to ring in first to answer questions. There is no admission charge to attend.

For a live webstream of the event, visit Kodiak Public Broadcasting’s website at

Sponsors for the governor candidates’ fisheries debate include: Alaska Groundfish Data Bank , Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Trident Seafoods, Kodiak Island Borough, City of Kodiak, Horizon Lines, Samson Tug & Barge, Alaskan Leader Fisheries, Groundfish Forum and Alaskan Quota & Permits in Petersburg.

Categories: Alaska News