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Get Alaska statewide news from the stations of the Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN). With a central news room in Anchorage and contributing reporters spread across the state, we capture news in the Voices of Alaska and share it with the world. Tune in to your local APRN station in Alaska, visit us online at APRN.ORG or subscribe to the Alaska News podcast right here. These are individual news stories, most of which appear in Alaska News Nightly (available as a separate podcast).
Updated: 57 min 6 sec ago

National Geographic Live – Paul Nicklen

Tue, 2014-10-07 12:19

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen takes audiences to the vast polar regions of our planet. Paul Nicklen and leopard seal, Antarctica. (Image credit: Ehlme Goran)

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen has traveled to some of the most remote regions of the globe to document the effects of climate change. He has plunged into icy water and floated on sea ice to photograph sea mammals that rarely encounter humans.

Nicklen worked as a biologist in Alaska before becoming a professional photographer. He says his love of the Arctic developed as a kid, growing up in a tiny Arctic village on Baffin Island in Canada.

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Photographer Paul Nicklen will talk about his work and show slides tonight at Atwood Concert Hall in Anchorage. The talk is presented by the Anchorage Museum.

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen takes audiences to the vast polar regions of our planet. Emperor Penguins, Ross Sea, Antarctica. (Image credit: Paul Nicklen)

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen takes audiences to the vast polar regions of our planet. Walrus, Svalbard, Norway. (Image credit: Paul Nicklen)

TOWNSEND: How did you first get started as a polar regions photographer?

NICKLEN: Funny you would even start there — that’s the start of my talk. How do you become who you are? For me, it was when my family moved from southern Canada to Baffin Island, where we lived in a tiny Inuit community of 190 people.

You know back in the 70s we never had radio. We didn’t have television. We didn’t even have a telephone in this community. We got our groceries once a year by ship, so a lot of these Alaskan communities can relate.

You become so immersed in that environment, you become so immersed in that culture and for myself all my entertainment, all my pleasure, came from being outside.

The Inuit were my teachers. They taught me survival skills, they taught me how to hunt, they taught me how to survive on the land. I never really realized how deeply engrained that was into my, sort of spirit, until I left and went to university and every second I missed the north.

I came back as a biologist and became frustrated with the whole scientific process. Working for the Canadian government is extremely slow and can be very ineffective. We were collecting great data but we weren’t doing anything with it. I thought if I could just bridge the gap between this good scientific work and the public — then now, I have a chance to reach 100 million people with a story in National Geographic magazine for example.”

TOWNSEND: Paul, tell me about some of your most memorable photography expeditions in the arctic. What stands out?

NICKLEN: I have had so many incredible journeys. When I look at my images, people say what’s your favorite photo? Well I don’t really ever have a favorite photo; I have favorite moments that will stay with me forever. On my death bed it’s going to be not surrounded by covers of National Geographic, but it’s going to be memories and hopefully friends and family.

You know for myself, swimming with narwhals to find out they really are these unicorns of the sea and very few people have seen them. It took me ten years to get in a position that I could actually photograph them. It involved me buying an ultra light float airplane that I could fly off the sea ice. We flew 100 miles of shore, landed on a floating pan of ice; we were surrounded by 1,000 narwhales. They were scenes that nobody else could ever dream of or imagine; scenes that very few people besides the Inuit would ever get the chance to see — to reach out and be able to touch their tusks as they are blowing for air and photograph.

Also spending time with grizzly bears in Denali National Park alone, hiking with them. I was sitting in Denali one day and I was young, I was 19 years old, and right in front of me were a bunch of Dall sheep and I heard a noise behind me and it was a big grizzly bear walking behind me and I looked over to the left there and there was a wolverine running up the hill. I had to pinch myself that all of these things were going on at the same time.

TOWNSEND: You have also photographed in Antarctica. Tell us about your encounter with a big leopard seal there.

NICKLEN: I’m always trying to dispel myths with my photography. It drives me crazy when I go into a bookstore in Alaska and it’s like ‘death by bear’ and ‘Alaska tales of death’ and every picture’s got a bear on the cover that’s snarling. Bears don’t even growl like that, you know? Maybe it’s yawning or maybe a trainer is making it yawn in the picture. You know that stuff just really irks me — these animals need a fair shake, these animals are just trying to survive.

So, to have leopard seals be the villain in “8 below 0” and “Happy Feet” as this vicious monster? I don’t think any animal is vicious and we have to change how we perceive and how we connect with these species and ecosystems.

If I want people to care about ice, I can’t afford to have people thinking “Oh Antarctica? Ice? That’s where those terrible monsters live!” So I pitched a story to National Geographic to go down to Antarctica and get in the water with as many leopard seals as I could over a six week period, just to see if they were vicious or misunderstood.

I was nervous jumping in the water this first day with this 1,000 pound female leopard seal that had just killed a penguin and there was blood and guts everywhere. She was ramming the dead penguin under the hull of our little Zodiac, and we were trying not to fall in the water — and that’s when I had to get in.

So I put on my snorkel in my mouth, and my mask, and my dry suit, and weight belt and jumped in the water. And right away this 1,000 pound seal, that’s a head bigger than Grizzly bear, came shooting over to me. She kept doing these threat display lunges at me but it never really looked aggressive. If you look at a leopard seal they have no scars on their body, so I think they are always communicating with these displays.

She calmed downed after five minutes and then she went off and got a penguin and tried to feed me the penguin; a live one. And then she realized I couldn’t catch that and so she brought me tired penguins, nearly dead penguins, and she brought me dead penguins. At one point I had five dead penguins floating around my head. She started to flip penguins onto my head. She defended me from other leopard seals when they came by. And she would come and sleep by my sailboat at night and then in the morning when I’d go back out on the Zodiaq she’d be there waiting for us like a big excited puppy dog.

We’d drive over to wherever we wanted to photograph her next to ice bergs. She’d go off and get a penguin and we’d do this song and dance and this went on for four days before she finally realized that I wasn’t going to eat a penguin. I went from being terrified to laughing so hard and crying in my mask; it was tears of joy and water flooding in my mask. I was constantly clearing my mask trying to just see this amazing thing going on in front of me. It is something that I definitely will never forget.”

TOWNSEND: You were adopted by a leopard seal?

NICKLEN: I think you can be anthropomorphic or anthropocentric on these types of encounters. But I really think that in her eyes she was just trying to figure out what I was doing there. She probably has never seen a human being before. You are either breeding or you are feeding, so I think she thought if she could just get me to accept a penguin, she would understand why I was there. And then I think it became this urgent need to make sure I wasn’t going to starve. All of a sudden I think she went from figuring out what I was, to trying to help me. Again you don’t want to be anthropomorphic about this stuff but I don’t know how else to think about it.

TOWNSEND: Give us some context about the change in the Arctic that you’ve seen in the time that you’ve been a professional photographer.

NICKLEN: That’s a great question. 20 years ago, you think of a place like Svalbard, Norway that’s only 700 miles from the North Pole. It’s historically been completely surrounded by ice all summer long. You have these shelves of ice, massive glaciers and you’ve got the sea ice and pack ice and it’s all swirling around.

On that ice supports a huge population of polar bears for example; 3000 bears live on these ice floes and they are able to feed on seals all summer long. Just think, now 10 years forward to 2006/2007 we were trying to photograph a story there, we had to keep putting the story on hold for three years because there was no ice to be found anywhere and the bears were stranded on land. Not only was there not ice in the summertime, there wasn’t ice there in the winter. These bears are finding little strips of ice. You think of seals where they give birth to their pups on the ice; it’s affecting them. It’s affecting copepods and amphipods and polar cod. It’s affecting the whole food chain; it’s not just bears that are being affected.

Just this summer I decided to go back. We started a non-profit called “Sea Legacy” which is trying to bring attention to these global issues like climate change and global fisheries, and so this donor paid for this trip for us to go there and photograph. The entire Nordaustlandet ice cap was melting; usually you see a trickle of waterfall here and there. We saw hundreds of waterfalls just gushing water off this ice cap. And that’s fine, how do you quantify that?

But, in places traditionally where there is ice, the last little pockets of ice that remain there all summer long were complete gone. We started walking across the land and were finding dead bears that had starved to death. We were finding bears that were two, three years old that had died.

So it was an amazing opportunity as a storyteller to be able to actually document these dead bears and just contrast that in conjunction with the melting ice and not having any ice anywhere around Svalbard for the bears.

TOWNSEND: What do you really hope to accomplish with the pictures that you take?

NICKLEN: Everybody has a role to play. The scientists; without science my pictures don’t mean a lot. They are more of my own emotional interpretation. But, I think since the beginning of time, since the time of drawing painting on cave walls, we are visual storytellers. You think of the Inuit culture, it’s very visual, very creative, very artistic.

I think we’ve been beating people over the head with facts of climate change in the newspapers, you read about it every day. I think we’ve become inundated with it; I think we’ve become numb to it. So I’m just using my photographs as constant reminders. And we are seeing a shift in people’s perceptions about the change. Not only am I trying to inspire change, I am also trying to drive change with decision makers and influential people.

Categories: Alaska News

HUD Grants Aimed at Alaska Native Housing Projects

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:45

HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced Monday the award of millions of dollars in housing grants to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes nationwide. Castro made the announcement while in Anchorage.

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 ”Today, I’m pleased to announce that HUD is awarding $60 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants to more than ninety communities throughout the nation. These grants are intended to improve housing conditions and stimulate community development. And they also support self-determination. Our tribal partners, not Washington, determine which activities and projects meet their needs. “

 Castro said he chose to make the announcement in Alaska because of the “excellence of the partnerships” among state and local governments and non-profits here that create opportunity for housing and economic development. Castro  said  local non-profits, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and other housing entities are able to successfully leverage federal funding with other types of funding to get projects done.

The Secretary used the opportunity to announce that additional grants would be available to remove mold from low income housing owned or operated by tribal entities.

 Alaska Native tribes will receive about seven million dollars of the Indian Community Block Grant funds, to be distributed among fifteen tribes through out the state. One of those, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, will receive 600 thousand dollars to purchase two  properties in the Muldoon area of Anchorage to be used for  senior housing.

Gloria O’Neill is CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council. She says CITC and Cook Inlet Housing Authority work together on housing issues.

“I hope this demonstrates how we leverage both of our missions, so that we can make investment in the community. And this is the only way that we are able to take the might of what we do and do well, and really expand opportunities, especially in this area. We know that housing is probably our greatest challenge to overcome in Anchorage, and CITC is so very grateful that we could play a small piece in it all. “

 CITC plans a project to house 23 senior citizens, including retail space on the lower level.

 The HUD grant funds can be used in a variety of ways, including land purchase, rehabilitation of older homes or construction of new ones, even on road construction or water and sewer programs.

 Ten Alaska tribal entities received 600 thousand dollar grants, and five other tribal communities received lesser amounts.

Categories: Alaska News

Gwitch’in Translators Scramble to Ready Election Materials

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:44

According to a U.S. district court order, the Alaska Division of Elections has until October 10th to provide outreach and poll workers in three remote regions of the state with election materials and voting information that has been translated from English into either Yupik or Gwich’in. In Fairbanks, Gwich’in translators are finding the process challenging.

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Allan Hayton was contracted by the state Division of Elections. “Some of it is very technical language, legal jargon,” he says.

But this isn’t the first time he and his colleague, Marilyn Savage have tried to translate a large body of work into their native language. “We’ve translated other materials too, like Shakespeare,” says Hayton. “Marilyn and I worked last year translating King Lear into Gwich’in, so we’re used to difficult challenges but we’re happy to do this.”

For Marilyn Savage, this is also personal. “I’m think about my uncle in Fort Yukon,” she says.  “He’s blind and so it will be good for him to hear our language.  I think he’ll have a sense of pride and for a lot of us it will increase voting.  So people will say ‘oh, did you go to vote? It’s in our language now,’ so I’m excited about it.”

Savage plans to use the Gwich’in ballot this November.  “Just mainly because it’s available and I’m curious to see how it’s presented,” she laughs.

And how it’s presented is key. Hayton says they have to remain objective, regardless of how they feel about a candidate or a ballot measure. “You can’t try to sway voters, you just have to present the material as it is.”

Marilyn Savage does think it’s tough. “Oh yeah, I think it is challenging and you do think about what this is going to do for people’s lives,” she says.

But there’s also no direct translation in Gwich’in for words like ‘commerce,’ ‘marijuana’ or terms like ‘Department of Natural Resources,” and those words all appear on Alaska’s November ballot. Gary Holton is a linguistics Professor at UAF’s Alaska Native Language Center.  He says translating election materials is daunting because culturally, Gwich’in can’t describe some of the concepts involved in the process.

“If you were going to design a language that’s as different from English as possible, you would probably come up with Gwich’in,” Holton says.

There are no Latin roots and Gwich’in vocabulary is vast. “If you’re looking for a word that means ‘to go,’ you may struggle because in Gwich’in, talking about ‘to go,’ it makes a difference whether you’re talking about one person or two people or three people or an animal that’s migrating,” Holton explains. “All of those are different words for ‘to go’ that in English we would use the same words for those.”

The state has been ordered to translate everything from public service announcements to buttons for poll workers as well as the four regional election pamphlets.  That’s more than 600 pages of material. Marilyn Savage says she never expected her native language to be involved in the modern election process.

“I always thought our language was from people from ancient times and that it was just their day-to- day language for day-to-day living,” says Savage. “Now, we’re in a century that’s pretty high tech.”

Every registered voter receives an election pamphlet by mail, but in an email, State Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai says there’s no way to know for sure whether voters read them before they go to the polls. Allan Hayton says that doesn’t matter. “I think in the long run, we do need to have everything that every other voter would have in their language.”

According to the Alaska Native Language Center, there are roughly 300 native Gwich’in speakers in the state.  It’s not clear how many of them plan to vote this November, but if they do, it will be the first time they’ll use a ballot written in their native language and they might discover a few new words.

Categories: Alaska News

Parnell Rescinds Termination Order for 2 Guard Officials

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:43

The acting top official of the Alaska National Guard fired two high-ranking officers last week but reversed the action a day later at the direction of Gov. Sean Parnell.

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Brigadier Gen. Mike Bridges on Thursday asked for the resignations of Brigadier Gen. Catherine Jorgensen and Col. Edie Grunwald.

Parnell’s spokeswoman Sharon Leighow tells the Alaska Dispatch News that the officers had applied for the same leadership job that Bridges is seeking.

She says by email that Parnell wanted to avoid any appearance of impropriety on behalf of Bridges and directed him to rescind the terminations.

A federal investigation released Sept. 4 found ethical misconduct in the guard. Parnell fired its adjutant general and the civilian deputy commissioner
On Thursday, Parnell said three others would be fired.

Monday, Parnell named a new special assistant for military issues. Reitred Lieutenant Colonel Jay Pullins will serve as the governor’s liaison on the team handling National Guard reform efforts.

Categories: Alaska News

Conservation Group Sues to Block Controversial Timber Sale

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:42

The Forest Service awarded a contract this last week to log two-thirds of a controversial Southeast Alaska timber sale. Officials say it’s the first of several contracts for what’s called the Big Thorne timber sale.

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Prince of Wales Island’s Viking Lumber Co. beat out four other bidders for what’s called the Big Thorne Stewardship Integrated Resource Timber Contract.

That name means the Forest Service sells timber to Viking, but reduces its cost in exchange for trail repair, stream restoration and other stewardship work.

Tongass Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole oversees such sales.

“Typically, we’ve put up timber-sale contracts and we award them to the highest bidder. This being a stewardship contract, it not only has a timber component, but it also has service work that we expect,” Cole says.

The Forest Service won’t release the amount Viking will pay, the value of the stewardship work or the contract itself. Cole says that’s because the contract has not yet been signed.

Viking, meanwhile, does not respond to interview requests.

But Cole shared some details.

The contract calls for almost 3,800 acres to be logged between Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove. About half would be clear-cut, the other half selectively logged, including some thinning.

“So they can log and generate credits, do the service work and it gets covered that way. Or they can do the service work and then stumpage will be offset to cover that payment.”

The contract calls for about 85 miles of new or repaired roads. About 15 miles of that will be removed once logging is done.

The full Big Thorne sale includes more than 6,000 acres of old-growth forest, plus around 2,000 acres of second-growth.

Cole says logging won’t start until spring. That’s part of a deal cut with environmental groups challenging the entire Big Thorne sale in court.

“What we have agreed to is a briefing schedule to try to get a decision out of the District Court by April 1. And April 1 is significant because that’s the beginning of operating season.”

Viking was the winner bidder on last year’s version of the Big Thorne sale. Court challenges kept that from happening.

The Juneau-based Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is one of the parties suing to block this year’s sale.

SEACC Communications Director Daven Hayfe says the sale, and those like it, are costing the Forest Service government millions of dollars.

“So, when we’re talking about federally subsidizing a 6,100-acre clear-cut, and exporting half of that overseas to Asia without any local processing, we’re very literally talking about a giveaway,” Hayfe says.

Hayfe supports stewardship work. The goal is to restore streams, rivers and other fish and wildlife habitat damaged by past logging.

But he says the contract is the wrong way to do it.

“Repairing bridges, replacing culverts, trail maintenance, thinning, all that is very important work on the Tongass. But it should not be paid for with continued, large-scale, old-growth clear-cut logging.”

The Ketchikan-based Alaska Forest Association, a timber industry organization, isn’t objecting to a combined contract.

But Executive Director Owen Graham says it’s too small.

“The sale’s only two-thirds as big as it’s supposed to be. But at least it exists,” Graham says.

Graham says Viking could run out of the timber it has before the contract’s spring starting date. And that’s only if the sale makes it through the courts.

He says officials are not making enough of the Tongass available.

“We also need to work with the Forest Service to get a continuous stream of additional timber, so they have some longevity and they don’t have to liquidate that Big Thorne timber sale quicker than planned.”

Tongass officials will soon announce contracts for at least three smaller sales within the Big Thorne area.

Cole says it’s all part of a new direction for forest management in Southeast Alaska.

“The whole intent of this transition is to keep the current industry alive, which would allow them to have sufficient volume to generate revenues to create a retooling effort to get to this young growth timber supply,” Cole says.

The agency’s Tongass Advisory Committee is meeting to consider how to make that transition. Its report is due out in May.

Categories: Alaska News

Texas Police Chief Chosen To Lead In Fairbanks

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:41

The Mayor the City of Fairbanks has chosen a man with extensive law enforcement experience in the south to lead the police department.

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Mayor John Eberhart announced his nomination of Randall Aragon as chief Thursday citing Aragon’s long and diverse experience as the key factor.

Aragon, who currently serves as chief of police in La Marque, Texas, was chosen over longtime local police officer, Lieutenant Eric Jewkes, following a forum Monday, during which members of an interview team, a diverse group of community leaders and the public asked the 2 finalists questions.

Mayor Eberhart says Chief Aragon will be charged with improving the relationship between local police and the community, including various cultural groups.

Mayor Eberhart will ask the City Council to concur with his nomination of Aragon at a council meeting Monday night.  If approved, Aragon will start in Fairbanks December 1st. The chief’s job pays around 108 thousand dollars a year. Eberhart says he’ll recommend Aragon consider Lieutenant Jewkes for a deputy chief position.

Categories: Alaska News

55 Left Without Care After Juneau Daycare Abruptly Closes

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:40

Infant and toddler care facility Spunky Sprouts Too in Juneau shut down abruptly at the close of business Wednesday after key staff members quit. Its preschool, Spunky Sprouts Learning Center, is closing at the end of the month.

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Heather Carlton and 2-year-old son Theo were at home Thursday after Spunky Sprouts Too suddenly shut down. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Parents of 55 infants and toddlers have been scrambling to find childcare after Spunky Sprouts Too shut down.

Heather Carlton stayed home from work Thursday morning to figure out where her 2-year-old son Theo will now go to daycare.

She says she got a call early Wednesday from a Spunky Sprouts employee about the imminent closure.

“I was in a state of panic trying to figure out, ‘What am I going to do? How am I going to find somebody to watch him on such short notice?’ You know, there’s already very limited options in Juneau anyways,” Carlton says.

Carlton also has a 4-year-old named Arlo who’s been going to Spunky Sprouts for a few years. She says she’s been happy with the care.

“He was very quickly potty trained. His reading skills – very satisfied with it. He’s moving along very well so I’m very sad about having to make any sort of change and possibly disrupt his education,” Carlton says.

Carlton found spots at another daycare for both kids, but other parents haven’t been as lucky.

Spunky Sprouts administrator Shamila Scalf says staff members started quitting in September. She says some worried they wouldn’t be paid. Scalf has worked at the center for three years and says, as long as she’s been there, Spunky Sprouts has always had budget issues.

This sign was found on the door of Spunky Sprouts Too located on 9315 Glacier Highway. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Administrators say they received instructions by email from owner Adam Hendren to distribute three letters to parents on Sept. 29 about downsizing and a change of facility.

Spunky Sprouts Too for infants and toddlers was located off Glacier Highway in the Mendenhall Valley. The preschool, Spunky Sprouts Leaning Center, is in Aldersgate United Methodist Church, also in the valley.

One letter says the infant program would end Oct. 31. The other letters say the toddler andpreschool program would move to the Church of the Nazarene.

So, according to the letters, three programs in two buildings were supposed to become two programs in one building.

Instead, the infant and toddler programs shut down Oct. 1 when the main administrator quit and other staff members followed. And, Scalf says, the preschool center is not moving as indicated in the letter – it’s closing at the end of the month.

But due to lack of staff, she’s already turning some children and parents away at the start of each day. Scalf is the only staff member remaining at Spunky Sprouts with a Child Development Associate credential. State regulation says there can be no more than 30 children under her supervision.

“I have 37 registered, paying their fee every month, and I have to send home at least seven. Whoever comes in, number 31, I have to say, ‘I’m sorry, I cannot provide care for you because there’s nobody else,’ and it’s embarrassing,” Scalf says.

Childcare center Puddle JumpersDevelopmental Learning Center closed in August. After both Spunky Sprouts centers close, only six licensed full-day childcare centers are left in Juneau, according to the Association for the Education of Young Children. There are two part-day childcare centers. Their total capacity is 288 kids.

There are 15 licensed in-home childcare providers with capacity for 143 kids.

“We have the worst situation in the state for childcare right now,” says Joy Lyon, executive director of the Southeast chapter of AEYC.

“The number of parents searching for care is way, way off the charts in Juneau. There was only one space for every five children that needed care and now I think that’s dropped to one space for every six children needing care,” Lyon says.

She says her office has been flooded with calls, emails and visits from Spunky Sprouts parents, many in tears.

“We do regular updates of all the programs to find out what openings are available and there are very few openings,” she says.

Lyon says there’s a group working on starting a childcare program to serve the Spunky Sprouts families, a process that could take anywhere from one to three months.

Every first Tuesday of the month, AEYC hosts a networking opportunity for parents struggling to find childcare. The next event is Oct.7.

Spunky Sprouts Learning Centers owner Adam Hendren did not return calls for comment. His wife Jennifer started Spunky Sprouts. According to state records, the first business license for childcare in her name dates back to 2007.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska Book Week: ‘Pup & Pokey’ and A Journey Into Kid Lit

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:39

Alaska author Seth Kantner publishes his first children’s book, “Pup & Pokey.”

Author Seth Kantner has published his first children’s book. Pup & Pokey tells the story of a wolf pup and a young porcupine that strike up an unusual friendship. Kantner chose first time illustrator Beth Hill to bring the characters to life. Hill worked out of her home in the village of Kokhanok on a tight deadline, producing oil paintings that took two weeks to dry for each illustration.

Kantner says he and Hill both had opportunities to study porcupines in the wild as they were working on the book:

Download Audio: 

Seth Kantner’s latest book is Pup & Pokey. The children’s book is illustrated by Beth Hill. Kantner will signing books at the Orca book store in Cordova Tuesday evening and at the Homer bookstore on October 11th from 1-3pm.

Hear Kantner read a short excerpt from Pup & Pokey: listen now

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: October 6, 2014

Mon, 2014-10-06 17:38

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

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HUD Grants Aimed at Alaska Native Housing Projects

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro announced Monday the award of millions of dollars in housing grants to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes nationwide. Castro made the announcement while in Anchorage.

Gwitch’in Translators Scramble to Ready Election Materials

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

After a U.S. district court order, the Alaska Division of Elections has until October 10 to provide outreach and poll workers in three remote regions of the state with election materials and voting information that has been translated from English into either Yupik or Gwich’in.

Gov. Parnell Rescinds Termination Order for 2 Guard Officials

The Associated Press

The acting top official of the Alaska National Guard fired two high-ranking officers last week but reversed the action a day later at the direction of Gov. Sean Parnell.

Conservation Group Sues to Block Controversial Southeast Timber Sale

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The Forest Service awarded a contract this last week to log two-thirds of a controversial Southeast Alaska timber sale. Officials say it’s the first of several contracts for what’s called the Big Thorne timber sale.

Texas Police Chief Chosen To Lead In Fairbanks 

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Mayor the City of Fairbanks has chosen a man with extensive law enforcement experience in the south to lead the police department.

55 Left Without Care After Juneau Daycare Abruptly Closes

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

Infant and toddler care facility Spunky Sprouts Too in Juneau shut down abruptly at the close of business Wednesday after key staff members quit. Its preschool, Spunky Sprouts Learning Center, is closing at the end of the month.

Alaska Book Week: ‘Pup & Pokey’ and A Journey Into Kid Lit

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Author Seth Kantner has published his first children’s book. Pup & Pokey tells the story of a wolf pup and a young porcupine that strike up an unusual friendship. Kantner chose first time illustrator Beth Hill to bring the characters to life. Hill worked out of her home in the village of Kokhanok on a tight deadline, producing oil paintings that took two weeks to dry for each illustration.

Categories: Alaska News

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