Small hull crack forces ferry Aurora out of service early for repairs

first_imgSouthcentral | Southeast | State Government | Syndicated | TransportationSmall hull crack forces ferry Aurora out of service early for repairsAugust 11, 2015 by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News Share:The ferry Aurora docks in Gustavus in 2010. It’s now in Ketchikan for hull repairs and its annual overhaul. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Transportation)The ferry Aurora is out of service a week earlier than expected.A small crack was found last week in its hull. The Coast Guard ordered repairs before resuming passenger service on its Prince William Sound route.Alaska Marine Highway spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says the Aurora was sent to Ketchikan’s shipyard, where it was scheduled for other work.“The vessel was going out of service on Aug. 14 to enter its annual overhaul period. Because of that, knowing that we had to do some extensive repairs to the area where the crack was noticed in, we sent the vessel to Ketchikan to have those repairs done,” he says.The 38-year-old ship is scheduled to resume service in October. It’s not yet known what caused the damage.Woodrow says the crack did not immediately compromise vessel safety.“It’s large enough that water is coming through it, but it’s not so large they couldn’t sail the vessel down to Ketchikan from Prince William Sound,” he says.The Aurora connects Whittier, Cordova and Valdez. It sometimes sails Southeast routes, mostly filling in for its sister ship, the LeConte.It carries up to 250 passengers and 33 vehicles.Share this story:last_img read more

BIA settlement closes; Alaska tribal groups net $123M

first_imgAlaska Native Government & Policy | Federal Government | GovernmentBIA settlement closes; Alaska tribal groups net $123MJanuary 21, 2016 by Lori Townsend, APRN-Anchorage Share:The enormous $940 million class-action lawsuit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of tribes cleared the last court hurdle Wednesday in New Mexico. The case stems from decades of short-funding tribal contracts. More than $100 million will be awarded to tribal organizations in Alaska.The settlement is similar to one reached with the Indian Health Service last year that also found tribes had agreed to contract amounts for tribal services but were then shorted the funds, or in some cases, not awarded any money at all for the signed contracts with the federal government.The Ramah Navajo tribe started the suit which eventually became a class-action for hundreds of tribes and tribal organizations across the nation. The suit covered BIA tribal contracts from 1994 until 2013. After the tribes won, notices went out to them laying out the settlement.Lloyd Miller is one of the attorneys working the case for tribes. He says a November deadline for tribes to object to the settlement terms passed with no disagreement.“Which was stunning to us, a settlement that involves this kind of money, people are experienced with Cobell, which was controversial, not here and these are tribes able to get a lot of money. None objected to anything.”Although no tribes objected to the amounts or the terms, Miller says, they did hear from tribes that had been missed.“And the database the BIA used to develop the master list was incomplete. So we found another database. And from that database we picked up another 55 tribes and tribal organizations — many of them Alaska. So now we have a total of 699 Alaska Native villages, American Indian tribes and intertribal organizations.”He says the incomplete lists were the result of software changes within the BIA over the course of the 20 years the litigation has been ongoing.“We were tasked with trying to combine software from many different sources and produce a master database that we could use in the case. We needed to use that software to do a statistical sampling of the whole class — of all 10,000 contractors, contract years that were at issue in the case. I hope that the BIA takes this to heart. We can’t get them ordered to do record-keeping in a certain way, but I think they’ve learned a sobering lesson in finding out that they missed 55 tribes.”Miller says today’s hearing was the last check in with the court after the additional tribal groups had been included in the settlement. He says Judge James Parker should issue his final orders in the case within two weeks. Payments ranging from tens of millions to tens of thousands will be issued toward spring. Miller says 209 tribes in Alaska will receive more than $123 million.Share this story:last_img read more

Coast Guard rescues two British explorers near Seward Peninsula

first_imgPublic Safety | WesternCoast Guard rescues two British explorers near Seward PeninsulaMarch 5, 2016 by Emily Russell, KNOM Share:Neil Laughton (left) and James Bingham were recently rescued by U.S. Coast Guard off the Bering Strait. (Photo by Emily Russell/KNOM)Two British explorers were rescued from the icy waters of Bering Strait Thursday afternoon. Neil Laughton and James Bingham left the village of Wales on the western edge of the Seward Peninsula Wednesday. The men were attempting to cross the strait when they began to drift north into the open ocean.Laughton and Bingham started their journey on foot from the village of Wales Wednesday morning. They planned to walk over ice and paddle in open water in the hopes of reaching the island of Little Diomede. Bingham says they fell victim to changing ice conditions in the Bering Strait.“The issue we face now with global warming is that the ice just isn’t forming,” said Bingham. “It makes what was already a challenging expedition close to impossible.”They knew they needed to be prepared for open water since Bingham made a similar attempt just last year. He was deterred by the inconsistent ice conditions. This and last year’s attempts are practice. The two are training to cross the entire Bering Strait in 2017.Neil Laughton says things started to go wrong by the end of their first day.“We’d been paddling quite hard for nine or 10 hours. We’d got approximately halfway across the Strait,” Laughton explained.That’s when he said they noticed ice forming around their kayaks.“We (had) to punch through with the paddles to break the ice to make progress,” Laughton said. It was very hard, very slow and quite debilitating.”Near nightfall, they couldn’t continue paddling because of thin ice. And they couldn’t pitch a tent due to the lack of thick ice. Instead, they pulled their kayaks up onto the slushy ice and hunkered down.“We spent the night in the open in our clothing, kind of involuntarily shivering for the next twelve hours until daybreak,” described Laughton.By the time the two woke up, the ice had frozen around. Bingham said it started to carry them even farther north into the open ocean.“So there really was no way out of it,” Bingham explained. “We were caught in this ice drifting north, further and further away from our objective.”It was at that point that Bingham and Laughton decided to call for help. They both say they would have kept going if the ice were thicker. Laughton said that it still wasn’t solid enough to walk across.“As soon as you stepped off onto this ice there were parts where it would hold you for a bit, and then suddenly your feet would go through and you’d fall in,” Laughton said.“So it was just a pretty dire situation. You couldn’t paddle, you couldn’t walk. Check. Check Mate,” Laughton admitted“We were in Kodiak getting ready for a training flight and the SAR alarm went off,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Andrew Jarolimek. Air Station Kodiak was contacted for the search and rescue mission Thursday morning. They sent a C-130 aircraft and two Jayhawk helicopters.Laughton and Bingham were spotted from the C-130 drifting on a section of sea ice about 25 nautical miles northwest of Wales. Jarolimek, who was piloting one of the Jayhawks, lowered a rescue swimmer down onto the ice.“He was able to give him a general assessment and they were cold, but in good spirits, and happy to be rescued,” Jarolimek explained.Jarolimek said they were actually well prepared for the expedition, but the drifting sea ice worked against the two explorers. Laughton and Bingham were flown back to Nome yesterday afternoon. Laughton says they escaped mostly unscathed.“James has a little frostbite on his fingers. Me, being a bit older and uglier and harder skinned, I’m fine, thanks,” Laughton joked.Both Laughton and Bingham seem to be aware of the risks associated with their Bering Strait expedition.“We kind of estimate there are three outcomes on this project: there’s success, there’s rescue and there’s death,” Laughton explained. “When success starts to fade away, you’re left with two, and that’s the reason why we pulled the pin early.”Laughton, who has summited Mount Everest five times and skied to both the North and South Poles, says the Bering Strait crossing is at the top of his list. But ice conditions in the strait are now so unpredictable that a crossing of this kind may be impossible in the years to come.Share this story:last_img read more

Red Carpet Concert: Harrison B

first_imgArts & Culture | Juneau | KRNN | KXLLRed Carpet Concert: Harrison BMay 16, 2016 by Scott Burton, KTOO Share:Our fourth of 10 Folk Fest Red Carpet Concerts is with Harrison B and Tim Pepper. Harrison B, who is currently based in Seattle, defines his sound as progressive American Soul. Here is “Keep it Movin.”Our Red Carpet Concert Folk Fest sessions are a collaboration between KTOO Public Media, Juneau filmmaker Ryan Cortes of Gemini Waltz Media, and Justin Smith of Rusty Recordings in Gustavus. Tune in Wednesday for the release of Kim Beggs.Watch other Red Carpet Concerts with musicians like Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms, Liz Snyder and Patrick Troll, and Sean Tracey and Nate May. Tune in Wednesday for the release of Kim Beggs.Share this story:last_img read more

Red Carpet Concert: Stephen Qacung Blanchett

first_imgAlaska Native Arts & Culture | Arts & Culture | Juneau | KRNN | KXLLRed Carpet Concert: Stephen Qacung BlanchettAugust 21, 2016 by Annie Bartholomew, KTOO Share:The latest Celebration Sessions Red Carpet Concert video features songwriter Stephen Qacung Blanchett of the Tribal Funk band Pamyua. He performs his song “Listen to the Stories” in a studio shared by Rico Worland Christy NaMee Eriksen who curated the eight-part series.The Celebration Sessions Red Carpet Concerts are a collaboration between KTOO, Kindred Post and Trickster Company. Watch other Red Carpet Concerts with Lily Hope, Silver Jackson, and Whiskey Class.Share this story:last_img read more

Traffic light malfunction limits access to Egan Drive

first_imgJuneau | Public Safety | State Government | TransportationTraffic light malfunction limits access to Egan DriveSeptember 24, 2016 by Quinton Chandler, KTOO Share:JPD vehicle. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)A traffic light on Egan Drive malfunctioned Saturday afternoon, closing one lane inbound and outbound.The problem was caused by a damaged wire. Jeremy Woodrow, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Transportation, said it’s possible the wire was cut during construction work or it could have been shorted by rainwater.Woodrow said the Juneau Police Department arrived on scene to help manage traffic at about 4 p.m. Telise Watkins, a police dispatcher, said the light was repaired by 7:40 p.m.Share this story:last_img read more

‘He’s Doing A Good Job’: Supporters rally nationwide to defend Trump

first_imgFederal Government | National News | NPR News‘He’s Doing A Good Job’: Supporters rally nationwide to defend TrumpMarch 5, 2017 by Colin Dwyer, NPR News Share:About 700 people gathered at the Minnesota capitol in St. Paul to show support for Republican President Donald Trump on March 4, 2017. It was one of many “March 4 Trump” events held around the country. About 100 people were also there protesting against Donald Trump. (Creative Commons photo by Fibonacci Blue )Supporters of President Trump gathered at locations across the U.S. on Saturday, in a bid to challenge what rally organizers call the country’s “seditious fringe.” In a series of demonstrations dubbed the “March 4 Trump” — or the Spirit of America Rallies — organizers have pledged to provide “forgotten voices a mechanism so they can be heard.”“They aren’t giving [Trump] a chance,” Patty Collins, a local organizer, told The Indianapolis Star. “We are here to show support for the president of the United States.”Saturday’s demonstrations — which were intended to be small, according to the Main Street Patriots — come just one week after Trump tweeted something of a call for rallies backing his administration.“Maybe the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN should have their own rally,” Trump tweeted. “It would be the biggest of them all!”Maybe the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN should have their own rally. It would be the biggest of them all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017From New York City to Raleigh, N.C., from Austin to Washington, D.C., Trump supporters answered that call — though in many instances, counterprotesters were also there to meet them.At the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, scuffles broke out between pro-Trump demonstrators and a smaller group of anti-Trump protesters, according to the Star Tribune. While the two parties were quickly separated by police and fellow demonstrators, the Minneapolis newspaper reports that both sides continued to lob insults at each other from close range:“The two groups continued to trade taunts — ‘Get a job!’ was one volleyed at the counterprotesters — and chants and shouts reverbated through the rotunda. Someone — it was unclear who, except that it was not police — sprayed a chemical irritant, causing some scattering and coughing on both sides.“At least two people were arrested.”Kerfuffles like the one in Minnesota broke out elsewhere, as well.Outside the Texas State Capitol in Austin, where police estimate roughly 300 supporters gathered, Taylor Goldenstein of the Austin Statesman witnessed heated confrontations between the two groups amid chants of “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” Those skirmishes were broken up by police without serious injury.Oh dear. Counter protesters start yelling. Crowds confronting. #March4Trump pic.twitter.com/jzofvbppSJ— Taylor Goldenstein (@taygoldenstein) March 4, 2017For the most part, however, the demonstrations have been peaceful — and in Austin, at least, charitable as well. The Austin American-Statesman notes that pro-Trump “attendees are told to bring donations for the homeless and veterans, such as canned goods, clothing, blankets and hygiene products, according to the [organizers’] Facebook page.”“There have been so many protests against [Trump], we just want to spend a day showing him there are people who support him,” Jennifer Drabbant, a local organizer, told the Statesman.Counter protestors have left. #March4Trump rally looks like this now (from left to right above rotunda): pic.twitter.com/Qw6rrMe3zw— Ricardo Lopez (@rljourno) March 4, 2017It was a sentiment echoed at the D.C. rally, where a man who identified himself as a registered Democrat told the gathering he was frustrated with the worldwide women’s marches the day after Trump’s inauguration. Most of the people who joined those marches expressed opposition to the new president’s agenda.“He was in office less than 24 hours,” the man told the crowd from stage.#March4Trump leaves Washington Monument, en route to White House. pic.twitter.com/RVS560C2Ix— Josh Fatzick (@JoshFatzick) March 4, 2017Meanwhile, Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth reports “it was a clash of the signs and chants” outside the State Capitol on Saturday, as demonstrators gathered near counterprotesters.“He’s doing a good job, I think,” Trump supporter Trent Herbert told Roth. “I think a lot of times he should stay off Twitter.”Christy Trammell of Franklin, Tenn., says she’s attending the Nashville demonstration — her first political rally — as a direct response to January’s women’s marches.“Seeing the people there that were trying to act like they represent women,” she told Blake Farmer of member station WPLN, “it was appalling to me.”Farmer reports that the Nashville rally, which wasn’t quite as big as organizers would have liked, nevertheless voiced their support of Trump’s proposed wall along the border with Mexico, as well as rolling back transgender bathroom protections.Still, in Nashville, as elsewhere, protesters persistently chanted slogans from the edges. Organizers of one counterprotest in D.C. summed up their motivations behind showing up in opposition.“We won’t sit idly by when Trump supporters come to town and celebrate: fear, hate, and misogyny,” Smash Racism DC wrote on its Facebook page.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Share this story:last_img read more

State TB rate dips but remains among the highest

first_imgHealth | State GovernmentState TB rate dips but remains among the highestApril 13, 2017 by Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media Share:The state Department of Health and Social Services said 57 cases of tuberculosis were reported in Alaska in 2016.That’s a moderate decrease from the prior year, but Alaska continues to have among the highest rates of tuberculosis in the U.S., more than double the national average.Audio Playerhttp://media.aprn.org/2017/ann-20170412-05.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.(Medial illustration of tuberculosis by CDC)Anchorage Medical Officer Bruce Chandler said the high rate is to be expected, given Alaska’s history of the disease.“We continue to see cases crop up both in rural Alaska and in Anchorage,” Chandler said. “Primarily in the Alaska Native population where there was so much tuberculosis in the last century and a half or two.”The infection can lie dormant and harmless in the lungs for decades, often an entire lifetime.If it becomes active, then an early symptom is typically a persistent cough.Antibiotics can cure the disease, and Chandler said keeping Alaska’s TB rate under control requires a lot of work behind the scenes.“Public health nurses, community health aides and DOT aides are out there day in and day in and day out finding cases and treating these people,“ Chandler said.DOT aides, or directly observed therapy aides, ensure patients take the full course of antibiotics. Chandler said their diligence helps prevent the spread of drug-resistant TB.“Right now, we don’t have the tools to totally eradicate TB,” Chandler said. “This is not a problem that’s going to go away. It’s something to be of concern for a long time to come.”TB rates are highest in Southwest Alaska. The rate in the Northern region has dropped in recent years but remains higher than the Alaska average.Worldwide, about one-third of the population has latent TB.Share this story:last_img read more

Juneau Assembly kicks in another $1.2 million for Housing First

first_imgAlcohol & Substance Abuse | Housing | Juneau | Local GovernmentJuneau Assembly kicks in another $1.2 million for Housing FirstApril 24, 2017 by Jacob Resneck, KTOO Share:The Housing First Project under construction on November. (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)The City and Borough of Juneau has come to the aid of the Juneau Housing First Project with another $1.2 million.Housing First is designed to serve Juneau’s most vulnerable residents, many of them homeless. But grants and other fundraising have been leaner than projected for the 32-unit complex and clinic under construction.Housing First was originally slated to open in May. But when the project lost Front Street Community Health Center as its partner to run the onsite clinic, that pushed things back. Now a new partner’s been found: the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc.“You know we’re just responding to the needs of the community, the program,” Doug Harris of JAMHI said. “And we’ve been fully invested in the Housing First project since its initial planning stages.”The Juneau Assembly unanimously approved the increased funding without discussion Monday evening.“We’re really excited to start moving people in,” Housing First’s Project Manager Mariya Lovishchuk said. “This feels like a huge, huge step.”The Housing First complex is now slated to open in July and gives preference to what case workers identify as the community’s most vulnerable residents.Share this story:last_img read more

Anthony Weiner pleads guilty to charge over sexting with a minor

first_imgFederal Government | Nation & World | NPR News | State GovernmentAnthony Weiner pleads guilty to charge over sexting with a minorMay 19, 2017 by Camila Domonoske, NPR Share:Updated at 12:07 p.m. ETAnthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman from New York, pleaded guilty Friday to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor after he was investigated for sending sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl last year.Weiner will have to register as a sex offender and could be sentenced to years in prison, The Associated Press reports. As part of his plea deal, he has agreed not to appeal any sentence of 27 months or less, Reuters says.Weiner cried in court and issued an apology to the teenager, the AP writes.“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” he said, according to the wire service.The British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail first reported on the explicit texts that prompted the criminal case, based on images and descriptions provided by the teenage girl in North Carolina. She said that Weiner, then 51, carried out a monthslong sexually explicit conversation with her in which he asked her to undress and sent her semiclothed photos of himself.Weiner did not deny that he sent the messages, although he did initially suggest that he had been the victim of a “hoax.”At the risk of understatement: This is not Weiner’s first sexting scandal.In 2011, while serving in Congress, he accidentally tweeted to the world a photo of his boxer-clad erection. He initially claimed he was hacked before admitting he was trying to send it to a woman who was not his wife. It was the start of a spiraling scandal that tanked his political career and often brought a sense of deja vu to the news.Again and again, he sent sexual messages to women, despite promising his family and his supporters that he would stop. Last year, he even sent salacious images of himself to a woman while his young son was next to him in bed — and visible in the shot.But this scandal involved sexting with a minor — and led to criminal charges.Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s top aide. The sexting case unexpectedly played a prominent role in the election, after investigators looking into Weiner’s laptop found some of Abedin’s work emails.Shortly before the election, then-FBI Director James Comey announced that the newly discovered emails needed to be examined, as part of the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server. After reopening the probe, the FBI determined the emails on Weiner’s computer did not change the agency’s decision that no charges should be brought against Clinton.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Share this story:last_img read more