GLACIER conference ends with vague, dire tones

first_imgArctic | Climate Change | Environment | Federal GovernmentGLACIER conference ends with vague, dire tonesSeptember 1, 2015 by Zachariah Hughes, KSKA Share:President Barack Obama addressed the GLACIER conference in Anchorage Monday. (Screenshot)As President Obama continues touring Alaska, the aims and outcomes of Monday’s GLACIER Conference are still being sorted out.Independent of the president’s visit, the State Department organized for 20 diplomats with ties to the Arctic to gather in Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center. The aim, according to Secretary of State John Kerry, was figuring out next steps for international efforts on climate change ahead of talks in Paris later this year.“We very much look forward to building a record, an agenda, a roadmap, if you will, to lead us into Paris, where we have a critical negotiation this year,” Kerry said during opening remarks.Throughout the day, diplomats convened for closed-door meetings. Meanwhile, breakaway sessions elsewhere focused topics of particular interest to Alaska and the high North, like Arctic home-design, coastal erosion, and mitigation, as well as how to manage Arctic fisheries.The common thread was in offering evidence that a changing Arctic environment is impacting economies, nations, and communities faster than anyone can adapt. Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule told delegates that Native people in Alaska are seeing some of the resources closest to home threatened.“Subsistence is our means for providing for our families,” said Joule, who spoke throughout the day on different topics, but stressed that hunting, fishing, and foraging remains fundamental to the economies and cultural identity of many Alaska Natives. “For many, more than half of our daily take of nutrition is from our traditional foods.”By the end of the day’s sessions, Kerry said productive discussions would be reflected in a document set to be put out soon.“We confirmed today that we cannot afford to wait until someone else moves to implement solutions to the challenges that confront us in the Arctic,” Kerry said. “I’m very pleased that through today’s GLACIER meeting we made progress in a host of areas, and our communiqué will summarize that.”But particulars — both about the conference’s deliverables and about what steps the administration will announce — remain vague.During closing remarks, the president cast a serious tone about the stakes of inaction on dire climatological changes. He alluded to details to come during his two remaining days visiting different parts of Alaska. But at the close of Monday’s Glacier conference, the one certainty is widespread agreement that manmade climate change is exacting a real toll on Alaska.In fact, there was one other universal point of agreement within the conference’s crowded closing session.“I think we could say that Denali has never looked better than it did today,” Secretary Kerry said to a battery of applause.After an executive action Sunday, the name of North America’s highest mountain was officially restored to Denali. The weather in Anchorage was clear and the mountain’s summit was visible.Share this story:last_img read more

After 15 years of closure, Interior village school seeks teacher

first_imgEducation | InteriorAfter 15 years of closure, Interior village school seeks teacherDecember 28, 2015 by Robert Hannon, KUAC Share:Interior village of Rampart. (Google Maps)The village of Rampart is looking for a teacher. The school re-opened earlier this year after being shuttered 15 years ago. The first Chief and Administrator said temporary teachers sent by the district don’t have the skills village kids need.Floyd Green became first Chief and Administrator of the Rampart Village Council in 2013. He said the small village on the Yukon River renovated and re-opened the school for students after a 15-year hiatus. But after two temporary teachers have served, Green said parents aren’t happy. He said teachers need to be invested in the community and kids, and should be able to teach everything from kindergarten to high school.“Somebody interested in teaching their knowledge to our students, and that isn’t just here for a paycheck,” Green said.Green said communications between the village and the Yukon Flats School district have not been good. He said he and Rampart parents have been asking for a permanent qualified teacher for a while.“Finally, during the school board meeting on the 15th, we asked, ‘Where’s our new teacher? What’s going on?’ And they said, ‘Well, we can’t find one,’” he said.The Yukon Flats School District said it’s challenging to attracting qualified teachers to villages. And Green acknowledges the district has hired a teacher’s aide to assist. He hopes that sweetens the deal for anyone looking at the job.Share this story:last_img read more

Researcher says state ferries benefit more than they cost

first_imgEconomy | Southeast | State Government | TransportationResearcher says state ferries benefit more than they costMarch 27, 2016 by Robert Woolsey, KCAW Share:MacDowell Group researcher Heather Haugland says that state gets a 133 percent return on its investment in the Alaska Marine Highway System. (Photo by Robert Woolsey.KCAW)The state gets a 133 percent return on its investment in the Alaska Marine Highway System. That’s the conclusion of a recent economic analysis by the McDowell Group, and independent research firm based in Juneau.Senior analyst Heather Haugland delivered the report for the first time to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce.The report was commissioned by the Marine Highway in 2014, but it’s driven entirely by statistics.And some of the numbers are pretty granular. There’s not a lot Heather Haugland doesn’t know about passengers who, say, boarded a ferry in Sitka in 2014.“You’ve got 81 Australians. 22 Germans, 16 New Zealanders. You had 2 people from the United Arab Emirates — I love this stuff, I think it’s so fascinating,” Haugland said.But Haugland, who now lives in Bellingham after spending 12 years working for McDowell in Juneau, dives much deeper into the numbers. She tracks employment in the system, and where that money is being spent. She also tracks visitor traffic, and where passengers are headed when they ride the ferry.It’s probably not where you were thinking.“Anchorage and Juneau are the top two destinations. So folks taking the ferry are not just tooling around in Southeast. They’re driving, getting off the ferry in Haines or Skagway, or taking it up to the Southwest system, but they are getting throughout the state. Denali is the #5 community of those visited. Fairbanks is #7. Tok. These are communities that are not on the ferry system, but are benefiting from the service by getting visitors.”And the ferry is not just for visitors. The other prize Anchorage and Juneau win is for travel by local residents. Juneau tops that list, followed by Anchorage. Ketchikan is a distant third, followed by Palmer and Wasilla.There are more people from Palmer and Wasilla using the ferry than from Sitka — than from Haines, even. And there are more residents of Fairbanks using the ferry than residents of Wrangell and Petersburg.In just the last three years, traveling from Sitka on the ferry has become almost as rare as departing Chicago in a Pullman sleeper car.“Sitka’s traffic, between 2012 and 2015 has gone down by 33-percent. That’s about twice what the statewide traffic went down. I know that scheduling, and what’s going on with the ferries and their maintenance plays a role, but that’s a big number. I was surprised that it had gone down by a full third.”Haugland is not sure how the information will be used by decision-makers in Juneau. The impression created by Sitka’s legislators — especially Sen. Bert Stedman — is that ferries are considered expensive and inefficient by Railbelt politicians who prefer spending money on pavement.Her biggest reveal, however, was pure economics. In 2014, the state subsidized ferries to the tune of $117-million. The net economic benefit to the state was $273-million — a return of 133-percent.Nevertheless, state support for the marine highway continues to decline.“There was a $123-million subsidy in 2013. And what they’re talking about in the house and senate — juggling around right now — it may be about $84-million going forward, for the fiscal year 2018.”Haugland lets the numbers speak for themselves, and resists the impulse to interpret them.When a chamber member asked her for suggestions on how to stop the decline in passenger traffic out of Sitka she replied, “That’s a question for the marine highway.”Share this story:last_img read more

Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander advances to finals in Olympic trials

first_imgSouthcentral | SportsSoldotna’s Allie Ostrander advances to finals in Olympic trialsJuly 8, 2016 by Jenny Neyman, KBBI Share:Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander in October 2015. (Creative Commons photo by shortCHINESEguy)Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander has advanced to the finals in the U.S. Olympic Trials this week. If Ostrander places in the top three on Sunday, she’ll be off to Rio this summer. Even if she doesn’t, she’ll still consider the race a win.In less time than it takes to grill a steak, Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander crossed the finish line in the women’s 5,000-meter semifinals at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Thursday in Eugene, Oregon. Her 15-minute, 27.13-second time secures her a slot in the finals and a shot at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.“I did as well as I was hoping to do. The preliminary was just about making it on to finals. So, I was able to do that without being really stressed and worrying about time qualification and anything like that,” Ostrander said.Not only was her fourth-place finish astonishing, so is the fact that she’s competing at Hayward Field at all. Ostrander is only 19, having just finished her freshman year at Boise State University in Idaho. She was the only collegian among the 23 women in the 5K. And this was her first race in four months, coming back from an overuse knee injury in March.“I didn’t know exactly what to expect going in, due to the time I had to take off for my injury, so I was just happy to get back out on the track and feel good and be able to qualify for the finals,” Ostrander said.Ostrander says she didn’t feel any twinge of injury nagging at her knee or her mind. She was able to give the race her all. That, actually, was far easier than having to not give her all for so many weeks of reduced training.“The self-control is definitely harder and the cross-training, because when you’re not running you have to work so much harder than when you actually are running,” she said.Ostrander’s parents, Paul and Teri, are in Eugene to watch Allie run. Paul says he thought Allie looked great.“The main thing we were hoping was just that she was going to run well. She was questioning where her fitness was and, of course, we didn’t know where it was. And she just wanted know and show to herself that she could run fast. And she did, of course — ran better than I had hoped,” Paul Ostrander said.Teri coached Allie in her record-breaking high school running career at Kenai Central High School.“Teri was a nervous wreck because she was afraid (Allie) was going to get boxed in because she was back in, like, ninth or 10th place for a lot of the race and was in that inside lane and there were runners all around her. And Teri was afraid someone was going to make a move and she wouldn’t be able to respond,” Paul Ostrander said.But she did. With four laps left, Ostrander started picking off runners. She ran her last lap in 65 seconds. That’s less time than it takes to toast a hamburger bun on the grill.“We always had thought that she would be more of a 10K runner, you know — longer distances. She’s shown that she has a lot more speed than people think that she had. And so she’s able to run, you know, the 5K, since it’s kind of a shorter, long-distance race, and she’s able to hang with the speed that she has,” Paul Ostrander said.Those familiar with Ostrander in Alaska shouldn’t be surprised by her speed. In high school, she won three cross-country titles, set records in 1,600 and 3,200 meters and even won a national cross-country race while still a senior. She also notched six straight junior girls wins on Mount Marathon, setting a new record and beating all the boys in her final juniors race. In the women’s division last year, she finished second and still broke the 25-year course record.Ostrander chose to skip the mountain race in Seward this Fourth of July, in favor of the trails in Oregon.“It was a little sad watching the live stream and not being there on the mountain because I do love the race, but after my race yesterday I’m sure that I made the right decision,” Ostrander said.Ostrander says whatever happens Sunday, she’s thankful to just be in Oregon, able to run.“I’m just really excited. It’s basically a bonus run. I can’t wait to get back out there and just give everything I can,” she said.Back in Soldotna, Ostrander is a local celebrity, and an inspiration for others to be active. She started a summer community running program in 2012, called the Salmon Run Series, which now draws more than 100 people every week, rain or shine. On the organization’s Facebook page, posts about upcoming courses or race results are lost in the sea of Ostrander updates and well wishes.“I’m just really thankful for all the support, not just from my family, who’s here, which is awesome, but also from everyone in the community through social media. It’s so cool to have such a friendly, supportive community behind me,” Ostrander said.A top three finish will advance Ostrander to the Olympics. The final is at 5:28 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday.Share this story:last_img read more

Local attorney Kirsten Swanson appointed Juneau District Court judge

first_imgAlcohol & Substance Abuse | Crime & Courts | Juneau | Mental Health | State GovernmentLocal attorney Kirsten Swanson appointed Juneau District Court judgeOctober 25, 2016 by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO Share:Gov. Bill Walker announced Tuesday that Juneau private attorney Kirsten Swanson will be the new Juneau District Court judge.Ten people had applied to replace Judge KeithKirsten Swanson (Courtesy of Alaska Judicial Council)Levy, who’s retiring at the end of October.The district court’s jurisdiction includes municipal ordinances, misdemeanor crimes, underage alcohol and tobacco violations, and civil cases when less than $100,000 is at stake.According to Swanson’s application materials, she is a former U.S. Army captain and judge advocate general officer.She’s lived in Juneau for 17 years and practiced law for 20. She said she’s gone to trial 60 times.Her legal website says she specializes in fish and game violations, federal Lacey Act cases, and federal conspiracy and military cases.Swanson could not be reached for comment, but in her application, she wrote she’s a big supporter of the therapeutic and mental health courts, which offer treatment-based alternatives to incarceration.“Many people who appear in District Court are chronic alcoholics, drug addicted, mentally ill and homeless,” she wrote. “These populations have additional issues that are difficult for the court to address. I am open to looking at possible new ways to address some of these issues.”In addition to her private practice, she’s worked in the state Public Defender’s Office and in the Department of Law on natural resources cases.While she was in law school, she worked in an Oregon correctional facility booking prisoners.In a news release, Gov. Walker said Swanson’s vast experience as a public and private lawyer will serve Southeast Alaska well.District court judges in Juneau earn salary of $165,852.Share this story:last_img read more

‘Part Land, Part Water – Always Native’: 34th Annual Elders and Youth Conference kicks off

first_imgAlaska Native Arts & Culture | Alaska Native Government & Policy | Southcentral‘Part Land, Part Water – Always Native’: 34th Annual Elders and Youth Conference kicks offOctober 17, 2017 by Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media Share:Whaler Chris Apassingok, a 17-year-old whaler from Gambell, is the youth keynote speaker at the Elders and Youth Conference on Monday, Oct. 17, 2017. Gov. Bill Walker, left, and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott are also pictured. (Photo courtesy Alaska Gov. Bill Walker)The first full day of the 34th annual Elders and Youth Conference kicked off in Anchorage on Monday. The gathering of more than a thousand people from across Alaska takes place just ahead of the Alaska Federation of Natives convention each fall. It aims to promote indigenous identity and share cultural knowledge between generations.The event is organized by the First Alaskans Institute. In opening remarks, FAI vice president Jorie Paoli spoke of this year’s theme: “Part Land, Part Water – Always Native.”“Alaska is, always has been, and always will be a native place,” Paoli said. “And Alaska is better because we’re here.”The crowd heard remarks from both Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, both of whom then took questions on a range of topics. Multiple times, the two mentioned a forthcoming administrative action on climate change, but did not elaborate on specifics or a timeline. Walker said he’s been moved to act on the issue, particularly since visiting subsistence communities across the state.“When I was at Kivalina and I saw what was happening there with the erosion. This is not in theory, this is not in theory, this is real life, day to day, issue,” Walker said. “Some of the discussion, some of the whaling has changed because thickness of the ice, you can’t pull a whale up onto the ice because the ice isn’t as thick as it was before. These are life changes that will change the life of Alaskans, of Alaska Natives. We need to make sure that we’re at the front lines because we are as a state at the front lines.”Walker and Mallott also spoke of the state “not doing enough” on public safety in rural communities, even referring to the issue as a “crisis.” The men also touched on the importance of protecting subsistence resources, although on that topic the youth keynote speaker brought the room to its feet with applause and cheers.“I am Agragiiq Chris Apassingok, and as you see in the pamphlet, I am the son of Daniel and Susan Apassingok.”The 17-year-old whaler from Gambell on St. Lawrence Island delivered the first part of his speech in Siberian Yupik. He then switched to English to recount his education in subsistence hunting, starting with mice, squirrels and birds, all the way up to the bowhead whale he struck on a hunt with his family this past spring. The incident caused a backlash against the teen on social media when a radical animal rights activist criticized Apassingok online – an event the young man said strengthened his resolve to keep practicing traditional hunting.“We must never be discouraged by any accident or anybody that may threaten us. I am part land, I am part water, I am always Native,” Apassingok said to the crowd, drawing applause. “Will you stand with me as I continue my hunting? Will you stand with me as we all continue our subsistence activities?”And the crowd did stand, giving the young man an ovation. Elsewhere in his speech, Apassingok talked about how even in his own short lifetime he’s seen hunting conditions change, with less sea ice and rougher seas hampering traditional hunting.The Elders and Youth conference continues through Wednesday at the Dena’ina convention Center in downtown Anchorage. Television coverage of Elders and Youth and the Alaska Federation of Natives is on 360 North all week.Share this story:last_img read more

Haines, Yukon forecasters work together to build weather station in Haines Pass

first_imgOutdoors | Southeast | WeatherHaines, Yukon forecasters work together to build weather station in Haines PassJune 28, 2018 by Henry Leasia, KHNS-Haines Share:A Haines skier heads out into the back country. (Photo by Abbey Collins/KHNS)A new weather station is being developed to collect data for the Haines Pass.The Yukon Avalanche Association recently secured funding from the Yukon Government for the project and will partner with the Haines Avalanche Center to install the equipment by fall.Audio Playerhttps://khns.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/27weatherstation.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Erik Stevens and Jeff Moskowitz founded the Haines Avalanche Center in 2010.The goal was to establish a local avalanche forecast for the public and a platform for people to share data and weather observations.Since then, Stevens and Moskowitz have been venturing out into the mountains around Haines to collect data on snow conditions for their website’s forecast.Weather data for this region is sparse.When they first started there were hardly any resources for forecasting, Stevens said.“Since then, it has grown quite a bit,” Stevens said. “We now have a SNOTEL station up on Flower Mountain. We have our own weather station that Haines Avalanche Center installed on Mount Ripinsky. There’s a couple of other new stations that have gone online that provide mountain weather data. And that’s so crucial for us is having that real time weather data from high altitudes, not just the valley floors.”Many skiers and snowboarders are eager in the winter to ride the slopes in the Haines Pass.They face numerous risks — from avalanches to rapidly changing conditions — while riding in this region.This popular winter recreation area lacks a weather station where Accurate forecasts are crucial.Stevens said that the Haines Avalanche Center wanted to install a station there, but focused their efforts on Mount Ripinsky because the pass is located on Canadian land.Haines locals are not the only ones trying to scope out the conditions for that region.Many Yukoners need weather data from the pass as well, said Kylie Campbell, interagency director for Yukon Avalanche Association.“We want to try to make sure there is as much information for the public, and particularly in such a remote, data-sparse region like Haines Pass,” Campbell said. “For our community Haines Junction, this weather station is going to be vital whether or not you are even driving on the highway, let alone using the mountains that are accessible from the highway.”Recently the Yukon Avalanche Association secured funding for a weather station in Haines Pass.The Yukon government awarded the group $20,000 in Tier 1 Community Development funding, which will cover the cost of materials, installation and maintenance training for volunteers.Campbell has been working with the British Columbia government on land-use issues because the pass is located in B.C.The Haines Avalanche Center and Haines Junction residents also have also been working as partners on the project.“It’s kind of an exciting project because it’s incorporating for us interprovincial and international relations for weather information that has never really existed from this region,” Campbell said.The Haines Avalanche Center will help choose the location, install the equipment and maintain it over time.The station itself is a 10- to 15 foot-tall tower with instruments to collect data for temperature, humidity, wind, rainfall and snow depth.Stevens said finding a site with the right conditions can be tricky.“In terms of siting, we’re looking for a nice balance between exposure to the wind so we get good wind data, but not too exposed because then all the snow blows away. We’re trying to find a sheltered spot that’s kind of partially sheltered but still exposed to the wind, and that’s pretty hard to find.”They are looking at a spot near Glade Peak, also known as Three Guardsman. Once installed, information from the station will be available to the public online in real time.Share this story:last_img read more

Sockeye run winds down with strong summer numbers

first_imgFisheries | SoutheastSockeye run winds down with strong summer numbersSeptember 6, 2018 by Abbey Collins, KHNS-Haines Share:The Haines Portage Cove Harbor. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)Sockeye salmon returned to Haines’ Chilkoot River in strong numbers this summer. The run is winding down, but tracking near the upper end of the escapement goal set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.ADF&G Haines Area Management Biologist Wyatt Rhea-Fournier says a large portion of the sockeye run came in a big pulse of 38,000 fish.“Kind of uncharacteristic if you look at the long term patterns for that lake,” Rhea-Fournier said. “Now, two of the last three years we’ve had these really large pulses of sockeye into the Chilkoot Lake.”Now, as the run comes to an end, just over 84,000 fish have passed through Fish and Game’s weir on the Chilkoot River. That’s a good number, just below the upper bound of the escapement goal.Rhea-Fournier says those numbers have allowed the department to open up fishing.“We’ve given a lot of opportunity since that large pulse of fish came through,” Rhea-Fournier said. “Opening up the Lutak Inlet all the way up to the river mouth for extra days. The last couple days we’ve been open four days a week and five days a week. This next week it will be open for six days.”On the Chilkat side, however, Fish and Game is still waiting. They still have a ways to go before meeting the escapement goal on the Chilkat River. But, Rhea-Fournier says that’s not unusual. He says the run tends to be more prolonged.“If you look at over the last 10 years, by the end of August we have about half of our escapement through,” Rhea-Fournier said. “So that means we still have more fish to come. Right now we’re only at 44,000 fish. So we’re hoping that there is a whole second half of the run coming. Because, of course, our minimum goal on the Chilkat side is 70,000 fish.”Rhea-Fournier says there are strong indications those fish are on their way.“Our Chilkat River fish wheels picked up quite significantly,” Rhea-Fournier said. “We’ve had a lot of reports of subsistence fishers in the river, and in the salt water, catching a lot of sockeye. So we’re going to open for just two days and give a little more opportunity for the commercial fishers. So they’ll be able to fish up to Twin Coves here this next week.”As the summer salmon season slows, Rhea-Fournier expects to see the start of the Klehini chum harvest.“We do have a lot of our fishers who have moved on from their summer nets and are using what we call the fall gear,” Rhea-Fournier said. “That means they’re using a slightly larger mesh size and they begin to target fall chum salmon. Wild chum salmon that are returning up to the Klehini. They’re also starting to harvest coho salmon. Coho that are returning into the Chilkat.”Meanwhile, the Chilkoot River is seeing a low return of pink salmon.“Pink salmon coming into the Chilkoot River has been quite low,” Rhea-Fournier said. “We’re only at about 5,000 fish, which is pretty low, even for an even year. And in the fish wheels themselves, which monitor the Chilkat salmon migrations, they’ve been quite low over there as well. In fact, very low when you look at the 10-year average.”Rhea-Fournier says the fish tend to follow a pattern, with weaker runs on even years.“Upper Lynn Canal follows the same as the rest of Northern Southeast Alaska,” Rhea-Fournier said. “Northern Southeast Alaska pink salmon follow onto this odd and even year cycle where the even years, such as this year, have typically been much lower than the odd years.”Rhea-Fournier says this isn’t a huge deal for the local gillnet fleet. But, it’s certainly affecting others in Southeast.“We typically, as a gillnet fishery, don’t target a lot of pink salmon but definitely some of the other gear types, like the purse seiners, definitely were limited in opportunity because of the low abundance of pink salmon,” Rhea-Fournier said.In the past week, 4,000 sockeye were harvested by commercial fishermen in District 15. They also caught 4,500 coho, 2,500 chum and 100 pinks.Share this story:last_img read more

Massive mountain rockslide near Juneau shakes the earth on Christmas Eve

first_imgThe Taku River is one of biggest salmon producing rivers in Southeast Alaska. Since it crosses an international boundary, both United States and Canada share the harvest.David Harris, commercial fisheries area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, says the slide likely destroyed any salmon roe at the foot of the mountain. But he believes it won’t have a big impact on salmon runs overall.“The channel is fairly braided. There’s two or three large channels already,” Harris said. “Plus, smaller connecting side sloughs and whatnot.”“There’s plenty of room for the water to find a way through,” he said. “It’s not like a narrow valley that’s filled up with material.”Harris says much bigger landslides completely blocked the Taku in other places, but the river always finds a way to cut right through them. Pilot Jamie Tait warns Alaskans who have cabins or recreate along the Taku to watch out for lots of uprooted and dead trees to wash downriver in the spring.Share this story: Environment | Juneau | Outdoors | Science & Tech | SoutheastMassive mountain rockslide near Juneau shakes the earth on Christmas EveDecember 31, 2020 by Matt Miller, KTOO Share:View of the aftermath of a massive Christmas Eve rockslide about 46 miles northeast of Juneau. (Darryl Keith Tait photo via Facebook)Around Christmas, there were reports of an earthquake and major mountain rockslide in the wilderness near Juneau. But what came first? The earthquake or the slide?Jamie Tait is a helicopter pilot based out of Atlin, British Columbia. The day after Christmas, he and his family were flying along the Taku River valley after checking on a cabin in the area.“It’s pretty interesting because I’ve flown down that river for probably the better part of 35 years,” Tait said. “I noticed it right away before the rest of my family did and it’s pretty significant.”One mountain along the river about 46 miles northeast of Juneau looked like part of its face had been sliced off.“The area in the valley was all full of the debris and mud that have been pushed up when the mountainside collapsed,” Tait said.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2020/12/31rockslideweb.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Sonia Nagorski, assistant professor of geology at the University of Alaska Southeast, says some of that area’s mountain slopes are over 50 degrees. In other words, the slopes are so steep that they are almost like a cliff face.“And so, it just crumbles and fails,” Nagorski said. “It’s pretty astounding that those rocks are sitting at the steep angle at all.”Nagorski says there’s a lot of volcanic rock that used to be under the earth’s surface. It’s not as strong as other forms of rock. And, it’s more susceptible to weathering like rain, snow and ice combined with a lot of freezing and thawing.“It’s easy to think that our mountains are solid and stable, but the Earth’s surface is constantly shifting, especially when there are tectonic changes and glacial changes,” Nagorski said.“A lot of the changes can be quite sudden,” she said. “And land sliding is the primary method of erosion in mountains steeper than about 30 to 40 degrees, which are plentiful here.”Nagorski says it’s not clear exactly how much of the nearly 4,000-foot mountain actually flaked off and fell away at 10:50 a.m. on Christmas Eve. Her best estimate is 20 million cubic feet of material. That’s enough to fill up half of the Houston Astrodome.View looking southeast of the Taku River and a mountain rockslide that occurred Dec. 24, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Darryl Keith Tait)When all that rock fell, it was literally enough to shake the earth. Natalia Ruppert, a seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Center, says if the shaking was caused by an earthquake, then it would’ve registered as a magnitude 2.8 or 2.9.Ruppert is clear, however. The landslide itself was not triggered by any previous earthquake. She knows that because it’s very easy for seismologists to distinguish a sudden, abrupt start of an earthquake from a landslide’s gradual building intensity, sometimes over several minutes.“It starts very small, and then gradually the amplitude of the signal picks up and then becomes larger and larger as the landslide mass kind of gains momentum and moves down the slope,” Ruppert said. “And then it plays out as all those rocks come to a final resting place.”Ruppert says this wasn’t the first time or even the biggest event. Bigger landslides were detected around Southeast Alaska in 2005 and 2008.“And then in subsequent years, and some of them are much, much larger than this landslide on the Taku River,” she said. “Some of those were so large that they were detected even globally.”last_img read more

3 Days Until ‘Breaking Bad’: It’s A Bad Time to Be…

first_imgTVUncategorized3 Days Until ‘Breaking Bad’: It’s A Bad Time to Be A Meth Dealer In The Real WorldMeth prices decreasing; meth busts increasingBy Elina Shatkin – August 9, 2013753ShareEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestReddItIn 2012, the DEA hauled in almost five times as much meth in the Southwest as they did in 2008, the year Breaking Bad debuted. That’d be 10,137 kilograms last year compared to 2,241 kilograms in 2008, according to MarketWatch. Though the show has been great for everyone involved (ex: creator Vince Gilligan, star Bryan Cranston), that’s bad news for real life meth dealers. Is it due to increased enforcement? Have other drugs become more popular? Has the show, with its unfliching depiction of the drug trade’s brutality, had any impact on those numbers? We have no idea and officials won’t speculate. But here’s another fascinating fact from the same story: In the last five years the street price of meth has decreased 72% while the purity of the drug has increased drastically. That’s a double-edged sword for addicts. On one hand, you get more bang for your buck. On the other, an already addictive substance becomes that much harder to kick. In other Breaking Bad news, add Charlie Rose to the list of the show’s celeb fans. He admitted to binge-watching five seasons over the course of a weekend. He’ll make a cameo on the final season (perhaps reporting a news story about a massive drug bust?) and to prepare for the role, he gorged on the show.The Breaking Bad Advent Calendar(A daily dose of Breaking Bad until the final season starts)4 Days Until ‘Breaking Bad’: A Blue Rock Candy Refresher5 Days Until ‘Breaking Bad’: Warren Buffett Is the Show’s #1 Fan6 Days Until ‘Breaking Bad’: The Middle School Musical Version TAGSAMCBreaking BadDrugsL.A CultureMethTelevisionWalter WhitePrevious articleWHAT THE F*SHION: A New Yorker’s Guide to the Perfect L.A. “Outfie”Next articleMore Big News for Hollywood’s Skyline: A Sneak Peek At Emerson’s Los Angeles CampusElina Shatkin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORAmerica’s Biggest Movie Theater Chain Is No Longer on the Brink of Disaster—and It Only Took $917 MillionThe Pandemic Is Making It Way Harder for Cartels to Manufacture Drugs and Launder MoneySources Say Amazon Wants to Buy AMC Theaters, but Does the Deal Make Sense?last_img read more