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Sunday’s Lunar Eclipse Has Got It All

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first_imgScience & TechSunday’s Lunar Eclipse Has Got It AllSeptember 25, 2015 by Scott Neuman, NPR News Share:An Oct. 8, 2014, photo shows the blood moon, created by the full moon passing into the shadow of Earth during a total lunar eclipse, as seen from Monterey Park, Calif. Sky-watchers will get a chance to see another “blood moon” eclipse on Sunday.Nick Ut/APMaybe you’ve become inured to all the superlatives that get attached to sky-watching events. But the one on Sunday really is worth a look — it’s the first total eclipse that’s also a supermoon and a blood moon in more than three decades.As Space.com explains: “Supermoons occur when the moon reaches its full phase at or near the satellite’s closest approach to Earth, and appears abnormally large and bright as a result. The Sept. 27 event is quite special; the last supermoon eclipse occurred in 1982, and the next won’t take place until 2033.”The total eclipse will also feature a blood moon, a phenomenon caused by a refraction of moonlight in the Earth’s atmosphere known asRayleigh scattering.Update at 1:55 p.m. ET: A small correction from Sky & Telescopesenior editor Kelly Beatty, who sent us an email to explain: “Rayleigh scattering is what makes sunsets red, caused by our atmosphere’s preferential scattering (not refraction) of blue light. That’s where the redness comes from. But refraction (not Rayleigh scattering) is the reason that any light reaches the Moon during totality. So, it’s really both things.” You can also hear Beatty interviewed today on WBUR’s Here & Now.Sunday’s event is also the culmination of a “tetrad” — the last of four successive lunar eclipses that started with the April 15, 2014, eclipse, followed by one on Oct. 8, 2014, and again on April 4 of this year.As Sky & Telescope writes: “Observers in the eastern half of North America can watch every stage of the eclipse, from beginning to end of the partial phases (3 1⁄3 hours in all) during convenient hours of late twilight or darkness with the Moon mostly high in the sky. If you’re in the Far West, the first partial stage of the eclipse is already in progress when the Moon rises (due east) around the time of sunset. Those in Europe and Africa see the eclipse on the local morning of the 28th.”Totality (when the moon is completely in Earth’s shadow) arrives at 10:11 p.m. ET for those in the country’s East, or 9:11 p.m. CT for those in the Midwest.To get the exact time of the eclipse for your location, the U.S. Naval Observatory’s page has a handy calculator.Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Read Original Article – Published SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 9:55 AM ETSunday’s Lunar Eclipse Has Got It AllShare this story:last_img read more

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Seabirds recolonize Attu Island amid toxic WWII battlefield remnants

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first_imgShare this story: Aleutians | Environment | History | WildlifeSeabirds recolonize Attu Island amid toxic WWII battlefield remnantsOctober 20, 2015 by Lauren Rosenthal, APRN Contributor Share:Personal from The US Fish and Wildlife Service research boat R/V Tiglax visit the World War II memorial constructed by the Japanese government honoring American and Japanese soldiers on Engineer Hill on Attu Island on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (Photo by Bob Hallinen/Alaska Dispatch News)It’s been seven decades since U.S. soldiers recaptured Attu Island from Japanese forces, setting off one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.Once they recovered the most remote island in the Aleutian Chain, American forces transformed it, briefly, into a strategic hub. But that decades-old infrastructure has been crumbling under influence of harsh winds, weather and time.Now, Attu is scheduled for what may be the first of many stages of cleanup — but it’s unlikely the military will ever be able to turn back the clock to a time before conflict.Long before the war, Attu was home to a small village. It was also a haven for birds.“These common eiders, they just make this cooing — rrr, rrr. On a day like this, it carries across the water,” said Jeff Williams, assistant manager for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, standing on the shore of Attu’s Casco Cove in early June. The sun shone brightly, with only the barest breeze pushing its way through tangles of beach grass.Attu has been a refuge for wildlife since 1913. President Theodore Roosevelt set it aside, along with a handful of other islands that were important to seabirds and marine mammals. But refuge status didn’t stop the military from using those lands during World War II.There are now more than 20 former defense sites located within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Attu is the most remote — nearly 1,500 air miles from Anchorage — and one of the most deeply affected. Besides collapsed Quonset huts and spent shells, the tundra is covered with rusting tank farms, decaying fuel barrels and miles of pipeline.This summer, Williams and a few volunteers for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stopped to check on one of the worst areas — a field of above-ground storage tanks near an area called Navy Cove.“I mean, you can see the valve right there, just coming out,” Williams said, pointing to a viscous puddle of black liquid that had oozed from one tank. “It’s a direct source.”Biologist Jeff Williams checks the eggs in an Aleutian Canada goose nest on Attu Island. (Photo by Bob Hallinen/Alaska Dispatch News)The bodies of at least a half-dozen birds dotted the puddle; their decaying wings jutting out at odd angles — “almost like the La Brea tar pits.”“It’s not as thick — only a few inches thick. But it’s just enough,” Williams said. He gestured to-ward the edge of the puddle. “See a carcass right over here?”Over the years, investigators for the Fish and Wildlife Service have found the remains of many more birds trapped in this puddle. It’s the most obvious example of a much broader problem, as infrastructure built to support the Attu Naval Station and the Attu Army Air Base disintegrates.Both facilities closed in the years following World War II. The naval station came back into use in 1959 amid rising hostility between the United States and the Soviet Union. Within a decade, it had closed again, though, and the military returned all but a sliver of its 82,400-acre reservation to the wildlife refuge. (The remaining 1,800 acres were kept for the U.S. Coast Guard, which continuously maintained a navigational station on Attu until 2010.)Fish and Wildlife and federal contractors have conducted multiple site studies and reviewed as-built blueprints over the years, but they’ve never determined just how many gallons of petroleum products are still here. There have been some attempts to remove them: Williams said the Navy tried to decommission some of the fuel tanks they installed when the base finally shut down.“They burned a lot of them. There are pictures of guys with flamethrowers going right up to the tank. It’s really remarkable to see flamethrowers going on gunk like this, just igniting it and black flames flying up,” Williams said. “You know, I think we’ve changed some since then.”Abandoned tanks on Attu Island are inventoried as the US Fish and Wildlife Service research boat R/V Tiglax stops at the western most of the Aleutian Islands on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (Photo by Bob Hallinen/Alaska Dispatch News)When the Army Corps of Engineers arrives on Attu in summer 2016, their operations will look much different. The agency has hired Bristol Environmental Remediation Services, LLC — a subsidiary of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation — to remove old storage containers and polluted soil from two sites, including the leaky tank farm.“We are also aware of a pallet-sized pile of old lead batteries,” said Army Corps project manager Andy Sorum. “And we’re going to target not only the remains of those batteries, but the contaminated soil around it.”The Army Corps received an extra burst of funding from Congress for this work. The price tag is $10 million; at least 40 percent of that covers a season’s worth of logistical expenses. “There’s nothing easy about getting heavy equipment to Attu and removing the volume of potentially contaminated material that we’re dealing with here,” Sorum said. He expects to deploy a mix of barges and aircraft, since Attu’s runways are still operable.Sorum also hopes to clean up other sections of the island down the road, working with federal site managers and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation on details.But there are limits to what the Corps can do. Ken Andraschko oversees environmental restoration at old defense sites for the Army Corps of Engineers in Alaska. He said his teams will focus on chemical hazards; munitions and explosives expended during the war are beyond the scope of their program as outlined by Congress.“Anything that’s actually in a battlefield, anything that was released as part of the battlefield would be ineligible, because that’s defined as an Act of War,” Andraschko said. “And under our program, that is exclusively forbidden for us to go address.”A cormorant comes in for a landing near a rookery. (Photo by Bob Hallinen/Alaska Dispatch News)The battlefield was confined to the easternmost corner of Attu, but it casts a long shadow. American forces invaded by sea and slowly charged inland, through fog and frigid rains. Cut off from reinforcements, many Japanese soldiers decided it was more honorable to perish in battle — or by suicide — than to surrender. About 2,900 men are believed to have died over the course of 18 days.Now, the battlefield is a national landmark and part of a national monument to World War II in the Pacific Theater. “It’s not like your typical Civil War battlefield or your European battlefield where everything’s manicured,” said historian John Cloe. “These things are in a real wild state.”Cloe knows that firsthand. After retiring from a long career as a reservist and Air Force historian, Cloe is now a guide for a California-based company called Valor Tours. He’s been leading small groups of World War II buffs on sailing trips to Attu since 2013.When it comes to cleaning up the island, Cloe is strongly in favor. “Go to a Civil War battlefield — you don’t see a lot of junk lying around, do you?” he asked. “It’s unsightly, all this twisted metal lying around. It has very little historical relevance. Somebody needs to look at it and make sure, though.”It’s still being debated, but that twisted metal may stay put. The federal agencies responsible for managing Attu Island aren’t as concerned about debris, so long as it doesn’t leach chemicals or harm wildlife.A tufted puffin returns to its nest as the US Fish and Wildlife Service research boat R/V Tiglax stops at Attu Island the western most of the Aleutian Islands on Thursday, June 4, 2015. (Photo by Bob Hallinen/Alaska Dispatch News)The wreckage wasn’t enough to keep Aleutian cackling geese at bay. This summer, their high-pitched honks rang out from the shoreline all the way up to Attu’s mountain passes. The entire species was nearly extinct before the Fish and Wildlife Service launched a huge effort to bring the cackling goose back into its old nesting grounds on the refuge.“We didn’t bring these birds to Attu,” said Billy Pepper, captain of Fish and Wildlife’s research vessel. “All we did was remove the fox from here — and all of a sudden we come here one year and hear the [honking] just like you’re hearing right now. It’s like, wow. Now they’re everywhere. It just goes to show you what a little bit of work can do.”Pepper sailed to the island in June to drop off researchers who wanted to study the island’s birds. As they went about their work, the captain jumped on a four-wheeler and set off down old military roads with a few other Fish and Wildlife employees. They arrived at a small interpretive site the agency installed for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Attu.There are a few signs explaining the significance of the Aleutian Campaign during World War II and the bravery shown by Army Private Joseph Martinez, who died leading an assault on a rocky hillside pocked with enemy foxholes.Pepper sat on a small bench looking out at Engineer Hill, where the final fight took place.“If you can try to let yourself run with the thought of what that would have been like for a 19-year-old kid, it’d be a lot,” Pepper said, shaking his head. “But they did it. And now it’s kind of gone full circle. It’s back to birds. A little interpretive site here, but it’s mostly birds.”last_img read more

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Dillingham cop fired at early Sunday morning

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first_imgPublic Safety | SouthwestDillingham cop fired at early Sunday morningMarch 8, 2016 by Dave Bendinger, KDLG Share:Dillingham Police hope the public will lead them to whoever fired at an officer during a brief car chase that ended near the landfill on Waskey Road early Sunday morning. Police describe the suspect as a thin male who was wearing white bunny boots, and the truck as an older model pickup, possibly a Dodge, with tinted windows. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more details.Officer Leighton Cox, a transfer from Hawaii who has been with DPD for a little less than a year, was attempting to pull over a truck near the intersection of Waskey and Wood River Roads at a little past 5:00 a.m. Sunday.“He was going to conduct a traffic stop on Waskey Road,” said Sgt. Rodney Etheridge, “and he turned on his overhead lights, and the vehicle that he was trying to stop, didn’t stop. [The truck] continued driving down Waskey Road, picked up speed, in excess of the speed limit. Eventually, it slowed down in front of the Landfill Road. Slowed down to kind of a rolling stop, two people jumped out, and one of them fired two shots at his vehicle.”Those two shots hit the hood of the police cruiser, right in line with the driver’s side. Neither the vehicle nor Officer Cox was harmed by what appeared to be small caliber rounds fired from about 60 yards away.The two individuals headed off through the woods to the north of Waskey, and the truck continued onto Lake Road and turned north. There was another on-duty officer who responded as backup. Police couldn’t find the two individuals on foot or the truck.By Monday afternoon, Etheridge said DPD did not have much information yet, but he anticipates they will track down their suspects.“I feel like the public isn’t going to stand for this to happen. This isn’t the type of the thing that we want to accept in our community,” he said. “Also, we know that there were other people involved in this incident that weren’t the shooter. If those people are listening … I’ll make sure that if you haven’t come forward by the time we find the shooter, you’re going to be in the same situation that he’s in. So, it’d be in their best interest to come forward.”It’s been quite some time since a DPD officer came under fire though several shootings at or towards VPSOs in the region have been reported more recently (including the murder of unarmed VPSO Tom Madole in Manokotak three years ago). Dillingham police wear bulletproof vests, but the vehicles offer no added protection. Police are at a disadvantage, said Sgt. Etheridge, when they are having to react in these unpredictable situations.“We’re all very vigilant and try to stay ready for that to happen, but you just don’t expect that people in our community are going to try to do that to us. It angers me that this happened, and we’re going to find out who this was,” he said.DPD is working with some information about the incident it has not released publicly, but Sgt. Etheridge said it will still probably take the public’s help to track the suspect(s).Again the shooter is suspect is described as a thin male about six feet tall, who was wearing white bunny boots, snow pants, and a dark colored jacket. The truck was described as a dark color older model full size, possibly a Dodge, with tinted windows. You can reach the Dillingham Police Dept. at 842-5354.Share this story:last_img read more

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Haines transgender teen breaks barriers at state track meet

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first_imgArts & Culture | Education | Southeast | SportsHaines transgender teen breaks barriers at state track meetMay 31, 2016 by Emily Files, KHNS Share:Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)A Haines teenager was likely the first transgender student to compete at a statewide high school athletic competition. Nattaphon Wangyot, 18, was born male but has identified as female since she was about 5 years old. Her participation in last weekend’s track meet in Anchorage drew a lot of attention, both positive and negative.Wangyot goes by the nickname “Ice.” Her mother, Tukta Panyawong, says the nickname comes from when she was pregnant with Ice, back in Thailand, and she used to chew on ice cubes.Panyawong says the nickname fits, especially in the aftermath of the track meet. She says her daughter has been cool under pressure.“If some people say bad to you and you do bad to them, it’s not going to end easy,” Ice said. “So if they say bad to you, just smile at them and let it go.”There’s a lot Ice has to let go. She’s been reading comments from news stories about the track competition. Some are supportive and positive, but Ice says others are “hateful.” But, she says, the hateful comments make her stronger.“Some hateful people make me stronger and stronger. So I want to say ‘thank you’ for everybody.”It isn’t just online commentators who have a problem with Ice competing against other girls. On Friday, the conservative Christian group Alaska Family Action held a news conference.“It is not fair and it is not right for our female athletes, and we have a responsibility to protect our girls,” said Stephanie Leigh Golmon Williams, as reported by KTVA.The group said male-to-female transgender students have an advantage over biologically female athletes. Ice disagrees. She says she takes medication that suppresses male hormones and increases female hormones.Alaska Family Action was protesting the Alaska School Activities Association’s recently adopted policy on transgender athletes. The policy lets local schools decide whether transgender students can compete according to the gender they identify with.“The bigger gist of how this policy was developed is ASAA feels that schools are in the best position of dealing with individual students and know which individual students consistently identify with a different gender and can apply that better than we can, thousands of miles away from the actual student,” said ASAA director Billy Strickland.“Yeah, we’re not gonna discriminate based on gender identity. That’s the just the long and the short of it,” said Haines School District Interim Superintendent Rich Carlson.Ice moved to Haines from Thailand in 2014. But she didn’t start participating in sports until this year, her senior year. That kicked the district into action. The school board added gender identity to its non-discrimination policy and it updated administrative guidelines. Now the district’s stance is that transgender students can compete in sports according to the gender they consistently identify with.KHNS: “The Haines School District is part of Alaska history now.”Carlson: “We are. We are. I don’t think we ever set out to be that, but we are. And I feel pretty good about how we handled this.”Carlson was expecting some push-back to Ice competing at the state track meet. But when he heard about the news conference protesting the transgender policy, Carlson got on a plane to Anchorage.“I wanted to be there, frankly, to protect Ice,” he said.Ice says in all her races, her coaches tell her to ignore everything and just focus on running.“You should focus on the track, what you gonna do right now. Ignore how I’m hurt, how in pain. So I should focus on the running.”Now, she’s trying to ignore the negative reactions to her involvement in the track meet and focus on the support she’s gotten. And she wants to share that message with people in similar situations.“Just to be yourself. It’s your life. Nobody can control that. We have freedom. Everybody can talk everything bad to you, but just ignore it. Sometimes it’s so hard to do that, but it’s gonna be cool and really good in the future of your life.”Ice ended up placing in both the events she competed in. She won third place in the small schools’ women’s 200-meter sprint, and fifth place in the 100-meter race.Share this story:last_img read more

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The lure of John McPhee’s “Coming into the Country,” 40 years later

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first_imgAlaska’s Energy DeskThe lure of John McPhee’s “Coming into the Country,” 40 years laterJanuary 23, 2017 by Jennifer Pemberton Share:“Coming into the Country,” John McPhee’s book about Alaska, was published in 1977, introducing readers across the country to a wild place, less than 20 years into its statehood. The book quickly became a best-seller and is still popular with tourists and Alaska residents alike.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2017/01/23LEGACY.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.John McPhee watches as Pat Pourchot patches their kayak so they could continue down the Salmon River. McPhee traveled to Alaska in the late 1970s for a series of articles that eventually became the book “Coming into the Country.” (Photo courtesy Pat Pourchot)Between 1975 and ‘77, a writer from Princeton, New Jersey, made four long trips to Alaska for a story that would eventually become “Coming into the Country.” John McPhee had been writing for the New Yorker magazine for about ten years. He was the master of a new literary genre that most modern readers are very familiar with: creative nonfiction.The book is written in three parts, every word published first in the pages of the New Yorker before coming together for the book’s publication late in 1977. The book describes an Alaska both wild and settled, sometimes contentiously so.“It is about what McPhee came to believe was the real Alaska and part of the reason for the book’s’ continued popularity is that many Alaskans also feel that that’s the real Alaska,” said Eric Heyne an English professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He’s been teaching Coming into the Country since the late 1980s.The real Alaska described in the book is a place sparsely populated by trappers, prospectors and squatters, living very much off the land and off the grid in the area around the Yukon River.Heyne specializes in Alaskan literature, and so it makes sense to him that the profile of these characters is inherently relateable to so many Alaskans, then and now.“A lot of people still have an image in their heads of that Alaska being what they identify  with,” Heyne said, “Mining. Trapping. Dog mushing. Canoeing. Homesteading.”For Alaskans, Coming into the Country is familiar, but Alan Weltzein at the University of Western Montana says there’s also an exoticism to the book that appeals to readers outside the state .“A lot of people still in the 1970s didn’t know anything about Alaska,” Weltzein said. “Part of what McPhee’s trying to capture is its lure and there’s nothing more American than that. The lure is always to go west and find bigger space. I think Coming into the Country an invitation for some Americans — maybe just an imaginative invitation more than actual for most — probably to the relief of a lot of Alaskans.”Eric Heyne agrees that the book is alluring to outsiders as well as requisite reading for anyone already living in the state.“I absolutely recommend it as the first book to read if you’re coming to Alaska,” he said. “It remains the best blend of comprehensive, accurate, and well written. McPhee’s a fabulous writer.  There’s no question about that. But also it’s remained remarkably accurate to today’s Alaska.”The question of accuracy and relevancy comes up again and again when talking to people about Coming into the Country. For one, it was written 40 years ago. Hasn’t Alaska changed since then? Also, the guy who wrote it is from Princeton, New Jersey. How could Alaskans possible identify with that?“I distinctly remember feeling like I was having a love affair when I was reading Coming into the Country in the late 1970s,” said Alan Weltzein, who hadn’t even made it as far west as Montana when he read the book for the first time. “I had this kind of trust in his representation, so I could ride along with him when he defined what the country means if you live in Alaska.”John McPhee camping on a gravel bar below the Charley River. (Photo courtesy of Brad Snow & Lilly Allen Collection, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, University of Alaska Fairbanks)It’s an old American tradition: the self-sufficient, independent individual. It’s a myth we’re all familiar with, but for as much as it reads like one, Coming into the Country isn’t a novel. The characters are real — many of them still living in Alaska, some of them still in cabins they built with their own hands.Cable television is littered with reality shows about modern-day Alaskans living in the bush, but Eric Heyne would rather go with McPhee’s portrayal from 40 years ago.“What you get in the reality shows these days are sort of cartoonish portraits of the kind of people who live off the road system, who have small mines, who run traplines,” he said. “What we get in McPhee’s book are deeper portraits of the actual people.”At the end of the book, on his last trip to Alaska, John McPhee talks to one of the young prospectors on the Yukon, confirming his understanding of what Alaska represents and what this lifestyle means.“In the society as a whole,” he writes “there is an elemental need for a frontier outlet, for a pioneer place to go. People are mentioning outer space as, in this respect, all we have left. All we have left is Alaska.”In some ways, all we have left is this book as a snapshot from 1977 of a vastly unknown but very real place.Share this story:last_img read more

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As GOP health care push moves to Senate, White House questions value of CBO analysis

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first_imgFederal Government | Health | Nation & World | National News | NPR News | PoliticsAs GOP health care push moves to Senate, White House questions value of CBO analysisMay 7, 2017 by Miles Parks, NPR News Share:President Donald Trump celebrates with House Speaker Paul Ryan in the White House Rose Garden Thursday after the House voted to pass the American Health Care Act. Evan Vucci/APAfter the GOP-controlled House passed a Republican-drafted health care bill Thursday without waiting for an analysis of the bill’s costs and impacts by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the White House is signaling that Washington’s official legislative scorekeeper could be its next political foil.Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a spokeswoman for President Trump, told reporters Friday the White House feels “very confident in where the plan is, and moving it forward.”“I think I know the gospel pretty well,” she also said, “and I’d say the CBO is not the gospel.”Sanders’ comments came a day after Doug Elmendorf, who ran the CBO from 2009-2015 during the Obama administration, told Politico that the House’s decision to vote on the GOP health care bill before the CBO could score the latest version of the legislation was “a terrible mistake.”“The members will have to explain why they supported something with a range of effects that people aren’t gonna like,” Elmendorf said. “At least if they waited for the estimate, they could make further changes to the bill that might respond to concerns. To go ahead with a vote before you know the effects of what you’re voting for is a terrible mistake.”But Douglas Holtz-Eakin, another former CBO head who ran the agency from 2003-2005 in the George W. Bush administration, suggested that the changes to the bill weren’t substantial enough to change the CBO’s original analysis.“I don’t view this as a particularly unusual event,” Holtz-Eakin told Politico. “They scored the base bill, and everyone knows what that looked like.”The CBO’s analysis of the original GOP bill concluded that version of the legislation could leave as many as 24 million additional people without health insurance in the next decade while reducing the deficit by $337 billion during the same period.After that original score, House Republicans changed the bill in an effort to win enough votes from both their most conservative and their moderate members in order to pass the bill without any support from House Democrats.On Thursday, they narrowly passed their amended bill and Elmendorf argued that the changes were enough to justify waiting for another CBO analysis.“For the House leadership to proceed to a vote without an estimate, they are essentially arguing that the bill is so much like the previous one they don’t need an estimate, and yet, it is so much different that many more people should vote for it,” Elmendorf also told Politico. “I don’t see how you can argue that combination of things at the same time with a straight face.”But Sanders seemed to question the validity of any score the CBO might provide.“They’ve been wrong before and they can certainly be wrong again,” she also said during Friday’s White House press briefing.The decision by House Republicans to move forward to a vote without an updated analysis has placed that issue — along with the GOP’s push to overhaul health care legislation more generally — in the Senate’s hands. And Congress’ other chamber is making it clear it’s not in nearly the same rush the House was.Among other things, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday the chamber will first await the CBO analysis before proceeding.Indeed, the agency’s score of the bill passed in the House — especially its analysis of the bill’s costs and potential impact on the deficit — would seem to be necessary before the Senate parliamentarian can determine whether Senate Republicans can use reconciliation procedures and potentially pass health care legislation with just 51 votes.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Share this story:last_img read more

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Update: Troopers identify 2 Juneau men in plane crash near Haines

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first_imgOutdoors | Public Safety | Search & Rescue | Southeast | TransportationUpdate: Troopers identify 2 Juneau men in plane crash near HainesMay 27, 2017 by Quinton Chandler, KTOO Share:(Creative Commons photo by Matt’ Johnson)Update | 11:50 a.m. SundayAlaska State Troopers released the names for two of the three people on board a plane that crashed southwest of Haines Saturday morning.David Kunat, a 29-year-old Juneau pilot, and an adult male passenger from California both died at the crash site. Troopers said the other passenger, 31-year-old Chan Valentine from Juneau, survived the crash and was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital.Authorities notified Kunat’s next of kin, but Saturday night they were still trying to locate next of kin for the passenger from California.Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office, said earlier that an NTSB investigator would visit the crash site Sunday morning.Original Story | 8:13 p.m. SaturdayTwo people died in a plane crash about 9 miles southwest of Haines near Glacier Point late Saturday morning. One person is critically injured, said Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office in Anchorage.“Witnesses reported a twin engine airplane taking off from a site. …  It crashed in an area of tidal flats or tidal beach in shallow water and unfortunately, two people (were) deceased at the scene,” Johnson said.He said emergency responders removed the injured passenger from the wreck and flew them to Juneau by helicopter. He does not know the identities of the passengers and he doesn’t know what caused the crash. He also didn’t say whether it was a commercial or private flight.He said an NTSB investigator will ride a helicopter to the crash site Sunday morning alongside Alaska State Troopers and a representative from the Federal Aviation Administration.“Once our investigator gets boots on the ground down there, those are the types of details as far as weather conditions, wind conditions,” Johnson explained. “Ultimately (we’ll) be able to actually interview the witnesses that actually saw this, that’s where we’re going to get a lot of the information.”Johnson said they are “blessed” to have witnesses to the crash. He said witnesses can help investigators determine the cause of a crash in the same way witnesses are helpful when investigating car accidents.The NTSB also reported there was a plane crash 30 miles southeast of Fairbanks Saturday.Share this story:last_img read more

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65 years after crash, recovery resumes on Colony Glacier

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first_imgMilitary | Public Safety | Southcentral65 years after crash, recovery resumes on Colony GlacierJune 6, 2017 by Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media Share:Members of the 11-person crew excavate 40-by-40 meter squares along a grid on the Colony Glacier in June of 2016. Media were kept at a distance from the perimeter, to keep from inadvertently photographing remains. (Photo by Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)The military resumed an annual mission Monday to the Colony Glacier, where an Air Force plane crashed 65 years ago, killing the dozens of service members on board.In the days after, searchers spotted the wreckage, but a recovery was deemed too dangerous and the plane disappeared beneath the snow and ice.Audio Playerhttp://media.aprn.org/2017/ann-20170605-06.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The remains were buried for decades, undiscovered until an Alaska National Guard crew spotted the wreckage during a training mission in 2012.Since then, a yearly recovery effort has been made.Army Maj. Stephen Magennis is the officer in charge of coordinating logistics this season for Operation Colony Glacier.“Specifically, what we’re doing here on the glacier is obviously recovery,” Magennis said in a phone interview. The primary focus for the operation is keeping team members safe. “Second would be the repatriation of remains. And then third would be being good stewards of the environment, so as best we can cleaning up the parts and pieces of the wreckage that does present itself up on the glacier.”The operation is as unique as it is challenging.It involves cooperation between an array of military teams, from daily helicopter transports from the National Guard to guidance from Air Force morticians based out of Delaware.After decades in the shifting landscape, many of the service-members can be identified only through small amounts of organic matter and bone fragments tested for DNA matches.The ultimate length of the operation will be determined by how weather and the movements of the glacial terrain affect recovery efforts.“We’re up to 37 members that have been identified,” Magennis said. A total of 52 personnel were on board the plane when it crashed. “There are still 15 that are left unidentified.”Earlier this season, searchers also spotted a large section of plane debris on an upper section of the glacier, which could extend the operation by a few more years as they clean up the area.The mission window is short, lasting just about a month.But there’s also a no-fly zone set up around the recovery sight from May all the way through October.That’s in part to keep away sight-seeing aircraft and potential boaters after an incident earlier this spring.According to Magennis, it happened while the National Guard was conducting a training flight over the popular Lake George area.“There were actually some folks that were down on the glacier, they were doing some sort of filming,” Magennis said. “We had heard it was a reality show, but don’t know the exact specifics of it.”“For us that was a bit of a red flag,” he said. “They might not have understood that that’s what we consider to be hallowed ground, with the remains of U.S. service members in that area.”The operation on Colony Glacier is set to last through June 30.Share this story:last_img read more

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Tlingit poet and scholar Nora Marks Dauenhauer, 90, was culture bearer

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first_imgAlaska Native Arts & Culture | Community | Juneau | SoutheastTlingit poet and scholar Nora Marks Dauenhauer, 90, was culture bearerSeptember 25, 2017 by Scott Burton, KTOO Share:Nora Dauenhauer won an Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award in 2011. (Creative Commons photo by Sam Beebe)Tlingit poet, scholar and culture bearer Nora Marks Dauenhauer has passed away at age 90.A fluent Tlingit speaker, Dauenhauer made countless contributions to the study and preservation of the language and oral tradition.In 2012, she was the Alaska State Writer Laureate, and is the winner of an American Book Award among other honors.Here is a selection of Dauenhauer reading from her poem “Salmon Egg Puller” in 2012, courtesy of Dixie Hutchinson at Sealaska Corp.And here is Dauenhauer in “Lineage: Tlingit Art Across Generations,” a recent documentary by KTOO Public Media and 360 North.Services information was not immediately available.Share this story:last_img read more

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Juneau’s shuttered Bergmann Hotel to be sold

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first_imgCommunity | Housing | JuneauJuneau’s shuttered Bergmann Hotel to be soldOctober 23, 2017 by Jacob Resneck, KTOO Share:An extension cord runs along a hallways in the basement of the Bergmann Hotel on Friday, March 10, 2017, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)The owners of the derelict Bergmann Hotel say they intend to sell their downtown Juneau properties following a series of police raids and the FBI’s arrest of the hotel’s former manager on drug charges. The city condemned the 104-year-old tenement in March displacing about 50 tenants.City code enforcement officers documented widespread problems with the plumbing and heating system as well as fire code violations that led to the 46-room hotel being boarded up.The property is owned by Kathleen Barrett through a limited liability corporation called Breffni Place Properties.“The closure presented us with an opportunity to have the building vacant and do some necessary repairs,” David D’Amato, the LLC’s representative, told KTOO on Monday. “Once the repairs were done, it seemed to make very little sense to open it up to the broader, low-income community that didn’t really allow us to get much of the work done that we wanted to get done. We’re going to fix it up to the extend that it’d be attractive to a buyer and let it go.”Also being sold is a 0.11-acre vacant lot on Harris Street and a pair of cottages dating back to 1920. The two-unit property on Fourth Street was the site of a raid by Juneau police in August.The FBI arrested former Bergmann Hotel manager Charles Cotten Jr. last week following his indictment by a federal grand jury. He’s accused of distributing methamphetamine following the hotel’s closure.D’Amato said the asking price for the properties hasn’t been decided.He added that the properties will be initially offered for sale by owner.The Bergmann has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.Share this story:last_img read more

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