It’s been one of the rainiest summer’s on record in Fairbanks, but that hasn’t hampered the debut of new recreation area.Download Audio:The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s opened the new Tanana Lakes Recreation site in June. It offers a swim beach, picnic area and launches for motorized and paddle boats along the Tanana River in south Fairbanks. Borough Project Coordinator Steve Taylor says despite this summer’s mostly cool wet weather, the area has been popular.“On the days when the sun is shining, we’ve had — just from our own expectations — pretty solid use down there.”Taylor cites numerous days when the beach parking lot overflowed. There are no admission or parking fees at Tanana Lakes, and Taylor points to the area’s location at the end of South Cushman Street, as another key to its popularity.“It’s so close to town,” Taylor says. “It’s just a quick jaunt for folks to get down there, that I think that’s made it really appealing. And it’s just a beautiful area too, it really has a lot of [good] qualities that can attract people.”Under development since 2008, more than $3 million of federal, state and local funds, plus private grants, have been invested in Tanana Lakes, transforming a part of south Fairbanks that was a common spot for crime and partying.Taylor says having staff on site nearly round the clock this summer helped keep the area safe. He says staffing will continue through moose hunting season, during which the area is also expected to get a lot of use. Tanana Lakes is still under development. Taylor says immediate plans call for more basic infrastructure.Taylor says the borough has received a 62 thousand dollar grant for trail work, and will pursue money for additional projects. Borough Parks and Recreation Department is holding public meetings to gather input on Tanana Lakes following the rec sites first summer .
Scott Jensen, multimedia journalist, Alaska Dispatch News Eric Boyer, Training Coordinator, The Alaska Training Cooperative/UAA’s Center for Human Development College of Health Many conversations about suicide only focus on prevention and looking for the warning signs. But what if a suicide has already happened? How do we talk about it publicly and privately in healthy, supportive ways? During this week’s show we’ll discuss the media coverage of recent suicides, like the death at AFN, and how to have community conversations about such deaths.Listen Now:HOST: Anne HillmanGUESTS: KSKA (FM 91.1) BROADCAST: Friday, Oct. 30, at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 31, at 6:00 p.m.Alaska Public Television BROADCAST: Friday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 31, at 6:00 p.m. Alex DeMarban, reporter, Alaska Dispatch News
Download AudioYesterday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she believes it’s “important” that the Senate hold a hearing on President Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.“I do believe that the nominee should get a hearing,” she said, while taking questions from reporters in Juneau.Late this afternoon, in a series of five Twitter posts, Murkowski essentially said there should be no nominee.On both days, she said it’s up to the Senate to decide whether the nominee gets a vote on the Senate floor. Today, though, she went a step further. In Twitter post No. 4 she announced that she’s urging Obama to follow what she called “a tradition embraced by both parties” and let the next president make the nomination.“If POTUS ignores precedent,” she said in tweet No. 5, “I believe extraordinary circumstances give the Senate every right to deny the nominee an up or down vote.”It’s not clear what “precedent” and “tradition” Murkowski meant, but the claim that a president in his final year ceases to make court appointments is disputed. The independent website Politifact rated a similar claim “false.”A spokesman for Sen. Dan Sullivan wouldn’t say whether Sullivan believes an Obama nominee deserves a Senate hearing. But the spokesman did say Sullivan will likely oppose any of the president’s choices.
Photo by Liz RuskinTime is running out on one of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s top priorities: a far-reaching energy bill. Murkowski had hoped the legislation would serve as her crowning achievement after two years as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.Listen NowBut Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday listed a substantial number of priorities for the remaining weeks of the lame duck session. The Kentucky senator sounded both hopeful and doubtful about negotiations with the House over Murkowski’s bill.“We still have some hope the energy conference report will come together before the end of this week,” McConnell told reporters at a press conference outside the Senate chamber.Sen. Lisa Murkowski (File photo by Skip Gray, 360 North)To craft the bill, Murkowski deployed a strategy that’s become somewhat rare in Congress: She let the minority participate. The result is a bill that would help the fossil fuel industry and also promote renewables and efficiency. Getting it into law is a test of Murkowski’s legislative ability and of her moderate approach.Since the election, some Republicans see less need to compromise. Murkowski said she met with her House counterparts before Thanksgiving and explained why, as she sees it, it’s unwise to ditch the bill and try again next year, when Republicans will control the White House as well as Congress.“Because it doesn’t get easier next year, and we will have foregone all of the hard work that has gone into, I think, a pretty significant product that we built over two years,” Murkowski said.House Republicans trying to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate bills have proposed a stripped-down version. Murkowski and the top Democrat on her committee, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, are pushing for provisions designed to appeal to both sides of the aisle, like speedy approvals for natural gas exports, renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and help for hydropower.In the Senate, it takes at least 60 votes to pass most significant bills, and Murkowski points out, the Republicans lost two Senate seats in the election. So Murkowski said lawmakers can’t afford to ignore the Democrats.“In order to gain the support that we need, we’re going to have to make sure that we’re building bridges, not blowing them up,” Murkowski said.And for her bill, time is short. The Senate is scheduled to be in session until mid-December, but a spokeswoman for Murkowski said the senator is trying to negotiate an agreement by the end of this week so it has time to pass both chambers.