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While things have calmed down a lot in the small town of Dillingham since President Barack Obama came through, residents are still taking about the Commander and Chief’s Historic visit there Wednesday morning.

“As soon as I saw him and he came over and said ‘nice to meet you’ I got this sense of relaxation and felt very comfortable,” said Evelyn Wassily, one of the students who sat with the president during the cultural performance at Dillingham High School.

While President Obama’s trip to Dillingham was not accompanied by any major policy announcement, Bristol Bay Tribes Executive Director Alanna Hurley is optimistic about the future of her community after the President’s visit.

 “I hope something comes of it, I think it will,” Hurley said. “I think we’re on a good road for making sure this place is protected for my grandchildren and my future grandchildren.”

Many of the signs and banners posted around Dillingham Wednesday morning voiced protest over mining interests in the area, which some locals believe could threaten Bristol Bay’s fishing resources. Others however, came to Dillingham to lend support to the controversial Pebble Mine.

Myrtle Anelon, who travelled to Dillingham from Iliamna to see the President Wednesday, said she supported the mine because it represented an opportunity for the surrounding communities.

“We’re trying to push for jobs, opportunities for our young people, better our communities and get rid of the drugs,” Anelon said.

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Getting rid of pests can be challenging once they get inside your home.

Russ Perry, Chief Technician at Pied Piper Pest Control said the company has seen the lion's share of calls for bed bugs this year, but there's an uptick in fruit flies.

"They're very common, nesting and breeding around fruit and basically organic material," Perry said. "You do tend to see a little uptick in that as well as people are harvesting their fruits and vegetables."

While putting screens on windows and doors is recommended, Perry said the flies can also be carried in on fruit.

"Fruit flies are notorious for their fast breeding," Perry said. "The typical adult will live about a month or so and they're ready to mate as soon as they become adults within a few days."

A female can lay about 500 eggs in about 7 to 10 days, Perry said.

Perry said the majority of fruit fly calls can be handled through a phone conversation and usually doesn't require a call out visit. 

The key is getting rid of the breeding site.

"A deep cleaning is usually all you need to do, pay attention to your garbage disposals, drains and such where any food may have gotten into, any kind of spillage from anything," Perry said. "... As long as you're cleaning up those breeding sites from those eggs and those larvae are then you've just got your adults to deal with about a month or so until they die off."

Another trick to dealing with the adult fruit flies involves pouring simple household products like vinegar, fruit juice or wine into a 12 ounce glass and cover it with saran wrap before poking holes in the top with something small.

"That's really more or less for dealing with the adults when you're done as opposed to a permanent fix because you still need to take care of that breeding site," Perry said.

Pesticides are a last resort, Perry said.

"They're sort of touch and go and they breed so quick that most materials which spray on you wouldn't do anything but keep the population down but it wouldn't eradicate it," Perry said. 

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KOTZEBUE – President Obama stood behind a podium Wednesday at the packed-to-capacity school gymnasium in this Arctic hub, speaking of the impacts warming climate trends have on life in the Far North.

The same motorcade that brought him to the school from the airport drove a few blocks down the road to the site of a recently-constructed sea wall intended to protect the community of 3,200 from the worst effects of coastal erosion.

A horde of reporters swarmed around as the president – flanked by an army of security complete with guns in boats, on rooftops and in helicopters, just in case – strolled a couple blocks down the road.

While most of the traveling press was left idling in a short yellow school bus, a Rolling Stone reporter conducted a five-minute Q-and-A with Obama at the rocky artificial edge of Kotzebue Sound. Sea otters popped up and down in the background, and the few locals not forced inside tried without luck to get a handshake from the president, or better yet a selfie.

Air Force One departed a moment after that, and the crowd that lined the streets – composed of many smiling faces who played some role in a cleanup effort locals called the presidential polish – quickly disintegrated, and life as normal abruptly resumed.

Arriving at these moments, with a historic step by a U.S. president into the Arctic, attracted hundreds of people from faraway places, especially Anchorage and the District of Columbia.

With the arrival of 1,000-plus outsiders also came a knowledge gap of the reality of life for people in Kotzebue, as well as the surrounding villages. Who better than the leaders from the surrounding 11 communities that compose the Northwest Arctic Borough to speak about the reality of Arctic life. Channel 2 News asked some of the leaders gathered for the president’s visit…

Jack Schaefer of Point Hope

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

“What is my favorite thing about Point Hope? It's where grandma and grandpa are from. Right now, I’m raising my grandkids and my son, and enjoying some subsistence foods. … It's amazing how things go from generation to generation. It's just like breathing.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

“My son, when he caught his first seal came up to me 3 o'clock in the morning and said, 'I got my first seal.' I told him he had to bring it to an elder, and he took off. He came back 10 minutes later with his eyes really wide. He was in shock. I said, 'What's wrong?' He looked at me and said, 'I went to go bring it to Lee and Titus, and they were standing outside smiling, and she had an ulu in her hand.' He was shocked, because we never made any phone calls, he didn't indicate where he was going. The same went for me when I caught my first seal. I was bringing it to my grandfather's sister. My grandmother intercepted me and took that seal away from me, and said, 'That's mine.'”

Why do you is it important to give up your first seal?

“It's so that you can get more, and it's a pride thing that they're very thankful for, for the good food. It's a survival thing. I can't wait til I get old so I can get some goodies too.”

What’s most misunderstood about life in the Arctic and in your community?

“There hasn't been very much communication. We didn't really know what Obama has said over the past couple days. There is some confusion to the struggle with industry and subsistence and the lack of knowing what exactly their applications are. … And we have the inability to have the sharing of our oil. At this time, oil would be taken for nothing, and that's exploitation and it's discrimination by transnational corporations against Indigenous peoples as the Declaration of Human Rights started in 1989 by the United Nations. … We have a very high unemployment rate. There really is no real economy other than what's being provided by the school district and by the borough.”

Vernon Adams, Sr., of Noatak 

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

“The scenery. We have the best scenery, and we're the only village on the Noatak River, and we've got Noatak National Preserve way up the river. It's an awesome place to be.”

What’s most misunderstood about life in the Arctic and in your community?

“Life in the Arctic is changing at a high rate of speed right now because from the early years we've seen a lot of snow and a lot of ice. That disappeared.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

 “My favorite story about hunting is going way up the river and getting our caribou. You camp out there for weeks. It's an awesome place to be for camping.”

Merle Custer of Shungnak

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

“I like hunting and fishing, help out people, help out the elders.”

What’s most misunderstood about life in the Arctic and in your community?

“You know, they don't come to our village and see what it's about – that we're doing subsistence lifestyle. If they'd come to our village and see what we're doing, they'd understand more. If big shots from D.C. would come and see what it's like, that we'd live in our environment, they'd understand it more.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

“I like to go out camping, spend the night especially with elders - go out with them, sit by a campfire. It’s warm and you tell stories as the night goes on.”

Alex T. Sheldon, Sr., of Kobuk

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

“When I was growing up, I started following my uncles related to me, and they start teaching how to do it, what time to hunt for caribou and moose and bear. And all the time, when they tell us, we'd go out hunting.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

“I grew up with my grandma, and I learned how to snare rabbits and ptarmigan because we got no caribou then when I was growing up. So we have to get those little animals besides fish, and she showed me how to cut fish, how to shoot, and how to pick berries. How to make a hook for sheefish, all that kind of stuff. It was a good life.”

Katherine Cleveland of Ambler

What’s most misunderstood about life in the Arctic and in your community?

“When it started getting warmer, the ice river doesn't freeze thick enough, and yet people don't understand what that means for us.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

“Food -- we look forward to it. I used to say, 'We've got to pick greens in springtime. There might be no berries this summer.' So I pick greens this spring, before the berries ripe, so I'll have dessert in wintertime.”

Dolores Iyatunguk of Deering

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

“I would have to say the subsistence lifestyle. I'm just so amazed of how we live off the land. Berry picking is one of my favorite times of the year. We can make a lot of good desserts out of it, and I just enjoy being out in the country.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

“It would be this last spring, when we actually had hundreds of caribou not far from our village, and me, my Dad, my cousin, and my son went hunting and shot a couple caribou. It was just so amazing to see those hundreds of caribou, especially in our land.”

What’s most misunderstood about life in the Arctic and in your community?

“Prices and the cost of living. It impacts everything.”

Dominic Ivanoff of Kotzebue

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

“Oh, where do I start? There's no one thing I could say that I love about Kotzebue, other than everything of Kotzebue.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

“I’ve been hunting since I can remember. It's hard to tell you my favorite story. It depends on how much film you have in the camera, I suppose. Catching my first bird with my Dad when I was nine years old. I had just turned nine years old, my Dad had given me my first shotgun - a single-shot .20 gauge - and the first bird was a crane with my very first shot.”

What’s most misunderstood about life in the Arctic and in your community?

“The misconception that might be outside of Alaska, or even outside of the United States, is that we're an oil-rich state and that we're handed money fist over hand. That's probably the biggest thing, and I think a lot of people don't realize the cost-of-living that it is in Kotzebue.”

Diana Raymoth of Selawik

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

“Selawik is unique to itself with the people who are living there. We all work together. We're known for the salmon berries, so every year I get phone calls, people want salmon berries.”

What’s your favorite story about fishing, gathering, or hunting?

“I took several people that were not from our community out seining, under one condition: that they work very hard, and that they help, because that's what we do. If anyone falls they can't just stand around. He was an educator from Juneau, and he was supposed to leave the next day, but he had so much fun with gathering and what we were doing and it was new to him, so he continued to stay another couple days.”

What’s most misunderstood about life in the Arctic and in your community?

“Our lifestyle is totally different from being in an urban community. A lot of our lifestyle is mainly from the land and what's around it, and it was settled there because of the abundance of fish.”

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THURSDAY UPDATE:

A man and woman from Big Lake are wanted by Alaska State Trooper for stealing a Trooper vehicle Wednesday afternoon, the agency says. 

Troopers say 38-year-old Joshua Watford was being arrested on a warrant at North Shore Pawn, near the intersection of Big Lake Road and North Shore Drive around 2:26 p.m. While Watford was cuffed and secured in the back of the Trooper vehicle, a passing motorist stopped and began talking to the Trooper about an unrelated issue.

At that time, 28-year-old Amber Watford got into the driver's seat of the Trooper vehicle and drove away with Joshua Watford in the backseat. The Trooper vehicle was located about an hour later on W. Fireweed Drive, just about a mile away, unoccupied and undamaged. An Anchorage Police Department K-9 unit was called to assist in the search, which also included a trooper helicopter and Wildlife Troopers. The search lasted until about 6:30 p.m. Joshua and Amber Watford are still unaccounted for. Troopers ask anyone with information on their location to call AST at 352-5401 or your local law enforcement.

ORIGINAL POST: 

Alaska State Troopers are looking for two individuals after a Trooper vehicle was stolen in the Big Lake area.

Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters told Channel 2 News that around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, a person got into the driver's seat of the trooper vehicle and drove away, while a suspect was detained in the backseat.

Peters says the vehicle was found in the Big Lake area but troopers are still looking for the two people involved.

Peters did not have immediate information on the identities of the two people.  

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Juneau Police are asking for help to find a man broke into a liquor store and, when he was unable to open the registers, fled with $3,600 worth of cigarettes.

The break-in was caught on camera at 1:16 a.m. Monday morning at Thibodeau’s Home Liquor at 425 Whittier St. The burglar wore a white or light grey Under Armor hoodie, with a green hood. He has dark hair, a few inches long in the front, and was wearing “skater” shoes and jeans, according a Juneau Police Department news release.

In addition to a box of American Spirit cigarette carton, police say he caused $1,000 in damage to the window.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to give a tip through the anonymous Crime Line here. Tipsters are eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.  

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The summer of 2015 has tied for warmest-summer on record in Anchorage, with an average temperature of 60.2 F degrees. 

This matches 1977 as the warmest summer since the period of record began in 1952. The coldest summer over that same time period was 1971 with an average temperature of 53.9.

The long-term average is 56.7 F degrees, this year (and 1977) at 3.5 degrees warmer than average.  

...

For comparison, the average temperature last summer was 57.9 degrees. 

Summer in this case is defined as June, July and August, or the meteorological summer. 

Boise, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle all had their hottest summers on record. 

Though the astronomical summer doesn’t end until September 23rd this year, the meteorological summer ended on Monday, August 31st.  Meteorologists and climatologists divide the year in four 3-month seasons. These seasons more closely align with the calendar than the astronomical summer and gives a logical set time for observations and forecasting. 

The meteorological year is broken into winter (December, January, February), spring (March, April, May), summer (June, July, August) and fall (September, October, November).

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By Cameron Mackintosh

KTUU 

Rain and cold weather did not dissuade residents in Dillingham from lining the streets to welcome President Barrack Obama after his arrival in the rural town Wednesday morning.

A small group of people from the community were allowed access to the Dillingham Airport, where they met briefly with President Obama in a hanger after Air Force One landed.

Dozens of residents and children of all ages waited patiently on the roadsides, hoping to get a glimpse of the President on his way into town from the airport. Many chose to remain inside their cars, parked near the roadways where the Presidential motorcade was expected to pass through.

Louise Lekanoff, manager of the Dillingham Hotel, decided to lock up her business early that morning and join the sign-toting crowds cheering on the President's arrival.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said, smiling with her homemade welcome sign.

While the arrival of the Presidential motorcade was greeted with cheers and whistles from the locals, many were only able to get a quick glance at the President as he sped through town.

“He was driving so fast, I’m not sure I even saw him,” said Janice Chukwak, one of the Dillingham locals who came out this morning to see the President. “It’s still very exciting though!”

Residents would get another chance to see the Commander in Chief however, when he decided to stop and order food at N&N Market, a local grocery store, after taking part in a cultural performance at Dillingham High School.

The President then left for Kotzebue, the final leg of his three day tour of Alaska. Air Force One departed from Dillingham Airport early Wednesday afternoon.

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The American subsidiary of a Spanish oil company will pay just over $30,000 after a 2013 spill on Alaska's North Slope.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Repsol E&P USA will pay to settle allegations it violated the Clean Water Act. The company didn't immediately return an email to The Associated Press on Thursday seeking comment.

State authorities said 6,600 gallons spilled April 9, 2013, at a Repsol well 18 miles northeast of the village of Nuiqsut on the Colville River Delta.

Most of the fluid was contained in a secondary containment area but about 500 gallons sprayed over an acre of snow-covered tundra.

The EPA says most of the spill was cleaned up within four days.

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A third man was arrested and charged in connection with the death of an Anchorage teen Aug. 23, Anchorage Police wrote in a press release Wednesday. 

Police say that 35-year-old Nathaniel Terrell is the third man arrested in connection with 19-year-old Byzantium Hill's fatal shooting in a Lane Street home. Terrell was charged with second degree murder and first degree burglary. 

So far in the investigation, 38-year-old Quenton Henderson and 38-year-old Chris Winters have been arrested in connection with Hill's death. 

Henderson was charged with burglary and second degree murder, Winters was charged with first degree murder.

Police say there could be additional suspects and anyone with information is asked to contact authorities at 786-8900 or make an anonymous tip at 561-STOP.

NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Hill had received threatening text messages regarding a debt prior to his death. The messages were sent to two other men who were not identified by name by prosecutors. 

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President Barack Obama recorded a short video at Kotzebue Sound, posted today, reflecting on his three-day trip across the state.

After the renaming of Mount McKinley to Denali, the president made no major policy announcements, new legislative proposals or major tranches of federal aid with him during the trek.

Instead, he sought to use the power of his own celebrity to command attention to the issue of climate change.

Obama closed out his Alaska tour with a trip Wednesday to the tiny town of Kotzebue on Wednesday that made him the first sitting president to set foot in the Alaska Arctic.

The White House was hoping that fact would illustrate a commitment to Alaska's endangered landscape beyond that of his predecessors.

Yet Obama also walked a fine line in a state that's deeply dependent on energy revenues and wary of his efforts to keep its oil and gas in the ground.

-- The Associated Press

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The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for an overdue kayaker in Knik Arm near Anchorage.

The Coast Guard says the search area covered more than 850 square miles looking for Bruce Gronewald.

Family members on Tuesday reported he didn't turn from a kayaking trip. He was last seen Monday night in a yellow kayak.

The Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and Alaska State Troopers conducted 10 air searches and multiple ground searches before announcing Thursday morning that efforts have been suspended.

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Rain and cold weather did not dissuade residents in Dillingham from lining the streets to welcome President Barrack Obama after his arrival in the rural town Wednesday morning.

A small group of people from the community were allowed access to the Dillingham Airport, where they met briefly with President Obama in a hanger after Air Force One landed.

...

Dozens of residents and children of all ages waited patiently on the roadsides, hoping to get a glimpse of the president on his way into town from the airport. Many chose to remain inside their cars, parked near the roadways where the presidential motorcade was expected to pass through.

Louise Lekanoff, manager of the Dillingham Hotel, decided to lock up her business early that morning and join the sign-toting crowds cheering on the president's arrival.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," she said, smiling with her homemade welcome sign.

While the arrival of the presidential motorcade was greeted with cheers and whistles from the locals, many were only able to get a quick glance at the president as he sped through town.

"He was driving so fast, I'm not sure I even saw him," said Janice Chukwak, one of the Dillingham locals who came out this morning to see the president. "It's still very exciting though!"

Residents would get another chance to see the commander in chief however, when he decided to stop and order food at N&N Market, a local grocery store, after taking part in a cultural performance at Dillingham High School.

The president then left for Kotzebue, the final leg of his three-day tour of Alaska. Air Force One departed from Dillingham Airport early Wednesday afternoon.

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The midtown grocery store Carrs-Safeway is set to close next Saturday.

Corporate spokespersons did not respond to questions posed Wednesday. 

Linda Boggs with the Mall at Sears says the reason for the closure is poor sales. She says stores like Walmart and Fred Meyers make high profits and likely pull customers from the nearby Carrs.

Overall, the mall is doing very well, Boggs said. "We have some retailers interested in whole space and some if it's carved up."

The mall is one of the older shopping centers in the city. (Historic photo by Ward W Wells Photography.)

...

Nordstrom Rack opens there Thursday, an addition anticipated by clothing shoppers since early last year. Spokesperson Jessica Canfield said they are thrilled to be opening in the midtown location.

Jonathan White, owner of Steamdot Coffee, says it took vision to open his second stand alone coffee shop at the Mall at Sears location in winter of 2012. He says at the time the mall wasn't what it is now. White says if he "had a nickle for every time somebody told me I was crazy I'd be talking to you from my island."

"Carr's closing is disappointing for a lot of people," he said, "but it's probably part of the bigger vision."

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UPDATE:

Anchorage police have located a 12-year-old child who has been missing since Tuesday evening in the Russian Jack area, police wrote in a press release.

ORIGINAL:

Anchorage police are seeking public help in finding a 12-year-old child who has been missing since Tuesday evening in the Russian Jack area, police wrote in a press release. 

Jacob Noden was last seen in the area  of Lancelot Circle near Wonder Park Elementary School near Russian Jack Park, police say. 

"Jacob is described as a native male, 5’6”, 120 lbs with dark hair. He was last seen wearing a white/gray colored camo jacket. He is known to like the woods and it is possible he is lost in a wooded area or trail somewhere," police wrote. 

The APD Search Team is assisting police looking for Noden. 

Anyone with information about Noden's whereabouts are asked to contact police immediately as 786-8900. 

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Updates from pool reporters covering the president's visits to Dillingham and Kotzebue today...

5:30 P.M. UPDATE: 

From Colleen McCain Nelson, The Wall Street Journal --

Air Force One was wheels down at 5:00 p.m. at the Ralph Wien Memorial Airport in Kotzebue. As Obama stepped onto the tarmac, he became the first sitting president to travel north of the Arctic Circle. He did not appear to mark the occasion. Obama walked quickly to the viewing pen and spent a few minutes shaking hands and greeting excited local residents. He then hopped into his waiting SUV and the motorcade rolled toward Kotzebue School at 5:16 p.m., arriving five minutes later. Pool is awaiting the president's remarks, which are open press and should be streamed online.

...

From Colleen McCain Nelson, The Wall Street Journal --

At the Dillingham Middle School, President Obama was treated to a youth cultural dance performance. The grade-scool-aged children performed four Yup'ik dances. Obama sat on the front row, grinning throughout the performance and clapping appreciatively. The rest of the crowd was similarly enthusiastic. The children wore Native headpieces and attire and did an admirable job staying in unison as they sang and danced. Their adult leader, Sophie Woods, explained the songs and a little bit about their culture, telling the crowd that their native language is disappearing. One song focused on honoring berries and another featured the lyrics "Don't be afraid to play basketball." Obama jumped up and danced with the children during the last song. "I've been practicing," he said. Clearly the president had taken a crash course on the routine. Afterwards, he told the crowd that he's so happy to be here and would try to bring Michelle and the girls back. "Keep up your traditions even as you go out into the big world and learn," he said. Before departing, Obama posed for a photo with the kids, nearly causing a pile-up when he asked who would help him up. The motorcade has departed the middle school and is rolling to an unknown location.

...

From Lisa Demer, Alaska Dispatch News --

Air Force One landed at 11:51 am on a rainy gray day in Dillingham. A line of 20 vehicles for the motorcade awaited. A hangar full of wanded and cleared residents cheered and the president walked across the front of the crowd and greeted them. "Bristol Bay! USA!" they yelled. 

By 12:10 the motorcade was on the way to the first stop.

On Kananak Beach the president called Bristol Bay "one of the most important natural resources the United States has."  He chatted with fisherman and put on rubber gloves to grip a silver. Something squirted out and he was told it was spawning. Not something you want to get on your shoe, he joked. At 12:45 we are headed to cultural event.

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ANCHORAGE and KOTZEBUE – Alaska, in the words of President Obama as he announced his historic trip to the American Arctic, is on the frontlines of climate change.

The effects of a warming trend are evident in all corners of the state, from rapidly-receding glaciers – like Exit Glacier near Seward, a popular tourist spot the president will film an episode of a survival show with Bear Grylls – to shifting caribou migration patterns around Kotzebue, where the president will spend an afternoon.

Snowfall was so scant in Southcentral this winter that dump trucks had to pile snow down the length of Downtown Anchorage for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Snow machine racers who competed in the treacherous Iron Dog race, were battered by expansive stretches on brown, barren, snow-free lands.

On the state’s expansive western coastline, multiple communities face possible relocation because of rapid coastal erosion.

Those are some of the facts that drew the president to the Last Frontier in an attempt to spotlight climate change ahead of a global summit in Paris attempting to craft a comprehensive response to the issue.

Anecdotal signs from people who live on the land most directly impacted along with overwhelming scientific evidence essentially close debate over whether climate change is occurring. But there is, on the other hand, a great level of subjectivity in what the U.S. federal government and other governments should do to combat climate change.

Should we consider the trend inevitable and help coastal communities like Kivalina, on an ever-shrinking Northwest Arctic Island, to adapt? Would a government-induced curb on carbon emissions help the world correct course? Or maybe, the solution is something in between or different all together.

While the White House gradually begins to offer its own vision for how the federal government should respond, Channel 2 News asked several Alaskans what they believe federal government should do about climate change.

Evon Peter is a vice chancellor of rural community and Native education for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a leader of the Interior Alaska Gwich’in people. He landed in the national spotlight when The Daily Show featured him on one of Jon Stewart’s final episodes, in a segment ridiculing the name of North America’s largest mountain, which Interior Secretary Sally Jewell changed from Mt. McKinley to the Athabaskan name Denali a day ahead of the presidential visit. Peter calls for investment in technologies that will help reduce the need for fossil fuels and help rural communities lower energy costs:

"I think the federal government should be making major investments and subsidizing renewable energies,” Peter said, standing in the Hotel Captain Cook on the first day of the State Department’s GLACIER Conference. “We have a lot of micro grades in our villages that are dependent on diesel. There are some experiments happening through the University of Alaska Fairbanks with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power trying to test out some of those systems. I’d love to see some major investment for federal government to help reduce our dependence on diesel and fossil fuels in rural Alaska. It makes economic sense, and would help impact climate change."

Kotzebue Mayor Maija Lukin, on the Friday before President Obama arrived in Kotzebue, was setting a net trying to catch extra silver salmon to feed the ever-growing contingent of outsiders making their way into the Northwest Arctic community. On a bouncy ride back to the small boat harbor – the skiff bouncing over waves caused by a rapid gusts of wind that rocked once-calm waters – she said the solution is to help impacted communities rather than trying to stop the world from changing.

“Instead of trying to cure climate change – which isn't ever going to happen – they can do things like provide money for a deep water port,” she said. “That's going to lower our cost of living by 25 percent. They can give subsidies to renewable energy. They can responsibly develop our natural resources, but in responsibly developing our natural resources, they can consult with the tribes that are being directly impacted by those resources that they're taking from right out under our home. … We’ve faced changes before. We evolved when people brought guns here. We adapted when non-Natives came.”

Ross Schaeffer has lived in Kotzebue his entire life, and like many in the area, he gets about half of his food from subsistence hunting. For the past five years, he has taken his grandson, now 16, hunting with him for caribou, moose, wolves, seals, and other animals native to the area. Conditions the first three years were manageable, but the past two years the snowpack has diminished to a point that it is dangerous to go on winter hunts for seals. He was riding his snow machine in April, trailing caribou, when he came upon a gap in the ice that was hidden by a thin layer of snow until it was too late for him to turn away. Schaeffer crashed hard and broke his tail bone, an injury he has been reeling from since, causing him to cringe whenever it is cold and he has to stand for any length of time. His call is for the federal government to focus on carbon emissions – and fast: “I think the government's role is to turn the tide in what we're doing with emissions – people driving too many cars. Something has to be changed soon, if it’s not already too late,” Schaeffer said.

Danielle Redmond helped found Juneau-based Alaska Climate Action Network at the beginning of this year, an organization dedicated in part to preventing offshore Arctic drilling. On the first day of the State Department’s GLACIER conference, before President Obama’s closing remarks, Redmond was part of a contingent of several dozen ralliers who gathered on the Downtown Anchorage park strip. There was a faux dead polar bear laying beneath a platform crafted in the image of Royal Dutch Shell’s rig that recently won federal approval to explore the Chuckchi Sea for oil reserves. An inscription labeled the rig the “Polar Profiteer.” Redmond said an immediate federal response is simple: “Revoking Shell's permits would be a good place to start,” she said. “Also, we need huge investment in renewable energy. It's pretty straight forward, really.”

Kara Moriarty of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association agreed to an on-camera interview standing in front of the so-called “Polar Profiteer,” as protesters stood in the shadow of the ConocoPhillips building talking about a gamut of environmental issues. She said the group has a right to free speech, but that 72 percent of Alaskans support responsible development:

“The federal government has a role in regulating industry and regulating all of our activities, and they certainly do that,” Moriarty said. “The question of whether Arctic development is going to occur, that question has been answered. So people are developing the Arctic across the globe. Why would we not want to do that here in Alaska?”

Jim Dau, for decades, has worked in the Kotzebue office of the state Department of Fish and Game. Many of those years he has managed oversight of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, among the world’s largest but also shrinking fast. The herd is down from 490,000 in 2003 to less than half that as of 2013, when an estimate was last conducted. Dau believes the losses are in large part because of a warming winter trend, and he said that is also part of the reason the animals’ migratory pattern has shifted north. Standing outside his office, with buzzing from planes passing overhead and cars driving by, he said the federal government should find a long-term energy plan:

“When you ask, what can politicians do, there's got to be a very fundamental change in how we produce energy, how we use energy,” he said. “Those types of fixes can only be fixed by politicians. They can’t be administered away, they can’t be managed away by people like me. That’s solely on the backs of our leaders that steer funding and also steer energy policy. … I burn as much gas as anybody in this town, both personally and in my job. I’m out studying wildlife trying to conserve habitat and animals for people and everybody else. That’s why I say, really, climate change demands a political fix. Energy is so pervasive through everything we do out here. We need clean energy.”

Cyrus Harris is Kotzebue Mayor Maija Lukin’s uncle, and he also helped launch and now runs a subsistence program in the community for Maniilaq Association. Through a federal grant, Harris fishes, gathers, and hunts for people who cannot anymore – elders who lived their entire lives eating foods offered by their ancestral lands: salmon when they are running, berries when they blanket the earth, musk ox, caribou and moose when they are in season, bearded seals and whale when they can be caught. He has seen firsthand the impacts of warmer weather. “The way I see it, within the last five years give or take, I see the difference in the ice pack that we normally hunt sea mammals out of,” he said. “We use the ice as protection from the open seas.”

Harris said the solution to climate change is working together: “Get with the nations, and look at the source of the problem and where it's coming from,” he said, standing next to his skiff at the small boat harbor. 

Annmarie O’Brien is superintendent of the Northwest Arctic Borough, which operates schools in the 11 communities that compose the borough. Mayor Reggie Joule, at a Tuesday event called for area leaders to meet with media, observed the oddity of the moment: “I don’t know how many press conferences has had in its history, but I bet you could count it on one hand," he said. O'Brien was among the leaders fielding questions. The fix she wants to see from the federal government to address climate change stems from her job: funding needed to complete a Kivalina evacuation access road.

"In the past three years, I believe, residents have been evacuated into Kotzebue twice already," the superintendent said. The road "is a requirement for the new school. ... We need federal assistance to help us pay for this road, and we really look forward to them understanding the challenges this village is facing."

Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule, sitting at the same press conference, said the most important thing at the moment -- rather than enactment of a specific policy -- is to improve awareness of the multifaceted impacts of climate change.

"It's an opportunity for awareness at this level of our government, but it also is an opportunity for the country," Joule said. "We don't have much of an opportunity to educate about Alaska, the state that makes the United States a member of the Arctic Council – which we have a window of two years to fashion all of this attention and potentially have an advantage on some of the focus areas, on some of the impacts that we have been feeling for years. Yet Alaska is an Arctic state, and the part of Alaska that is Arctic is very important to the state and to the future of our country." 

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A 70-year-old man smashed into the side of the Muldoon post office Tuesday evening, punching a gaping hole in the wall, Anchorage Police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro wrote in an email to Channel 2 News. 

Police were notified of the wreck just after 4 p.m. at 2420 Muldoon Road. 

Investigation revealed that Leon Jenkins was trying to park in the handicap spot when "the vehicle accelerated and collided with the building." 

"The driver attempted to back up from the building and then put the vehicle in drive with his foot on the brake. The vehicle accelerated and collided with the building again," Castro wrote. "The driver believed there was something wrong with the vehicle brakes and accelerated."

The driver was not injured and the vehicle was towed from the scene, police say.

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UPDATE: A kayaker who was rescued Monday morning by a local air service pilot later disappeared, forcing a search by air and land, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Bruce Gronewald notified authorities 8:46 a.m. Monday, saying his canoe or kayak was taking on water. Within an hour, he was spotted by Pilot Glenn Curtis of Rust's Flying Service, who landed his Cessna Caravan and rescued Gronewald and his dogs. 

The Anchorage Fire Department called the effort a "heroic save."

But authorities launched a new search for Gronewald the following day, after he was reported missing. He was last seen Monday night in the vicinity of Knik Arm. 

Authorities are searching for a kayaker who was last seen Monday night in the vicinity of Knik Arm near Anchorage, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and Civil Air Patrol crews have conducted at least four air searches while Alaska State Troopers searched the ground, the Coast Guard says.

The Coast Guard is asking that anyone with information about Gronewald whereabouts call the agency at 428-4100 in Anchorage. He was last seen wearing a black jacket and blue life jacket. 

RELATED: Man, dogs rescued from sinking canoe by local air service pilot, officials say

NOTE: An earlier version of this story included a mispelling of Gronewald's name. 

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The Mat-Su Borough Assembly on Tuesday voted to move forward on the sale of the controversial Susitna Ferry to an overseas buyer.

The borough now plans to finalize a deal that would sell the ferry – a prototype that cost $80 million in mostly federal funding – for $1.75 million to the Philippine Red Cross, according to a borough spokeswoman.

The borough has struggled to find a home for the ferry, which was once meant to transport people and vehicles from Point Mackenzie to Anchorage.

“The Susitna Ferry will be plying the Philippine Sea delivering food and supplies to island shores and serving as a floating hospital after hurricanes if a near-final sale is completed,” the borough wrote.

The chief executive for the Philippine Red Cross said that country averages 170 maritime accidents a year.

“The ship will be used to provide disaster relief and emergency services,” he said.

If successful, the sale would cap “dozens of dead-end offers” to purchase the ship, which the borough at one point tried to give away. The Philippine Red Cross deal is the closest the borough has come to completing a sale, the borough says.

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The centerpiece message of President Barack Obama’s Alaska visit is a push for swift international action to battle climate change, with the state offered as evidence of the growing danger posed by inaction.

“Villages are being damaged by powerful storm surges, which once held at bay by sea ice, are battering the barrier islands where those villages sit," the White House wrote in a statement released hours before the president flies today to Dillingham and Kotzebue. "Alaska Native traditions that have set the rhythm of life in Alaska for thousands of years are being upended by decreasing sea-ice cover and changing seasonal patterns."

After calling for more U.S. ice breakers Tuesday in Seward, the president’s list of potential announcements today is far longer, if more scattershot. 

The administration is highlighting a new climate change coordination role for the Denali Commission, meant to link the feds, state and tribes in efforts to battle erosion and flooding at a village level. “The Denali Commission will serve as a one-stop shop for matters relating to coastal resilience in Alaska," the White House says.

Those efforts could include voluntary relocation, the guidelines for which could be spelled out by other initiatives announced today. 

The Commission will spend $2 million “to support voluntary relocation efforts, where appropriate,” among other strategies, the White House says.

The Obama administration also is announcing various grants and projects, from $17.6 million to improve Alaska water and waste-disposal systems in a state that once vowed to “retire the honeybucket,” to launching a $4 million competition to create energy efficient efforts in remote Alaska communities.

Read the full text  of the White House list of announcements below:  

Building Climate Resilience In Remote Alaskan Communities:

Announcing a Federal coordinator for building climate resilience in Alaska. The White House will announce that the Denali Commission will play a lead coordination role for Federal, State and Tribal resources to assist communities in developing and implementing both short- and long-term solutions to address the impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion, flooding, and permafrost degradation. The Denali Commission will serve as a one-stop-shop for matters relating to coastal resilience in Alaska as appropriate. The Commission, an independent federal agency, was established in 1998 to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska with a focus on Alaska's remote communities. The Commission will collaborate with the State of Alaska local and Tribal agencies to facilitate coordination of federal engagement in efforts to protect communities, and conduct voluntary relocation or other managed retreat efforts. The Arctic Executive Steering Committee (AESC), established by President Obama in January 2015, will provide guidance and support these efforts as appropriate, as part of its mission to enhance coordination of U.S. government activities in the Arctic, help set priorities across diverse missions and programs, and provide the basis for a whole-of-government approach to the future of the Arctic.

 

Beyond the broader mitigation and resilience work of the Denali Commission, the Commission will announce today that it is committing $2 million to support voluntary relocation efforts, where appropriate, and other resilience strategies for vulnerable rural Alaskan communities.

These steps build on the Administration’s support to date for the Denali Commission. The President’s FY 2016 Budget requested $14 million for the Denali Commission, and the President calls on Congress to provide sufficient funding for the Commission’s critical activities and looks forward to working with Congress, the Commission, Alaska elected officials and stakeholders to further enhance the Commission's effectiveness and impact for rural Alaskan communities.

(NOTE: The following paragraph has been updated to correct information provided in the original White House statement. A USDA official said the original version was included errors.)

Announcing Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to improve rural Alaska water systems.

USDA will finalize a rule that revises a definition and streamlines the application process for the Rural Alaska Villages Grant Program. To that end, today, USDA announced nearly $16 million in funding to improve water and wastewater resources through USDA’s Rural Alaska Village Grant Program (RAVG).  The Program helps remote Alaskan villages provide safe, reliable drinking water and waste disposal systems for households.  Recipients include 15 Alaskan communities, the State of Alaska, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. USDA planning construction grants will be awarded to the following:

·         Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium: $425,000

·         Adak: $1,269,750

·         Angoon: $52,500

·         Diomede: $183,750

·         False Pass: $45,000

·         Grayling: $52,500

·         Kaltag: $37,500

·         Kasaan: $37,500

·         Kiana: $273,750

·         Kotzebue: $56,250

·         Nunam Iqua: $112,800

·         Old Harbor: $18,750

·         South Naknek: $60,000

·         Eek: $4,290,600

·         State of Alaska: $425,000

·         Kwethluk: $2,218,500

·         Akiachak: $6,378,750

Releasing a compendium of Federal resilience programs for Alaskan communities. Today, the AESC will release a catalog of programs and funding resources that may assist Arctic coastal communities in addressing resilience needs. While a variety of programs and authorities are available for villages and communities to prepare for and respond to coastal erosion issues, no compendium of available sources of assistance existed that is tailored to the needs of Arctic communities.  To fill that gap, Federal agencies, through the AESC, have collaborated to develop this catalog, which is available through the Denali Commission and on the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

 

Investing in capacity in remote tribal communities. USDA intends to sign cooperative agreements totaling $240,000 with four Native nonprofit organizations in western Alaska, charged with extending the reach of USDA staff and improving access of hard-to-reach populations to USDA Rural Development programs—including housing, community facilities, wastewater systems, and broadband. Cooperative agreements will be made with each of the following regions:

 

·         Northwest Arctic Region: Maniilaq Association, headquartered in Kotzebue - $37,000

·         Bering Straits Region: Kawerak Inc, headquartered in Nome - $46,000

·         Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Region: Association of Village council Presidents, headquartered in Bethel- $120,000

·         Bristol Bay Region:   Bristol Bay Native Association, headquartered in Dillingham - $37,000

 

Launching Resilience AmeriCorps in Alaska.  The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have partnered with The Rockefeller Foundation and Cities of Service to launch Resilience AmeriCorps, a pilot program that will recruit, train, and embed AmeriCorps VISTA members in 10 communities throughout the United States. Among the communities selected for the 2-year pilot program is Anchorage, AK. Resilience AmeriCorps responds to a recommendation made by the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to assist vulnerable communities that lack the capacity to address climate-resilience planning and implementation.

 

Developing equitable and responsible principles for relocation.   In response to therecommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is developing a set of cross-agency principles for climate-related relocation and managed retreat from high-risk areas in the United States.  These principles will strengthen the consideration of equity and other issues when using HUD funds for voluntary relocation of communities. Additionally, as part of outreach for this effort, HUD, in compliance with its Tribal Government-to-Government Consultation Policy, will engage with Arctic coastal villages as a model for fostering future collaboration with other regions, and will engage in an ongoing dialogue with the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group on the process.

 

Enhancing community-based monitoring.  NOAA contributed nearly $300,000 for a project to foster adaptation in Alaska Native coastal communities to maintain or improve their health and vitality over time by anticipating and adapting to change. The project, Resilient Alaska Native Coastal Communities: Integrated Social-ecological Monitoring and Assessment Supporting Adaptation Decisions, will continue for two years in partnership with the Alaska Institute for Justice, Alaska Native Science Commission, University of Alaska, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and the University of Victoria. In August, the Alaska Institute for Justice began designing a community-based social-ecological monitoring and assessment methodology that will be used and implemented by Alaska Native communities.

 

Providing guidance for tribal disaster declarations. The Federal Energy Management Agency (FEMA) will soon commence consultation on pilot guidance for tribes to request Stafford Act declarations. The pilot guidance is intended to reflect the unique circumstances that impact tribal communities. In order to reflect tribal sovereignty, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide Federally-recognized Tribal governments the option to request a Presidential emergency or major disaster declaration.  FEMA will utilize lessons learned and feedback received during the consultation period to inform the final pilot guidance.

 

Recommending how to reduce vulnerabilities in Tribal energy systems. DOE’s Office of Indian Energy is releasing a report on Tribal Energy System Vulnerabilities to Climate Change, which focuses on impacts to energy systems that support Tribal communities. This report furthers the President’s and the Secretary’s goals of preparing the United States and Tribal Nations for the impacts of climate change by building stronger and safer communities through awareness and education. The report includes a focus on Alaskan communities.

 

Engaging Tribal youth in climate solutions. The EPA’s Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (IGAP) and the Arctic Council, through a grant provided to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, is releasing a Local Environmental Observer (LEO) App, which will allow observers to share photos and text from the field, complete with GPS locations. The LEO Network provides a model for engaging communities and connecting with technical experts and resources to allow communities to monitor, respond to, and adapt to new impacts and health effects. LEO experts apply local and traditional knowledge, western science and modern technology to record and share observations and to raise awareness about the conditions in the circumpolar north. 

 

Additionally, today the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) Tribal Climate Resilience Program will award $1.38 million to support internships for tribal youth working on projects or performing research directly related to climate change impacts. The Program will support internships and research related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and ocean and coastal management.

 

Additional Nonfederal Actions:

Partnering at the forefront of community resilience in Southeast Alaska. The Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) is announcing over $5 million in private sector commitments. SSP is a new partnership that approaches community and economic development by supporting projects and businesses that improve the economy, social structures of the communities, and well-being of the environment. Southeast Alaska communities face issues around environmental changes, high unemployment rates, sustainable resource management, energy independence, and food security. The partners will use the private funds in conjunction with public funding to support large-scale community forest and fisheries projects, new workforce development initiatives, a business development competition and a revolving loan fund--all rooted in environmental sustainability. SSP is comprised of Alaska Native tribes and corporations, regional economic development entities, conservation organizations, and local municipalities. Lead partners include Haa Aani, LLC., the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Southeast Conference, Sealaska, and The Nature Conservancy.

 

Understanding impacts to health in Alaska due to climate change. The University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS) today will release a report describing significant associations between unusual climatic conditions and increased incidence of injuries and respiratory problems in Alaska, and received $149,990 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work with community partners to promote adaptations that reduce adverse health outcomes associated with climate change in rural and remote communities in the state. The ICHS, with funding from the CDC, has conducted two rounds of community-based sentinel surveillance of the health effects of climate change in Alaska.

 

Building Resilient Communities in the Tongass National Forest. Sealaska Native Corporation, the State of Alaska, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, U.S. Forest Service, Haa Aani' Community Development Fund LLC, and several Native Village Corporations are announcing a new $9 million collaboration to focus on shared goals of community resilience. Communities, businesses, Native interests and conservation NGOs are leaving behind past conflicts over old growth logging on the Tongass National Forest and are working together to develop workforce and entrepreneurial capacity while accomplishing sustainable forest management into the future. These efforts will be supported by significant private and public sector support with more than $5 million in private funding and another $4 million in federal and state funding flowing into the region.

 

Expanding Access To Clean Energy Solutions:

Launching a remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency Competition. Today, the Department of Energy is announcing that it will launch a new $4 million initiative to significantly accelerate efforts by remote Alaskan communities to adopt sustainable energy strategies, through a competitive effort to elicit the best approaches.  The $4 million competition will empower Alaskan communities to develop solutions that can effectively advance the use of reliable, affordable, clean-energy and energy-efficient solutions that can be replicated throughout Alaska and potentially in other Arctic regions as well.

 

The initiative will support community efforts to adopt culturally and climate-appropriate energy-efficiency measures by evaluating community energy use; developing long-term, sustainable, and replicable energy-efficiency plans; and supporting the implementation of proposed plans.

 

Launching Clean Energy Solutions for Remote Communities (CESRC). On Tuesday, Dr. Holdren and Governor Walker hosted a roundtable including the Denali Commission, the Alaska Energy Authority, and The Renewable Energy Alaska Project as part of the launch of Climate Solutions for Remote Communities.  Building on the Clean Energy Investment Initiative announced earlier this year, CESRC will focus on expanding investment in climate solutions for remote communities, including:  (1) identifying the technological, financial, and logistical challenges and opportunities particular to clean energy innovation addressing the needs and unique circumstances of remote communities and (2) catalyzing the private-sector through a call to action to substantially increase investment to develop climate solutions addressing the unique issues facing remote communities.  The Department of Energy will provide technical expertise to achieve these goals.   Energy costs are among the most significant expenses in remote communities, many of which rely on costly diesel generators to provide power and heat. Over the past decade, Alaska has focused on bringing cleaner, cheaper energy to our many isolated rural communities, where residents pay up to 50 percent of their household income on energy. Sustainably reducing energy costs, reducing carbon pollution, and improving the energy efficiency of homes and other buildings will require designing and deploying clean energy technologies and microgrids that are suited for remote communities. In June, the White House announced $4 billion of independent commitments by major foundations, institutional investors, and other long-term investors to fund climate change solutions, including innovative technologies with breakthrough potential to reduce carbon pollution, as part of the Clean Energy Investment Initiative.

 

Deploying clean energy and energy efficiency projects on Indian Lands. In support of the Obama Administration’s commitment to strengthening partnerships with Tribal Nations and to support tribal energy development, the Department of Energy today will announce up to $6 million to deploy clean energy projects and energy efficiency projects on Indian lands, reducing reliance on fossil fuel and promoting economic development. Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement, the Department’s Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian tribes (including Alaska Native regional corporations and village corporations) and Tribal Energy Resource Development Organizations to install (1) facility-scale clean energy and energy efficiency projects and (2) community-scale clean energy projects on Indian lands. Tribal lands comprise nearly two percent of U.S. land, but contain about five percent of all the country’s renewable energy resources. With more than 9 million megawatts of potential installed renewable energy capacity on tribal lands, these tribal communities are well positioned to capitalize on their energy resources for local economic growth.

 

Lowering energy costs through High Energy Cost Grants in rural Alaska. USDA will award approximately $8 million in High Energy Cost grants, which assist power providers in lowering energy costs for families and individuals in areas with extremely high per-household energy costs. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) High Energy Cost Grant program has provided over $48 million in grants for villages in rural Alaska since 2009. Among this year’s awards, RUS will provide $1.5 million to the Denali Commission to assist its partners in improving electric infrastructure in rural and remote villages in Alaska.   Additionally, USDA RUS will release the 2015 Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA), making available an additional $10 million in new grant funds.

 

Announcing Denali Commission grants in rural Alaska. The Denali Commission will announce approximately $15.5 million in grants to support bulk fuel facilities and rural power system upgrades/power generation across rural Alaska. Funds will be provided from the Denali Commission’s programmatic funds as well as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund (TAPL). Projects include:

·         Pilot Station community bulk fuel tank farm, a $4.7M total project cost ($3.8M in Denali Commission FY2015 TAPL funds and $900K in State of Alaska cost share match)

·         Togiak Power plant project, $7.8M total project cost ($4.2M in Denali Commission FY2015 Base funds, $1.4M in awardee cost share match, $2.2M RUS FY14 funds)

·         Koliganek Power plant project, $3.3M total project cost ($2.4M in Denali Commission FY2015 Base funds, $600K in State of Alaska cost share match, plus $300K from a prior year Commission grant for design)

 

Additional Nonfederal Actions:

Investing in biomimic clean energy. A partnership between The Village of Igiugig, Caltech, Stanford, and the University of Alaska will undertake tests of new wind turbines and has attracted $2 million in funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The partners are exploring a new approach to vertical axis wind power, using large sets of small and simple turbines, arrayed to mimic schooling fish. The biology-inspired engineering may provide wind solutions for the many areas globally where large turbines are not feasible. The project is just another example of how this small village in Bristol Bay is leading on issues of sustainability, climate change, and emerging clean energy technology. Igiugig has also partnered with Ocean Renewable Power Company to test fish-friendly, hydrokinetic power on the Kvichak River—the river is home to vast runs of wild sockeye salmon that have sustained the people of the region for thousands of years.  Emerging technologies like these have the potential to meet community electricity demands in remote villages like Igiugig, where the cost of electricity ranges from 50 to 90 cents per kilowatt-hour.

 

Investing in LED technology in Anchorage. The Anchorage Mayor’s office is announcing a $4-6 million dollar plan to install LED roadway lighting across parking lots, roadways, garages, trails, and other outdoor lighting installations. In 2008, the city was the first in the world to replace over one quarter of its roadway lighting with LED technologies, saving the city $260,000 dollars a year and reducing energy consumption by nearly 60%. This effort made the city of Anchorage a model for other cities across the globe on how to finance and implement this breakthrough in outdoor lighting efficiency.  Saving both energy and taxpayer dollars, the new lighting will also require less ongoing maintenance and reduce Sky-Glow."

 

Announcing a public-private partnership to achieve 99.7 percent clean energy. In the coming days, Kodiak Island will begin testing a renewable-energy-powered shipping crane in a $3 million public-private partnership that will enable the island to become the first in the world to put flywheel and battery energy storage together to stabilize its variable electric power from wind turbines. The nation's second largest island recently achieved 99.7 percent renewable-powered electricity from wind, hydro and now augmented by flywheels. The City of Kodiak, Matson, Inc. and Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), a nonprofit member-owned rural electric cooperative, combined efforts to finance this renewable power source for a newly-arrived shipping crane that is replacing the current diesel-powered crane. KEA completed a conversion to 99.7 percent renewable electricity by adding the energy storage to 9 MW of wind that complements the utility's hydropower plant. Wind is now supplying approximately 20 percent of KEA's load, displacing more than 2 million gallons of diesel every year. This conversion from fossil fuels has been supported by the State of Alaska's Renewable Energy Fund, managed by the Alaska Energy Authority, in conjunction with strong local leadership from the Kodiak Electric Association.

 

Announcing a Clean Power Forum. In October 2015, the Alaska Center for the Environment will host a Clean Power forum, designed to kick off a series of conversations about how Alaska can reduce emissions, increase renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures, and become a true leader addressing climate change.

 

Releasing New Climate Data And Tools:

Mapping Alaska and the Arctic. Much of Alaska and the Arctic lack modern, reliable maps needed to support capabilities and activities including ground and air transportation, safe recreation, land management, sustainable development, and scientific studies. The Federal Government is taking action to meet this need:

·         The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and NSF are collaborating with the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center and, the private sector to create the first-ever publicly available, high-resolution, satellite-based elevation map of Alaska by mid-2016, and of the entire Arctic by the end of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (mid-2017). These Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), derived from NGA-sponsored Digital Globe commercial imagery, will support informed land management, sustainable development, safe recreation, and scientific studies, as well as domain-specific challenges inherent to the aviation, transportation, and defense industries. In addition, the DEM will serve as a benchmark against which future landscape changes (due to, for instance, erosion, extreme events, or climate change) can be measured.

·         DOI/USGS, in partnership with the State of Alaska, is leading efforts to fly the Alaskan Arctic with new sensors, generating Interferometric Synthetic Aperature Radar (IfSAR) data that will complement Alaska and Arctic DEMs, improving maps and elevation models of these regions to unprecedented levels of accuracy.

·         NGA has developed and is making available in both hard-copy and explorable-digital formats the most comprehensive pan-Arctic map ever published by the U.S. Government. The map will include layers such as Arctic Routes, Arctic Currents, Oil Production Sites, Gas Production Sites, Oil Drilling Areas, Oil and Gas Reserves, Airfields and Ports, Bathymetric Data, Digital Terrain Elevation Data, and Natural Earth (including rivers, railroads, and populated places). The map will be easily accessible on the NGA’s website, along with links to Alaska DEMs, the NGA’s 28 nautical charts for the Arctic region, a collection of Arctic sailing directions, and links to other Arctic websites and resources.

 

Nonfederal entities are also stepping up to meet this challenge:

·         Esri is committing to deploy and provide easy access to DEMs as they are released, along with supporting maps and climate data, tools, and applications to improve climate resilience for citizens, communities, and companies in Alaska and the Arctic. Esri will also release newly developed tools for exploring and visualizing the new elevation data, including tools for generating on-the-fly renderings of various terrain properties and tools that help communicate the scale of glacial retreat.

·         As the DEMs are publicly released, Google will load these datasets into the Google Earth Engine platform and make them available to scientific partners who are monitoring the Earth's changing environment. This will help researchers and other users analyze landcover change, predict coastal erosion, monitor changes in glaciers, and more accurately characterize water supplies, among other applications.

 

Expanding access to Arctic data and tools. The Administration is expanding its Climate Data Initiative (CDI) and Climate Resilience Toolkit (CRT) to include a new “Arctic” theme. The Arctic theme will encompass more than 250 Arctic-related datasets (32 of which are being made available for the first time), and more than 40 maps, tools, and other resources designed to support climate-resilience efforts in Alaska and the Arctic, including 10 “Taking Action” case studies in key areas of climate-change risks and vulnerability for Alaska and the Arctic. The Administration also recently expanded the CRT to include a new “Tribal Nations” theme, comprised of more than 40 resources—with more to be added in the future—to assist Tribal nations in climate-change planning, adaptation, and mitigation. Resources include a comprehensive Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Planning Toolkit, and a set of guidelines

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