Author: Suhaila Brunelle

April 29, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

“I’m really excited. I’ve put in my time and effort to get to this point, so I’m really excited to be able to finally have that recognition.”


Younger Oliver2 by Jenna! RoosdettWhat UAA student Younger Oliver is talking about is graduating with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, with a Minor in Communications. Oliver, who is graduating with honors was recently recognized with other Humanities Majors at a graduation reception in the Administration building. She plans on eventually working her way up to a PhD in Higher Education Policy. Oliver said that getting an education, and finishing a degree is valuable because these days most employers are looking for people who have degrees.


Oliver who was home-schooled her entire life said her freshman year was the first time she had been around people her age, so in order to learn how college worked she got a job on campus. Through her job, she was able to network with people, and make friends who were going through the same adjustment period. Oliver said another thing that got her through college was learning good time management skills, and working efficiently. She also made a point not to study at home.

“I don’t study at home because there’s sleep, or TV, or internet, or all sorts of other distractions, and when I go home, I can actually feel refreshed and relaxed”


“The first few years of college were hard,” said Business Management Major Russell Carlton, but once he started taking his core classes things got easier. “I got over that hump the concepts were easier to understand, and I was no longer overwhelmed with the size of the text –books.”


Carlton, who worked forty hours per week at a local credit union throughout his college career, said the most difficult thing about college was trying to find the balance between a social life, school and work.


“I feel honored, (to graduate). Without my parents pushing me, and my brothers and sisters pushing me, I might not have been able to graduate, but I feel incredibly honored to graduate, especially being the first one in my family to do so.”


Carlton suggests freshman see their advisors as soon as possible in order to graduate in four years instead of five because it took him a while to figure out what he wanted to major in. “I goofed off the first two and a half years pretty much, taking fun classes, taking classes I thought were interesting.” Because it took him a while to decide on a major, he ended up taking ten classes that didn’t count. Carlton said that was a negative because it meant more time in school than was necessary. Carlton also suggests not to procrastinate on homework, and when Professor’s have their office hours, visit them. “Professors should know your first name, they should know you are, and you should get to know your Professor’s.”


Carlton, who has three older biological siblings, and five younger adopted siblings is the first person in his immediate family to graduate from college. He said college offers the opportunity to build connections in the university setting that you would not be able to build anywhere else, and those connections are invaluable in the working world.


Carlton would eventually like to work in law enforcement, but he also sees himself working in development at non-profit organization.


Both Oliver and Carlton said there were many valuable reasons to at least give college a try.

April 15, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Last week UAA’s Safe Zone celebrated its third annual celebration week with a barbecue in the Student Union. Keynote speaker Drew Phoenix, executive director of Identity, kicked off the celebration by speaking about issues regarding the LGBTQ community, focusing on LGBTQ history, advances and issues that still need to be addressed. At UAA, Safe Zone…

April 15, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Last week Gov. Sean Parnell announced in a press release that his administration issued a notice of intent to sue the federal government over an access road from King Cove, Alaska, through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to the town of Cold Bay, Alaska. The road would provide life-saving access for King Cove residents who often must rely on the Coast Guard to airlift them to Cold Bay in order to meet up with a Life-Flight plane for transport to an Anchorage or Seattle area hospital during medical emergencies.

In compliance with the Public Land Management act of 2009, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Secretary of the Interior was charged with providing an Environmental Impact Statement before construction could begin. The road, a single lane gravel passageway with 11-foot safety turnouts and a chain barrier or bollard barrio on each side, would be 19.4 to 21.6 miles long.

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell released a record of decision, regarding the land transfer last December 23. The document states that non-action is the “preferred alternative” because “Izembek refuge is internationally recognized for its unique and ecologically significant wetlands and wildlife. Selecting Alternative 1 preserves the integrity of the Izembek Refuge and Izembek Wilderness, ensures continued protection of unique and internationally recognized habitats, and maintains the integrity of designated wilderness.”

In his press release, Parnell implored Jewell to reconsider her decision placing the possible temporary disturbance of birds above the health and safety of Alaskans.

Parnell said, “The state will pursue all options to help Alaskan residents.”

The notice of intent is required to be submitted at least 180 days prior to the state being allowed to bring a lawsuit against the federal government. The press release states the lawsuit is based on a historic right of way use under Revised Statute 2477, a section of the Mining Act of 1866.

With a population of about 900 in the winter and about 1,400 in the summer, King Cove residents now rely on air and sea transportation in order to travel outside of their community. However, with wind gusts commonly up to 80 mph this can prove to be difficult and sometimes impossible.

UAA student Devan Mack said there are about 150-200 days of windy weather on King Cove with wind gusts typically ranging from 25-30 mph. These windy days often escalate to severe weather.

“We don’t have any trees, just bushes,” Mack said. “We barely have any nice days, but trying to get out for transportation is the hard part.”

A medical evacuation out of King Cove costs around $200,000.

Since last January, there have been eight medical emergencies in which the Coast Guard rescued victims from King Cove in order to meet up with a Life-Flight for a transport to Anchorage. Three of the evacuations were able to make it into King Cove directly. However, due to the weather, the other evacuations had to wait out a blizzard that lasted 13 hours.

King Cove resident Agnes Beaver knows what that can be like. Several years ago she was suffering from severe abdominal pains and needed to be seen by physicians in Anchorage. There were high winds that night, which made traveling by boat or small plane impossible.

“I don’t remember much about that night,” Beaver said, “but the winds were blowing 70 miles an hour. I would have died if I stayed there that night.”

The Coast Guard was eventually called in to rescue Beaver, who was able to receive life saving treatment in Anchorage. Beaver said because there is no road, her children want her to move to Anchorage in case of another health-related emergency. She said she does not want to leave King Cove because she would be leaving her home and her Agdaagux culture

King Cove Mayor Henry Mack said residents experiencing medical emergencies will often have to wait for hours to receive the help they need. Mack said several men recently had severe heart issues and were stuck due to the bad weather.

“I remember once it was really nasty weather, even the boats couldn’t get over here,” Mack said.

The Coast Guard is stationed in Cold Bay during the fishing and crabbing season to help with search and rescue and disasters at sea, but once the season ends they go back to their base in Kodiak. Mack said they will often spend a night out at sea on a mission and return back to King Cove for medical evacuations.

The lack of a road doesn’t only interfere with medical issues.

“The kids at school, they love their sports, like basketball, but their trips get cancelled because of bad weather,” Beaver said.

Despite this, some trips don’t get cancelled because the kids want to go.

“A lot of prayer goes up (for the kids),” Beaver said.

Mack said there is a definite need for the proposed road.

“We need it. We have been battling this since 1975. If it (the lawsuit) takes place and gets us the road, lets get ‘er done. We have not stopped our fight prior to this, and we will continue to fight.”

April 15, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

The USUAA Rules Committee held an impeachment hearing last week to oust Student Body President Drew Lemish. Charges include lack of attendance at assembly meetings, inappropriate behavior at assembly meetings, taking vacations without proper notifications and not responding to communications from other assembly members, students, staff and faculty regarding official USUAA business. Lemish was unable…

April 15, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Students voted last week to move forward with a proposal that would make the University of Alaska Anchorage a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. The referendum passed the preliminary election results by earning 719 votes in support of the initiative, and 628 votes against the initiative. This means, 51.6 percent of students who voted supported a smoke-free campus, while 45 percent of students do not support the smoke-free initiative.

The smoke-free initiative started two years ago as a student grassroots movement. Members of the task force say there is no safe amount of exposure to secondhand smoke, and students, staff and faculty have the right to breathe fresh air on campus.

The task force has spoken at the Board of Regents meeting last year, hosted two debates on campus, set up informational booths and ran a marketing campaign with controversial slogans such as, “There are better things to put in your mouth.”

Not all students though have agreed with an outright ban on smoking. After the soapbox debate in November, Andrew McConnell, a marketing and business management major, created an oppositional Facebook page. The page was intended to be an outlet for students to discuss their concerns with the ban, but the opposition soon took off.

Those who are against the smoke-free initiative argue that if the initiative is passed, students who smoke will be forced to leave campus and travel to Lake Otis or Northern Lights in order to smoke. This includes students who live in the residence halls. Opponents would rather see designated smoking areas on campus rather than an outright ban on smoking and tobacco use.

McConnell said he would like to meet with task force members in order to come to a compromise and has reached out to them in the past, but they kept pushing back meeting times that eventually were not kept. McConnell is concerned that the task force is not willing to compromise on anything regarding this issue.

When asked about the meetings with McConnell, task force member Yesenia Carmarena said he was aggressive at times and they did not feel safe meeting with him. Carmarena said there is no point meeting with him now because the initiative has already been voted on.

During the week of the election, large signs against the initiative were put up across campus. Some of these signs were placed to close to the poll booths so the smoke-free task force has filed an ethics complaint against the posters. McConnell denies having anything to do with them.

McConnell said he was pleased with the results of the vote because it proves there are a lot more students on campus who are against the smoke-free policy than the smoke-free advocates would have you think.

The task force will now present the election results to Chancellor Tom Case, who has the authority to approve whether or not UAA becomes a comprehensive smoke- and tobacco-free campus.

April 15, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Last week, United States congressional candidate Joe Miller attended an event at UAA to discuss his campaign platform. The event was hosted in collaboration with UAA’s Political Science Association, College Republicans and Young Americans for Liberty. If elected, Miller said he would address three main issues during his term: the surveillance state, national debt and…

April 8, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

According to the Alaska Brain Injury Network, or ABIN, Alaska ranks No. 1 in the nation for recorded brain injuries but lacks proper treatment or rehabilitation services for those affected. Many Alaskans experiencing brain injuries go without proper diagnosis and treatment or are transported out of state for rehabilitation.

“Traumatic brain injury is one of the most misunderstood and unrecognized medical issue in Alaska because it’s an ‘invisible disease,’” said ABIN executive director Brenda Bogowith.

A traumatic brain injury can happen in an instant to anyone, anywhere. Because slips and falls are one of the largest causes of brain injuries in Alaska, it’s important to prevent falling, but if that’s not an option, learn to fall properly. If a person experiences one of these circumstances, ABIN advises he or she to see a physician immediately in order to record the accident, because brain injury symptoms may not appear until years after the initial trauma.

There are three different forms of traumatic brain injuries, or TBI: mild, traumatic and severe. The trauma registry estimates there about 10,000 Alaskans experiencing brain injuries, but there are only about 600-800 recorded hospitalizations per year.

Indicators of brain injuries can include an initial stage of dizziness, memory loss and nausea, which happen immediately following the preliminary injury. The second most common symptoms are behavioral symptoms such as frustration, anger and irritability. Thirdly, hypersensitivity to light, sound and vision can be affected.

Wearing a helmet while playing sports or riding bikes can also help prevent brain injuries.

ABIN resource navigator Jenny Di Grappa said helmets must be engineered for the specific activity in which one participates. A helmet must be properly fitted to one’s head and properly buckled in order to be effective.

Di Grappa said the most frequent causes of brain injuries in Alaska can be attributed to slips, falls and accidents involving motorized vehicles, such as ATVs and automobiles. Winter weather and overconsumption of alcohol are often factors in these circumstances. Brain injuries in Alaska are more frequent in rural areas than urban centers.

Despite the frequency of brain injuries in Alaska, there are no short- or long-term treatment facilities in the state, and many of those injured are sent home without being properly diagnosed. If a diagnosis is made, most Alaskans are sent home to families or sent to out-of-state facilities via medevac. Di Grappa is currently working with a family whose medevac to a Colorado facility cost $75,000, and that’s just in transportation costs.

“Our state needs to come together and collectively work towards education and awareness surrounding TBI,” Bogowith said.

Bogowith would like the state to develop a task force that would connect TBI survivors, their families, medical health providers and behavioral health professionals — anyone who may come in contact with a survivor. Bogowith says the state needs to develop a comprehensive system of community-based services.

There is a wide range of symptoms for brain injures. These include cognitive issues such as remembering and reasoning, changes in physical abilities such as walking and coordination, changes in sensation such as touch, taste and smell, behavioral changes leading to aggression and anxiety, and psychosocial changes, which can include depression, sense of loss and dependency on drugs and alcohol.

Di Grappa, experienced a brain injury 10 years ago when she was involved in a car accident in Fairbanks. Di Grappa was transported to the local hospital but, like a large number of Alaskans, was not properly diagnosed with a brain injury.

Di Grappa was not diagnosed for several months but began noticing changes, such as failing college exams. Her neighbor, who was a neuropsychologist, also noticed these changes and encouraged her to seek a diagnosis. Once she was properly diagnosed, she was told she would experience symptoms such as dyslexia and ADD for up to 10 years, but she is still experiencing them to this day.

Bogowith suspects many Alaskans are suffering from mild TBIs without knowing it and are going without treatment, rehab services or support. Bogowith said many people experiencing an injury, are often diagnosed with mental health issues, and only the symptoms are being treated, not the cause.

ABIN is the only agency within the state of Alaska that works with people who have experienced a brain injury. ABIN connects survivors with the resources that do exist in Alaska, and advocates for more comprehensive services within the state.

April 8, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

It’s a well-known saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Despite this, many people skip breakfast for different reasons. Some may want a few extra minutes of sleep, while others skip breakfast believing it will help them lose weight.According to the Mayo Clinic, skipping breakfast has more bad consequences than good….

April 1, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

More than 100 communities across Alaska participated in the Choose Respect march on March 27 to combat domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska. The Choose Respect campaign began in 2009 when Gov. Sean Parnell pledged that Alaska would take every step necessary to address the serious problem of domestic violence and sexual assault in…

April 1, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

This week, the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, visited Alaska. Dolan spoke to parishioners at Our Lady of Guadeloupe Parish about the three pastoral challenges facing Pope Francis: marriage, restoring the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church, and the relationship between the church and culture.
Dolan explained that marriage was not only the bedrock on which the church was built, and society played a role too. Dolan defined marriage as a life-long and life-giving vocation — not just to the children it produces, but also to the spouses who participate. Marriage is now seen as a burden in much of contemporary society because it is held off until much later in life. Cohabitation is also becoming more commonplace for those who did engage in a marriage-like situations earlier in life. Lastly, he cited that monogamy is becoming less common, and those who marry are more likely than ever to divorce.
On restoring the credibility of the church, Dolan cited the numerous negative stereotypes about the Catholic church. Dolan criticized the stereotypes of the church being an asylum for pedophiles. Furthermore, the Catholic church was often perceived as being sexist in favor as men. Dolan said this was not the case, explaining that men and women are meant for different tasks, like men being husbands and women being wives.
The third pastoral challenge Dolan spoke of was the relationship between the church and mainstream culture. He said the church is becoming part of a world that is becoming less religious but more “spiritual,” stating religion is becoming devalued in culture. Dolan said while religion should not necessarily be the dominant factor in culture, it should nonetheless be recognized for the important role it plays. This role provides a force against the negativity in the world and should provide a healthy, loving message for people to live by.

April 1, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

State Senate Bill 176, which would if passed, allow students with concealed carry licenses to bring concealed weapons on campus, including the residence halls, has been amended and moved to committee. The first draft of the bill allowed for open carry, which student advocates say was not their original intent. The Senate Judiciary Committee amended…

March 26, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

I’m usually a very creative cook and enjoy trying new techniques and recipes, but between school and work lately, cooking has taken a back seat. During spring break, my best friend came over to the apartment, so I decided to cook for her and decided on brunch. Brunch is something I’ve had before on holidays…

March 26, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Plans are underway to construct a new pedestrian bridge at UAA. The bridge will connect the second floor of the Health Sciences Building on the south side of Providence Drive to the third floor of the Engineering and Industry Building on the north side of Providence Drive. The bridge will act as a gateway to the University-Medical District and will ensure safety for students, staff, faculty and visitors to cross Providence Drive.

March 18, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Governor Parnell announced in February that the state’s unrestricted general funds are expected to see a decline from $6.9 billion to $4.5 billion due to the reduction in oil revenues. This is a 35 percent reduction in state operating costs, and these numbers have caused a deficit of about $2 billion.

March 18, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Members of UAA’s Smoke Free Task Force hosted an event on Feb 24, to kick of their campus-wide Fresh Air Challenge. The Fresh Air Challenge is a region-wide effort to encourage all college campuses in Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Washington to become smoke- or tobacco-free.

The event opened with performances from the Underground Dance Company and UAA’s Glee Club. Chancellor Tom Case, Alaska chief medical officer Dr. Ward Hurlburt and Patrick O’Carroll, who is the assistant surgeon general to the United States, spoke at the event.

After the guest speakers, there was a panel that included Amelie Rousseau former student body president of the University of Oregon, who was successful in leading a smoke-free task force at her school.

In an interview, Dr. Patrick O’Carroll said, “The research is really strong, there is no documented safe amount of exposure, even on a second hand level. The more we study this, the more we find. In fact the most recent report, the 50th anniversary of the surgeon general’s report, has found new diseases that, prior to this we did not know were affected by exposure to smoke, including colorectal cancer, and tuberculosis for example, is made worse by exposure to smoke. So it’s just a phenomenally poisonous substance, and there’s no biological reason we should be inhaling it.”

During the event, Yesenia Carmarena, who is a member of the Smoke-Free Task Force, said, “The goal of UAA’s Smoke-Free Task Force is to improve the health of the UAA community not just for today, but for the future and for the leading generations to come. We wanted to do something more than just what a regular club or organization would do on campus. We want to make it an environment that restrains tobacco use rather than supports tobacco use, reduce the number of new smokers, help smokers to quit and provide them with an environment that supports their efforts, and to contribute to a healthier environment for all students, employees and visitors.”

Hurlburt gave a brief history of smoking in Alaska and emphasized how tobacco use and smoking has affected the Alaska Native population. Hurlburt said that before World War II, tobacco use was not prevalent among Alaska’s indigenous people. This changed when many Alaska Native men joined the military during the war and were given free cigarettes from the tobacco companies. These men returned from war addicted to tobacco and introduced it into their societies. According to Hurlburt, the first case of lung cancer in the Alaska Native community did not occur until 1970.

Case talked about how he grew up with a father and grandfather who smoked. His grandfather lost part of his lip to cancer from tobacco use, and his father died from a tobacco-related illness.

Case stated that he, along with chancellors from the other two main University of Alaska colleges have been discussing going smoke- and tobacco-free throughout the entire UA system. Case said he believes this will happen within his lifetime and said it’s inevitable that UAA becomes smoke-free because it is the health campus in the UA system.

Students will vote whether or not to adopt the comprehensive smoke-free initiative in the April 8 and 9 student body elections. Faculty task force member Gabriel Garcia stated that if the measure does not pass, the task force will continue working on the initiative.









March 4, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

After 12 days in court, Lorraine Phillips-Bohn and her husband say their son, Bret Bohn, is now under guardianship of the state against his will. Bohn’s family claims hospital officials and ruling Superior Court Judge Erin B. Marston have ignored their son’s original power of attorney, which gave Bret Bohn’s parents the right to make medical decisions on behalf of their son. Bohn’s general power of attorney and health care power of attorney were drafted in 2007, before Bohn’s current illness.

According to court documents, during the course of Bohn’s medical treatment at Providence Alaska Medical Center, his parents informed the medical staff of these documents and began acting accordingly.

February 27, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

After fourteen days in court, Lorraine Phillips-Bohn and Glenn Bohn say their son Bret Bohn is now under guardianship of the State against his will. The Bohn’s claim hospital officials, and ruling Judge Erin B. Marston, have ignored their son’s original Power of Attorney which gave them (the parents) the right to make medical decisions on behalf of their son.

On October 16, 2013 after several nights of insomnia, Bohn’s parents brought him to the Providence Hospital Emergency Room to seek treatment.

February 23, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

The cost of renting an apartment in Anchorage can be high, and working to pay for rent, utilities and groceries can be difficult while attending college. The residence halls also offer many programs to help students succeed in education. One of the programs offered is the First Year Experience program in North Hall. This program…

February 23, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

The University of Alaska Anchorage offers a major in chemistry with two concentrations: biochemistry and chemistry. At present, a total of 80 students have declared chemistry as their major. Of these 80 students, 70 have declared a concentration in biochemistry, and only five have declared a concentration in a general studies track of chemistry called…

February 4, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

For the last three months, Alaska’s unemployment rate has hovered between 6.6 percent and 6.4 percent indicating a slow but steady increase in employment for Alaskans. The national unemployment rate has been coming down faster, but that’s because the Lower 48 has more to recover from since the 2007 recession.

Neal Freid, economist for the Alaska Department of Labor, said, “Our rate is back to sort of the long-term average or slightly below the average, whereas the national rate is still way above the average.”

Freid says this is because Alaska’s economy did not go through the deep recession that the rest of the country did, and as a result, Alaska does not have anything to make up for.

Alaska lost a few jobs in 2009, but in 2010 those jobs were recovered, and Alaska has seen a steady increase in employment from then on. Certain states, such as Washington, are also seeing increases in employment, but it all depends geographical location, said Freid. Overall, there is a deficit of about 1 million jobs in the United States.

Currently, the healthcare industry is seeing exponential growth nation wide. There are a wide variety of jobs in healthcare and a wide variety of earning potential.

Freid said, “If you are graduating with a degree in nursing, then your wages are going to be pretty good.”

The oil industry is also growing, but it’s a smaller industry that does not employ as many people as the healthcare industry.

In the past, the United States government has been a big employer, but the public sector is shrinking so it’s been more difficult to find government jobs.

According to Freid, a UAA student who graduated within the last five or six years is well-placed, since Alaska was not hit as hard in the recession. The situation was decent then, and it still is now.

The Career Services Center at UAA can assist students and alumni in finding a job.

According to Natalie Elder, office manager at Career Services, one of the best resources the center offers is its jobs database. Recently, 3,798 employers were registered on the database with 263 active and available jobs. Unlike other job boards, the Career Services database is monitored closely in order to ensure the employers are legitimate and jobs openings are current.

“We have resume and cover letter assistance, so basically it’s one-on-one appointments,” said Danica Bryant, coordinator of Work Force and Career Development. “I’ve done a couple where there were siblings and they wanted to meet together, so we can do group appointments as well.”

The appointments last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what service is being used would like to have reviewed. Students and alumni need to have their documents turned into the center by 8 a.m. the day of their appointment so they can be thoroughly reviewed.

Bryant says that one of the services offered is the mock-interview, for practice, since they know that interviews can be nerve-wracking. These mock-interviews are tailored to the job the student is applying for, and can be very helpful. They are treated like real interviews, with students being required to dress for- mally and come early.

Career Services also hosts job fairs in the Student Union each semester. The spring semester citywide job fair is coming Feb. 13. One week before the fair there will be a resume share in the Career Services office. The resume share will run like a speed dating event with local employers on hand for timed reviews of resumes.

Elder, said they have helped hundreds of students and alumni gain employment. Elder wants students to know there is a Career Center on campus that is always ready to help them find jobs, and it’s totally free. The average wage in Alaska is $21.00 per hour.

To make an appointment with Career Services, call 907-786-4513 and choose Option 2.

February 4, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

At any given time, there are approximately 3,000 homeless individuals and families with young children in Anchorage. The average age of Anchorage’s homeless population is below the age of 10.

January 28, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

While Lower 48 states are experiencing unusually cold weather this winter because of the polar vortex, Alaska is experiencing unseasonably warm weather with temperatures in the 40s and 50s.

On Jan. 23, the northern areas of Denali National Park and Reserve were closed by Superintendent Don Striker, who in a press release stated, “Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures and rain, there is no longer adequate snow cover for the use of snowmobiles and traditional outdoor activities.”

Riders are reminded that all lands within the former Mount McKinley National Park on both the north and the south sides of the crest of the Alaska Range are closed to all snowmobile use by federal regulation.

There are areas of thin ice or open water on rivers and hazardous avalanche conditions may exist due to the varying layers within the snowpack. Riders should utilize travel routes that minimize avalanche risk, avoiding narrow valleys, ravines and other terrain traps.

Steve Remme, CEO of Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage, said there have been some days of inclement weather that have hindered attendance, but during the really cold periods his team stockpiled on manmade snow, so Hilltop Ski Area is operating normally.

Remme said, “Even though we are operating normally, people will not likely want to come and ski if it’s windy or rainy outside.”

Winter sports aren’t the only thing affected by the warmer weather. Treeline Construction lost an excavator/pile-driver truck due to thin ice in the Mirror Lake area. No one was injured in the accident, but the truck was pretty well submerged.

According to the seven-day forecast, it looks like the weather won’t be getting any colder this week.

Detailed seven-day forecast for the Anchorage area (forecast courtesy of the National Weather Service):
Today: Partly sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 40s…except in the lower 50s at higher elevations. North to east wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 35 to 50 mph. 

Tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 30s…except near 40 at higher elevations. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 25 to 35 mph.

Monday: Partly sunny. Isolated rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the 40s. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 20 to 35 mph. Gusts to 45 mph in the afternoon.

Monday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Isolated rain and snow showers. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s. North to east wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 25 to 35 mph. Gusts to 45 mph in the evening.

Tuesday: Partly sunny. Isolated rain showers…mixed with snow in the morning. Highs in the mid 30s to lower 40s. Light winds except east 15 to 30 mph along turnagain arm and higher elevations.

Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with isolated snow showers. Lows in the 20s.

Wednesday – Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the 30s. Lows in the 20s.

Thursday night – Saturday: Mostly clear. Lows in the 20s. Highs in the 30s .

January 21, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

The Municipality of Anchorage, or MOA, recently held round-table discussions for community members interested in the long-term planning and changes being made to the University-Medical District. The state-funded project includes district plan updates, implementation recommendations, transportation and parking utilization, a co-generation feasibility study and public outreach.

January 21, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

History was made last week when the state of Alaska, along with Alaska’s top oil and gas developers, signed a commercial agreement to move forward with the development of Alaska’s natural gas. This historical move will have all of the major developers working together on a singular project for the first time.

Between 2011 and now, the Parnell Administration and Alaska’s top oil and gas producers have held a series of talks on how to cooperate in a joint effort to pursue a liquid natural gas project, or LNG.

ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Amy Burnett said the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee hired PFC Energy, an international consulting firm, last August and gave an extensive briefing to Alaska legislators during a week-long conference. PFC concluded that state involvement with the LNG project was important for Alaska.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources hired a second consulting firm, Black and Veatch, last November and concluded that state participation “can provide key benefits to the state, including creating alignments of interest and potentially increasing state cash flow.”

Tony Palmer, TransCanada vice president of major projects and development, says the market for Alaska’s Natural Gas in Asia has brought all parties together, including the state of Alaska, for the first time to develop this resource.

Palmer says that the Parnell Administration will propose a bill to the legislature early next week for approval, which will likely lead to public hearings and debate. If approved by the Legislature, the project will move forward into the pre-FEED stage, in which the major players will conduct engineering, design and cost estimation for development.

The legislation will establish guidelines for the state’s participation in the liquid natural gas program, which includes terms for state participation and gas share, provides for confidential process, and is subject to subsequent legislative ratification to develop terms for project enabling contracts,

Palmer says the plan tentatively calls for the production of a natural gas pipeline originating in Prudhoe Bay and ending in Nikiski, where there will be a processing plant. Once the natural gas is processed into liquid form it will be shipped and sold to countries in Asia.

The HOA says the project will be beneficial to Alaska by allowing for competitive prices of in-state gas supplies, the sale of liquid natural gas to global markets, increased opportunities for Alaska contractors, additional revenues for the state, infrastructure for development of onshore and offshore state and federal lands, and job creation in the exploration, development and transportation of natural gas fields.

“This is a significant development for Alaska’s future, and if approved by the legislature, this project will create thousands of jobs for Alaskans,” Palmer said.


January 14, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Family and friends of former UAA Aviation and Technology graduate Bret Bohn say he is being held against his will and forcibly medicated at Providence Alaska Medical Center. According to Bohn’s family, hospital officials are planning to transfer him to Johns Hopkins Medical Research Facility in Baltimore, Md., against his will.

Bohn, a hunting and fishing guide, developed sleeping problems while hunting in late September through early October. Upon his return home, Bohn told his parents he had not slept in several days, so they took him to the emergency room at Providence Hospital.

January 14, 2014 Suhaila Brunelle

Congress directed the Federal Aviation Administration to modernize the National Airspace System in 2012. This modernization initiative included research and testing to integrate the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, into United States airspace.

In early 2013, the FAA announced calls for proposals regarding UAS test sites to qualified entities, including state governments and universities, and received approximately 50 entries.

December 10, 2013 Suhaila Brunelle

It’s that time of the semester again — the time of the semester each student loathes, when studying, final projects and exams consume his or her life. This single week can determine the future of one’s entire college career and future. With so much hinging on this final week of the semester, two seniors offer advice to those struggling with getting through.


Name: Rachael Althof
Transfer student from San Diego to UAA in 2011
Journalism and Communications senior

TNL: How many credits are you taking this semester?
Althof: I usually take 15 per semester. I would be graduating at the end of this semester, but UAA said I still needed upper division credits, so I will be graduating spring 2014 — which is fine, because now I don’t have to wait six months to walk had I graduated in the fall. I can go straight from my finals to walking on that shiny wooden floor in cap and gown.

Do you have finals in all of your classes?
Yes. I don’t believe I was ever lucky enough to not have a final in any of my classes during my college career. I envy those who have that magical ability.

How do you study for final exams?
Let’s be honest. I don’t really study, per se. I know that sounds horrible, but for someone like me who works full time and takes 15 credits a semester. I don’t have time to study. I wish I did. If I had more time, I feel I would learn at a greater depth that would be more appreciative (sic) than how I’ve been studying the past few years. I have learned that I have to make the most of what I get out of class, because I just won’t have time later to re-learn something I missed.

What is your strategy to get all of your final projects done?
Honestly, Redbull and not sleeping. Seriously. It’s a terrible thing to say, but that’s how I’ve managed to work full time and take 15 credits each semester, all the while holding a 3.4 GPA as a senior. When school and projects start to stress me out, my boyfriend always has to remind me to “focus at the task at hand; this is only a temporary discomfort. The further you get today, the closer you’ll be to your end goal.” He graduated with his master’s in business from UAA in 2009.

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you during finals?
I remember the very first time I took Statistics of Sociology in San Diego. I got to class and realized I didn’t have a Scantron. I was on my way to the bookstore to get some, and a kid who was sitting next to me asked if he could borrow my calculator while I went to the bookstore. Class hadn’t started yet, and so I agreed. Upon returning, the door was locked, the professor decided to start the final five minutes early, and I was locked outside holding nothing but my Scantron. The lucky student who had my calculator was able to take the test, and I couldn’t. By the time he was finished and tried to return my calculator, I only had 15 minutes left of the class, and there was no way I could finish the test in time. I wound up failing the class because it was one of the only two tests the professor offered. I like to believe I was a victim of the ol’ bait and switch.

What is the best thing that has ever happened to you during finals?
An art professor asked if she could keep one of my art pieces to display in the department. She said it was one of her personal favorites and felt it needed to be displayed for other students.

What advice would you give to freshmen who are taking their first finals this semester?
Set aside time to study, and don’t be afraid to ask your professors for clarification or extra help. Professors have office hours for a reason, and they are meant to help you. If you are not seeing your professors about help outside of class, then frankly you are limiting yourself. Professors want to help you. And it shows them that you are committed to learning and they respect and appreciate students who are willing to learn.

What advice would you give to professors about how to present finals/final projects?
My number-one pet peeve is when professors give students a study guide but test on material not on the study guide or material never covered in class. I have been fortunate to pick professors who do not do this, since going to changed my academic career thus far.

Is there anything different you wish the university would do to make finals easier?
Free coffee and discounts on snacks and food items. Students need to eat, and it would be helpful if for this week only, the food and snacks are discounted to ensure students can perform at their best.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about dealing with finals?
I think it is very important to take breaks. It might sound silly, but I have found that steamrolling the homework and studying for hours on end will only set you up for failure. Taking small breaks of 15-30 minutes at a time to regroup and organize your thoughts has worked best for me, especially these last two semesters. I compare it to eating a piece of ginger in between pieces of sushi. The ginger is used to cleanse the palate, so you can taste the next piece without the lingering after taste from previous pieces.


Name: Nancy Alicia Halla
Journalism and Communications senior

TNL: How many credits are you taking this semester?
Halla: I’m taking 13 credits this semester. It’s my final semester!

Do you have finals in all of your classes?
I have something due for four of the five classes. Two of them required actual finals, and three of them require projects, which stretched over a few months. One (professor) wanted both.

How do you study for final exams?
It depends on the exam. This semester, the finals were online and open-book, so most of my prep was in a study group or reviewing notes before I hunker down and crunch out the finals.

What is your strategy to get all of your final projects done?
In order to get all my final projects done. I have to prioritize by deadline and how long I need to finish each one. I start with a plan and take it day by day, or else I get too overwhelmed.

What is the best thing that has ever happened to you during finals?
In the past, the worst was realizing I didn’t budget enough time and earned myself a poor grade, which affected my GPA. This semester, I’m in my first trimester of pregnancy, in the middle of fighting off a serious cold—on top of having to work right before I had to finalize everything, and finding my body has to rest when I need that time to finish school. I am more than a conqueror through Christ who strengthens me, so I will succeed in my endeavors.

What is the best thing that has ever happened to you during finals?
One of the best things to happen to me during past finals was getting engaged. I also love when professors give us a break on additional assignments in order to prepare for the final.

What advice would you give to freshmen who are taking their first finals this semester?
Breathe! Work from most important to least. Though a failed class may cost your some bucks, it is not the end of the world. Stressing only makes things worse and keeps you from concentrating. Don’t burn out, but don’t play too much.

What advice would you give to professors about how to present finals/final projects?
Thank you to the professors who make the final clear at the beginning of the semester. It helped me when I knew what form of test or project it was, had a timeline and a study guide or rubric.

Is there anything different you wish the university would do to make finals easier?
To make finals easier? Well, I wish I didn’t have to take five and six classes at a time, but I will play their game in exchange for a formal degree.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about dealing with finals?
I really like what the “Late Nights in the SU” (Student Union) has become. That was a Godsend some nights for several semesters.


December 10, 2013 Suhaila Brunelle

The Community Pregnancy Center was established in 1984 when a group of local pastors read a letter to the editor. The letter’s author asked, if she decided to keep her baby instead of abort it, then who will help her take care of the baby?

December 10, 2013 Suhaila Brunelle

“Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.” This poem, written by Clement Clarke Moore, tells the story of a visit from St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve, but who is St. Nicholas, and why does he visit on Christmas Eve?

November 26, 2013 Suhaila Brunelle

According to the American Diabetes Association, more people die of diabetes in the United States each year than from AIDS and breast cancer. In 2011, 18.8 million people were diagnosed with diabetes…