Ahtna Discusses Tolsona Gas Project; Bruce Cain Elected Chamber President At 2015 Annual Meeting; Awards Given To Local Businesses

Dan Lee of Ahtna shows slide on Tolsona Gas Project.

Large Group Assembles At Chamber Annual Meeting In Glennallen To View Ahtna Presentation 
On Tolsona Gas Project

Up to 50 residents came to the Copper Valley Chamber Annual Meeting on October 28th in Glennallen at the Caribou Restaurant.

The guest speaker was Dan Lee, of Ahtna. He presented a slide show with graphics of where the Tolsona Gas project will occur, and asked for information from local suppliers who might be able to provide services to the project.

This will be a major project, with local vendors and workers expected to play a large role in providing gravel, lodging, water hauling, fuel, waste management, and similar services. If successful, the project is hoped to help reduce electricity costs in the Copper Valley and help sustain and enhance quality of life in the region.

Here's a look at Ahtna's rundown for potential opportunities:

• Local fuel suppliers, diesel fuel to run the drill rig and support equipment.
• Water for drilling, mud mixing, and cementing local service.
• Dumpsters for trash service, metal dumpster for recycle and oily waste dumpster.
• Potable water, sewage hauling, and port potties for rig site and storage pad.
• Light plants, 15-25 KW portable generators.
• Portable air heaters (6)
• Self-contained portable field offices.
• Portable security offices for site control (2)
• Heated water storage tanks 400 bbl (2)
• Local expediting service
• Equipment for road maintenance during drilling operations
• Miscellaneous items as needed from local stores, services.
• Local communications support, including telephone land line, cell service, internet,
2 way radios...
• Local welding & fabrication services.

Ahtna's vision is to create a potential of 500 or more jobs in the region to build the infrastructure
and 50 to 100 permanent jobs later. It hopes to develop and expand the community through the development of sustainable fuel resources.

If you are interested in this project, contact Daniel Lee, Ahtna Oil & Gas Development Manager, a 907-433-0708 or email him at



The Chamber Of Commerce presented a number of 2015 "Shout Out" Awards to businesses and people who are dedicated to improving the Copper Valley Community.

Here's a list of the awards:
Prince William Sound College: 
"Staying Power" Award for continuing to provide college courses in the Copper River Region.

Hub Of Alaska:
Alternative Energy Solutions Award for the Hub's placement of a large solar panel array that is meant to provide power for the Hub Gas Station, which stays open year-round, serving Copper Valley and traveling motorists.

Lake Louise Lodge:
Energy Solutions & Community Events Award for creative use of solar energy, and for initiative in providing the Copper Valley Community with interesting and exciting local events.

Glennallen True Value:
Investment Award for investing in significantly expanding the hardware store in Glennallen.

Sourdough Joe:
Spirit of 1776 Award for coordinating the big region-wide 4th of July Parade in Glennallen on July 4th, 2015.

Kenny Lake Community League:
Community Service Award for years of dedicated service to the rural farming community of Kenny Lake.

Posty's Trading Post:
Cultural Award for keeping Posty's open year round in Chistochina, providing a "lodgelike" atmosphere for locals, and providing a sales and distribution network that gives local Native artisans a forum for displaying, getting recognized for, and selling their traditional work.

Kenny Lake Mercantile:
Community Investment Award for expanding services to the community of Kenny Lake, and for continuing in the roadhouse tradition of caring for the needs of the surrounding community.

Copper River School District:
Innovation Award for a new and innovative 4 week/2 week program that brings intense studies, variety, and excitement into schooling.

Park Kriner:
Community Thank You Award for decades of commitment to the Copper River Valley and its people, as shown by the construction of a many of Glennallen's key facilities, including its supermarket, its gas stations, its major restaurant, and a large hotel.


The Greater Copper Valley Chamber has operated for 28 years through the use of a membership system. It does not have a city or government backing through bed taxes -- as many other chambers in Alaska do. The members of the Chamber are proud sponsors through their membership fees.

On a larger level, though, are "Sponsor Members." These members donate additional funds to keep the Chamber going.

The most prestigious, and generous, level is the "Copper Sponsor."

Copper Sponsors:
The Hub of Alaska, which generously donates the space for the Chamber office and visitor center, is a Copper Sponsor. So is Ahtna, Incorporated, another major sponsor, with a large, central display at the Visitor Center.

Silver Sponsors:
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Copper Basin Sanitation, Copper Valley Telecom,
Denali Alaskan Insurance Company, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Bearfoot Travel Guides
& Valdez Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Bronze Sponsors:
Arctic Custom Guns, BP Alaska, First National Bank Alaska, Fisher Fuel,
NAPA Auto Parts, Red Eagle Lodge, Sourdough Joe's Custom Fishing Flies
& Wells Fargo Bank.

Share this post

Glennallen High Grad Lacayah Engebretson Gives Keynote Speech At AFN Conference

18 Year Old Shows Grace, Poise As She Urges Alaska Youth To Embrace The Past -- And Build Their Own Futures 

Lena Charley with Lacayah Engebretson at AFN Convention In Anchorage
(Photo, Bearfoot Travel Guides) 

Local Glenn High graduate Lacayah Engebretson, 18, gave the keynote speech this year at the Alaska Federation of Natives Elders & Youth Conference. 

The speech was about something very common in the Copper Valley, and throughout much of Alaska: The Smokehouse. Lacayah urged others to use the smokehouse as a symbol of family, unity, and all that's good:

"Take everything you can from the smokehouse you've already been in and every smokehouse you enter from here on out. And preserve it and keep and remember it when you build your own. And when you do build your own, go ahead and add mosquito net and any new adaptations we can make."

Share this post

Slana School -- Another Copper River School Faces Possible Closure


Schools all across Alaska with fewer than 25 students are possibly in danger of being closed for financial reasons as the state tightens its belt due to low oil prices. Rumors are circulating that the Alaska State Legislature wants to increase the minimum number of students in a school that gets state funding.

Twenty-five school districts, including the Copper River School District, could be on the block. That would total 65 new possibly closed schools, statewide -- in addition to schools that have already closed throughout Alaska in past years. Pro-rural school advocates on a new Facebook site dedicated to keeping the schools open have published a list of all schools that fall below the 25 student limit.

One of the schools that might close down is remote Slana School, which has 18 students -- 7 of them Alaska Native or "minority" pupils.

Slana School students live at least 80 miles one way from Glennallen School. It was the most far-flung of the Copper Valley's schools.

In the past twenty years many smaller schools in the Copper River School District have already been closed. First to go were Lottie Sparks School (Nelchina) and Paxson School.

More recently, three schools with large Native Athabascan student ratios have gone off the grid:  Gakona School (which also served Gulkana Village), Chistochina School, and Copper Center School. All have shuttered their doors.

Cantwell School -- which is not in the Copper Valley, but which is also an Ahtna Region School --  is also in danger of closure, with 17 students.

Providing schooling to children in Alaska's rural communities has always been a problem. After Alaska became part of the United States, young students frequently were sent away to school. White students could be sent away to boarding schools, often in the Lower 48.

Native students were also frequently sent to boarding schools -- in Alaska. Many went to the Wrangell Institute. Jesse Lee School and Sheldon Jackson School. Or even to the Copper Valley's own Catholic boarding school, in Copper Center (which was later abandoned and eventually burned down during the Pipeline Years.) Today, analysts and people who attended those boarding schools have mixed emotions about those years, in which children were removed from their families and homes and sent away to school -- some for their entire childhoods.

To counteract this, the "Molly Hootch" case, a 1972 lawsuit against the state-operated school system and the problems of boarding schools, ensured that regulations allowed local schools to be built throughout rural Alaska.

Although a new 25-student limit bill hasn't been drafted yet, the fears that multiple schools will be closing statewide -- in places like Cordova, Hope, Dot Lake, Tanacross, Diomede, Moose Pass and elsewhere -- is bringing about a flashmob of action. A teacher at a school called Twin Hills put together a Facebook page that rallied 2015 AFN Convention participants. At this time, the Alaska Federation of Natives forms the most cohesive, well-organized and powerful lobby on behalf of rural Alaska culture.

The Facebook page triggered complaints about social and family damage to communities around Alaska that had already experienced school closures.  One mother of students who had attended a now- closed school wrote that she didn't want to home school her children... "So we moved out for the winter that was a very hard few months.. I think it's so wrong to force us to do online class or move. Most families here own their homes and to leave to another place it's too costly..."

Share this post



Share this post

Grand Official Opening Of New True Value In Glennallen October 2nd

Friday, October 2nd: Mark The Day! 

Grand Opening Of The Totally New 
Glennallen True Value 

Glennallen True Value Will Be Holding Its Official 
Grand Opening on Friday the 2nd of October. 

Go on by and see what's up in Glennallen! 


Share this post