In this episode of Frontiers, we look at the birth of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration – his first hours as governor, spent above the Arctic Circle in Kotzebue and Noorvik. 

Originally, Dunleavy planned to fly to Kotzebue, then travel to Noorvik by snow machine -- to be sworn-in at noon, December 3rd, the first Monday in December – satisfying the Alaska Constitution’s requirements for a the start of a governor’s term – and also making history by taking the oath of office in an unprecedented location. 

But the magnitude 7 earthquake, which rocked Southcentral Alaska changed those plans. This week’s show follows all the twists and turns in what still turned out to be a historic inauguration. Here are the highlights.

  • A day of surprises: KTVA’s Liz Raines follows how two communities – Kotzebue and Noorvik – adapted to a day of many changes.  
  • Two veteran Alaska Native journalists, Nellie Moore and Joaqlin Estus, weigh in on this question: what kind of message had the Dunleavy administration hoped to send to rural Alaskans with his north-of-the-Arctic Circle swearing-in ceremony? 
  • Leadership and learning: just after the election, Frontiers sat down with the governor-elect to talk about a number of issues, including his vision for Alaska schools and his concern about some of the lowest student test scores in the nation. Alaska NEA President Tim Parker and Sen. Bill Wielechowski also react.

Our plan was for this program to air on KTVA-Channel 11 on Sun. Dec. 16th, but our production schedule was disrupted by an unexpected development – the discovery of new damage from the Nov. 30 earthquake, which has put our production of Frontiers on hold. 

Stay tuned for more developments, as we get situated in our temporary home for KTVA and our news department gets back to its regular routine. Thank you for your patience. It’s sure a new frontiers for Alaska broadcasting.   

Special thanks to Irene Rowan for letting us use her dining room to record our interview with Nellie Moore and Joaqlin Estus. Irene is one of the founders of the Alaska Native Media Group and is involved in many good causes.  

Due to earthquake damage, we were unable to have guests in our KTVA studio, so Irene graciously let us use her home, where we felt so comfortable and cozy -- can you tell from the interview? 

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