News Director

Lauren joined KUCB as a summer intern, and stuck around to work as a producer and reporter. She now covers transportation, local politics, Arctic shipping, unexploded ordnance, and much more.

In the past, Lauren has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Conservation Minnesota. She is a product of western Washington State.


As Budgets Shrink, State Eyes Cuts to Film Incentives

Friday, February 20 2015

For the last seven years, Alaska’s offered financial incentives to draw filmmakers and TV crews to the state. But as lawmakers scramble to fill a widening gap in the budget, Alaska’s film tax credit program is on the chopping block.

Governor Bill Walker has proposed eliminating three positions from the Alaska Film Office. Without auditors and accountants to help review information from production companies, the program would essentially go on hiatus.

The Exchange: A Birding "Megararity" in Unalaska

Wednesday, February 18 2015

Suzi Golodoff at KUCB's studios in February. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)

On this episode of "The Exchange," local naturalist Suzi Golodoff discusses the new course she's teaching for aspiring birdwatchers -- and the "megarare" find she recently made in Unalaska. 

Port Officials Call For "Tweaks" to Shell Moorage Plan

Tuesday, February 17 2015

As Shell tries to chart a course back to the Arctic this summer, the company is looking for new space to store its drill rigs in Unalaska.

Shell has asked the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to sign off on three moorage sites for the Noble Discoverer and the Polar Pioneer -- all on on state-owned tidelands. If they’re approved, the rigs could cycle through Wide Bay, Nateekin Bay, and the edge of Summer Bay until 2019.

State Steps Back from Mail Trafficking Case

Tuesday, February 17 2015

Two people accused of mailing meth and heroin to Unalaska this fall have been cleared of state charges.

Assistant district attorney Laura Dulic says the case against Kyle Eby, 30, and Jesse Lee, 24, is now being considered for federal prosecution.

As of Monday, no charges have been filed in U.S. District Court.

Regulators Stand Behind Chukchi Lease Sale

Thursday, February 12 2015

Shell wants to use its Noble Discoverer drill rig to explore the Chukchi Sea this summer. (KUCB)

Federal regulators are suggesting that Shell’s disputed oil leases in the Chukchi Sea be left intact.

That’s the conclusion of a new assessment of Lease Sale 193 -- the auction where Shell and other companies spent more than $2 billion on Arctic drilling prospects. 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released its final analysis today, almost a year after a federal appeals court ordered them to double-check how much development the sale would trigger in the Chukchi. 

Alaska Delegation Seeks New Limits On Natl. Monuments

Tuesday, February 10 2015

The boundaries of a marine sanctuary proposed by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. (Credit: PEER)

For over a hundred years, presidents have used the Antiquities Act to order permanent protections for federal land and resources at sea. Now, Alaska’s congressional delegation is looking to curb that authority.

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are co-sponsoring a bill that would require lawmakers to sign off before a president can set up a national monument. 

Murkowski introduced similar legislation in the past. But spokesman Matthew Felling says the senator has new concerns about the president's agenda for Alaska. 

NPFMC to Examine Heavier Limits on Halibut Bycatch

Monday, February 09 2015

Pacific halibut. (Courtesy of NOAA FishWatch)

Halibut harvests have been on the decline in the Bering Sea for several years. But the amount that trawlers and catcher-processors are allowed to take incidentally has stayed the same.

Now, fishery regulators have agreed to consider stiffer limits on halibut bycatch.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to study the impact of cutting the 10 million-pound bycatch limit by as much as 50 percent.

Fishery Boards Team Up to Address Halibut Bycatch

Friday, February 06 2015

On Thursday, the two councils that control halibut fishing in the Bering Sea met to address a thorny debate over bycatch.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission -- which sets catch limits in waters stretching from Canada to the Pribilof Islands -- stopped into Seattle for a joint session with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Together, the groups looked at options for counting and cutting back on the halibut that trawlers and catcher-processors scoop up while pursuing other species.

Sand Point Man Receives 13-Year Sentence for Child Abuse

Tuesday, February 03 2015

A Sand Point man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two children has been sentenced to 13 years behind bars.

James Griffith, 26, was originally facing up to two decades in prison for molesting a seven-year-old boy during a babysitting job back in 2011 -- and for attempting to trade marijuana for sexual favors from a 15-year-old while he was out on release.

Prosecutors agreed to drop several of their charges under a partial plea deal. But they argued that Griffith’s crimes warrant significant jail time. 

String of Earthquakes Shakes Up Pribilof Islands

Sunday, February 01 2015

A swarm of earthquakes have been recorded in the central Bering Sea. (Credit: AEIC)

The Pribilof Islands aren’t usually prone to shaking. But more than a dozen earthquakes have been recorded in between St. Paul and St. George since Friday afternoon.

Michael West, the director of the Alaska Earthquake Information Center, describes the activity as a "swarm."

"That is, a cluster of earthquakes that are responding to some stress in the earth that appears to be releasing itself kind of incrementally," West says.

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