Alaska State News http://feed.informer.com/digests/2J7FX0HOKY/feeder Alaska State News Respective post owners and feed distributors Sat, 12 Sep 2020 05:17:07 +0000 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/alaska-news-nightly-wed-feb-24/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:4cda7276-98fb-3972-6944-c9cdb36754ad Thu, 25 Feb 2021 02:38:48 +0000 Alaska Native leaders closely watch the confirmation process for Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland. And, an Anchorage vaccination clinic sets up in a Samoan church to reach the Pacific Islander community. Plus, once a national leader in COVID cases, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta now leads in vaccinations. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="400" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-600x400.jpg" alt="A man with tatooed arms gets a vaccine while giving a shaka symbol" class="wp-image-292515" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210223_Pacific_Islander_community_vaccine_clinic_ANC_CHEN-7-edited.jpg 1440w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Anchorage Health Department public health nurse Marguerite Leeds administers the Covid-19 vaccine to Vauoti Tuga at the community vaccine clinic held at Manai Fou Assembly of God Church in Airport Heights on Feb. 23, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>Stories are posted on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alaskapublic.org/aprn/">statewide news</a>&nbsp;page. You can subscribe to Alaska Public Media’s newsfeeds via&nbsp;<a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=aprn-news">email</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/aprn-alaska-news/id264469573?mt=2">podcast</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.aprn.org/aprn-news">RSS</a>. Follow us on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/alaskapublic">Facebook at alaskapublic.org</a>&nbsp;and on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.twitter.com/AKPublicNews">Twitter @AKPublicNews</a>.</p> <figure class="wp-block-audio"><audio controls="" src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/ann-20210224.mp3"></audio></figure> <p><strong>Wednesday on Alaska News Nightly:</strong></p> <p>Alaska Native leaders closely watch the confirmation process for Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland. And, an Anchorage vaccination clinic sets up in a Samoan church to reach the Pacific Islander community. Plus, once a national leader in COVID cases, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta now leads in vaccinations.</p> <p><strong>Reports tonight from:</strong></p> <ul><li>Nat Herz, Lex Treinen and Tegan Hanlon in Anchorage</li><li>Olivia Ebertz and Anna Rose MacArthur in Bethel</li><li>Henry Leasia in Haines</li></ul> <p><em>Send news tips, questions or comments to <a href="mailto:news@alaskapublic.org">news@alaskapublic.org</a>.</em></p> Where are they now? The 100 Stone Project | INDIE ALASKA https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/where-are-they-now-the-100-stone-project-indie-alaska/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:489118b2-387a-5658-f494-2383abc1da3f Wed, 24 Feb 2021 23:11:25 +0000 Five years ago, INDIE ALASKA featured Sarah Davie&#8217;s 100 Stone project, a massive sculpture installation in Anchorage that was used to shed light on individuals dealing with depression and suicide. We caught up with Sarah to see what the 100 Stone project meant to her and what she&#8217;s working on now. Find more mental health [&#8230;] <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <iframe title="Where are they now? The 100 Stone Project | INDIE ALASKA" width="696" height="392" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CvbI0WObZOE?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div></figure> <p>Five years ago, INDIE ALASKA featured Sarah Davie&#8217;s 100 Stone project, a massive sculpture installation in Anchorage that was used to shed light on individuals dealing with depression and suicide. </p> <p>We caught up with Sarah to see what the 100 Stone project meant to her and what she&#8217;s working on now. </p> <p>Find more mental health resources and personal stories at https://bit.ly/2H5SZ07 </p> <p>Video and Story by Valerie Kern <br>Music by FirstCom Music </p> <p><strong>Watch the original episode on The 100 Stone Project:</strong></p> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <iframe title="The massive art installation bringing awareness to depression and suicide in Alaska | INDIE ALASKA" width="696" height="392" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uaRlFbkg_Ko?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div></figure> Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy tests positive for COVID-19 https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/alaska-gop-gov-mike-dunleavy-tests-positive-for-covid-19/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:0c2522ea-b535-ca7d-9bc7-6613cf826c1d Wed, 24 Feb 2021 21:58:57 +0000 Alaska's governor was exposed to a person who later tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, but his first test came back negative. He tested positive Wednesday after feeling poorly on Tuesday night. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-600x400.jpg" alt="A white man speaks as he sits at a table with an american flag in the background" class="wp-image-281738" width="670" height="448" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Dunleavy-Sept.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 670px) 100vw, 670px" /><figcaption>Governor Mike Dunleavy speaks in Sept. 2020 (Office of the Governor)</figcaption></figure> <p>Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy has tested positive for COVID-19 and is suffering from &#8220;mild symptoms,&#8221; his office said in a prepared statement Wednesday. </p> <p>On Saturday, Dunleavy, 59, was exposed to a person who later tested positive for the virus, according to a statement from the governor&#8217;s office. He received a rapid test on Sunday, which came back negative, but has been quarantining at home since then nonetheless. </p> <p>&#8220;He had been feeling well until Tuesday night,&#8221; spokesman Jeff Turner said in the statement. &#8220;Wednesday morning, he tested again, and this time tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection.&#8221;</p> <p>The governor&#8217;s office has not provided any details about Dunleavy&#8217;s close contact who tested positive for the virus.</p> <p>Dunleavy is being monitored by his &#8220;attending physician&#8221; and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, and &#8220;they will provide the public with updates as needed,&#8221; Turner&#8217;s statement said.</p> <p><em>This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.</em></p> After 4 months, Y-K Delta no longer has highest COVID-19 rate in Alaska https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/after-4-months-y-k-delta-no-longer-has-highest-covid-19-rate-in-alaska/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:a0bf284c-eeda-767d-871c-848cbf0af229 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 21:06:03 +0000 The highest case rate in the state is now in the Mat-Su Borough. <p>The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta no longer has the highest COVID-19 case rate in Alaska.</p> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignleft size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="340" height="260" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201216-Pfizer-Vaccine-KBasile-905852_0-340x260-1.jpeg" alt="Two lab technicians wearing protective equipment transfer vials from a box." class="wp-image-286234" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201216-Pfizer-Vaccine-KBasile-905852_0-340x260-1.jpeg 340w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201216-Pfizer-Vaccine-KBasile-905852_0-340x260-1-300x229.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201216-Pfizer-Vaccine-KBasile-905852_0-340x260-1-150x115.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201216-Pfizer-Vaccine-KBasile-905852_0-340x260-1-80x60.jpeg 80w" sizes="(max-width: 340px) 100vw, 340px" /><figcaption>YKHC staff members package vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 16, 2020. (Katie Basile/KYUK)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>The region has led the state in case rates for four months, since&nbsp;<a href="https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/AKDHSS/bulletins/2a71fe1">Oct. 21, 2020</a>. But as of&nbsp;<a href="https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/AKDHSS/bulletins/2c38aa0?reqfrom=share">Feb. 23, 2021</a>, state epidemiological data shows that the region dropped to the second-highest case rate in the state. It has been superseded by the Matanuska-Susitna Region, which now leads Alaska with its COVID-19 case rate.</p> <p>According to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s case rate is 24 cases per 100,000 people. That’s less than a tenth of what the region’s peak case rate was in November 2020, when it was 300 cases per 100,000 people.</p> <p>State epidemiological data shows that the Matanuska-Susitna Region currently has 34.02 cases per 100,000 people.</p> State working to close sale of its fast ferries https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/state-working-to-close-sale-of-its-fast-ferries/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:7660af29-9c41-e2aa-5285-c6375fb1c32d Wed, 24 Feb 2021 20:59:22 +0000 Trasmapi, a Mediterranean-based catamaran operator, offered about $4.6 million for the Fairweather and Chenega ferries. But that was less than half the $10 million reserve price set by the state. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited.jpg" alt="A fery in the evening" class="wp-image-292528" width="715" height="536.25" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited.jpg 623w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited-150x112.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/414_g1.mov.Still001-830x467-1-edited-560x420.jpg 560w" sizes="(max-width: 623px) 100vw, 623px" /><figcaption>Alaska Marine Highway System’s fast ferry Fairweather. (Skip Gray/KTOO) </figcaption></figure> <p>The Alaska Marine Highway System is working to finalize the sale of its fast ferries to an overseas bidder.</p> <p>Trasmapi, a Mediterranean-based catamaran operator,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2021/01/14/spanish-firm-bids-on-alaskas-fast-ferries/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">offered about $4.6 million for the Fairweather and Chenega ferries</a>. But that was less than half the $10 million reserve price set by the state.</p> <p>When bids were opened on Jan. 13, a state procurement officer noted that a lower price could still be negotiated.</p> <p><strong>“</strong>We do have a responsive bidder and we are continuing — as we speak today — to work through the process to close the sale, ” John Falvey, the state-run ferry system’s general manager, told&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/gavel/video/2021021135/senate-transportation-committee/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday</a>.</p> <p>Trasmapi runs ferries between the Spanish mainland and the island of Ibiza. The Spanish company had also offered about $411,000 for a pair of diesel engines, which cost about $3 million new.</p> <p>“The two swing engines which are in our warehouse and hermetically sealed containers, unused, they were also part of the sale,” Falvey said.</p> <p>The state of Alaska commissioned the fast ferries in the mid-2000s. And&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2018/09/11/southeast-bids-adieu-to-fast-ferry-fairweather/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">they were popular, completing a voyage in about half the time as a conventional ship</a>. But they were taken out of service in 2015 and 2019.</p> <p>At the time, the marine highway cited rising fuel costs and poor performance in rough seas. It’s not clear how much the state is now asking for them. The two 235-foot catamarans cost $68 million new.</p> Alaska’s federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccine will nearly double in March https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/alaskas-federal-shipment-of-covid-19-vaccine-will-nearly-double-in-march/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:d4455a5f-18cd-3853-0864-be97c6c2234f Wed, 24 Feb 2021 20:44:04 +0000 The federal government's monthly shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to Alaska will nearly double in March, rising to 103,000 first doses from the 61,000 allocated to the state in February. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-600x400.jpg" alt="a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine" class="wp-image-285867" width="677" height="451" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201215_ANMC_COVID_VACCINE_CHEN-13.jpg 1800w" sizes="(max-width: 677px) 100vw, 677px" /><figcaption>A vial of COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at the Alaska Native Medical Center. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>The federal government&#8217;s monthly allocation of COVID-19 vaccine to Alaska will nearly double in March, rising to 103,000 first doses from the 61,000 allocated to the state in February.</p> <p>The vaccine numbers were posted Tuesday by the CDC, though the state has not yet formally announced them.</p> <p>They show that Alaska will receive 54,000 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in March, up from 27,000 in February, and 49,000 first doses of Moderna vaccine, up from 32,300 the previous month.</p> <p><em><a href="http://alaskapublic.org/coronavirus">Read more coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic from Alaska Public Media</a></em></p> <p>The state could receive even more doses if federal regulators grant an emergency authorization to the new vaccine manufactured by Johnson &amp; Johnson, which officials say could happen as soon as this weekend. </p> <p>The company will have 3 million to 4 million doses ready to distribute next week if the authorization is granted, White House officials said Wednesday. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are currently being distributed at roughly the same rate.</p> LISTEN: Katie Hurley remembered for charisma, energy and love for Alaska https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/listen-katie-hurley-remembered-for-charisma-energy-and-love-for-alaska/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:5729894c-86c0-6966-4924-ef55d149e91e Wed, 24 Feb 2021 18:23:56 +0000 Hurley was a longtime assistant to territorial Governor Ernest Gruening, the chief clerk at the Alaska Constitutional Convention, and, later, a state legislator, among many other roles. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="400" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley-600x400.jpeg" alt="" class="wp-image-292479" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley-600x400.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley-300x200.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley-150x100.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley-768x512.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley-696x464.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley-630x420.jpeg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Katie-Hurley.jpeg 960w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Katie Hurley at a Portland, Oregon long-term-care facility, in her late 90s. Among many state government and political offices she held, Hurley was the head clerk at the Alaska Constitutional Convention. She died Feb. 21, 2021 at the age of 99. (Hurley family photo)</figcaption></figure> <p>Alaskans are mourning the loss of one of the last remaining participants in the crafting of the state Constitution, Katie Hurley, who died Sunday at the age of 99.</p> <p>Hurley was a longtime assistant to territorial Governor Ernest Gruening, the chief clerk at the Alaska Constitutional Convention, and, later, a state legislator, among many other roles.</p> <p>Hurley&#8217;s daughter, Susie Derrera, says her mother was principled and had a knack for taking on responsibility early in life, and her energy and charisma were on full display during her time working on Alaska&#8217;s foundational document.</p> <p>LISTEN HERE:</p> <p><audio controls="controls"><source src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/23 Susie Derrera int FULL.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"></audio></p> <p><em>Gov. Mike Dunleavy has ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff March 30, in honor of what would&#8217;ve been Katie Hurley&#8217;s 100th birthday.</em></p> Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff, Ben Stevens, resigns to become executive at ConocoPhillips https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/alaska-gov-mike-dunleavys-chief-of-staff-ben-stevens-resigns-to-become-executive-at-conocophillips/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:623b4804-4b0f-7e44-b910-a0770b7eaf39 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 18:23:35 +0000 Stevens will become the new vice president of external affairs and transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska, Dunleavy's office said in a prepared statement. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-600x400.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-250123" width="726" height="484" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-2048x1365.jpg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-630x420.jpg 630w" sizes="(max-width: 726px) 100vw, 726px" /><figcaption>Department of Transportation Commissioner John MacKinnon, Gov. Mike Dunleavy&#8217;s Chief of Staff Ben Stevens, and former Senior Policy Advisor Brett Huber watch a news conference at the Capitol in 2019. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Ben Stevens, the former Alaska state senator who became chief of staff to Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy, is leaving that job, Dunleavy&#8217;s office announced Wednesday.</p> <p>Stevens will become the new vice president of external affairs and transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska, Dunleavy&#8217;s office said in a prepared statement.</p> <p>“I want to thank Ben for his hard work and service to the state of Alaska the past two years. His knowledge and political acumen have been an asset to the administration and I wish him the very best in his new role at ConocoPhillips Alaska,” Dunleavy was quoted as saying.</p> <p>Randy Ruaro, who currently serves as deputy chief of staff to Dunleavy, will fill Stevens&#8217; job until a permanent replacement is named.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong><em><strong> </strong><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/09/25/ben-stevens-once-left-the-alaska-senate-in-disgrace-now-hes-gov-dunleavys-top-deputy/">Ben Stevens once left the Alaska Senate in disgrace. Now he’s Gov. Dunleavy’s top deputy.</a></em></p> <p>Dunleavy appointed Stevens chief of staff in the summer of 2019, as the governor faced a recall campaign with accumulating momentum and had just finished a bruising first legislative session.</p> <p>Dunleavy originally hired Stevens <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/12/05/ben-stevens-former-alaska-senator-investigated-by-fbi-lands-job-with-dunleavy-administration/">as a policy advisor</a> after his election in 2018. Stevens, the youngest of three sons of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, had been away from politics for a decade at that point, after his office was raided by the FBI in a 2006 corruption investigation of the Alaska Legislature.</p> <p>Ben Stevens, who was Senate president at the time, was never charged with a crime and has always maintained his innocence.</p> Alaska reports first case of rare COVID-19 variant that could evade antibodies https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/alaska-reports-first-case-of-rare-covid-19-variant-that-could-evade-antibodies/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:2a9da119-dbfd-4414-ef8a-dd6888b1ebf1 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 18:07:02 +0000 Alaska is one of five state to have reported cases of the P.1 variant, which likely originated in Brazil. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-600x450.jpg" alt="A microscopic image of yellow blobs in a purple background" class="wp-image-283326" width="721" height="541" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-150x112.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-768x576.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-1536x1152.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-696x522.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-1068x801.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited-560x420.jpg 560w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/49531042877_32d730487d_o-edited.jpg 1899w" sizes="(max-width: 721px) 100vw, 721px" /><figcaption>This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (in yellow) — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (in blue/pink) cultured in a lab. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases &#8211; Rocky Mountain Laboratories)</figcaption></figure> <p>The first case of a highly transmissible variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in Alaska.&nbsp;</p> <p>Alaska is only the fifth state to have a confirmed case of the P.1 variant, which likely originated in Brazil, according to the <a href="http://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/science-and-research/scientific-brief-emerging-variants.html#:~:text=The%20P.,at%20Haneda%20airport%20outside%20Tokyo.">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>State officials said the case was first discovered on Tuesday in a specimen collected from an Anchorage man who developed COVID-19 symptoms earlier this month. He had no travel history, suggesting that the case was a result of community spread. </p> <p>Alaska’s Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin said by email the mamn reported eating a meal unmasked with another person four days before reporting symptoms. </p> <p>“It is possible that this may have been where the patient was exposed,” he wrote.&nbsp;</p> <p>At least one close contact has also tested positive for COVID-19, but their sample hasn’t yet been analyzed for the new variant.&nbsp;</p> <p>The <a href="http://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/science-and-research/scientific-brief-emerging-variants.html#:~:text=The%20P.,at%20Haneda%20airport%20outside%20Tokyo.">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say</a> there is evidence some of the mutations in the P.1 variant might make it more transmissible and harder for antibodies to recognize. That means vaccination or natural immunity after recovering from COVID-19 may be less effective in protecting against it. In the Brazilian city of Manaus, it may account for a resurgence of cases since mid-December, according to CDC. </p> <p>McLaughlin said the news underscores the need to continue masking and distancing, and getting vaccinated as soon as possible if eligible.</p> <p>“The more people we get vaccinated, the quicker we will be able to prevent ongoing transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Alaska,” he wrote.&nbsp;</p> Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff, Ben Stevens, resigns to become executive at ConocoPhillips https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/alaska-gov-mike-dunleavys-chief-of-staff-ben-stevens-resigns-to-become-executive-at-conocophillips/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:92dc1f73-8f0c-af99-c72a-a7f483f826c8 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 18:06:14 +0000 Stevens will become the new vice president of external affairs and transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska, Dunleavy's office said in a prepared statement. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-600x400.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-250123" width="726" height="484" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-2048x1365.jpg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/RM_Advisors-630x420.jpg 630w" sizes="(max-width: 726px) 100vw, 726px" /><figcaption>Department of Transportation Commissioner John MacKinnon, Gov. Mike Dunleavy&#8217;s Chief of Staff Ben Stevens, and former Senior Policy Advisor Brett Huber watch a news conference at the Capitol in 2019. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Ben Stevens, the former Alaska state senator who became chief of staff to Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy, is leaving that job, Dunleavy&#8217;s office announced Wednesday.</p> <p>Stevens will become the new vice president of external affairs and transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska, Dunleavy&#8217;s office said in a prepared statement.</p> <p>“I want to thank Ben for his hard work and service to the state of Alaska the past two years. His knowledge and political acumen have been an asset to the administration and I wish him the very best in his new role at ConocoPhillips Alaska,” Dunleavy was quoted as saying.</p> <p>Randy Ruaro, who currently serves as deputy chief of staff to Dunleavy, will fill Stevens&#8217; job until a permanent replacement is named.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong><em><strong> </strong><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/09/25/ben-stevens-once-left-the-alaska-senate-in-disgrace-now-hes-gov-dunleavys-top-deputy/">Ben Stevens once left the Alaska Senate in disgrace. Now he’s Gov. Dunleavy’s top deputy.</a></em></p> <p>Dunleavy appointed Stevens chief of staff in the summer of 2019, as the governor faced a recall campaign with accumulating momentum and had just finished a bruising first legislative session.</p> <p>Dunleavy originally hired Stevens <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/12/05/ben-stevens-former-alaska-senator-investigated-by-fbi-lands-job-with-dunleavy-administration/">as a policy advisor</a> after his election in 2018. Stevens, the youngest of three sons of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, had been away from politics for a decade at that point, after his office was raided by the FBI in a 2006 corruption investigation of the Alaska Legislature.</p> <p>Ben Stevens, who was Senate president at the time, was never charged with a crime and has always maintained his innocence.</p> Alaska Native enthusiasm for Interior nominee puts Murkowski on the spot https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/alaska-native-enthusiasm-for-interior-nominee-puts-murkowski-on-the-spot/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:fdc5fbc3-0e52-92f9-fc82-3c92ad3e5374 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 17:57:19 +0000 Deb Haaland's confirmation hearing forces Sen. Murkowski to choose between one of her long-held political goals and many of her Native constituents. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="410" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-600x410.jpg" alt="People standing in front of white capitol dome holding banners that say protect the Arctic." class="wp-image-286114" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-600x410.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-300x205.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-150x102.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-768x525.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-1536x1049.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-2048x1399.jpg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-218x150.jpg 218w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-696x475.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-1068x730.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-615x420.jpg 615w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Rep. Deb Haaland, at podium, spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C. to oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2018, a few weeks before she was sworn in to Congress. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>President Biden’s choice for Interior secretary presents a dilemma for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, pitting a long-held political goal against one of her base constituencies.</p> <p>Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo tribal member from New Mexico, would be the first Indigenous cabinet secretary. Alaska Native leaders have mounted a big campaign to confirm her.</p> <p>Haaland’s background matters, said former Alaska legislator Mary Peltola of Bethel, because of the authority she would have over matters such as subsistence hunting and fishing rights, tribal courts and Native allotments.</p> <p>“For hundreds of years, we really haven&#8217;t had many Native people at the top who have a true understanding of the way that we live and our values and, you know, just the realities of growing up as a Native person and raising your family as a Native person,&#8221; Peltola said. &#8220;This is a very big deal.”</p> <p>But Haaland has been an outspoken opponent of oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Selling drilling rights in the refuge is one of Murkowski’s biggest achievements.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong> <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/12/17/bidens-pick-for-interior-secretary-is-indigenous-and-a-passionate-foe-of-drilling-in-arctic-refuge/"><em>Biden’s pick for Interior secretary is a passionate foe of drilling in Arctic Refuge</em></a></p> <p>At Haaland&#8217;s confirmation hearing Tuesday, Murkowski acknowledged how significant it would be to have a Native American lead Interior. She didn’t directly confront Haaland’s environmental stance. Instead, Murkowski focused on Biden’s first executive orders, which included a pause on leasing in the refuge.</p> <p>&#8220;From Alaska&#8217;s perspective, you&#8217;ve got to understand that they&#8217;re looking at this and saying, ‘Wait a minute, why is this administration out to get us?’&#8221; Murkowski said. &#8220;I don&#8217;t think they&#8217;re out to get us. But I do think that there is a definite threat to the resource industry that our state is blessed to be able to host.”</p> <p>Haaland began her response to Murkowski by reaching for common ground.</p> <p>“Senator, thank you so much. And if I could just quickly say thank you, again, for all of your help with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women legislation,&#8221; Haaland said. &#8220;That means the world to me.&#8221;</p> <p>Haaland said she’d consult with Murkowski on Alaska development issues and would follow the law.&nbsp;</p> <p>Alaska Congressman Don Young introduced Haaland at the start of the hearing. Haaland was elected to the U.S. House in 2018. She and Young worked together on the Natural Resources Committee. He described her as someone who will listen to Republicans and moderate her perspective to serve everyone.</p> <p>“So I want the secretary, if she&#8217;s confirmed — I hope you do confirm her — to understand there&#8217;s a broad picture here. And her job is to understand it’s no longer a little cartoon,&#8221; Young said. &#8220;This is the big picture. And she&#8217;ll have to have the responsibility to do the job I know she can do.” </p> <p>Haaland’s hearing in the Senate Energy Committee continues Wednesday. Murkowski told a reporter she has a lot more questions for her.</p> <p><em>Olivia Ebertz of KYUK contributed to this story from Bethel.</em></p> Federal judge temporarily halts sale of National Archives building in Seattle https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/federal-judge-temporarily-halts-sale-of-national-archives-building-in-seattle-2/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:88570d33-1c47-d14b-bcb3-6ea8a9df5061 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 16:40:18 +0000 A federal judge temporarily stopped the sale of a National Archives building in Seattle, Washington. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="450" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-600x450.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-292459" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-768x576.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-696x522.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-1068x801.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-560x420.jpg 560w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>The National Archives and Records Administration facility in Seattle is earmarked for closure and to be sold in an effort to cut federal spending. The Office of Washington state’s Attorney General filed a motion to seek a preliminary injunction to block the sale. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)<br></figcaption></figure> <p>A federal judge temporarily stopped the sale of a National Archives building in Seattle, Washington.</p> <p>In a written order filed Tuesday morning, U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour ordered a halt to the imminent sale of the National Archives building — and removal of an immense archival collection.</p> <p>In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/ag-ferguson-federal-judge-blocks-sale-and-closure-seattle-s-national-archives" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">news release</a>, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said, “Today’s legal victory blocks the federal government’s unlawful plan to sell the Archives and scatter the DNA of our region thousands of miles away.”</p> <p>In January 2020, a five-person panel identified the archives building in Seattle — and 11 other facilities — as excess properties and opportunities for the federal government to cut costs.</p> <p>The archives building houses a collection that includes historical documents and records for 272 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.</p> <p>A sale of the building could move the archive’s records as far away as Kansas City, Missouri and Riverside, California.</p> <p>In January 2021, Washington state’s attorney general and 40 tribes, states and community organizations&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2021/01/08/coalition-of-tribes-and-states-seeks-to-block-sale-of-national-archives-building-in-seattle/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">filed a motion</a>&nbsp;to block the sale of the building.</p> <p>The building also houses documents regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese internment camps of World War II.</p> <p>It would be the second time that Alaska documents and records have been moved from a National Archives facility.</p> <p>In 2014, a building in Anchorage was closed, and the materials transferred to Seattle.</p> Federal judge temporarily halts sale of Seattle National Archives building https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/federal-judge-temporarily-halts-sale-of-national-archives-building-in-seattle-2/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:8f7a4140-51fb-60bb-063f-14996a7064a6 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 16:40:18 +0000 A federal judge temporarily stopped the sale of a National Archives building in Seattle, Washington. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="450" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-600x450.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-292459" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-768x576.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-696x522.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-1068x801.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014-560x420.jpg 560w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/p4190014.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>The National Archives and Records Administration facility in Seattle is earmarked for closure and sale in an effort to cut federal spending. The Office of Washington state’s Attorney General filed a motion to seek a preliminary injunction to block the sale. (National Archives and Records Administration)<br></figcaption></figure> <p>A federal judge temporarily stopped the sale of a National Archives building in Seattle, Washington.</p> <p>In a written order filed Tuesday morning, U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour ordered a halt to the imminent sale of the National Archives building — and removal of its immense archival collection.</p> <p>“Today’s legal victory blocks the federal government’s unlawful plan to sell the Archives and scatter the DNA of our region thousands of miles away,&#8221; Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a <a href="https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/ag-ferguson-federal-judge-blocks-sale-and-closure-seattle-s-national-archives" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">news release</a>.</p> <p>In January 2020, a five-person panel identified the archives building in Seattle — and 11 other facilities — as excess properties and opportunities for the federal government to cut costs.</p> <p>The archives building houses a collection that includes historical documents and records for 272 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The building also houses documents regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese internment camps of World War II.</p> <p>A sale of the building could move the archive’s records as far away as Kansas City, Mo. or Riverside, Calif. </p> <p>In January 2021, Washington state’s attorney general and 40 tribes, states and community organizations <a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2021/01/08/coalition-of-tribes-and-states-seeks-to-block-sale-of-national-archives-building-in-seattle/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">filed a motion</a> to block the sale of the building.</p> <p>It would be the second time that Alaska documents and records have been moved from a National Archives facility. In 2014, a building in Anchorage was closed, and the materials transferred to Seattle.</p> Mat-Su Borough applies to host 2024 Arctic Winter Games https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/24/mat-su-borough-applies-to-host-2024-arctic-winter-games/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:12e5ecbc-dab6-c607-521e-22cd124143c3 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 16:33:03 +0000 Following the decision, the borough said it received a verbal commitment of $2 million from the state to support the bid. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2016-02-27-untitled-029-2432px-608x400-600x395.jpg" alt="A woman in a blue and yellow puffy jacket" class="wp-image-168793" width="683" height="450" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2016-02-27-untitled-029-2432px-608x400-600x395.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2016-02-27-untitled-029-2432px-608x400-300x197.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2016-02-27-untitled-029-2432px-608x400.jpg 608w" sizes="(max-width: 683px) 100vw, 683px" /><figcaption>An Arctic Winter Games athlete in Nome, Alaska. ( Laura Kraegel/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough plans to submit a bid to host the 2024 Arctic Winter Games.</p> <p>Leaders of the borough north of Anchorage issued a statement announcing the intention to contend for the event, Alaska’s News Source&nbsp;<a href="https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/2021/02/23/mat-su-borough-bids-to-host-2024-arctic-winter-games/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" class="">reported&nbsp;</a>Tuesday.</p> <p>“The Games celebrate sport, social exchange and cultures,” the statement said. “The Games provide an opportunity for the developing athlete to compete in friendly competition while sharing cultural values from northern regions around the world.”</p> <p>The Matanuska-Susitna Assembly voted Feb. 2 to move forward with a bid.</p> <p>Following the decision, the borough said it received a verbal commitment of $2 million from the state to support the bid.</p> <p>The Arctic Winter Games International Committee has $50,000 remaining from previous games in Fairbanks that will be donated to the host of the 2024 games, the borough said.</p> <p>The anticipated cost of hosting the event is between $5 million and $8 million.</p> <p>A post on the borough’s website said the bid review process by the organizers of the games normally takes about a month.</p> <p>Alaska has hosted the games six times in the past 50 years, with Fairbanks the most recent state host in 2014.</p> <p>The next Arctic Winter Games is scheduled to take place in March 2022 in Wood Buffalo, Canada.</p> <p>The 2020 games in Whitehorse, Yukon territory, were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p></p> Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/alaska-news-nightly-tues-feb-23/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:ead3319b-ad57-a4d6-40dc-8a87af407ebf Wed, 24 Feb 2021 02:40:10 +0000 Congresswoman Deb Haaland's confirmation for Interior Secretary begins with broad support from Alaska Native leaders. And, several small Alaska communities have managed to stay COVID free throughout the pandemic. Plus, a Petersburg family deals with a destructive fire and robbery. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="400" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-600x400.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-232654" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MG_4604-630x420.jpg 630w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>The village of St. Paul on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. (Nathaniel Herz / Alaska&#8217;s Energy Desk)</figcaption></figure> <p>Stories are posted on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alaskapublic.org/aprn/">statewide news</a>&nbsp;page. You can subscribe to Alaska Public Media’s newsfeeds via&nbsp;<a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=aprn-news">email</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/aprn-alaska-news/id264469573?mt=2">podcast</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.aprn.org/aprn-news">RSS</a>. Follow us on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/alaskapublic">Facebook at alaskapublic.org</a>&nbsp;and on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.twitter.com/AKPublicNews">Twitter @AKPublicNews</a>.</p> <figure class="wp-block-audio"><audio controls="" src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/ann-20210223.mp3"></audio></figure> <p><strong>Tuesday on Alaska News Nightly:</strong></p> <p>Congresswoman Deb Haaland&#8217;s confirmation for Interior Secretary begins with broad support from Alaska Native leaders. And, several small Alaska communities have managed to stay COVID free throughout the pandemic. Plus, a Petersburg family deals with a destructive fire and robbery.</p> <p><strong>Reports tonight from:</strong></p> <ul><li>Liz Ruskin and Nat Herz in Anchorage</li><li>Jacob Resneck in Juneau</li><li>Angela Denning Petersburg</li><li>Erin McKinstry in Sitka</li></ul> <p><em>Send news tips, questions or comments to <a href="mailto:news@alaskapublic.org">news@alaskapublic.org</a>.</em></p> Alaska Native enthusiasm for Interior nominee puts Murkowski on the spot https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/alaska-native-enthusiasm-for-interior-nominee-puts-murkowski-on-the-spot/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:53cb32a8-ec8f-2fe7-c232-9e31797e15d8 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 02:22:17 +0000 Deb Haaland's confirmation hearing forces Sen. Murkowski to choose between one of her long-held political goals and many of her Native constituents. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="410" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-600x410.jpg" alt="People standing in front of white capitol dome holding banners that say protect the Arctic." class="wp-image-286114" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-600x410.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-300x205.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-150x102.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-768x525.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-1536x1049.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-2048x1399.jpg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-218x150.jpg 218w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-696x475.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-1068x730.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20181211_Haaland_ruskin-615x420.jpg 615w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Rep. Deb Haaland, at podium, spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C. to oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2018, a few weeks before she was sworn in. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>President Biden’s choice for Interior secretary presents a dilemma for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, pitting a long-held political goal against one of her base constituencies.</p> <p>Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo tribal member from New Mexico, would be the first Indigenous cabinet secretary. Alaska Native leaders have mounted a big campaign to confirm her.</p> <p>Haaland’s background matters, said former Alaska legislator Mary Peltola of Bethel, because of the authority she would have over matters like subsistence hunting and fishing rights, tribal courts and Native allotments.</p> <p>“For hundreds of years, we really haven&#8217;t had many Native people at the top who have a true understanding of the way that we live and our values and, you know, just the realities of growing up as a Native person and raising your family as a Native person,&#8221; Peltola said. &#8220;This is a very big deal.”</p> <p>But Haaland has been an outspoken opponent of oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Selling drilling rights in the refuge is one of Murkowski’s biggest achievements.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/12/17/bidens-pick-for-interior-secretary-is-indigenous-and-a-passionate-foe-of-drilling-in-arctic-refuge/"><em>Biden’s pick for Interior secretary is a passionate foe of drilling in Arctic Refuge</em></a></p> <p>At Haaland&#8217;s confirmation hearing Tuesday, Murkowski acknowledged how significant it would be to have a Native American lead Interior. She didn’t directly confront Haaland’s environmental stance. Instead, Murkowski focused on Biden’s first executive orders, which included a pause on leasing in the refuge.</p> <p>&#8220;From Alaska&#8217;s perspective, you&#8217;ve got to understand that they&#8217;re looking at this and saying, ‘Wait a minute, why is this administration out to get us?’&#8221; Murkowski said. &#8220;I don&#8217;t think they&#8217;re out to get us. But I do think that there is a definite threat to the resource industry that our state is blessed to be able to host.”</p> <p>Haaland began her response to Murkowski by reaching for common ground.</p> <p>“Senator, thank you so much. And if I could just quickly say thank you, again, for all of your help with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women legislation,&#8221; Haaland said. &#8220;That means the world to me.&#8221;</p> <p>Haaland said she’d consult with Murkowski on Alaska development issues and would follow the law.&nbsp;</p> <p>Alaska Congressman Don Young introduced Haaland at the start of the hearing. Haaland was elected to the U.S. House in 2018. She and Young worked together on the Natural Resources Committee. He described her as someone who will listen to Republicans and moderate her perspective to serve everyone.</p> <p>“So I want the secretary, if she&#8217;s confirmed &#8212; I hope you do confirm her&nbsp;&#8212; to understand there&#8217;s a broad picture here. And her job is to understand it’s no longer a little cartoon,&#8221; Young said. &#8220;This is the big picture. And she&#8217;ll have to have the responsibility to do the job I know she can do.” </p> <p>Haaland’s hearing in the Senate Energy Committee continues Wednesday. Murkowski told a reporter she has a lot more questions for her.</p> State of Art: Anchorage rockers Photonak want to bring light to dark times https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/state-of-art-anchorage-rockers-photonak-want-to-bring-light-to-dark-times/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:ab0348e9-6432-5a32-229b-88af1592c350 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 01:16:20 +0000 Photonak is one of those bands that come across as totally genuine in their mission and respect for each other. With their debut album "Tempered," the band hunkered down in their home studio and turned out a highly produced piece of sprawling rock and roll. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignright size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1-581x600.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-287733" width="301" height="311" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1-581x600.jpg 581w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1-290x300.jpg 290w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1-145x150.jpg 145w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1-768x794.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1-696x719.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1-406x420.jpg 406w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Tempered-Album-Photo-991x1024-1.jpg 991w" sizes="(max-width: 301px) 100vw, 301px" /></figure></div> <p>Photonak is one of those bands that come across as totally genuine in their mission and respect for each other. With their debut album &#8220;Tempered,&#8221; the band hunkered down in their home studio and turned out a highly produced piece of sprawling rock and roll. </p> <p>In this episode we learn about how the band persevered through the pandemic to finish their album, how a life-changing injury lead to music as a mission, and what non-musical roles each member plays. </p> <audio controls="controls"><source src="http://media.kska.org/2021/soa-20210219.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"></audio> <iframe src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/artist/4VwWVpjyNEfcPmXiDXt5p3" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe> <p><strong>BAND</strong> <strong>LINKS:</strong><br><a href="https://photonak.bandcamp.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Bandcamp</a><br><a href="https://open.spotify.com/artist/4VwWVpjyNEfcPmXiDXt5p3?si=04eAycY8TfGB2Ze8v-JxkA&amp;nd=1" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Spotify</a><br><a href="https://music.youtube.com/channel/UCq8WpeNwcyfMJGjsOOkvZbQ" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Youtube<strong> </strong></a></p> Alaska’s top tribal health executive, Andy Teuber, has resigned https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/alaskas-top-tribal-health-executive-andy-teuber-has-resigned/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:697c7b8c-8394-da30-f156-583f4fb78563 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 22:14:24 +0000 The nonprofit consortium is an umbrella group that coordinates health care for Alaska Native people and helps run the Anchorage Native hospital. It's also one of the state's largest employers, with more than 3,000 workers. <p>Andy Teuber, the president of the <a href="https://anthc.org/">Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium</a>, has resigned, the organization said Tuesday.</p> <p>&#8220;The chairman and president of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium resigned this morning. The consortium’s board of directors is taking immediate and swift action, calling a special meeting for this afternoon to address leadership transition,&#8221; Shirley Young, an ANTHC spokesperson, wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon.</p> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignleft size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screen-Shot-2021-02-23-at-12.27.59-PM.png" alt="" class="wp-image-292349" width="119" height="149" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screen-Shot-2021-02-23-at-12.27.59-PM.png 336w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screen-Shot-2021-02-23-at-12.27.59-PM-240x300.png 240w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screen-Shot-2021-02-23-at-12.27.59-PM-120x150.png 120w" sizes="(max-width: 119px) 100vw, 119px" /><figcaption>Andy Teuber (University of Alaska)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>The nonprofit consortium is an umbrella group that coordinates health care for Alaska Native people and helps run the Anchorage Native hospital. It&#8217;s also one of the state&#8217;s largest employers, with more than 3,000 workers.</p> <p>Teuber has been ANTHC&#8217;s president since 2008, and he also serves as chief executive of Kodiak&#8217;s tribal health care provider, the Kodiak Area Native Association. Teuber sits on University of Alaska Board of Regents, as well.</p> <p>More information will be available after Tuesday&#8217;s meeting takes place, Young said. ANTHC’s statement did not say what prompted Teuber’s resignation. Teuber didn&#8217;t immediately respond to a request for comment. </p> <p>This is the second, recent high-profile tribal health resignation.</p> <p>Katherine Gottlieb, the former chief executive of Southcentral Foundation <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/08/03/katherine-gottlieb-resigns-from-southcentral-foundation/">resigned in August</a>. Southcentral Foundation cares for Native people in the Anchorage area and in parts of rural Alaska, and it partners with ANTHC to run the Anchorage Native hospital.</p> <p>Gottlieb&#8217;s resignation came two weeks after her foundation fired three dentists, including her husband Kevin Gottlieb, who was also a senior executive at the organization. </p> <p>The dentists were alleged to have falsified health records to show a different provider had conducted a number of routine dental exams than the practitioner who’d done the work.</p> <p><em>This is a breaking story, check back for updates. </em></p> Federal judge temporarily halts sale of National Archives building in Seattle https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/federal-judge-temporarily-halts-sale-of-national-archives-building-in-seattle/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:ac587e08-4c7b-cb5e-296f-cb7e60f92dbf Tue, 23 Feb 2021 22:09:52 +0000 The archives building houses a collection that includes historical documents and records for 272 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-600x450.jpg" alt="A white brick building with a blocky entrance and plants around it" class="wp-image-287802" width="723" height="543" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-768x576.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-696x522.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2-560x420.jpg 560w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/p4190014-830x623-2.jpg 830w" sizes="(max-width: 723px) 100vw, 723px" /><figcaption>The National Archives and Records Administration facility in Seattle is earmarked for closure and to be sold in an effort to cut federal spending. Washington state’s Attorney General filed a motion to seek a preliminary injunction to block the sale. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration) </figcaption></figure> <p>A federal judge temporarily stopped the sale of a National Archives building in Seattle, Washington.</p> <p>In a written order filed Tuesday morning, U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour ordered a halt to the imminent sale of the National Archives building — and removal of an immense archival collection.</p> <p>In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/ag-ferguson-federal-judge-blocks-sale-and-closure-seattle-s-national-archives" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">news release</a>, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said, “Today’s legal victory blocks the federal government’s unlawful plan to sell the Archives and scatter the DNA of our region thousands of miles away.”</p> <p>In January 2020, a five-person panel identified the archives building in Seattle — and 11 other facilities — as excess properties and opportunities for the federal government to cut costs.</p> <p>The archives building houses a collection that includes historical documents and records for 272 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.</p> <p>A sale of the building could move the archive’s records as far away as Kansas City, Missouri and Riverside, California.</p> <p>In January 2021, Washington state’s attorney general and 40 tribes, states and community organizations&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2021/01/08/coalition-of-tribes-and-states-seeks-to-block-sale-of-national-archives-building-in-seattle/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">filed a motion</a>&nbsp;to block the sale of the building.</p> <p>The building also houses documents regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese internment camps of World War II.</p> <p>It would be the second time that Alaska documents and records have been moved from a National Archives facility.</p> <p>In 2014, a building in Anchorage was closed, and the materials transferred to Seattle.</p> Dock owner: Sitka should prepare for a deluge of cruise passengers in 2022 https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/dock-owner-sitka-should-prepare-for-a-deluge-of-cruise-passengers-in-2022/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:06e67cb7-e3f6-0cbb-997d-110c3f6a52d1 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 17:19:03 +0000 Industry insiders say despite the potential loss of the 2021 season, 2022 could be the biggest cruise season ever. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-600x375.jpg" alt="A cruise ship next to a forested hill" class="wp-image-292266" width="726" height="454" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-600x375.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-300x188.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-150x94.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-768x480.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-696x435.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-672x420.jpg 672w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1.jpg 830w" sizes="(max-width: 726px) 100vw, 726px" /><figcaption>Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas, a quantum-class cruise ship, in Skagway’s port. (Claire Stremple/KHNS) </figcaption></figure> <p>The cruise industry in Southeast Alaska remains frustrated by Canada’s decision to close its ports to large ships for the year, effectively prohibiting anything close to a typical visitor season in 2021. But in 2022, the cruise rebound in ports like Sitka could be staggering.</p> <p>At a presentation to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 17, industry representatives outlined some of the barriers to cruising this year — and warned about a possible record surge in 2022.</p> <p>Mike Tibbles is with the Cruise Lines International Association in Juneau. CLIA represents 17 of the cruise lines that sail in Southeast, from the biggest players in the market to some of the small ships.</p> <p>Canada’s announcement in early February that it would not open its ports to ships with more than 100 passengers for another year amounted to putting a tourniquet on Alaskan cruising. But Tibbles thinks Canada’s no-sail order could be revised under the right circumstances.</p> <p>“I think we were a little surprised that it went all the way out to February of ‘22,” he said. “But we have been continuing to communicate with Canadian officials. They’ve indicated that they’re focused on the health aspect, and that if conditions improve, an interim order is not as tough as a regulation. So that date could potentially be revisited.”</p> <p>But it’s not just a matter of Canada rescinding its order. Tibbles explained that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control had replaced its own no-sail order with a framework that allows cruising under rigorous safety guidelines that cover everything from single-use berths for crew members and lavatories to test sailings and safety plans for port communities.</p> <p>Tibbles said putting a cruise season together under those terms — on short notice — would be an extraordinary challenge.</p> <p>“We have a really high hurdle here,” he said. “It’s going to be extremely difficult to align these things — getting the guidance from the CDC and meeting those requirements, finding some solution to the announcement from Canada, and then getting all the plans in place with the local communities before sailing.”</p> <p>Even if there were movement from Alaska’s congressional delegation for a workaround for the Passenger Vessel Services Act — the law which requires all foreign-flagged ships to stop in a foreign port while on their Alaskan itineraries — Tibble said, “We have an uphill fight.”</p> <p>There could be another kind of fight in 2022, though, if the COVID pandemic is brought under control: A struggle for Southeast communities to keep their heads above water under a deluge of cruise visitors.</p> <p>Chris McGraw runs what was formerly known as “Old Sitka Dock.” It’s been rebranded as the “Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal.” He said that Royal Caribbean was adding three ships to its Southeast Alaska itinerary.</p> <p>“Two of those ships will be their Quantum-class ships,” McGraw said, “which have capacities in excess of 4,000 passengers.”</p> <p>That could push Sitka’s cruise visitor count in 2022 to over 400,000, a record for the community. McGraw is investing in a new passenger terminal at his facility, expanding its capacity from just over 2,000 people to something around 9,000. He’s upgraded his docks to accommodate two of the 1,100-foot Quantum-class ships.</p> <div id="attachment_244133" class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignleft is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://media.ktoo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/master-plan-340x234.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-244133" width="353" height="243"/><figcaption>Halibut Point Marine’s expansion plans include upgrading its passenger terminal to accommodate 9,000 passengers. Owner Chris McGraw wants the rest of Sitka to be prepared for the record volumes. (HPM image)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>He wants the rest of Sitka to be ready.</p> <p>“Looking forward to 2022, I think Sitka really needs to start planning to adequately accommodate from both a local perspective and a visitor perspective, these passenger volumes,” said McGraw. “Planning for Centennial Hall needs to be developed, the large shuttle traffic.”</p> <p>McGraw said that there could be over 40 days in the summer of 2022 with over 5,000 cruise passengers in town, which would mean running 25 shuttles. He noted that Sitka’s downtown Lincoln Street corridor feels crowded when there are only 1,500 passengers in town.</p> <p>“And we’re going to have days when we have 8,000 passengers,” he warned, “and the sidewalks, the traffic — that all needs to be improved in my opinion.”</p> <p>He recommended that anybody in the industry begin thinking about the issues stemming from such large increases in volume, and that local government should begin planning.</p> <p>“Everyone should be able to enjoy themselves and live in Sitka without feeling like we’re being overrun with visitors,” he said.</p> Sitka should prepare for a deluge of cruise passengers in 2022, dock owner says https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/dock-owner-sitka-should-prepare-for-a-deluge-of-cruise-passengers-in-2022/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:784346ca-7cbe-aece-3b2c-1e67b77601b4 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 17:19:03 +0000 Industry insiders say despite the potential loss of the 2021 season, 2022 could be the biggest cruise season ever. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-600x375.jpg" alt="A cruise ship next to a forested hill" class="wp-image-292266" width="726" height="454" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-600x375.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-300x188.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-150x94.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-768x480.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-696x435.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1-672x420.jpg 672w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DSC_00921-1024x640-1-830x519-1.jpg 830w" sizes="(max-width: 726px) 100vw, 726px" /><figcaption>Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas, a quantum-class cruise ship, in Skagway’s port. (Claire Stremple/KHNS) </figcaption></figure> <p>The cruise industry in Southeast Alaska remains frustrated by Canada’s decision to close its ports to large ships for the year, effectively prohibiting anything close to a typical visitor season in 2021. But in 2022, the cruise rebound in ports like Sitka could be staggering.</p> <p>At a presentation to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 17, industry representatives outlined some of the barriers to cruising this year — and warned about a possible record surge in 2022.</p> <p>Mike Tibbles is with the Cruise Lines International Association in Juneau. CLIA represents 17 of the cruise lines that sail in Southeast, from the biggest players in the market to some of the small ships.</p> <p>Canada’s announcement in early February that it would not open its ports to ships with more than 100 passengers for another year amounted to putting a tourniquet on Alaskan cruising. But Tibbles thinks Canada’s no-sail order could be revised under the right circumstances.</p> <p>“I think we were a little surprised that it went all the way out to February of ‘22,” he said. “But we have been continuing to communicate with Canadian officials. They’ve indicated that they’re focused on the health aspect, and that if conditions improve, an interim order is not as tough as a regulation. So that date could potentially be revisited.”</p> <p>But it’s not just a matter of Canada rescinding its order. Tibbles explained that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control had replaced its own no-sail order with a framework that allows cruising under rigorous safety guidelines that cover everything from single-use berths for crew members and lavatories to test sailings and safety plans for port communities.</p> <p>Tibbles said putting a cruise season together under those terms — on short notice — would be an extraordinary challenge.</p> <p>“We have a really high hurdle here,” he said. “It’s going to be extremely difficult to align these things — getting the guidance from the CDC and meeting those requirements, finding some solution to the announcement from Canada, and then getting all the plans in place with the local communities before sailing.”</p> <p>Even if there were movement from Alaska’s congressional delegation for a workaround for the Passenger Vessel Services Act — the law which requires all foreign-flagged ships to stop in a foreign port while on their Alaskan itineraries — Tibble said, “We have an uphill fight.”</p> <p>There could be another kind of fight in 2022, however, if the COVID pandemic is brought under control: A struggle for Southeast communities to keep their heads above water under a deluge of cruise visitors.</p> <p>Chris McGraw runs what was formerly known as “Old Sitka Dock.” It’s been rebranded as the “Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal.” He said Royal Caribbean was adding three ships to its Southeast Alaska itinerary.</p> <p>“Two of those ships will be their Quantum-class ships,” McGraw said, “which have capacities in excess of 4,000 passengers.”</p> <p>That could push Sitka’s cruise visitor count in 2022 to over 400,000, a record for the community. McGraw is investing in a new passenger terminal at his facility, expanding its capacity from just over 2,000 people to something around 9,000. He’s upgraded his docks to accommodate two of the 1,100-foot Quantum-class ships.</p> <div id="attachment_244133" class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignleft is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://media.ktoo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/master-plan-340x234.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-244133" width="353" height="243"/><figcaption>Halibut Point Marine’s expansion plans include upgrading its passenger terminal to accommodate 9,000 passengers. Owner Chris McGraw wants the rest of Sitka to be prepared for the record volumes. (HPM image)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>He wants the rest of Sitka to be ready.</p> <p>“Looking forward to 2022, I think Sitka really needs to start planning to adequately accommodate from both a local perspective and a visitor perspective, these passenger volumes,” said McGraw. “Planning for Centennial Hall needs to be developed, the large shuttle traffic.”</p> <p>McGraw said that there could be over 40 days in the summer of 2022 with over 5,000 cruise passengers in town, which would mean running 25 shuttles. He noted Sitka’s downtown Lincoln Street corridor feels crowded when there are only 1,500 passengers in town.</p> <p>“We’re going to have days when we have 8,000 passengers,” he warned. “The sidewalks, the traffic — that all needs to be improved, in my opinion.”</p> <p>He recommended anybody in the industry begin thinking about the issues stemming from such large increases in volume, and that local government should begin planning.</p> <p>“Everyone should be able to enjoy themselves and live in Sitka without feeling like we’re being overrun with visitors,” he said.</p> FEMA to assist Southeast Alaska communities with cost of December storm disaster https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/fema-to-assist-southeast-alaska-communities-with-cost-of-december-storm-disaster/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:b8779a05-8277-0c4f-d47a-9a7444d5b2de Tue, 23 Feb 2021 17:08:52 +0000 The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Feb. 17 that it would provide assistance for the December storm disaster in Southeast Alaska. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RM_Lutak-Road-power-1-830x553-1-600x400.jpg" alt="Workers in a dirty are" class="wp-image-292255" width="730" height="488" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RM_Lutak-Road-power-1-830x553-1-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RM_Lutak-Road-power-1-830x553-1-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RM_Lutak-Road-power-1-830x553-1-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RM_Lutak-Road-power-1-830x553-1-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RM_Lutak-Road-power-1-830x553-1-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RM_Lutak-Road-power-1-830x553-1-630x420.jpg 630w" sizes="(max-width: 730px) 100vw, 730px" /><figcaption>A crew from Alaska Power &amp; Telephone work to reconnect power to residents of Lutak Road on Dec. 6, 2020, in Haines. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO) </figcaption></figure> <p>The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Feb. 17 that it would provide assistance for the December storm disaster in Southeast Alaska.</p> <p>After floods, landslides and mudslides caused extensive damage and killed two people in December, state officials began cataloguing the damage throughout Southeast Alaska.</p> <p>Using that information, Gov. Mike Dunleavy made a request for public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA spokesperson Hannah Weinstein said the agency’s public assistance provides funds to state, local and tribal governments as well as some private nonprofits for emergency response and infrastructure repairs.</p> <p>“This unlock grants to repair roads, bridges, to do debris removal — that kind of thing,” Weinstein said.</p> <p>The<a href="https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20210217/president-joseph-r-biden-approves-major-disaster-declaration-alaska" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">&nbsp;Biden administration declared a major disaster</a>&nbsp;for the December storm last week, making federal funds available to Haines, Skagway, Juneau, Petersburg and communities in the Chatham Regional Educational Attendance Area.</p> <p>State officials say the estimated cost of the damage from the storm is approximately $36 million for the whole region, but according to Weinstein, there is no fixed amount of funding from FEMA to cover the damages.</p> <p>“There’s not a cap. There’s no, ‘Okay, this is the full amount of what you get,’” Weinstein said. “It’s based on the project itself, so an entity will apply for a public assistance grant for a specific project and then we work with them to estimate the cost of that project and then we get that money out the door.”</p> <p>FEMA reimburses applicants for 75% of eligible expenses, with the state covering the remaining 25%. The grants can be used to reimburse emergency expenses during the storm as well as projects that have yet to be completed. It is not yet clear how local governments and nonprofits can apply for public assistance grants from FEMA.</p> <p>Weinstein said that in addition to disaster expenses, the federal disaster declaration will also make funding available for hazard mitigation for the entire state of Alaska.</p> <p>“It’s looking even more in the future with what kind of projects can we work on with the state and local governments to reduce the chances that something like this could happen again,” Weinstein said.</p> <p>The Dunleavy administration did not request assistance for individuals from FEMA. Instead, the state is rolling out its own program to help people who lost property and are facing new expenses as a result of the storm.</p> <p>State assistance can help replace personal possessions and cover the cost of housing, transportation, medical, funeral or dental expenses related to the disaster.</p> <p>Eligible individuals can apply for the state’s individual assistance program at&nbsp;<a href="https://ready.alaska.gov/">ready.alaska.gov</a>&nbsp;through February 26.</p> Fire razes Triumvirate Theatre building on the Kenai Peninsula https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/fire-razes-triumvirate-theatre-building-on-the-kenai-peninsula/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:700ee072-73f3-59a4-252f-bc445d2ea848 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 17:05:06 +0000 No one was hurt but the fire completely razed the space and investigators are still working out what caused it. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-600x450.jpeg" alt="A burnt pile of metal with a milk crate and a bouquet of roses in front" class="wp-image-292258" width="723" height="543" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-600x450.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-300x225.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-150x113.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-768x576.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-1536x1152.jpeg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-2048x1536.jpeg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-80x60.jpeg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-265x198.jpeg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-696x522.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-1068x801.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-560x420.jpeg 560w" sizes="(max-width: 723px) 100vw, 723px" /><figcaption>A bouquet of roses at the Triumvirate Theatre space Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (Sabine Poux/KDLL)</figcaption></figure> <p>A fire decimated a beloved community theater in Nikiski this weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>Triumvirate North, the primary theater space for the nonprofit Triumvirate Theatre, burned to the ground early Saturday morning.</p> <p>No one was hurt but the fire completely razed the space. Investigators are still working out what caused it. But one thing’s for certain: Come time to rebuild, there will be no shortage of helping hands.</p> <p>“It’s really kind of hard to describe what that feels like,&#8221; said Triumvirate executive director Joe Rizzo. “To get this tremendous amount of support from not only people that are in our little theater family and people that have had kids on our stage, but also people we don’t even know, have been reaching out to us.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;It’s really overwhelming in the backdrop of such an emotional thing in watching this building go up that we’ve worked on for 10 years,&#8221; he added.</p> <p>Triumvirate Theatre put on shows from that Nikiski space for&nbsp;<a href="https://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/new-show-home-for-the-holidays-triumvirate-theatre-opens-new-facility/">seven years</a>. Before it was a theater, it was North Road Motors, an old mechanic’s shop.&nbsp;</p> <p>Refurbishing the space was a multi-year labor of love from a crew of volunteers, including Nikiski High School students in a Kenai Peninsula Construction Academy class.</p> <p>Renovations didn’t stop then. Triumvirate had just put new siding on the building&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/triumviratetheater/posts/10157989369293861">earlier this month</a>. Last year, it built a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kdll.org/post/triumvirate-theatre-celebrates-15-years">two-story&nbsp;</a><a href="http://www.kdll.org/post/triumvirate-theatre-celebrates-15-years">addition</a>, which included a green room space dedicated to Rosie Reeder, who ran the used bookstore that supported the theater for over a decade.</p> <p>Firefighters think the fire originated from that addition. The Alaska State Troopers received a call around 3:15 a.m. Saturday from a passerby who spotted the fire. Two minutes later, they dispatched the Nikiski Fire Department, said Nikiski Fire Chief Bryan Crisp.</p> <p>When they arrived, fire engine and three water tankers in tow, the fire had already engulfed most of the building. The roof and siding collapsed, which made it difficult to get under and put out the hot spots.</p> <p>“That’s why we were there until like 1:00, 2:00 that afternoon, because there were little pockets that were covered up by that siding and that sheeting from the roof,&#8221; Crisp said.</p> <p>He said they knew then that most of the building would be a total loss. They were able to keep the front part of the building from collapsing, but the fire still destroyed the ticket counter and lobby space there.</p> <p>With backup from Kenai and Central Emergency Services, Nikiski Fire set up a water shuttle, to bring thousands of gallons of water to the fire. Niksiki doesn’t have fire hydrants, since it doesn&#8217;t have a municipal water system. The closest hydrant is at the Baker Hughes building in Kenai, about a mile south of the theater.</p> <p>To set up the water shuttle, Crisp filled tankers elsewhere and dumped them into swimming pool-like tanks at the site. Then, the tankers drove back to fill up and do it all over again.</p> <p>“And basically it’s just a round-robin thing,&#8221; he said.</p> <p>When a fire causes a death or destruction of a high-dollar amount, the state sends in someone from its Fire Marshal Office to help investigate.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fire Marshal Office Supervisor Jeff Morton said the cause and origin investigation will likely take a month or more to finalize. He said his office is working with the building insurance company, which is doing its own investigation, and anticipates they’ll have a final report by April.</p> <p>The building is covered by a $700,000 insurance policy. It’s owned by North Road Properties, a company members of Triumverate’s board set up in its early days.</p> <p>“Originally, when that building came up for sale, Triumvirate Theatre, which was a relatively new organization, they didn’t have the collateral or the history or anything to be able to buy that building,&#8221; Rizzo said. &#8220;And so myself and a couple of the board members said, ‘OK, well, we’ll mortgage our house and buy this building so the theater will have some place to be.’ And so what we did is we purchased the building and then we were renting it to the theater operations.”</p> <p>They’re still figuring out how much insurance will cover. Rizzo guessed it’s worth about $500,000, but he won’t know until assessors come.</p> <p>Triumvirate doesn’t have insurance on the assets inside the building, including the stained glass chandelier that exploded in the fire or the set pieces from years of shows.&nbsp;</p> <p>They’re hoping the community can help spot those costs, though they’re asking those who want to help to wait to pitch in until they have more information. Rizzo said his board is in the process of setting up an account with the Kenai Peninsula Foundation so people can donate directly.</p> <p>Scott Wilburn is ready to help rebuild when he can. His entire family has been involved with Triumvirate since they moved to the area a few years back.</p> <p>“So we need to let the dust settle and just be ready to go when the Rizzos call us,” he said.</p> <p>Thirteen-year-old Alisha Wilburn played Anna in Triumvirate’s 2019 production of “Frozen.”&nbsp; She says she’s been watching their website since COVID-19 started for announcements.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I really want to get into another play. I love acting,&#8221; she said.</p> <p>Scott Wilburn is an aircraft mechanic and pitched in on the set, both for “Frozen” and “Pirates Past Noon” a year later. He said it meant a lot to them that the Rizzos were so inviting when they had just moved from out of town.</p> <p>“It was definitely a warm theater,&#8221; he said. &#8220;I liked the size, it really did keep it a lot smaller and intimate and more personable. And it let younger stars come to shine versus being swallowed up by a large theater.”</p> <p>On top of the theater, there was a lobby with couches and a fireplace around which castmates would gather during rehearsals.</p> <p>“Our hearts are bleeding with them right now,&#8221; said Lara McGinnis, manager of the Kenai Peninsula Fair for 14 years. &#8220;Joe Rizzo poured his heart and soul into that with so many children to build it. I know it’s a lot of adult volunteers but when kids pour their hearts into something like that and you see it disintegrate, it just hurts in ways that can’t be put into words.”</p> <p>She said she spoke with Jim Stearns, executive producer of SalmonFest, who reached out to ask what they can do to help.</p> <p>“They are so loved and acknowledged by the entire entertainment community on the peninsula. We will all be there,&#8221; McGinnis said.</p> <p>Kenai Performers, who put on T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” last weekend and this upcoming weekend, is sending donations from the production to Triumvirate. Donations can be made in person at the shows, now sold out, or through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kenaiperformers.org/buy-tickets?fbclid=IwAR0R2aRIUo3GmQkuOdc6Lnk7-13s_KJoT4bqHigBYjJa50-fhz1khe8d1bQ">ticketing website</a>&nbsp;for those attending the livestream.</p> <p>Those gestures and an outpouring of support on Facebook show there’s an entire community ready to help.<a href="https://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kdll/files/styles/x_large/public/202102/IMG_9046.jpeg"></a>A bouquet of roses at the Triumvirate Theatre space Sunday.CREDIT SABINE POUX/KDLL</p> <p>“They’ll get it back and it’s going to be better,&#8221; said Scott Wilburn. &#8220;Bigger and better than before.”</p> <p>At least one person, Rosie Reeder’s daughter Rhonda McCormick, is already taking steps to beautify the spot. Driving past the ruin, you might see it —&nbsp; propped up on a red crate, backset against a heap of ash, a bouquet of yellow roses.</p> Fire razes Triumvirate Theatre building on Kenai Peninsula https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/fire-razes-triumvirate-theatre-building-on-the-kenai-peninsula/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:c93964f7-41ea-ed28-cb86-47ede3db2904 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 17:05:06 +0000 No one was hurt but the fire completely razed the space and investigators are still working out what caused it. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-600x450.jpeg" alt="A burnt pile of metal with a milk crate and a bouquet of roses in front" class="wp-image-292258" width="723" height="543" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-600x450.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-300x225.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-150x113.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-768x576.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-1536x1152.jpeg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-2048x1536.jpeg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-80x60.jpeg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-265x198.jpeg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-696x522.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-1068x801.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_9046-560x420.jpeg 560w" sizes="(max-width: 723px) 100vw, 723px" /><figcaption>A bouquet of roses at the Triumvirate Theatre space Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (Sabine Poux/KDLL)</figcaption></figure> <p>A fire decimated a beloved community theater in Nikiski this weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>Triumvirate North, the primary theater space for the nonprofit Triumvirate Theatre, burned to the ground early Saturday morning.</p> <p>No one was hurt but the fire completely razed the space. Investigators are still working out what caused it. <br><br>One thing’s for certain: Come time to rebuild, there will be no shortage of helping hands.</p> <p>“It’s really kind of hard to describe what that feels like,&#8221; said Triumvirate executive director Joe Rizzo. “To get this tremendous amount of support from not only people that are in our little theater family, and people that have had kids on our stage, but also people we don’t even know have been reaching out to us.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;It’s really overwhelming in the backdrop of such an emotional thing in watching this building go up that we’ve worked on for 10 years,&#8221; he added.</p> <p>Triumvirate Theatre put on shows from that Nikiski space for <a href="https://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/new-show-home-for-the-holidays-triumvirate-theatre-opens-new-facility/">seven years</a>. Before it was a theater, it was North Road Motors, an old mechanic shop. </p> <p>Refurbishing the space was a multi-year labor of love from a crew of volunteers, including Nikiski High School students in a Kenai Peninsula Construction Academy class.</p> <p>Renovations didn’t stop then. Triumvirate had just put new siding on the building&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/triumviratetheater/posts/10157989369293861">earlier this month</a>. Last year, it built a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kdll.org/post/triumvirate-theatre-celebrates-15-years">two-story&nbsp;</a><a href="http://www.kdll.org/post/triumvirate-theatre-celebrates-15-years">addition</a>, which included a green room space dedicated to Rosie Reeder, who ran the used bookstore that supported the theater for over a decade.</p> <p>Firefighters think the fire originated from that addition. The Alaska State Troopers received a call around 3:15 a.m. Saturday from a passerby who spotted the fire. Two minutes later, they dispatched the Nikiski Fire Department, said Nikiski Fire Chief Bryan Crisp.</p> <p>When they arrived, fire engine and three water tankers in tow, the fire had already engulfed most of the building. The roof and siding collapsed, which made it difficult to get under and put out the hot spots.</p> <p>“That’s why we were there until like one, two that afternoon, because there were little pockets that were covered up by that siding and that sheeting from the roof,&#8221; Crisp said.</p> <p>He said they knew then most of the building would be a total loss. They were able to keep the front part of the structure from collapsing, but the fire still destroyed the ticket counter and lobby space within.</p> <p>With backup from Kenai and Central Emergency Services, Nikiski Fire set up a water shuttle to bring thousands of gallons of water to the fire. Niksiki doesn’t have fire hydrants since it doesn&#8217;t have a municipal water system. The closest hydrant is at the Baker Hughes building in Kenai, about a mile south of the theater.</p> <p>To set up the water shuttle, Crisp filled tankers elsewhere and dumped them into swimming pool-like tanks at the site. Then, the tankers drove back to fill up and do it all over again.</p> <p>“Basically it’s just a round-robin thing,&#8221; he said.</p> <p>When a fire causes a death or destruction of a high-dollar amount, the state sends in someone from its Fire Marshal Office to help investigate.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fire Marshal Office Supervisor Jeff Morton said the cause and origin investigation will likely take a month or more to finalize. He said his office is working with the building insurance company, which is doing its own investigation, and anticipates they’ll have a final report by April.</p> <p>The building is covered by a $700,000 insurance policy. It’s owned by North Road Properties, a company members of Triumvirate’s board set up in its early days.</p> <p>“Originally, when that building came up for sale, Triumvirate Theatre, which was a relatively new organization, they didn’t have the collateral or the history or anything to be able to buy that building,&#8221; Rizzo said. &#8220;And so myself and a couple of the board members said, ‘OK, well, we’ll mortgage our house and buy this building so the theater will have some place to be.’ And so what we did is we purchased the building, and then we were renting it to the theater operations.”</p> <p>They’re still figuring out how much insurance will cover. Rizzo guessed it’s worth about $500,000, but he won’t know until assessors come.</p> <p>Triumvirate doesn’t have insurance on the assets inside the building, including the stained glass chandelier that exploded in the fire or set pieces from years of shows. </p> <p>They’re hoping the community can help spot those costs, though they’re asking those who want to pitch in to wait until they have more information. Rizzo said his board is in the process of setting up an account with the Kenai Peninsula Foundation so people can donate directly.</p> <p>Scott Wilburn is ready to help rebuild when he can. His entire family has been involved with Triumvirate since they moved to the area a few years back.</p> <p>“We need to let the dust settle and just be ready to go when the Rizzos call us,” he said.</p> <p>Thirteen-year-old Alisha Wilburn played Anna in Triumvirate’s 2019 production of “Frozen.” She said she’s been watching their website since COVID-19 started for announcements. </p> <p>“I really want to get into another play,&#8221; she sad. &#8220;I love acting.&#8221;</p> <p>Scott Wilburn is an aircraft mechanic and pitched in on the set, both for “Frozen” and “Pirates Past Noon” a year later. He said it meant a lot to them that the Rizzos were so inviting when they had just moved to town.</p> <p>“It was definitely a warm theater,&#8221; he said. &#8220;I liked the size, it really did keep it a lot smaller and intimate and more personable. And it let younger stars come to shine versus being swallowed up by a large theater.”</p> <p>On top of the theater, there was a lobby with couches and a fireplace around which castmates would gather during rehearsals.</p> <p>“Our hearts are bleeding with them right now,&#8221; said Lara McGinnis, manager of the Kenai Peninsula Fair for 14 years. &#8220;Joe Rizzo poured his heart and soul into that with so many children to build it. I know it’s a lot of adult volunteers but when kids pour their hearts into something like that and you see it disintegrate, it just hurts in ways that can’t be put into words.”</p> <p>She said she spoke with Jim Stearns, executive producer of Salmonfest, who reached out to ask what they can do to help.</p> <p>“They are so loved and acknowledged by the entire entertainment community on the peninsula. We will all be there,&#8221; McGinnis said.</p> <p>Kenai Performers, who put on T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” last weekend and this upcoming weekend, is sending donations from the production to Triumvirate. Donations can be made in person at the shows, now sold out, or through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kenaiperformers.org/buy-tickets?fbclid=IwAR0R2aRIUo3GmQkuOdc6Lnk7-13s_KJoT4bqHigBYjJa50-fhz1khe8d1bQ">ticketing website</a>&nbsp;for those attending the livestream.</p> <p>Those gestures and an outpouring of support on Facebook show there’s an entire community ready to help.</p> <p>“They’ll get it back and it’s going to be better,&#8221; said Scott Wilburn. &#8220;Bigger and better than before.”</p> <p>At least one person — Rosie Reeder’s daughter Rhonda McCormick — is already taking steps to beautify the spot. Driving past the ruin, you might see, propped up on a red crate, against a heap of ash, a bouquet of yellow roses.</p> LISTEN: What another summer without cruise ships could mean for Alaska’s economy https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/listen-what-another-summer-without-cruise-ships-could-mean-for-alaskas-economy/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:f59e3c68-34ab-fb40-09d4-a06fbf1a3df6 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 16:59:44 +0000 Alaska lost 27,000 jobs in 2020. And, while the whole state suffered, regions that depend on tourism were hit especially hard. Now, the state is looking ahead to the 2021 summer season with lingering uncertainty, as large cruise ships are unlikely to sail to Alaska for the second year in a row. Economist Mouhcine Guettabi [&#8230;] <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-600x450.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-255272" width="600" height="450" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-696x522.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1-560x420.jpg 560w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/P6152565-768x576-1.jpg 768w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>A Disney cruise ship tied up at Skagway’s ore dock. (Emily Files/KHNS) </figcaption></figure> <p>Alaska lost 27,000 jobs in 2020. And, while the whole state suffered, regions that depend on tourism were hit especially hard. Now, the state is looking ahead to the 2021 summer season with lingering uncertainty, as large cruise ships are unlikely to sail to Alaska for the second year in a row.</p> <p>Economist Mouhcine Guettabi with the University of Alaska&#8217;s Institute of Social and Economic Research said this will be another really hard year. But the tourism industry will eventually recover, he said, and it&#8217;s important to help businesses survive to see that happen.</p> <p><audio controls="controls"><source src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/17Mouhcine2way-web.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"></audio></p> ‘Frustrating’ investigation into fatal 2019 medevac crash ends with no clear answers https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/23/frustrating-investigation-into-fatal-2019-medevac-crash-ends-with-no-clear-answers/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:4a7ac8d5-e798-0e55-cc50-8c3e88ad795d Tue, 23 Feb 2021 16:47:10 +0000 A final report released Jan. 28 by the National Transportation Safety Board says there isn’t enough evidence to explain how or why a twin-engine medevac plane plummeted from 2500 feet in just 14 seconds in 2019. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_0681-741x494-1-600x400.jpg" alt="A person holds a candle" class="wp-image-292252" width="728" height="485" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_0681-741x494-1-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_0681-741x494-1-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_0681-741x494-1-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_0681-741x494-1-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_0681-741x494-1-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_0681-741x494-1.jpg 741w" sizes="(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px" /><figcaption>Sitkans held a vigil on February 19, 2019 for those lost in the crash. An event was also held in Juneau where the three crew members lived. (Katherine Rose/KCAW) </figcaption></figure> <p>Federal aviation safety investigators have closed the book on the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2019/02/01/community-mourns-loss-of-missing-guardian-flight-colleagues/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Guardian Flight fatal crash that killed three crew members</a>.</p> <p>The twin-engine medevac plane was en route to the Southeast village of Kake to pick up a patient the evening of Jan. 29, 2019. During its approach over Frederick Sound, the turboprop veered to the right and plummeted 2,575 feet in just 14 seconds.</p> <p>A final report released Jan. 28 by the National Transportation Safety Board says there isn’t enough evidence to explain how or why.</p> <p>“A loss of control for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information,” the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kcaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Report_98934_2_18_2021-5-44-34-PM.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">13-page report</a>&nbsp;said.</p> <p>Most of the wreckage of the King Air 200 was recovered in about 500 feet of water. The bodies of the Juneau-based crew members were never found despite extensive effort by the U.S. Coast Guard and private contractors.</p> <p><strong>“</strong>This one was a little bit frustrating for us,” NTSB’s lead investigator Clint Johnson told CoastAlaska. “It’s not for the lack of trying, but unfortunately, it didn’t give us any definitive answers of exactly what happened.”</p> <p>He says there was initial hope&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2019/03/19/guardian-flight-recovers-crashed-planes-voice-recorder/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">after the cockpit voice recorder was found</a>.&nbsp;But a forensics lab determined the recorder hadn’t worked since 2015.</p> <p><strong>“</strong>We were definitely hoping that we were going to be able to glean some information as far as what happened in those last final moments,” Johnson said on Friday. “Unfortunately, it did not help us at all.”</p> <figure class="wp-block-image" id="attachment_244138"><img src="https://media.ktoo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/guardian-flight-track-830x361.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-244138"/><figcaption>A radar track of the Guardian Flight and its communications with air traffic communications during its final approach clearance. (Graphic courtesy of NTSB)</figcaption></figure> <p>All but one of the crew seats were recovered with the harnesses unbuckled. But the NTSB says that because none of the crew members were found, it couldn’t conduct autopsies or toxicology tests on any of the crew members. The pilot had cleared an FAA medical exam about four months before the crash.</p> <p>The three killed were 63-year-old pilot Patrick Coyle; 43-year-old paramedic Margaret Langston and 30-year-old nurse Stacie Rae Morse. Morse was more than six months pregnant at the time.</p> <p>Her fiancé, Dylan Listberger, filed a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kcaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/sharp465@akcourts.us_20210217_093342.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">wrongful death suit</a>&nbsp;against the Utah-based medevac company and plane manufacturer last month, shortly before the crash’s two-year anniversary.</p> <p>But Listberger’s Juneau attorney Sheldon Winters says it’s unclear whether the civil suit will proceed.</p> <p>“Mr. Listberger filed suit to preserve potential claims in light of a possible two-year statute of limitations, while we waited for the NTSB probable cause report,” Winters wrote in a statement. “We are currently evaluating the recently issued NTSB report.”</p> <p>A Guardian Flight representative says it’s aware of the lawsuit — which has been moved to federal court — but had no further comment.</p> Alaska News Nightly: Monday, February 22, 2021 https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/alaska-news-nightly-mon-feb-22/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:9d02a6f0-48cd-b1fc-30d6-a72bc5798973 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 02:52:50 +0000 FEMA will provide disaster assistance to Haines, to recover from the deadly landslides in December. And, a large solar array will power a lodge at Denali National Park, after a delicate installation. Plus, remembering Katie Hurley, who helped draft Alaska's constitution. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="450" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-600x450.jpg" alt="A landslide on a mountainside as seen from the air" class="wp-image-284783" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-768x576.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-1536x1152.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-696x522.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-1068x801.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited-560x420.jpg 560w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/landslide-1-edited.jpg 1800w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Heavy rains led to a landslide in Haines on Wednesday, December 2. (Jacob Cheeseman photo)</figcaption></figure> <p>Stories are posted on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alaskapublic.org/aprn/">statewide news</a>&nbsp;page. You can subscribe to Alaska Public Media’s newsfeeds via&nbsp;<a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=aprn-news">email</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/aprn-alaska-news/id264469573?mt=2">podcast</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.aprn.org/aprn-news">RSS</a>. Follow us on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/alaskapublic">Facebook at alaskapublic.org</a>&nbsp;and on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.twitter.com/AKPublicNews">Twitter @AKPublicNews</a>.</p> <figure class="wp-block-audio"><audio controls="" src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/ann-20210222.mp3"></audio></figure> <p><strong>Monday on Alaska News Nightly:</strong></p> <p>FEMA will provide disaster assistance to Haines, to recover from the deadly landslides in December. And, a large solar array will power a lodge at Denali National Park, after a delicate installation. Plus, remembering Katie Hurley, who helped draft Alaska&#8217;s constitution.</p> <p><strong>Reports tonight from:</strong></p> <ul><li>Tegan Hanlon in Anchorage</li><li>Henry Leasia in Haines</li><li>Hope McKenney in Unalaska</li><li>Robyne and Molly Rettig in Fairbanks</li><li>Robert Woolsey in Sitka</li><li>Tim Ellis in Delta Junction</li></ul> <p><em>Send news tips, questions or comments to <a href="mailto:news@alaskapublic.org">news@alaskapublic.org</a>.</em></p> Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation misses key deadline to do seismic work in Arctic refuge this winter https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/kaktovik-inupiat-corporation-misses-key-deadline-to-do-seismic-work-in-arctic-refuge-this-winter/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:4f9e8385-9006-ba6e-2e8d-bfcb7f7f22af Tue, 23 Feb 2021 02:38:03 +0000 Before it could get approval for what’s known as a seismic survey, the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation had to make three flights to search for polar bear dens in part of the refuge. The Interior Department says the corporation did not complete the work. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="338" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-600x338.jpg" alt="a herd of caribouo eat grass in some rolling hills" class="wp-image-288787" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-600x338.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-300x169.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-150x84.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-768x432.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-696x392.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-747x420.jpg 747w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>The Porcupine Caribou Herd in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on July 3, 2019. (Danielle Brigida via Creative Commons)</figcaption></figure> <p>An Alaska Native corporation has missed a key deadline to search for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to the Department of the Interior.&nbsp;</p> <p>Before it could get approval for what’s known as a seismic survey, the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation had to make three flights to search for polar bear dens in part of the refuge.&nbsp;</p> <p>But the corporation did not do the work before a deadline of Feb.13, said a brief statement Saturday from Interior spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz.</p> <p>It’s unclear what exactly happened. An official with KIC did not return requests for comment Monday.</p> <p>The missed deadline effectively kills the corporation’s proposal to use seismic to search for oil in part of the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain this winter.&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s the latest setback for drilling proponents who have long wanted to see oil pumped out of the refuge in northeast Alaska.</p> <p>Another came last month when the first-ever oil and gas lease sale in the refuge, held under then-President Donald Trump, attracted very little interest.</p> <p><strong>RELATED</strong>: <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/06/long-awaited-arctic-refuge-oil-lease-sale-attracts-little-interest/"><em>Arctic refuge lease sale goes bust, as major oil companies skip out</em></a></p> <p>KIC was proposing to bring big trucks and dozens of workers onto the coastal plain to search for pockets of oil on part of the land.&nbsp;</p> <p>But, to move forward, the corporation needed what the federal government calls an “Incidental Harassment Authorization” of polar bears.</p> <p>In October, KIC submitted a request to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the authorization. The agency got inundated with more than 6 million public comments tied to the controversial request.</p> <p>It had until Sunday to decide whether to give KIC the authorization.</p> <p>Because the aerial work was not done, the agency told the corporation that its request &#8220;is no longer actionable,” according to Schwartz, with the Interior. </p> <p>Environmental groups celebrated the news that KIC’s plan hit a major roadblock. They had raised concerns about it damaging the tundra, and harming wildlife.</p> <p>“The previous administration attempted to fast-track exploration on an unreasonably short timeline, so the fact that KIC was unable to do the work necessary to ensure the safety of threatened polar bears was completely foreseeable, and Interior responding by voiding the harassment request is the right move at this time,” said a written statement from Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.</p> <p>Any future proposals for seismic work will likely face steeper hurdles under President Joe Biden who opposes oil development in the refuge. </p> <p>On his first day in office, Biden directed the Interior Secretary to put a “temporary moratorium” on all oil and gas leasing activities in the refuge.</p> <p><strong>RELATED</strong>: <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/20/biden-to-immediately-slam-the-brakes-on-oil-leasing-in-arctic-refuge/"><em>Biden immediately slams the brakes on oil drilling in Arctic refuge</em></a></p> <p><em>Reach reporter Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447</em>.</p> Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation misses key deadline for seismic work in Arctic refuge this winter https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/kaktovik-inupiat-corporation-misses-key-deadline-to-do-seismic-work-in-arctic-refuge-this-winter/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:7e03d7eb-3c4d-3edb-212c-4c77a093441a Tue, 23 Feb 2021 02:38:03 +0000 Before it could get approval for what’s known as a seismic survey, the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation had to make three flights to search for polar bear dens in part of the refuge. The Interior Department says the corporation did not complete the work. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="338" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-600x338.jpg" alt="a herd of caribouo eat grass in some rolling hills" class="wp-image-288787" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-600x338.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-300x169.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-150x84.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-768x432.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-696x392.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c-747x420.jpg 747w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/48484493942_4f083d7d8d_c.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>The Porcupine Caribou Herd in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on July 3, 2019. (Danielle Brigida/Creative Commons)</figcaption></figure> <p>An Alaska Native corporation has missed a key deadline to search for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to the Department of the Interior.&nbsp;</p> <p>Before it could get approval for what’s known as a seismic survey, the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation had to make three flights to search for polar bear dens in part of the refuge.&nbsp;</p> <p>But the corporation did not do the work before a deadline of Feb. 13, according to a brief statement Saturday from Interior spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz.</p> <p>It’s unclear what exactly happened: An official with KIC did not return requests for comment Monday.</p> <p>The missed deadline effectively kills the corporation’s proposal to use seismic to search for oil in part of the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain this winter.&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s the latest setback for drilling proponents who have long wanted to see oil pumped out of the refuge in northeast Alaska.</p> <p>Another came last month when the first-ever oil and gas lease sale in the refuge, held under former President Donald Trump, attracted very little interest.</p> <p><strong>RELATED</strong>: <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/06/long-awaited-arctic-refuge-oil-lease-sale-attracts-little-interest/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><em>Arctic refuge lease sale goes bust, as major oil companies skip out</em></a></p> <p>KIC was proposing to bring big trucks and dozens of workers onto the coastal plain to search for pockets of oil on part of the land.&nbsp;</p> <p>But, to move forward, the corporation needed what the federal government calls an “Incidental Harassment Authorization” of polar bears.</p> <p>In October, KIC submitted a request to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the authorization. The agency was inundated by more than 6 million public comments tied to the controversial request.</p> <p>It had until Sunday to decide whether to give KIC the authorization.</p> <p>Because the aerial work was not done, the agency told the corporation that its request &#8220;is no longer actionable,” according to Interior&#8217;s Schwartz. </p> <p>Environmental groups celebrated the news of KIC’s plan hitting a major roadblock. They had raised concerns about it damaging the tundra, and harming wildlife.</p> <p>“The previous administration attempted to fast-track exploration on an unreasonably short timeline, so the fact that KIC was unable to do the work necessary to ensure the safety of threatened polar bears was completely foreseeable, and Interior responding by voiding the harassment request is the right move at this time,” said a written statement from Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.</p> <p>Any future proposals for seismic work will likely face steeper hurdles under President Joe Biden who opposes oil development in the refuge. </p> <p>On his first day in office, Biden directed the Interior Secretary to put a “temporary moratorium” on all oil and gas leasing activities in the refuge.</p> <p><strong>RELATED</strong>: <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/20/biden-to-immediately-slam-the-brakes-on-oil-leasing-in-arctic-refuge/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><em>Biden immediately slams the brakes on oil drilling in Arctic refuge</em></a></p> <p><em>Reach reporter Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447</em>.</p> Trident reopens Akutan processing plant after month-long COVID-19 closure https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/trident-reopens-akutan-processing-plant-after-month-long-covid-19-closure/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:49836533-5d6c-9318-655e-315f8995577f Mon, 22 Feb 2021 23:16:12 +0000 45% of Trident's 700-person workforce ultimately tested positive for the virus, company officials said Monday. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Akutan-1-600x400.jpg" alt="A bunch of large warehouses on the side of a mountain" class="wp-image-289734" width="685" height="458" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Akutan-1-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Akutan-1-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Akutan-1-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Akutan-1-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Akutan-1-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Akutan-1.jpg 750w" sizes="(max-width: 685px) 100vw, 685px" /><figcaption>Akutan Volcano, on Akutan Island, overshadows the village of Akutan. Nearly 1000 people are employed at the large Trident seafood processing plant (in foreground). (Courtesy Helena Buurman/Alaska Volcano Observatory)</figcaption></figure> <p>Trident Seafoods&#8217; huge processing plant on the remote Aleutian island of Akutan reopened Friday after a nearly month-long COVID-19 closure.&nbsp;</p> <p>An outbreak at the plant<a href="https://www.kucb.org/post/everybodys-worst-nightmare-bering-sea-fishermen-edge-covid-19-shutters-second-plant#stream/0"> forced the fishing giant to close the facility in late January</a> just as the lucrative winter season was set to kick off. 45% of Trident&#8217;s 700-person workforce ultimately tested positive for the virus, company officials said Monday.  </p> <p>Multiple rounds of comprehensive testing brought welcome news last week that COVID-19 cases had been isolated on site, Trident said in a statement. Surveillance testing, symptom screenings and the use of PPE and distancing protocols will remain throughout the season. </p> <p>The company said it&#8217;s developed additional measures to speed response if the virus is detected again. Those include new shift schedules to limit contact between workers and capacity limits to allow distancing outside of workstations, from the galley to the area for donning and doffing rain gear.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&#8220;While these new measures are burdensome, we anticipate cooperation and understanding,&nbsp; given everyone&#8217;s eagerness to safely return to work,&#8221; said Stefanie Moreland, a Trident executive. &#8220;The management team on site has been working to make sure these operational changes do not come as a surprise, and to ensure our employees know their safety is our priority.&#8221;&nbsp;</p> <p>115 workers who have been quarantined in Sand Point and Anchorage arrived back in Akutan over the past several days to help with crab and cod processing, the company said. It&#8217;s preparing to resume pollock processing this week.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Trident has faced a number of challenges since the start of the year. In addition to the Akutan shutdown,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kucb.org/post/covid-19-hits-second-trident-plant-first-outbreak-grows-266#stream/0">the virus also hit one of the corporation&#8217;s massive factory ships</a>&nbsp;as it arrived in Unalaska last month. And last week,<a href="https://www.kucb.org/post/tridents-alaska-seafood-processor-burns-port-tacoma">&nbsp;another floating processor caught fire while docked at a Washington port</a>. Trident said the vessel is a total loss.</p> Dallas Seavey returns to Iditarod after mysterious scandal rocked his mushing career https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/dallas-seavey-returns-to-iditarod-after-scandal-rocked-his-mushing-career/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:4562a0a8-4add-93ec-25a2-dd7a84fcdb2e Mon, 22 Feb 2021 18:56:19 +0000 This year marks Dallas Seavey’s 12th Iditarod. But it’s the four-time Iditarod champion's first since a dog-doping whodunit turned his mushing career upside-down four years ago. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="400" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-600x400.jpg" alt="a dog lunges onto a person in a blue jacket" class="wp-image-292093" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-46.jpg 1800w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Musher Dallas Seavey at his dog lot in Talkeetna on Wednesday, February 17, 2020. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>Dallas Seavey stopped every few feet on a recent snowy afternoon in Talkeetna to pet one of his dozens of sled dogs — and to rattle off their personality traits or lineages.</p> <p>“Yes, West! I know buddy. You’re so wiggly,” the four-time Iditarod champion called out. “North and West, their mother is a Zorro daughter from Lance Mackey.” </p> <p>Then there’s Prophet, the powerhouse that doesn’t always get along well with others.</p> <p>“This will be our first Iditarod, huh bud? Hopefully it’s going to be a good one.”</p> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignleft size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-600x400.jpg" alt="a dog in front of a dog house" class="wp-image-292087" width="340" height="227" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-40.jpg 1800w" sizes="(max-width: 340px) 100vw, 340px" /><figcaption>Dallas Seavey has 110 sled dogs in Talkeetna, including Prophet. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>This year marks Seavey’s 12th Iditarod. But it’s his first since a <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2017/10/24/amid-doping-scandal-a-mushing-whodunit/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">dog-doping scandal</a> turned his mushing career upside down four years ago.&nbsp;</p> <p>The 33-year-old musher says he’s now returning to the Iditarod with a new perspective, and ready to race.</p> <p>“What was one of the darkest times in my life, I would have to say, is one of the things I&#8217;m most proud of now,” he said. “I can honestly look back and say, and feel, that we handled it to the best of our ability.”&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>LISTEN TO THIS STORY:</strong></p> <p><audio controls="controls"><source src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/22Seavey.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"></audio></p> <p>Leading up to 2017, Seavey touted an impressive mushing resume.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/iditarod/2017/02/26/despite-a-27-year-age-divide-father-and-son-view-each-other-as-top-iditarod-challenger/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">former world-class wrestler</a> ran his first Iditarod at age 18, and became the race’s <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2012/03/14/dallas-seavey-becomes-youngest-iditarod-winner/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">youngest champion</a> at 25.&nbsp;</p> <p>Then, he won the race <a href="https://iditarod.com/race/mushers/23-Dallas-Seavey/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">again and again and again</a>, earning a reputation as a focused, serious and competitive musher with deep roots in sled-dog racing. His grandfather competed in the first Iditarod, and his dad<a href="https://iditarod.com/race/mushers/92-Mitch-Seavey/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"> has won it three times</a>.&nbsp;</p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="450" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dallas-seavey-win.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-137348" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dallas-seavey-win.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dallas-seavey-win-300x225.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Dallas Seavey after winning the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. It was his third Iditarod victory, and would win again in 2016. (Photo via KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>But Seavey’s streak of success screeched to a halt in 2017.</p> <p>A month after placing second in that year’s Iditarod to his dad, Seavey got a call from the race marshal. The official told him that several of his dogs had tested positive for the banned pain medicine tramadol after they crossed the finish line in Nome.&nbsp;</p> <p>“And that set off, literally, I would say, without a doubt, the most stressful year of my life filled with more challenges than at times I thought I was capable of handling,” Seavey said.</p> <p>The controversy <a href="https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/iditarod/2017/10/26/confused-about-the-iditarod-drug-controversy-heres-what-happened-and-what-we-still-dont-know/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">unfolded publicly that fall</a>. The Iditarod&#8217;s governing board <a href="https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/iditarod/2017/10/26/confused-about-the-iditarod-drug-controversy-heres-what-happened-and-what-we-still-dont-know/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">released information in pieces</a>, saying it didn&#8217;t know how tramadol got into the dogs&#8217; systems. Seavey vehemently denied giving the drug to his dogs.</p> <p>Over the next year, there were lawyers and PR firms and a flurry of statements to reporters.</p> <p>“It felt like everything that I thought that I was was, you know, peripherally, externally being torn apart,” Seavey said.</p> <p>Seavey said it felt like the accusations took away from all that his dogs had accomplished and tarnished a key piece of his identity.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>RELATED</strong>: <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2017/10/24/amid-doping-scandal-a-mushing-whodunit/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><em>Amid doping scandal, a mushing whodunit</em></a></p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="400" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-600x400.jpg" alt="a person in a blue jacket stands in front of a bunch of dog houses" class="wp-image-292060" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-13.jpg 1800w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Musher Dallas Seavey during an interview with Alaska Public Media on Feb. 17, 2021 at his sled dog kennel. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>Then in <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/12/04/iditarod-clears-dallas-seavey-in-2017-doping-controversy/#:~:text=The%20Iditarod%20Trail%20Committee%20released,and%2Da%2Dhalf%20ago.&amp;text=In%202017%2C%20after%20arriving%20in,the%20banned%20pain%20medication%20Tramadol." target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">the winter of 2018</a>, came an apology from the Iditarod board. It issued a statement saying it did not believe Seavey had anything to do with “the events that led up the positive test.”&nbsp;</p> <p>As for who did? That’s still a mystery.</p> <p>“I have theories. I have suspicions,” Seavey said. “I do not have proof.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Seavey skipped the Iditarod in 2018 in protest. It was the first time he missed the race since 2008.</p> <p>He went to Norway instead, <a href="https://apnews.com/article/8e1713e74f4b4ad79aefdb4a2430dea8" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">placing third</a> in the 750-mile Finnmarksløpet.&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2019, he also skipped the Iditarod for the overseas race. He dropped out in the middle of the competition because <a href="https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/content/news/Dallas-Seavey-scratches-from-Finnmarkslopet-sled-dog-race-507109931.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">several of his dogs had tendinitis</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I kind of needed a break from the Iditarod. But I wasn&#8217;t in a place that I wanted to not be racing dogs competitively,” Seavey said. “And then last year, I took the year off entirely.”</p> <p>Seavey said he needed time to regroup.&nbsp;</p> <p>He was going through a divorce and finishing the move to Talkeetna, where he has 110 sled dogs and about 100 acres of property. He also runs a <a href="https://sleddogtours.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">sled-dog tourism business there.</a></p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="400" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-600x400.jpg" alt="dogs on long chains by their dog houses" class="wp-image-292064" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-17.jpg 1800w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption><em>Musher Dallas Seavey plans to race the 2021 Iditarod with some dogs from his dad, Mitch Seavey, who is taking the year off.</em> (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>As Seavey stood on the edge of his dog yard last week, he said he always knew he’d return to the Iditarod eventually.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now seemed like the right time, he said.&nbsp;</p> <p>He’s happy about<a href="https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/iditarod/2018/07/16/after-series-of-controversies-iditarod-adds-four-new-board-members/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"> leadership changes within the race organization</a>. Also, his dad is taking this year off, so Seavey will compete with some of his dogs.</p> <p>“We’re definitely here to race,” he said.</p> <p>While Seavey is coming back to the Iditarod with the same drive to compete, he said the past few years have also changed him. He’s a little more resilient and cares a little bit less about what others say about him, he said.</p> <p>“In a way it’s coming home for me, right?” he said. “This is where I belong, racing the Iditarod.”</p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="400" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-600x400.jpg" alt="a person in a blue jacket petting his sled dogs" class="wp-image-291908" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210217_DallasSeavey_CHEN-5.jpg 1800w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Musher Dallas Seavey is returning to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race this year. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p><em>Reach reporter Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447</em>.</p> Alaska’s governor is quarantining after possible coronavirus exposure https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/alaskas-governor-is-quarantining-after-possible-coronavirus-exposure/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:6085cd0e-0056-10d0-2452-d12df0c85a5d Mon, 22 Feb 2021 17:45:43 +0000 Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is quarantining at his home in Wasilla after one of his close contacts tested positive for COVID-19, the governor's office said in a prepared statement Monday. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-600x400.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-255081" width="707" height="472" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-696x464.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-1068x712.jpg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1-630x420.jpg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IMG_0282-1536x1024-1.jpg 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 707px) 100vw, 707px" /><figcaption>Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters at a political fundraiser last year. (Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is quarantining at his home in Wasilla after one of his close contacts tested positive for COVID-19, the governor&#8217;s office said in a prepared statement Monday.</p> <p>&#8220;After receiving a COVID-19 rapid test, the governor immediately went into self-isolation at his home in the Mat-Su Valley,&#8221; the statement said. &#8220;The test result came back this morning and was negative; he continues to show no symptoms of the disease.&#8221;</p> <p><em><a href="http://alaskapublic.org/coronavirus" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Read Alaska Public Media&#8217;s full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic</a></em></p> <p>Dunleavy will telework from his home for at least seven days and continue to get tested &#8220;until it is certain he is free of the virus,&#8221; the statement added.</p> <p><em><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/10/14/dunleavy-administration-announces-covid-cases/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">3 staff at Gov. Dunleavy’s Anchorage office test positive for COVID-19</a></em></p> <p>The statement did not identify the close contact or provide additional details about how Dunleavy was exposed. It said Dunleavy&#8217;s exposure was Saturday and that he learned about it Sunday.</p> <p>Last fall, three of the governor&#8217;s aides <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/10/14/dunleavy-administration-announces-covid-cases/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">tested positive</a> for COVID-19, though Dunleavy himself did not have a positive test.</p> One month in, Anchorage teacher says fear of in-person learning is disappearing https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/one-month-in-anchorage-teacher-says-fear-of-in-person-learning-is-disappearing/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:bda45878-9028-3544-7951-43266b666ac0 Mon, 22 Feb 2021 16:46:26 +0000 Students are following protocols and the number of people in ASD reporting positive covid cases has been fairly low. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-600x450.jpeg" alt="" class="wp-image-288854" width="632" height="474" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-600x450.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-300x225.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-150x113.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-768x576.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-1536x1152.jpeg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-2048x1536.jpeg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-80x60.jpeg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-265x198.jpeg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-696x522.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-1068x801.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-560x420.jpeg 560w" sizes="(max-width: 632px) 100vw, 632px" /><figcaption>Creekside Park Elementary School kindergarten teacher Rihana Gay conducts her first in-person class since the pandemic reached Anchorage in March 2020. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>At the end of the <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/21/inside-this-anchorage-classroom-students-learn-new-pandemic-style-lessons-on-first-day-back/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">first day of in-person learning</a> back in January, Creekside Park kindergarten teacher Rhiana Gay said she felt &#8220;underprepared and overwhelmed.&#8221; </p> <p>And it was a tough day, full of constant reminders about masks and trying to maintain social distancing among 18 5- and 6-year-olds.</p> <p>But, now Gay said she feels good, optimistic even.</p> <p>&#8220;They are learning each other&#8217;s names and following expectations,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;I&#8217;m so thankful for my student&#8217;s families for making sure that they come on time, come with masks and ready to learn.&#8221; </p> <p>Gay said she hasn&#8217;t had any students test positive for the coronavirus, that she&#8217;s aware of. A few have stayed home after showing symptoms.</p> <p>According to district administrators, about 14,000 elementary students have returned to in-person learning, out of about 17,500 elementary students total.</p> <p>Administrators said 25 classrooms out of about the 800 currently open have had to close for a period of time due to COVID-19. And, less than 2% of the ASD population has reported a positive case, ASD said.</p> <p>Gay was open about her fears around returning to the classroom, initially. But that fear is slowly going away, she said, as <a href="http://‘We have many reasons to be optimistic’: Daily COVID-19 cases in Alaska hit 5-month low" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">case counts in Anchorage have declined</a>. She said her students are having fun.</p> <p><strong>Read more:</strong> <em><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/16/politics-take-center-stage-as-anchorage-school-board-race-gets-underway/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Politics take center stage as Anchorage school board race gets underway </a></em></p> <p>&#8220;A few weeks ago, I asked the students if they wanted to go back on zoom? And they said &#8216;No! No! Please don&#8217;t make us!'&#8221;</p> <p>The students most enjoy playing together at recess and sitting to eat together, Gay said. They&#8217;ve even been helping to remind each other to keep their masks on she says.</p> <p>And, of course, they&#8217;re learning too.</p> <p>&#8220;We&#8217;ve learned new sight words,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;For Valentine&#8217;s Day, we wrote friendship sentences of what it means to be a friend and what it means to be a kind classmate.&#8221;</p> <p>Right now, Gay, said she&#8217;s really focusing on getting the kindergartners to where they need to be in the curriculum.</p> <p>Even though the yearly hoarseness and discomfort in her voice has returned, she said she can hear students clearly now, work with them one-on-one if they need it, and see their handwriting. Tasks that were much more difficult with virtual learning.</p> <p>&#8220;Zoom served its purpose,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;And it did keep us safe. Now and it&#8217;s our job to continue to follow the plan, so we can still be safe but be in the classroom.&#8221;</p> <p>This week&#8217;s lesson is all about towns, Gays said. The kindergartners will be learning about what&#8217;s around them in their neighborhood of Muldoon.</p> <p>Now that students are back in class, she&#8217;ll be helping them expand their horizons even more, writing, learning, and reading about the community where they live.</p> A month in, fear of in-person learning is disappearing in one Anchorage classroom https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/one-month-in-anchorage-teacher-says-fear-of-in-person-learning-is-disappearing/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:a81b68f9-6b6d-9383-707c-dd3c86f877ea Mon, 22 Feb 2021 16:46:26 +0000 Students are following protocols and the number of people in ASD reporting positive covid cases has been fairly low. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-600x450.jpeg" alt="" class="wp-image-288854" width="632" height="474" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-600x450.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-300x225.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-150x113.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-768x576.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-1536x1152.jpeg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-2048x1536.jpeg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-80x60.jpeg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-265x198.jpeg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-696x522.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-1068x801.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-560x420.jpeg 560w" sizes="(max-width: 632px) 100vw, 632px" /><figcaption>Creekside Park Elementary School kindergarten teacher Rihana Gay conducts her first in-person class since the pandemic reached Anchorage in March 2020. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>At the end of the <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/21/inside-this-anchorage-classroom-students-learn-new-pandemic-style-lessons-on-first-day-back/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">first day of in-person learning</a> back in January, Creekside Park kindergarten teacher Rhiana Gay said she felt &#8220;underprepared and overwhelmed.&#8221; </p> <p>And it was a tough day, full of constant reminders about masks and trying to maintain social distancing among 18 5- and 6-year-olds.</p> <p>But, now Gay said she feels good, optimistic even.</p> <p>&#8220;They are learning each other&#8217;s names and following expectations,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;I&#8217;m so thankful for my student&#8217;s families for making sure that they come on time, come with masks and ready to learn.&#8221; </p> <p>Gay said she hasn&#8217;t had any students test positive for the coronavirus, that she&#8217;s aware of. A few have stayed home after showing symptoms.</p> <p>According to district administrators, about 14,000 elementary students have returned to in-person learning, out of about 17,500 elementary students total.</p> <p>Administrators said 25 classrooms out of about the 800 currently open have had to close for a period of time due to COVID-19. And, less than 2% of the ASD population has reported a positive case, ASD said.</p> <p>Gay was open about her fears around returning to the classroom, initially. But that fear is slowly going away, she said, as <a href="http://‘We have many reasons to be optimistic’: Daily COVID-19 cases in Alaska hit 5-month low" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">case counts in Anchorage have declined</a>. She said her students are having fun.</p> <p><strong>Read more:</strong> <em><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/16/politics-take-center-stage-as-anchorage-school-board-race-gets-underway/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Politics take center stage as Anchorage school board race gets underway </a></em></p> <p>&#8220;A few weeks ago, I asked the students if they wanted to go back on zoom? And they said &#8216;No! No! Please don&#8217;t make us!'&#8221;</p> <p>The students most enjoy playing together at recess and sitting to eat together, Gay said. They&#8217;ve even been helping to remind each other to keep their masks on she says.</p> <p>And, of course, they&#8217;re learning too.</p> <p>&#8220;We&#8217;ve learned new sight words,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;For Valentine&#8217;s Day, we wrote friendship sentences of what it means to be a friend and what it means to be a kind classmate.&#8221;</p> <p>Right now, Gay, said she&#8217;s really focusing on getting the kindergartners to where they need to be in the curriculum.</p> <p>Even though the yearly hoarseness and discomfort in her voice has returned, she said she can hear students clearly now, work with them one-on-one if they need it, and see their handwriting. Tasks that were much more difficult with virtual learning.</p> <p>&#8220;Zoom served its purpose,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;And it did keep us safe. Now and it&#8217;s our job to continue to follow the plan, so we can still be safe but be in the classroom.&#8221;</p> <p>This week&#8217;s lesson is all about towns, Gays said. The kindergartners will be learning about what&#8217;s around them in their neighborhood of Muldoon.</p> <p>Now that students are back in class, she&#8217;ll be helping them expand their horizons even more, writing, learning, and reading about the community where they live.</p> Fears dissipate, horizons expand after one month of in-person learning in Anchorage classroom https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/22/one-month-in-anchorage-teacher-says-fear-of-in-person-learning-is-disappearing/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:ac4c4441-2683-1d16-95d3-aca82ac4dd0b Mon, 22 Feb 2021 16:46:26 +0000 Students are following protocols and the number of people in ASD reporting positive covid cases has been fairly low. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-600x450.jpeg" alt="" class="wp-image-288854" width="632" height="474" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-600x450.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-300x225.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-150x113.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-768x576.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-1536x1152.jpeg 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-2048x1536.jpeg 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-80x60.jpeg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-265x198.jpeg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-696x522.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-1068x801.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/File_009-560x420.jpeg 560w" sizes="(max-width: 632px) 100vw, 632px" /><figcaption>Creekside Park Elementary School kindergarten teacher Rihana Gay conducts her first in-person class since the pandemic reached Anchorage in March 2020. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>At the end of the <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/21/inside-this-anchorage-classroom-students-learn-new-pandemic-style-lessons-on-first-day-back/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">first day of in-person learning</a> back in January, Creekside Park kindergarten teacher Rhiana Gay said she felt &#8220;underprepared and overwhelmed.&#8221; </p> <p>It was a tough day, full of constant reminders about masks and trying to maintain social distancing among 18 5- and 6-year-olds.</p> <p>But, now Gay said, she feels good — optimistic, even.</p> <p>&#8220;They are learning each other&#8217;s names and following expectations,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;I&#8217;m so thankful for my student&#8217;s families for making sure that they come on time, come with masks and ready to learn.&#8221; </p> <p>Gay said she hasn&#8217;t had any students test positive for the coronavirus that she&#8217;s aware of. A few have stayed home after showing symptoms.</p> <p>According to district administrators, about 14,000 elementary students have returned to in-person learning, out of about 17,500 districtwide.</p> <p>Administrators said 25 out of the around 800 currently open classrooms have had to close for a period of time due to COVID-19. Less than 2% of the ASD population has reported a positive case, ASD said.</p> <p>Gay was open about her fears around returning to the classroom, initially. But that fear is slowly going away, she said, as <a href="http://‘We have many reasons to be optimistic’: Daily COVID-19 cases in Alaska hit 5-month low" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">case counts in Anchorage have declined</a>. She said her students are having fun.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong> <em><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/16/politics-take-center-stage-as-anchorage-school-board-race-gets-underway/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Politics take center stage as Anchorage school board race gets underway </a></em></p> <p>&#8220;A few weeks ago, I asked the students if they wanted to go back on Zoom? And they said &#8216;No! No! Please don&#8217;t make us!'&#8221;</p> <p>The students most enjoy playing together at recess and sitting to eat together, Gay said. They&#8217;ve even been helping to remind each other to keep their masks on.</p> <p>And, of course, they&#8217;re learning too.</p> <p>&#8220;We&#8217;ve learned new sight words,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;For Valentine&#8217;s Day, we wrote friendship sentences of what it means to be a friend and what it means to be a kind classmate.&#8221;</p> <p>Right now, Gay said she&#8217;s really focusing on getting the kindergartners to where they need to be in the curriculum.</p> <p>Even though the yearly hoarseness and discomfort in her voice has returned, she said she can hear students clearly now, work with them one-on-one if they need it, and see their handwriting — tasks that were much more difficult with virtual learning.</p> <p>&#8220;Zoom served its purpose,&#8221; Gay said. &#8220;And it did keep us safe. Now it&#8217;s our job to continue to follow the plan, so we can still be safe but be in the classroom.&#8221;</p> <p>This week&#8217;s lesson is all about towns, Gay said. The kindergartners will be learning about what&#8217;s around them in their Muldoon neighborhood.</p> <p>Now students are back in class, she&#8217;ll be helping them expand their horizons even more: writing, learning and reading about the community in which they live.</p> After mishandled investigations, advocates are cautious as Nome police try to rebuild trust https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/21/after-mishandled-investigations-nome-police-are-working-to-build-trust-advocates-want-more-action/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:56266515-4268-4fc7-d4ee-6694b02276b6 Mon, 22 Feb 2021 05:37:59 +0000 Under new leadership, the Nome Police Department has made some positive reforms, but advocates say a lot more work needs to be done to repair trust with the community. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-600x400.jpeg" alt="A police officer stnds in front of a building" class="wp-image-292124" width="703" height="468" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-600x400.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-300x200.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-150x100.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-768x512.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-696x464.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-1068x712.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-630x420.jpeg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1.jpeg 1216w" sizes="(max-width: 703px) 100vw, 703px" /><figcaption>Image at top: NPD Officer in Front of Public Safety Building in Nome (Jenna Kunze/KMOM) </figcaption></figure> <p>Under new leadership, the Nome Police Department says it is changing practices in response to a call for reform from a local advocacy group after past mishandlings of sexual assault investigations. </p> <figure class="wp-block-audio"><audio controls src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02192021PartFour.mp3"></audio></figure> <p>Survivors, advocates, and community members say the department is headed the right direction but has a long way to go to repair broken trust, especially among Alaska Natives.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong><em> Read all the parts of KNOM&#8217;s series on sexual assault investigations <a href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/category/all-news/seeking-protection-wanting-justice/">here</a>. </em></p> <h2 id="h-cold-cases-in-nome">Cold Cases in Nome</h2> <p>Over two years ago, the Nome Police went through their records and found they had 460 “cold case” sexual assaults dating back to the year 2005. They re-opened those cases. As December of 2020 drew to a close, Nome Police Investigator Scott Weaver addressed the Nome City Council on his findings.</p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Investigator-Weaver-2.jpg?resize=684%2C499&amp;ssl=1" alt="" class="wp-image-52312"/><figcaption>Nome Police Investigator Scott Weaver. (Emily Hofstaedter/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>“There were a good amount of cases that had been investigated by police officers that were here at the time and simply the case just needed to be put together and sent over to the district attorney’s office,&#8221; said Wevaer.</p> <p>That means that in some cases, NPD failed to finish the process of gathering and sending the evidence that would have allowed the District Attorney to make a decision about whether to charge an assailant.</p> <p><strong>READ: </strong><em><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/31/in-nome-few-are-prosecuted-in-sexual-assault-crimes-against-native-women/">In Nome, few sexual assault crimes result in prosecutions</a></em></p> <p>Weaver told the city that almost all 460 cases for audit have been reviewed.</p> <p>“Some cases just needed to be classified appropriately. But there were many cases that needed work.”</p> <p>Some of that work has included additional interviews and DNA evidence.</p> <p>In order to get closure and justice for some of those survivors, Weaver had to locate people who moved out of the state and in many instances, had to re-open wounds that were nearly a decade old.&nbsp;</p> <p>“15 years ago, they may have had an injustice here, there may have been the police officer here or somebody that was working here that didn’t do what maybe they should have done or followed all the steps. But did they want to start that over now? Because some [survivors] have [been] scarred from that or put a band-aid on it, and they don’t want to talk about it. And that’s understandable.”</p> <p><strong>READ: </strong><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/01/without-justice-in-nome-women-wrestle-with-trauma-and-healing-after-sexual-assault/"><em>Without justice in Nome, women wrestle with trauma and healing after sexual assault</em></a></p> <p>As of December, Weaver, along with the Nome District Attorney and others in the police department, have identified 29 cases from that audit that could move on for potential prosecution, pending DNA evidence, and more interviews.</p> <p>That sexual assault case audit has been part of a big effort by the police and City of Nome to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the rest of the community over the last couple years.</p> <p>But how did Nome get to the point where so many sexual assault cases needed to be potentially reinvestigated?</p> <p>The answer goes back to before 2018.</p> <h2 id="h-bringing-the-problems-to-light">Bringing the Problems to Light</h2> <p>Lisa Ellanna is a Nome community member whose kitchen table became a safe space for women, and sometimes men, to eat dinner and talk. The group soon came to realize that many of them had a shared experience: they were reporting their sexual assaults to the Nome Police and then they would hear nothing about the investigation.</p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_8319-2.jpg?resize=684%2C456&amp;ssl=1" alt="Woman with glasses and headband looking " class="wp-image-52295"/><figcaption>Resident, Lisa Ellanna, gazing towards the distant mountains in Nome. (Brisa Alarcon/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>“It turned into a situation of ‘wait a second, if this is happening to all of our cases, it’s probably happening to everybody’s cases, and what do we do about it?’ You know, this is unacceptable; this won’t do,&#8221; said Ellana.</p> <p>Over the years, Ellanna says they worked with other groups to create change for sexual assault survivors.</p> <p><strong>READ: </strong><em><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/10/law-change-needed-to-bring-more-rape-prosecutions-in-nome-and-across-the-state-some-experts-say/">Change the law to make prosecution for rape more possible in Nome and across Alaska, experts say</a></em></p> <p>&#8220;Over the course of between 2015 and 2018, there was meeting after meeting after meeting, people coming together to support each other initially, and then turning into this advocacy kind of movement. We came to kind of an understanding of what would make things better. And through the process of working with the different agencies and trying to push for changes to procedure and policy, and not making any headway…. we decided to come forward in the form of a public complaint,” she said. </p> <p>In May of 2018, a group of mostly Alaska Native women, including Ellanna, introduced their own&nbsp;<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-wordpress-client-uploads/adn/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/03011402/FINAL-SIGNED-RESOLUTION-submitted-5-7-18.pdf" target="_blank">resolution</a>&nbsp;on sexual assault to the Nome City Council. It alleged that the local police were not forwarding evidence for prosecution.</p> <p>Ellanna told the council at the time that survivors would go to the police department and get no help; they would be turned away from the police with no answers about their sexual assault. Some didn’t know if an investigation was even taking place.</p> <p>“That was really frustrating for us. For crimes that are so violent and demeaning and dehumanizing — sexual assault pulls, just pulls at you.”</p> <p>Over the next few months, the council heard more concerns about uninvestigated sexual assaults and then learned the department had&nbsp;<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2018/08/24/nome-officer-who-pleaded-guilty-to-assault-is-re-hired-by-police-department/" target="_blank">re-hired a community service officer in the summer of 2018</a>, one month after he pleaded guilty to assaulting an Alaska Native woman in his care.</p> <p>Then, more women began to go public in statewide media outlets with stories of their own uninvestigated sexual assaults. One of those was a former NPD dispatcher, Clarice Bun Hardy, who says her own colleagues didn’t investigate her rape after she reported it. After she reported her rape, she began to notice patterns among some of the Nome officers, particularly Nick Harvey.</p> <p>&nbsp;“The victims would call in and ask to speak to him. But he would avoid those kind of phone calls…avoid it, and he would tell me, ‘Just tell them, I’m still working on it.’ You know, and then after a few months of him doing that, I’m like, seeing it with my own eyes, you’re not doing anything to investigate these cases of these people who are faithfully calling every day,&#8221; said Hardy.</p> <p>Nome residents and others came forward with their own allegations of&nbsp;<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2018/10/12/nome-city-council-unanimously-advances-ordinance-requiring-id-for-every-alcohol-sale/" target="_blank">policy violations</a>&nbsp;and potentially criminal behavior from other officers.</p> <p>Kawerak, the local tribal consortium, joined the City of Nome in asking the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate potential civil rights violations by the Nome Police. </p> <p>“You should be seeking an audit of your own police force. If you’re being presented with information that your officers did not follow through on investigations, you should try to clean house here, hold yourselves accountable. Let’s jointly call for this investigation because whether you join in this request with us or not, it’s going out,” said Kawerak’s CEO and President, Melanie Bahnke.</p> <p>As all of these issues came to a head, in September of 2018, Nome Police Chief, John Papasadora, quietly retired and a new chief from Virginia took over.</p> <h2 id="h-defense-against-mishandlings">Defense Against Mishandlings</h2> <p>When Chief Robert Estes arrived in Nome, public trust in the police department was fractured. Part of Estes’ goal was to audit hundreds of sexual assault cases and look at every call for a sexual assault that came in.&nbsp;</p> <p>Estes declined to be interviewed for this report. But in 2019, he and Investigator Jerry Kennon spoke with the Associated Press and KNOM about their findings. Kennon explains that plenty of the sexual assault cases were handled appropriately but some had significant problems.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“So what I was finding in these is that there were just no narratives done to them at all, so much less than an investigation that was done… And some of these cases have really been bad, serious cases that just were never investigated,&#8221; said Kennon.</p> <p>The Nome Police blame inefficient policies, a lack of staffing including not enough experienced investigators, and high turnover as the reasons why so many cases went uninvestigated. </p> <p>“If an officer was working on a case, and he decided I’m leaving, I’m gone, I had enough. Well, if someone didn’t look into his assigned cases, that case just went cold,&#8221; said Heintzelman. </p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Chief-Mike-Heintzelman-of-NPD-smiling-with-staff-Photo-from-Emily-Hofstaedter-KNOM.jpg?resize=684%2C464&amp;ssl=1" alt="Man standing at receptionist desk smiling at woman sitting at the desk." class="wp-image-52307"/><figcaption>Chief Mike Heintzelman of Nome Police Department.(Emily Hofstaedter/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p><a href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2021/02/05/part-3-seeking-justice-wanting-protection-disparities-in-sexual-assault-crimes-in-nome/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">For a region with some of the country’s highest rates of sexual assault,&nbsp;</a>the Nome police didn’t have regular full-time investigators in their department. Heintzelman says the average sexual assault case can take 30 hours or more to complete. And those calls were done by regular patrol cops who weren’t specialized in investigations.&nbsp;</p> <p>“They would have to be responding to calls doing their normal stuff that they would have to do, in addition to working on cases that were assigned to.”</p> <p>But others say, the reason that so many sexual assault cases were not handled properly is due to racial bias.</p> <p>The Nome Police were unable to provide KNOM with racial data on the survivors involved in the audited cases. But in June of 2019, the police chief wrote to the city manager in an email obtained by KNOM, “We have identified 51 historical cases with 100% native Alaskan women victims where there has been zero to poor follow-up at best.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2021/01/30/part-2-seeking-protection-wanting-justice/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">For the predominantly Alaska Native survivors and their loved ones,</a>&nbsp;it was clear that something was wrong when they would never hear about their cases. Advocates, like Darlene Trigg of Nome, pushed to have a citizen’s oversight committee. After months of contentious city discussions and compromise,&nbsp;<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.nomealaska.org/bc-public-safety-advisory-commission" target="_blank">the Nome Public Safety Advisory Commission</a>&nbsp;was finally formed and coded into city ordinance in 2019. It’s a step in the right direction for accountability, says Trigg.&nbsp;</p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_8373.jpg?resize=684%2C456&amp;ssl=1" alt="Woman with purple hooded jacket looking into camera." class="wp-image-52299"/><figcaption>Nome resident, Darlene Trigg. (Brisa Alarcon/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>“And when something goes sideways, to look into it, and to check to see whether or not the police department acted within its own policies,” said Trigg. </p> <p>Trigg, Ellanna and fellow community activists suggested several additional concrete policies for the police to consider, including a requirement for officers to undergo trauma informed sexual assault training and hiring an investigator to handle backlogged sexual assault cases.</p> <h2 id="h-looking-for-permanent-accountability"><br>Looking for Permanent Accountability</h2> <p>Some of those changes have already happened. The department hired Investigator Scott Weaver in the fall of 2020 to deal full-time with sexual assault cases. There’s also a domestic violence coordinator currently hired by NPD, Sharon Sparks, who helps survivors work through their cases but the department can’t always keep that role filled.</p> <p>But as the survivors demanded change for policing in Nome, it became clear that many in city leadership didn’t know what had been brewing. And many of those leaders had been in charge of passing budgets and policies for years.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t aware of it prior to three or four years ago. It just, for whatever reason, wasn’t on my radar,&#8221; said Jerald Brown a city councilmember</p> <p>Brown has sat on the City Council for about 15 years. Turnover is high in many aspects of Nome life from the police department, hospital, and the school – but city government is not one of those areas.&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, current Mayor John Handeland has previously served as Mayor, Interim City Manager, City Manager, and the head of the Nome Joint Utilities System; sometimes holding two of those roles at once. He says he gets involved more in the local level to help serve his home community where he grew up and has lived for most of his life, but others say Handeland and others maintaining these leadership positions for so long is part of the problem.</p> <p>And within NPD, current Chief Mike Heintzelman says there are more efficient systems in place.</p> <p>&#8220;We recognize there’s a shortfall. Some of the things weren’t done the best. There were some procedures that weren’t in place like checks and balances, but we’re in the right direction right now. Everything that is called in is something that is investigated fully,&#8221; said Heintzelman. </p> <p>But another call from activists has been a review of the department’s operations and procedures manual. That’s from 2012 and still largely redacted to the public, including the sections on sexual assault investigations. When Greg Russell, an outside auditor, conducted a review of the department, he found that most of the officers were not even familiar with the manual.</p> <p>“It’s something that’s kind of like a &#8216;how-to&#8217; so that an officer in the field would have a policy manual to reference that would say, ‘this is how my department wants it to be done.’ And since it is a ‘how- to’ manual, that’s why it’s so important to update it,&#8221; said Russell. </p> <p>He found no indication that NPD was regularly updating or reviewing its policy manual.&nbsp;</p> <p>Part of Russell’s job is to suggest improvements for police department management&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amljia.org/services/police-professional/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">but also steer departments away from practices that could lead to lawsuits.</a>&nbsp;He says that could be done through getting the department certified through a national policing accreditation. Right now, he explains that some places like Nome are largely dependent on good leadership.&nbsp;</p> <p>“Do you think an incompetent, bad, unprofessional, unethical, police chief could take his department to a position of excellence? I think the obvious answer is no, they cannot.”</p> <p>But locals who have watched administrations come and go want firm systems in place that guarantee the actions of old officers and police chiefs won’t happen again.</p> <p>“I see positive changes happening. I really hope that we can institutionalize these changes so that it’s not beholden to the goodwill of who’s currently in a position of authority,&#8221; said Bahnke, the president of Kawerak.</p> <p>Bahnke feels encouraged that the city regularly reaches out to the tribal consortium to discuss public safety issues, but she also says many of those changes have come with new leadership at the police department.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nome City Manager Glenn Steckman says the city is doing what it can with its resources to create lasting change.</p> <p>In the last budget cycle, the City Council increased funding for more officers and supported officer housing in a community where housing is often scarce. But those additional officer positions still remain vacant, and the department still has police officers who haven’t committed to living in Nome full-time. Instead, they prefer to live elsewhere and fly in to work their two-week shifts. The exception is during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when Steckman says many officers stayed in town to work for longer periods of time.</p> <p>“But we’re trying to figure out how do we get stability in this department? That’s the challenge that we face: stability,&#8221; said Steckman. </p> <p>But Steckman doesn’t want to dwell in the past.</p> <p>“We have the history up here, these officers weren’t involved in it. And they are being heavily criticized, but they weren’t involved.”</p> <p>Yet community members point out that the current officers and city leaders responsible for hiring them are part of an institution.</p> <p>And until institutional change is complete, advocates and longtime Nome residents like Darlene Trigg say a public apology, some acknowledgement of what has happened is needed for the community to heal.</p> <p>“Well, it’s necessary. That’s the truth. You know? Some level of acknowledgement that harm has been done is probably not something that an attorney would want the city to do. However, there are people who are owed that in this community; their families and their livelihoods and their ability to walk in our town, in a healthy, safe way is forever changed…,&#8221; said Trigg. </p> <p>But for now, neither the City of Nome nor the Police Department have issued such an official statement.</p> <p><em>Reporter Davis Hovey contributed to this report.</em></p> After mishandled investigations, advocates cautious as Nome police try rebuilding trust https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/21/after-mishandled-investigations-nome-police-are-working-to-build-trust-advocates-want-more-action/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:f244263e-9a0b-418b-f93a-a0e6a30e738f Mon, 22 Feb 2021 05:37:59 +0000 Under new leadership, the Nome Police Department has made some positive reforms, but advocates say a lot more work needs to be done to repair trust with the community. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-600x400.jpeg" alt="A police officer stnds in front of a building" class="wp-image-292124" width="703" height="468" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-600x400.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-300x200.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-150x100.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-768x512.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-696x464.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-1068x712.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1-630x420.jpeg 630w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NPD-Officer-in-Front-of-Public-Safety-Building-in-Nome-Photo-from-Jenna-Kunze-1.jpeg 1216w" sizes="(max-width: 703px) 100vw, 703px" /><figcaption>An NPD Officer in front of the Public Safety Building in Nome. (Jenna Kunze/KMOM) </figcaption></figure> <p>Under new leadership, the Nome Police Department said they&#8217;re changing their practices in response to calls for reform from a local advocacy group, after mishandling sexual assault investigations in the past. </p> <figure class="wp-block-audio"><audio controls src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02192021PartFour.mp3"></audio></figure> <p>Survivors, advocates, and community members say the department is headed in the right direction but has a long way to go to repair broken trust, especially among Alaska Natives.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong><em> Read all the parts of KNOM&#8217;s series on sexual assault investigations <a href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/category/all-news/seeking-protection-wanting-justice/">here</a>. </em></p> <p><strong>Cold Cases in Nome</strong></p> <p>Over two years ago, Nome Police went through their records and found they had 460 “cold case” sexual assaults dating back to the year 2005. They re-opened the audited cases. As December of 2020 drew to a close, Nome Police Investigator Scott Weaver addressed the Nome City Council on his findings.</p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Investigator-Weaver-2.jpg?resize=684%2C499&amp;ssl=1" alt="" class="wp-image-52312"/><figcaption>Nome Police Investigator Scott Weaver. (Emily Hofstaedter/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>“There were a good amount of cases that had been investigated by police officers that were here at the time, and simply, the case just needed to be put together and sent over to the district attorney’s office,&#8221; Weaver said.</p> <p>That means NPD failed to finish the process of gathering and sending the evidence the District Attorney needed to make decisions about whether to charge an assailant.</p> <p><strong>RELATED: </strong><em><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/01/31/in-nome-few-are-prosecuted-in-sexual-assault-crimes-against-native-women/">In Nome, few sexual assault crimes result in prosecutions</a></em></p> <p>Weaver told the city almost all 460 cases being audited have been reviewed.</p> <p>“Some cases just needed to be classified appropriately,&#8221; he said. &#8220;But there were many cases that needed work.”</p> <p>Some of that work includes additional interviews and DNA evidence.</p> <p>In order to get closure and justice for those survivors, Weaver had to locate people who moved out of state, and in many instances, had to re-open wounds that were nearly a decade old. </p> <p>“Fifteen years ago, they may have had an injustice here. There may have been the police officer here, or somebody that was working here, that didn’t do what maybe they should have done, or followed all the steps. But did they want to start that over now?&#8221; he said. &#8220;Because some [survivors] have [been] scarred from that, or put a band-aid on it, and they don’t want to talk about it. And that’s understandable.”</p> <p><strong>RELATED: </strong><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/01/without-justice-in-nome-women-wrestle-with-trauma-and-healing-after-sexual-assault/"><em>Without justice in Nome, women wrestle with trauma and healing after sexual assault</em></a></p> <p>As of December, Weaver, along with the Nome District Attorney and others in the police department, have identified 29 cases from the audit that could move on for potential prosecution, pending DNA evidence, and more interviews.</p> <p>That sexual assault case audit has been part of a big effort by the police and City of Nome to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the rest of the community over the last couple years.</p> <p>But how did Nome get to the point where so many sexual assault cases needed to be potentially reinvestigated?</p> <p>The answer goes back to before 2018.</p> <p><strong>Bringing the Problems to Light</strong></p> <p>Lisa Ellanna is a Nome community member whose kitchen table became a safe space for women, and sometimes men, to eat dinner and talk. The group soon realized many of them had a shared experience: They were reporting their sexual assaults to the Nome Police, and then would hear nothing about the investigation.</p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_8319-2.jpg?resize=684%2C456&amp;ssl=1" alt="Woman with glasses and headband looking " class="wp-image-52295"/><figcaption>Resident, Lisa Ellanna, gazing towards the distant mountains in Nome. (Brisa Alarcon/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>“It turned into a situation of ‘Wait a second, if this is happening to all of our cases, it’s probably happening to everybody’s cases, and what do we do about it?’&#8221; Ellana said. &#8220;You know, this is unacceptable. This won’t do.&#8221;</p> <p>Over the years, Ellanna said they worked with other groups to create change for sexual assault survivors.</p> <p><strong>RELATED: </strong><em><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/10/law-change-needed-to-bring-more-rape-prosecutions-in-nome-and-across-the-state-some-experts-say/">Change the law to make prosecution for rape more possible in Nome and across Alaska, experts say</a></em></p> <p>&#8220;Over the course of between 2015 and 2018, there was meeting after meeting after meeting, people coming together to support each other initially, and then turning into this advocacy kind of movement,&#8221; Ellanna said. &#8220;We came to kind of an understanding of what would make things better. And through the process of working with the different agencies, and trying to push for changes to procedure and policy, and not making any headway … We decided to come forward in the form of a public complaint.&#8221; </p> <p>In May of 2018, a group of mostly Alaska Native women, including Ellanna, introduced their own <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-wordpress-client-uploads/adn/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/03011402/FINAL-SIGNED-RESOLUTION-submitted-5-7-18.pdf" target="_blank">resolution</a> on sexual assault to the Nome City Council. It alleged local police were not forwarding evidence for prosecution.</p> <p>Ellanna told the council at the time that survivors would go to the police department and get no help: They would be turned away from the police with no answers about their sexual assault. Some didn’t know if an investigation was even taking place.</p> <p>“That was really frustrating for us. For crimes that are so violent and demeaning and dehumanizing — sexual assault pulls, just pulls at you.”</p> <p>Over the next few months, the council heard more concerns about uninvestigated sexual assaults. Then they learned the department had <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2018/08/24/nome-officer-who-pleaded-guilty-to-assault-is-re-hired-by-police-department/" target="_blank">re-hired a community service officer in the summer of 2018</a> one month after he pleaded guilty to assaulting an Alaska Native woman in his care.</p> <p>Then, more women began to go public in statewide media outlets with stories of their own uninvestigated sexual assaults. One of those was a former NPD dispatcher, Clarice Bun Hardy, who said her own colleagues didn’t investigate her rape after she reported it. After reporting, she began to notice patterns among some of the Nome officers, particularly Nick Harvey.</p> <p>“The victims would call in and ask to speak to him. But he would avoid those kind of phone calls … avoid it, and he would tell me, ‘Just tell them, I’m still working on it.’ You know, and then after a few months of him doing that, I’m like, seeing it with my own eyes — you’re not doing anything to investigate these cases of these people who are faithfully calling every day,&#8221; said Hardy.</p> <p>Nome residents and others came forward with their own allegations of&nbsp;<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2018/10/12/nome-city-council-unanimously-advances-ordinance-requiring-id-for-every-alcohol-sale/" target="_blank">policy violations</a>&nbsp;and potentially criminal behavior from other officers.</p> <p>Kawerak, the local tribal consortium, joined the City of Nome in asking the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate potential civil rights violations by the Nome Police. </p> <p>“You should be seeking an audit of your own police force. If you’re being presented with information that your officers did not follow through on investigations, you should try to clean house here, hold yourselves accountable. Let’s jointly call for this investigation because whether you join in this request with us or not, it’s going out,” Kawerak’s CEO and President Melanie Bahnke said.</p> <p>As all of the issues came to a head in September of 2018, Nome Police Chief John Papasadora quietly retired, and a new chief from Virginia took over.</p> <p><strong>Defense Against Mishandlings</strong></p> <p>When Chief Robert Estes arrived in Nome, public trust in the police department was fractured. Part of Estes’ goal was to audit hundreds of sexual assault cases and look at every call for a sexual assault that came in.&nbsp;</p> <p>Estes declined to be interviewed for this report. But in 2019, he and Investigator Jerry Kennon spoke with the Associated Press and KNOM about their findings. Kennon explained plenty of the sexual assault cases were handled appropriately, but some had significant problems.  </p> <p>“What I was finding in these is that there were just no narratives done to them at all, much less an investigation that was done … And some of these cases have really been bad, serious cases that just were never investigated,&#8221; said Kennon.</p> <p>The Nome Police blame inefficient policies, a lack of staffing including not enough experienced investigators, and high turnover as the reasons so many cases went uninvestigated. </p> <p>“If an officer was working on a case, and he decided &#8216;I’m leaving, I’m gone, I had enough,&#8217; well, if someone didn’t look into his assigned cases, that case just went cold,&#8221; said Heintzelman. </p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Chief-Mike-Heintzelman-of-NPD-smiling-with-staff-Photo-from-Emily-Hofstaedter-KNOM.jpg?resize=684%2C464&amp;ssl=1" alt="Man standing at receptionist desk smiling at woman sitting at the desk." class="wp-image-52307"/><figcaption>Chief Mike Heintzelman of Nome Police Department.(Emily Hofstaedter/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p><a href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2021/02/05/part-3-seeking-justice-wanting-protection-disparities-in-sexual-assault-crimes-in-nome/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">For a region with some of the country’s highest rates of sexual assault, </a>the Nome police didn’t have regular full-time investigators in their department. Heintzelman said the average sexual assault case can take 30 hours or more to complete. And reporting calls were taken by regular patrol cops who weren’t specialized in investigations. </p> <p>“They would have to be responding to calls, doing their normal stuff that they would have to do, in addition to working on cases that were assigned, too.”</p> <p>But others say the reason so many sexual assault cases were not handled properly is due to racial bias.</p> <p>The Nome Police were unable to provide KNOM with racial data on the survivors involved in the audited cases. But in June of 2019, the police chief wrote to the city manager in an email obtained by KNOM: “We have identified 51 historical cases with 100% native Alaskan women victims where there has been zero to poor follow-up at best.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2021/01/30/part-2-seeking-protection-wanting-justice/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">For the predominantly Alaska Native survivors and their loved ones,</a> it was clear something was wrong when they would never hear about their cases. Advocates such as Darlene Trigg of Nome pushed to have a citizen’s oversight committee. After months of contentious city discussions and compromise, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.nomealaska.org/bc-public-safety-advisory-commission" target="_blank">the Nome Public Safety Advisory Commission</a> was finally formed and coded into city ordinance in 2019. </p> <p>It’s a step in the right direction for accountability, Trigg said. </p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.knom.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_8373.jpg?resize=684%2C456&amp;ssl=1" alt="Woman with purple hooded jacket looking into camera." class="wp-image-52299"/><figcaption>Nome resident, Darlene Trigg. (Brisa Alarcon/KNOM)</figcaption></figure> <p>“When something goes sideways, to look into it, and to check to see whether or not the police department acted within its own policies.” </p> <p>Trigg, Ellanna and fellow community activists suggested several additional concrete policies for the police to consider, including a requirement for officers to undergo trauma-informed sexual assault training and hiring an investigator to handle backlogged sexual assault cases.</p> <p><strong>Looking for Permanent Accountability</strong></p> <p>By now, some of those changes have happened. The department hired Investigator Scott Weaver in the fall of 2020 to deal full-time with sexual assault cases. There’s also Sharon Sparks, a domestic violence coordinator currently employed by NPD who helps survivors work through their cases — but the department can’t always keep that role filled.</p> <p>As survivors demanded change for policing in Nome, it became clear many in city leadership didn’t know what had been brewing. And many of those leaders had been in charge of passing budgets and policies for years. </p> <p>“I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t aware of it prior to three or four years ago. It just, for whatever reason, wasn’t on my radar,&#8221; said Jerald Brown, a city councilmember.</p> <p>Brown has sat on the City Council for about 15 years. Turnover is high in many aspects of Nome life including the police department, hospital, and the school — but not in city government. </p> <p>For example, current Mayor John Handeland previously served as Mayor, Interim City Manager, City Manager, and the head of the Nome Joint Utilities System, sometimes holding two of those roles at once. He said he gets involved more in the local level to help serve his home community, where he grew up and has lived for most of his life, but others say Handeland and others maintaining leadership positions for so long is part of the problem.</p> <p>Within NPD, current Chief Mike Heintzelman said there are now more efficient systems in place.</p> <p>&#8220;We recognize there’s a shortfall. Some of the things weren’t done the best. There were some procedures that weren’t in place like checks and balances, but we’re in the right direction right now. Everything that is called in is something that is investigated fully,&#8221; Heintzelman said. </p> <p>But another call from activists has been a review of the department’s operations and procedures manual. That’s from 2012, and still largely redacted to the public, including the sections on sexual assault investigations. When Greg Russell, an outside auditor, conducted a review of the department, he found most of the officers were not even familiar with the manual.</p> <p>“It’s something that’s kind of like a &#8216;how-to&#8217; so that an officer in the field would have a policy manual to reference that would say, ‘This is how my department wants it to be done.’ And since it is a ‘how-to’ manual, that’s why it’s so important to update it,&#8221; said Russell. </p> <p>He found no indication NPD was regularly updating or reviewing its policy manual. </p> <p>Part of Russell’s job is to suggest improvements for police department management <a href="https://www.amljia.org/services/police-professional/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">but also steer departments away from practices that could lead to lawsuits.</a> He said that could include getting the department certified through a national policing accreditation. Right now, he explains, some places like Nome are largely dependent on good leadership. </p> <p>“Do you think an incompetent, bad, unprofessional, unethical, police chief could take his department to a position of excellence? I think the obvious answer is no, they cannot.”</p> <p>But locals who have watched administrations come and go want firm systems in place that guarantee the actions of old officers and police chiefs won’t happen again.</p> <p>“I see positive changes happening. I really hope that we can institutionalize these changes so that it’s not beholden to the goodwill of who’s currently in a position of authority,&#8221; said Bahnke, the president of Kawerak.</p> <p>Bahnke feels encouraged that the city regularly reaches out to the tribal consortium to discuss public safety issues, but she also said many of the changes have come through new leadership at the police department. </p> <p>Nome City Manager Glenn Steckman said the city is doing what it can with its resources to create lasting change.</p> <p>In the last budget cycle, the City Council increased funding for more officers and supported officer housing in a community where housing is often scarce. But those additional officer positions still remain vacant, and the department still has police officers who haven’t committed to living in Nome full-time. Instead, they prefer to live elsewhere and fly in to work their two-week shifts. The exception is during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when Steckman said many officers stayed in town to work for longer periods of time.</p> <p>“But we’re trying to figure out how do we get stability in this department? That’s the challenge that we face: stability,&#8221; said Steckman. </p> <p>But Steckman doesn’t want to dwell in the past.</p> <p>“We have the history up here, these officers weren’t involved in it. And they are being heavily criticized, but they weren’t involved.”</p> <p>Yet community members point out that the current officers and city leaders responsible for hiring them are part of an institution.</p> <p>And until institutional change is complete, advocates and longtime Nome residents such as Darlene Trigg say a public apology, some acknowledgement of what has happened, is needed for the community to heal.</p> <p>“Well, it’s necessary. That’s the truth. You know? Some level of acknowledgement that harm has been done is probably not something that an attorney would want the city to do,&#8221; Trigg said. &#8220;However, there are people who are owed that in this community: Their families and their livelihoods and their ability to walk in our town, in a healthy, safe way is forever changed.&#8221;</p> <p>For now, neither the City of Nome nor the Police Department have issued such an official statement.</p> <p><em>Reporter Davis Hovey contributed to this report.</em></p> Y-K Delta residents protest 15-day comment period for Donlin Gold water permits https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/21/y-k-delta-residents-protest-15-day-comment-period-for-donlin-gold-water-permits/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:1da56eef-c9ff-9741-2ef0-07c35f8d3b8b Mon, 22 Feb 2021 00:31:27 +0000 At the end of 2020, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources granted Donlin Gold 12 water right permits after giving the public 15 days to comment, taking into account limited access to the internet in rural Alaska. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/03122018_Donlin-600x400.jpg" alt="A gravel road in a treed area" class="wp-image-214138" width="703" height="468" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/03122018_Donlin-600x400.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/03122018_Donlin-150x100.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/03122018_Donlin-300x200.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/03122018_Donlin-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/03122018_Donlin.jpg 904w" sizes="(max-width: 703px) 100vw, 703px" /><figcaption>The proposed Donlin Gold mine site in 2014. The site is located north of Crooked Creek, which sits on the Kuskokwim River. (Dean Swope / KYUK)</figcaption></figure> <p>At the end of 2020, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources granted Donlin Gold 12 water right permits after giving the public 15 days to comment. Some residents in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta claim that wasn’t enough time, especially as villages locked down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and taking into account limited access to the internet in rural Alaska.</p> <p>Bethel resident and Orutsararmiut Native Council member Bev Hoffman has protested the proposed Donlin Gold mine for years and is frustrated that the Alaska Department of Natural Resources only gave tribes 15 days to comment on a dozen water right permits that it has granted to Donlin Gold. According to Hoffman, there are a lot of barriers to getting public comment in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.</p> <p>“Communities are in lockdown; they’re not meeting,” Hoffman said. “They don’t have internet data to hold big Zoom meetings.”</p> <p>Hoffman’s also worried that Donlin Gold’s plans for those streams will disrupt people’s way of life in the Y-K Delta. The Donlin Gold mine would be one of the biggest in the world, if completed, and will require a lot of water to treat the mercury and other toxins released during its operations. These 12 water right permits give Donlin Gold permission to draw down the water of 12 streams for its operations.</p> <p>“For them to be able to get this water permit that jeopardizes that food security in the manner that it’s happening, it’s so wrong and dangerous. Dangerous to the people that choose to live a way of life out here,” Hoffman said.</p> <p>The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta is one of the most food insecure regions in the country; many of its residents cannot access three meals a day.</p> <p>Roughly 22% to 24% of Y-K Delta households are food insecure, according to Feeding America, a national nonprofit focusing on hunger relief. The organization reports that 21% of households in the Bethel Census Area are food insecure. In the Kusilvak Census Area, which includes villages along the lower Yukon River and Bering Sea coast, those rates are even higher, ranging from 25 to 29%. This makes it the second most food insecure region in the nation, just after Jefferson County, Mississippi. Feeding America reports that one in four Alaska Native households cannot access three meals per day, a rate double that of white households.</p> <p>Most Y-K Delta residents depend on subsistence foods for the majority of their diet. The Kuskokwim River is the primary food source, and the Donlin Gold mine site would sit near one of its tributaries. The company has emphasized its commitment to building the mine as safely as possible.</p> <p>A spokesperson for the state, Dan Saddler, said that the process was legal; state statute allows a 15-day comment period. The state can extend that deadline period, but Saddler said that they haven’t gotten a request to do that from any of the tribes or organizations who commented.</p> Alaska Gov. Dunleavy didn’t have power to extend appointees’ terms, judge rules https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/21/alaska-gov-dunleavy-didnt-have-power-to-extend-appointees-terms-judge-rules/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:afad996f-8d01-a612-fb4d-c87b15318507 Mon, 22 Feb 2021 00:28:57 +0000 A Juneau Superior Court judge has ruled that Gov. Mike Dunleavy didn’t have the power to extend many of his appointees’ terms late last year after the Legislature failed to meet to confirm them. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1-600x469.jpg" alt="A white old man in a judge's robee sits at a desk in front of an Alaskan flag" class="wp-image-272208" width="733" height="573" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1-600x469.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1-300x235.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1-150x117.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1-768x601.jpg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1-696x544.jpg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1-537x420.jpg 537w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pallenberg092116-830x649-1.jpg 830w" sizes="(max-width: 733px) 100vw, 733px" /><figcaption>Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg closely watches an attorney during opening arguments in a recent civil trial. (Matt Miller/KTOO) </figcaption></figure> <p>A Juneau Superior Court judge has ruled that Gov. Mike Dunleavy didn’t have the power to extend many of his appointees’ terms late last year after the Legislature failed to meet to confirm them.</p> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oytzgXG-Q95Osf5Rdjb0utNgtlcoGfoS/view?usp=sharing" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">decision</a>&nbsp;stems from a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2021/01/13/judge-rules-against-effort-to-remove-some-dunleavy-appointees/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">lawsuit</a>&nbsp;the Alaska Legislative Council filed against Dunleavy, saying that he didn’t have the power to keep 94 appointees after a Dec. 15 legal deadline because they weren’t confirmed by the Legislature during the pandemic. The administration argued that the Legislature had a constitutional duty to meet to consider the appointments. On Thursday, Judge Philip Pallenberg ruled in favor of the Legislative Council.</p> <p>The decision doesn’t affect whether the appointees can serve now. Dunleavy reappointed them when the new Legislature reconvened on Jan. 19.</p> <p>The council didn’t ask the court to invalidate the actions taken by the appointees between Dec. 16 and Jan. 18.</p> <p>Kodiak Republican Sen. Gary Stevens, the former council chair, said in a statement that the decision affirms the Legislature’s confirmation power.</p> <p>The Department of Law says it’s disappointed in the ruling.</p> Aleutian Falcon, 1 of Trident’s 2 floating Alaska seafood processors, burns in Tacoma https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/21/aleutian-falcon-1-of-tridents-2-floating-alaska-seafood-processors-burns-in-tacoma/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:c3e52d17-b665-e39a-6731-1e7b4171582c Mon, 22 Feb 2021 00:26:05 +0000 A 233-foot floating processor owned by Trident Seafoods caught fire shortly before midnight Wednesday. The processor, the Aleutian Falcon, was docked at the Port of Tacoma, Washington. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF-600x450.jpg" alt="A oat on fire gets sprayed down" class="wp-image-292109" width="711" height="533" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF-600x450.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF-265x198.jpg 265w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF-560x420.jpg 560w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EufasLpVkAc9VrF.jpg 680w" sizes="(max-width: 711px) 100vw, 711px" /><figcaption>The 233-foot Aleutian Falcon caught fire shortly before midnight Wednesday, according to the Coast Guard. It was one of two floating processors Trident operates during the herring and salmon seasons in Alaska. (Courtesy of Tacoma Fire Department)</figcaption></figure> <p>A 233-foot floating processor owned by Trident Seafoods caught fire shortly before midnight Wednesday. The processor, the Aleutian Falcon, was docked at the Port of Tacoma, Washington.</p> <p>Trident has said the vessel is a total loss, according to multiple news outlets.</p> <p>The Aleutian Falcon was one of Trident’s two floating processors that operate in Alaska. According to the company’s website, the processors follow herring from Southeast Alaska to Bristol Bay and then operate in salmon fisheries throughout the summer. The Aleutian Falcon could support 120 crewmembers.</p> <p>The Coast Guard said in a&nbsp;<a href="https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCG/bulletins/2c25faf?reqfrom=share" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">news release</a>&nbsp;that the vessel was still burning as of 2 p.m. PST Thursday afternoon. So far, no one has been injured.</p> <p>The Tacoma Fire Department reported the fire. The department used water to fight the blaze from the pier and three other boats.</p> <p>In an update on Twitter, the department said the hull of the vessel is sound and that it is working with Trident to start to remove the water to prevent it from sinking.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-rich is-provider-twitter wp-block-embed-twitter"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-width="550" data-dnt="true"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Update: this fire continues to burn. The hull of the vessel is still sound and Tacoma Fire will be working with Trident to develop a de-watering plan to start removing water from the hull space to ensure this vessel does not sink.</p>&mdash; Tacoma Fire (@TacomaFire) <a href="https://twitter.com/TacomaFire/status/1362501184649646080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </div></figure> <p>The ship also held ammonia, which is used to chill fish. The fire department said during the fire that the ammonia tanks were “of great concern” but that they “have been continuously cooled and are intact at this time.”</p> <p>At 1 a.m. Thursday, Coast Guard pollution responders arrived on scene, and four vessels from a spill response company contracted to address the situation arrived around 5 a.m.</p> <p>Trident has not responded to phone calls or emails requesting comment as of this story.</p> <p>Trident has faced a number of challenges since the start of the year. A large COVID-19 outbreak at its huge processing plant on the remote Aleutian Island of Akutan has infected more than a third of its workforce and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2021/01/22/everybodys-worst-nightmare-bering-sea-fishermen-on-edge-after-covid-19-closes-second-plant/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">forced the plant to shut down in January</a>&nbsp;— just as the lucrative winter fishing season kicked off.</p> <p>Just a week later, on Jan. 28, the virus hit another of the fishing giant’s processing plants —&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ktoo.org/2021/01/29/covid-19-hits-second-trident-plant-in-aleutians-as-original-outbreak-grows-to-266-cases/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">this time aboard one of the corporation’s massive factory trawlers</a>, the Island Enterprise, as it was arriving in Dutch Harbor.</p> Alaska hockey, gymnastics seek more time to save programs https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/21/alaska-hockey-gymnastics-seek-more-time-to-save-programs/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:e9483b73-3238-7eb4-7644-670872b049a8 Sun, 21 Feb 2021 16:50:00 +0000 The hockey and gymnastics programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage have asked for a fundraising deadline extension to save their programs from elimination. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-600x374.jpeg" alt="A silvery sports arena" class="wp-image-249920" width="728" height="454" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-600x374.jpeg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-300x187.jpeg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-150x93.jpeg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-768x479.jpeg 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-696x434.jpeg 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-1068x666.jpeg 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c-674x420.jpeg 674w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CF754740-A762-496E-858C-55EA2F5BD842_1_105_c.jpeg 1123w" sizes="(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px" /><figcaption>The Alaska Airlines Center at The University of Alaska Anchorage, home of the Seawolves, during a rainy early December, 2019. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)</figcaption></figure> <p>ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The hockey and gymnastics programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage have asked for a fundraising deadline extension to save their programs from elimination.</p> <p>The University of Alaska Board of Regents voted in September to eliminate three sports, including alpine skiing, hockey and gymnastics because of budget cuts. The cuts would have saved $2.5 million a year from the athletic budget, or more than $9 million in the 2019 academic year, officials said.</p> <p>The board also said it would consider reinstating any program that could raise two years of operating costs before its next meeting on Feb. 25.</p> <p>The extension would push the deadline for hockey to Aug. 30. It would also extend the deadline for gymnastics to June 30 to raise the first year of operating costs and June 30, 2022 for the second year.</p> <p>The hockey program has so far raised $1.8 million of the $3 million needed in pledges and donations, while the gymnastics interim head coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch said her program has raised $380,000 of the $888,000 needed.</p> <p>The board voted last month to reinstate the alpine ski team after the program reached its fundraising goal of $628,000 in December. The University of Alaska Foundation certified the donations before the vote.</p> <p>“Through collaborative efforts between the UAA administration and Save Seawolf Hockey, we have arrived at a solution for reinstatement of Seawolf hockey that honors the community support already demonstrated, and will allow fundraising efforts to continue,” Save Seawolf Hockey volunteer Heidi Embley said on Friday.</p> <p>The university’s Interim President Pat Pitney and Interim Chancellor Bruce Schultz will lead the discussion on the fundraising deadline extension request and to reinstate the programs provided they raise enough money.</p> <p>“Among all of the challenging choices that have been made because of the $34 million cut to UAA’s budget, we fully acknowledge that these are some of the most difficult decisions,” Schultz said in a joint statement with Director of Athletics Greg Myford last week. </p> <p>“Community support is essential in moving forward with sustainability for all athletic programs. We are very impressed and grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in Alaska and beyond for these programs that have been put to the test.”</p> Hear the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s 2021 economic forecast https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/20/hear-the-anchorage-economic-development-corporations-2021-economic-forecast/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:10ad929a-6063-16e8-c1e8-56b46f29ca65 Sat, 20 Feb 2021 23:47:21 +0000 The COVID-19 pandemic and a continued recession was tough on the Anchorage economy in 2020. Job losses permeated nearly every business sector and consumer confidence is low, but 2021 could show some improvement. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignright size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screenshot-2021-02-20-144334-600x505.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-292052" width="336" height="283" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screenshot-2021-02-20-144334-600x505.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screenshot-2021-02-20-144334-300x252.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screenshot-2021-02-20-144334-150x126.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screenshot-2021-02-20-144334-499x420.jpg 499w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Screenshot-2021-02-20-144334.jpg 610w" sizes="(max-width: 336px) 100vw, 336px" /></figure></div> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic and a continued recession was tough on the Anchorage economy in 2020. Job losses permeated nearly every business sector and consumer confidence is low, but 2021 could show some improvement. </p> <p>This week on Addressing Alaskans we&#8217;re hearing the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation&#8217;s 2021 economic outlook. The presentation includes the AEDC&#8217;s Year-End Real-Time Jobs Intelligence Report, Employment Report, Housing Update, Jobs Update, Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index and the Business Confidence Index. </p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qnDr11jSC3U" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><strong>SPEAKERS:</strong></p> <ul><li>Bill Popp, AEDC President &amp; CEO</li><li>Austin Quinn-Davidson, Acting Anchorage Mayor</li><li>Governor Mike Dunleavy</li><li>Senator Lisa Murkowski </li></ul> <p><strong>LINKS:</strong></p> <p><a href="https://aedcweb.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Anchorage Economic Development Corporation</a><br><a href="https://aedcweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/AEDC-Anchorage-Economic-Forecast-Report_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">2021 AEDC Economic Forecast Report</a></p> <p><strong>BROADCAST: </strong>Sunday, February 21st, 2021</p> <p><strong>RECORDED: </strong>Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 remotely and at Alaska Public Media.</p> <p><strong>About</strong></p> <p><em>Addressing Alaskans</em>&nbsp;features local lectures and forums recorded at public events taking place in Southcentral Alaska. A variety of local organizations host speakers addressing topics that matter to Alaskans. To let us know about an upcoming community event that you would like to hear on&nbsp;<em>Addressing Alaskans</em>, please&nbsp;<a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/about/contact/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Contact Us</a>&nbsp;with details.</p> <p><strong>SUBSCRIBE:</strong>&nbsp;Get Addressing Alaskans updates&nbsp;automatically via&nbsp;<a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=AddressingAlaskans&amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">email</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/AddressingAlaskans?format=xml" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">RSS</a>&nbsp;or<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/bw/podcast/addressing-alaskans-alaska-public-media/id1092712366?mt=2" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">&nbsp;podcasts</a>.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/category/programs/addressing-alaskans/">ADDRESSING ALASKANS ARCHIVE</a></strong></p> <p> </p> Fairbanks designers to test shipping container kitchen-bathroom module for rural Alaska https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/20/fairbanks-designers-to-test-shipping-container-kitchen-bathroom-module-for-rural-alaska/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:a9c75b2c-187d-d981-5bc4-d7573903ff88 Sat, 20 Feb 2021 17:11:00 +0000 The National Renewable Energy Lab's Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks is working with the Native village of Unalakleet to build the prototype kitchen-bathroom module inside an 8-by-20-foot steel shipping container. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-600x444.jpg" alt="A crew of workers stand around a shipping container" class="wp-image-292106" width="711" height="526" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-600x444.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-300x222.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-150x111.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-568x420.jpg 568w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC.jpg 630w" sizes="(max-width: 711px) 100vw, 711px" /><figcaption>Shipping container which provides the basic structure for the kitchen bathroom module. (Credit Cold Climate Housing Research Center)</figcaption></figure> <p>The National Renewable Energy Lab&#8217;s Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks is working with the Native village of Unalakleet to build the prototype kitchen-bathroom module inside an 8-by-20-foot steel shipping container.</p> <p>&#8220;Basically, looking at how a container could be used to make a semi-modular home in rural Alaska,&#8221; said Aaron Cooke, architect and project manager. He says the idea is to prefabricate the two parts of a house that require the most specialized materials and expertise. That will be shipped directly out to the site. </p> <p>&#8220;Then the container holding the bathroom and the kitchen will just be plugged into the house like a cassette. And then the rest of the house will be built around it and roofed,&#8221; he said. </p> <p>Cooke says that&#8217;s important to preserve local construction jobs. Native Village of Unalakleet Housing Director Kari Duame says having the kitchen and bathroom components completed offsite gets around the need to bring in skilled trades people.</p> <p>&#8220;Once you do get somebody out here you&#8217;re paying so much for the cost of their flights and all their equipment and tools and their housing &#8211; the cost is just astronomical,&#8221;</p> <p>Duame says avoiding these costs will make federal Indian housing block grant dollars go further in the community.</p> <p>The high costs of rural housing have real effects in how people live in Rural Alaska, says Thomas Simonsson, a community development coordinator with the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. He&#8217;s also part of a regional group formed to help find solutions to the housing shortage.</p> <p>&#8220;Overcrowded housing is so common. It&#8217;s so expensive for people to get out of their parents or their grandparent&#8217;s house and get their own,&#8221; he said. </p> <p>Simonsson sees the shipping container small house project as a model that could help more people get their own place.</p> <p>&#8220;I know how important it could be to just have your own little space but also have it efficient and make it work not just four walls in the roof but can actually have it be meaningful and functional.</p> <p>The shipping container kitchcen-bathroom unit is currently being outfitted at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center facility in Fairbanks and will be barged to Unalakleet in the spring, then plugged into the rest of the home built on site there this summer. The Native Village of Unalakleet will conduct an application process to select a recipient for the new home based on income and other qualifications</p> Fairbanks designers testing shipping container kitchen-bathroom module for rural Alaska https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/20/fairbanks-designers-to-test-shipping-container-kitchen-bathroom-module-for-rural-alaska/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:23988094-2628-d1d8-6714-1763cddb2ee4 Sat, 20 Feb 2021 17:11:00 +0000 The National Renewable Energy Lab's Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks is working with the Native village of Unalakleet to build the prototype kitchen-bathroom module inside an 8-by-20-foot steel shipping container. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-600x444.jpg" alt="A crew of workers stand around a shipping container" class="wp-image-292106" width="711" height="526" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-600x444.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-300x222.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-150x111.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC-568x420.jpg 568w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ShippingContainerCCHRC.jpg 630w" sizes="(max-width: 711px) 100vw, 711px" /><figcaption>Shipping container which provides the basic structure for the kitchen bathroom module. (Credit Cold Climate Housing Research Center)</figcaption></figure> <p>The National Renewable Energy Lab&#8217;s Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks is working with the Native village of Unalakleet to build a prototype kitchen-bathroom module inside an 8-by-20-foot steel shipping container.</p> <p>&#8220;Basically, looking at how a container could be used to make a semi-modular home in rural Alaska,&#8221; said Aaron Cooke, architect and project manager. </p> <p>He said the idea is to prefabricate the two parts of a house that require the most specialized materials and expertise. That will be shipped directly out to the site. </p> <p>&#8220;Then the container holding the bathroom and the kitchen will just be plugged into the house like a cassette. And then the rest of the house will be built around it and roofed,&#8221; he said. </p> <p>Cooke said it&#8217;s important to preserve local construction jobs. Native Village of Unalakleet Housing Director Kari Duame said having the kitchen and bathroom components completed offsite gets around the need to bring in skilled trades people.</p> <p>&#8220;Once you do get somebody out here, you&#8217;re paying so much for the cost of their flights and all their equipment and tools and their housing — the cost is just astronomical.&#8221;</p> <p>Duame said avoiding these costs will make federal Indian housing block grant dollars go further in the community.</p> <p>The high costs of rural housing have real effects on how people live in rural Alaska, according to Thomas Simonsson, a community development coordinator with the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. He&#8217;s part of a regional group formed to help find solutions to the housing shortage.</p> <p>&#8220;Overcrowded housing is so common. It&#8217;s so expensive for people to get out of their parents or their grandparent&#8217;s house and get their own,&#8221; he said. </p> <p>Simonsson sees the shipping container small house project as a model that could help more people get their own place.</p> <p>&#8220;I know how important it could be to just have your own little space, but also have it efficient and make it work. Not just four walls and the roof, but\ actually have it be meaningful and functional.&#8221;</p> <p>The shipping container kitchen-bathroom unit is currently being outfitted at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center facility in Fairbanks, and will be barged to Unalakleet in the spring, then plugged into the rest of the home built on site there this summer. The Native Village of Unalakleet will conduct an application process to select a recipient for the new home based on income and other qualifications</p> Alaska communities prepare for another lean tourism season amid slow economic recovery https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/19/alaska-communities-prepare-for-another-lean-tourism-season-amid-slow-economic-recovery/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:43656bed-a9f5-b45d-51df-2d1d3a000f26 Sat, 20 Feb 2021 05:25:28 +0000 No major cruise lines will return to the state in 2021. How will tourist-dependent communities weather this extended dry season? When federal relief does arrive, will it be enough for businesses to survive? <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignright size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/norwegian-pearl-600x417.jpg" alt="The bow of a white cruise ship" class="wp-image-288700" width="280" height="209" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/norwegian-pearl-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/norwegian-pearl-265x198.jpg 265w" sizes="(max-width: 280px) 100vw, 280px" /><figcaption>The Norwegian Pearl tied up at Skagway’s Broadway dock in July 2017. Two more cruise ships are moored at the railroad dock in the background. (Emily Files/KHNS) </figcaption></figure></div> <p>The state’s economy was already struggling, but the loss of tourism dollars during the pandemic has only increased the difficulty for many Alaska businesses and individuals. No major cruise lines will return to the state in 2021. How will tourist-dependent communities weather this extended dry season? When federal relief does arrive, will it be enough for businesses to survive?</p> <p><strong>HOST:</strong>&nbsp;Lori Townsend</p> <p><strong>GUESTS:</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Mouhcine Guettabi, </strong>Associate Professor of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research</li><li><strong>Nils Andreassen, </strong>Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League</li></ul> <p><strong>PARTICIPATE:</strong></p> <p>Call&nbsp;<strong>550-8422</strong>&nbsp;(Anchorage) or&nbsp;<strong>1-800-478-8255</strong>&nbsp;(statewide) during the live broadcast.</p> <p>Send an email to&nbsp;<strong>talk@alaskapublic.org</strong>&nbsp;(Comments may be read on air).</p> <p>Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (Comments may be read on air).</p> <p><strong>LIVE Broadcast:</strong> Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 10 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.<br><strong>LIVE Web stream:</strong> <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://player.streamguys.com/apm/sgplayer/player.php" target="_blank">Click here to stream.</a></p> LISTEN: Alaska communities prepare for another lean tourism season amid slow economic recovery https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/19/alaska-communities-prepare-for-another-lean-tourism-season-amid-slow-economic-recovery/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:591663cd-7363-4c56-8f2f-fbcfca2be2fd Sat, 20 Feb 2021 05:25:28 +0000 No major cruise lines will return to the state in 2021. How will tourist-dependent communities weather this extended dry season? When federal relief does arrive, will it be enough for businesses to survive? <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignright size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/norwegian-pearl-600x417.jpg" alt="The bow of a white cruise ship" class="wp-image-288700" width="280" height="209" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/norwegian-pearl-80x60.jpg 80w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/norwegian-pearl-265x198.jpg 265w" sizes="(max-width: 280px) 100vw, 280px" /><figcaption>The Norwegian Pearl tied up at Skagway’s Broadway dock in July 2017. Two more cruise ships are moored at the railroad dock in the background. (Emily Files/KHNS) </figcaption></figure></div> <p>The state’s economy was already struggling, but the loss of tourism dollars during the pandemic has only increased the difficulty for many Alaska businesses and individuals. No major cruise lines will return to the state in 2021. How will tourist-dependent communities weather this extended dry season? When federal relief does arrive, will it be enough for businesses to survive?</p> <p><strong>HOST:</strong>&nbsp;Lori Townsend</p> <p><audio controls="controls"><source src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/toa-20210223.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"></audio></p> <p><strong>GUESTS:</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Mouhcine Guettabi, </strong>Associate Professor of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research</li><li><strong>Nils Andreassen, </strong>Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League</li></ul> <p><strong>PARTICIPATE:</strong></p> <p>Call&nbsp;<strong>550-8422</strong>&nbsp;(Anchorage) or&nbsp;<strong>1-800-478-8255</strong>&nbsp;(statewide) during the live broadcast.</p> <p>Send an email to&nbsp;<strong>talk@alaskapublic.org</strong>&nbsp;(Comments may be read on air).</p> <p>Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (Comments may be read on air).</p> <p><strong>LIVE Broadcast:</strong>&nbsp;Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 10 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.<br><strong>LIVE Web stream:</strong>&nbsp;<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://player.streamguys.com/apm/sgplayer/player.php" target="_blank">Click here to stream.</a></p> Haines residents are still recovering from last year’s landslides https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/19/haines-residents-are-still-recovering-from-last-years-landslides/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:74eb066c-ae68-1a10-953c-b1fdb3f94cf6 Sat, 20 Feb 2021 03:43:27 +0000 The human toll from climate change effects in Alaska are real. The small community of Haines in Southeast Alaska experienced a deadly landslide late last year and is still coming to terms with the catastrophic damage and the loss of life. Claire Stremple from member station KHNS reports. <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <iframe title="Haines residents are still recovering from last year’s landslides" width="696" height="392" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dz5KxQ9hflc?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div></figure> <p>The human toll from climate change effects in Alaska are real. The small community of Haines in Southeast Alaska experienced a deadly landslide late last year and is still coming to terms with the catastrophic damage and the loss of life. Claire Stremple from member station KHNS reports.</p> Three local pastors respond to Henry Louis Gates’ “The Black Church” https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/19/three-local-pastors-respond-to-henry-louis-gates-the-black-church/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:7070154e-f0d3-6d31-61c9-4600ea98964c Sat, 20 Feb 2021 03:25:00 +0000 In a sweeping, song-filled and emotional telling, Henry Louis Gates takes viewers through the beginnings of the Black Church in America, from its beginnings in white Christianity with influence from home countries and spiritual traditions that slaves brought with them. The 400-year history of the Black Church reveals influence during the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim [&#8230;] <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="238" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/black-church-web.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-291987" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/black-church-web.jpg 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/black-church-web-300x119.jpg 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/black-church-web-150x60.jpg 150w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Partial logo from the PBS historical and cultural exploration of the Black Church in America.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>In a sweeping, song-filled and emotional telling, Henry Louis Gates takes viewers through the beginnings of the Black Church in America, from its beginnings in white Christianity with influence from home countries and spiritual traditions that slaves brought with them. The 400-year history of the Black Church reveals influence during the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, right up to today&#8217;s Black Lives Matter. The episodes broadcast on television in Anchorage on Feb. 16 and 17, and are still available on the web for viewing. Find <a href="https://www.pbs.org/video/the-black-church-episode1/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Episode 1</a> and <a href="https://www.pbs.org/video/the-black-church-episode2/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Episode 2</a> at <a href="https://www.pbs.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">PBS.org</a>.</p> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignright size-large is-resized"><img loading="lazy" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/MABunton-Greater-Friendship.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-292031" width="200" height="154" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/MABunton-Greater-Friendship.jpg 200w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/MABunton-Greater-Friendship-150x116.jpg 150w" sizes="(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px" /><figcaption>Pastor M.A. Bunton of Greater Friendship Baptist Church.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>In this week&#8217;s Hometown Alaska, we host pastors of three local churches. We invite their reflections on Gates&#8217; history and appreciation of The Black Church. In addition, they&#8217;ll introduce us to their own churches and ministries. </p> <p>As always, your questions and comments are welcome throughout the program. Please join us.</p> <p><strong>HOST:</strong> <strong><a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/about/people/kathleen-mccoy/">Kathleen McCoy</a></strong></p> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignright size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="204" height="266" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Undra-Parker-Shiloh-2.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-292034" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Undra-Parker-Shiloh-2.jpg 204w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Undra-Parker-Shiloh-2-115x150.jpg 115w" sizes="(max-width: 204px) 100vw, 204px" /><figcaption>Pastor Undra Parker of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.</figcaption></figure></div> <ul><li><strong>Pastor Dr. William Greene</strong>, Eagle River Missionary Baptist Church</li><li><strong>Pastor Undra Parker</strong>, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church</li><li><strong>Pastor M.A. Bunton</strong>, Greater Friendship Baptist Church</li></ul> <p><strong>LINKS:</strong></p> <ul><li>Greater Friendship Baptist Church <a href="https://greaterfriendshipbaptist.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">website</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheShipAnchorageAK/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Facebook</a></li><li>How did Greater Friendship Baptist Church made its mark in Alaska and civil rights history, David Reamer for <a href="https://www.adn.com/alaska-life/2020/06/07/how-greater-friendship-baptist-church-in-anchorage-made-its-mark-in-alaska-and-civil-rights-history/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><em>Anchorage Daily News</em>, 6-7-2020</a></li><li>Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church <a href="https://www.shilohmbcalaska.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">website</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ShilohMissionaryBaptistChurchAlaska" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Facebook</a></li><li>Eagle River Missionary Baptist Church <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eagle%20River%20Missionary%20Baptist%20Church/154531821253508/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Facebook</a></li><li>Black Women were Vital to the Black Church, story on <a href="https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/black-women-were-vital-to-the-black-church-here-are-2-stories" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">PBS NewsHour 2.19.21</a> </li><li>&#8216;The Black Church&#8217; on PBS, <a href="https://www.pbs.org/weta/black-church/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">website</a></li><li>Watch &#8216;The Black Church&#8217; episode 1 and episode 2, <a href="https://www.pbs.org/weta/black-church/watch/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">here</a></li></ul> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="alignright size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="200" height="151" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Undra-Parker-Shiloh.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-292030" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Undra-Parker-Shiloh.jpg 200w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Undra-Parker-Shiloh-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Undra-Parker-Shiloh-80x60.jpg 80w" sizes="(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px" /><figcaption>Eagle River Missionary Baptist Church, home of Rev. Dr. William Greene.</figcaption></figure></div> <p><strong>PARTICIPATE:</strong></p> <ul><li>Call <strong>550-8433</strong> (Anchorage) or <strong>1-888-353-5752</strong> (statewide) during the live broadcast (10-11 a.m.).</li><li>Send <strong>e-mail</strong> to <a href="mailto:communityforum@kska.org">hometown@alaskapublic.org</a> before, during or after the live broadcast (E-mails may be read on air).</li><li>Post your <strong>comment</strong> or question below (Comments may be read on air).</li><li><strong>LIVE:</strong> Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 at 10 a.m</li><li><strong>RE-AIR:</strong> Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 at 8 p.m.</li><li><strong>PODCAST:</strong> On this page after the show</li></ul> <p></p> Alaska News Nightly: Friday, February 19th, 2021 https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/19/alaska-news-nightly-fri-feb-19/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:8260dde5-53ac-0b47-2440-48f4172a6e96 Sat, 20 Feb 2021 02:39:00 +0000 Congressman Don Young defends allowing weapons into committee hearing rooms. And, the Sea Life Center celebrates at its annual gala after bouncing back from the brink of closure. Plus, an Anchorage teacher marks one month of teaching in-person. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="600" height="375" src="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-600x375.png" alt="" class="wp-image-291975" srcset="https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-600x375.png 600w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-300x188.png 300w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-150x94.png 150w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-768x480.png 768w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-1536x960.png 1536w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-2048x1280.png 2048w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-696x435.png 696w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-1068x668.png 1068w, https://www.alaskapublic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/don-young-screenshot-672x420.png 672w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" /><figcaption>Alaska Congressman Don Young during a virtual meeting of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on February 18, 2021. (Screensho/Liz Ruskin)</figcaption></figure> <p>Stories are posted on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alaskapublic.org/aprn/">statewide news</a>&nbsp;page. You can subscribe to Alaska Public Media’s newsfeeds via&nbsp;<a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=aprn-news">email</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/aprn-alaska-news/id264469573?mt=2">podcast</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.aprn.org/aprn-news">RSS</a>. Follow us on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/alaskapublic">Facebook at alaskapublic.org</a>&nbsp;and on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.twitter.com/AKPublicNews">Twitter @AKPublicNews</a>.</p> <figure class="wp-block-audio"><audio controls="" src="http://media.aprn.org/2021/ann-20210219.mp3"></audio></figure> <p><strong>Friday on Alaska News Nightly:</strong></p> <p>Congressman Don Young defends allowing weapons into committee hearing rooms. And, the SeaLife Center celebrates at its annual gala after bouncing back from the brink of closure. Plus, an Anchorage teacher marks one month of teaching in-person. </p> <p><strong>Reports tonight from:</strong></p> <ul><li>Andrew Kitchenman and Jacob Resneck in Juneau</li><li>Liz Ruskin in Anchorage</li><li>Hope McKenney in Unalaska</li><li>Sage Smiley in Wrangell</li><li>Sabine Poux in Kenai</li><li>Joe Viechnicki in Petersburg</li></ul> <p><em>Send news tips, questions or comments to news@alaskapublic.org.</em></p> Collaborative research aims to better predict landslides in Southeast Alaska | Alaska Insight https://www.alaskapublic.org/2021/02/19/collaborative-research-aims-to-better-predict-landslides-in-southeast-alaska-alaska-insight/ Alaska Public Media urn:uuid:e128cb28-7504-1819-eda6-aa2cc6b76c4b Sat, 20 Feb 2021 02:14:04 +0000 What have geologists learned from destructive landslides in Alaska and how might that science inform future development plans and early warning systems for communities? Lori Townsend discusses these looming questions with guests Ronald Daanen, a geologist with the Alaska Department of Natural Resouces, and Lisa Busch, executive director of the Sitka Sound Science Center. <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <iframe title="Collaborative research aims to better predict landslides in Southeast Alaska | Alaska Insight" width="696" height="392" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_P4M72pzgKU?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div></figure> <p>What have geologists learned from destructive landslides in Alaska and how might that science inform future development plans and early warning systems for communities? </p> <p>Lori Townsend discusses these looming questions with guests Ronald Daanen, a geologist with the Alaska Department of Natural Resouces, and Lisa Busch, executive director of the Sitka Sound Science Center.</p>