Alaska News Nightly: August 19, 2011

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Millions in Illegal Drugs, Alcohol Seized in Western Alaska

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Over a million dollars in illegal drugs and over $330,000 worth of alcohol was seized last year in Western Alaska. The state-run drug unit for the area has investigators who regularly check luggage– and even the mail—that’s being sent to these remote communities.

Village Carries Faith, Despite Past Priest Abuse

Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel

This week the embattled Society of Jesus Oregon Province emerged from chapter 11 Bankruptcy.  The Province oversees Jesuit activities in five states, and under their watch  hundreds of children were sexually abused by priests and volunteers.  Nowhere have more victims come forward that in Western Alaska. The Yup’ik Eskimo community of Emmonak was hard hit by the abuse. Court documents detail decades of clerical abuse there, mostly in the 1960s and 70s. Despite the pain that was inflicted there years ago, many in the community still embrace the catholic faith.

McGrath Area Crash Survivors Will Receive Financial Help

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A family of four that survived a plane crash near McGrath will get financial help.  NEA-Alaska president Barb Angaiak says a Wells Fargo account has been set up to take donations to help Don and Rosemary Evans, and their two young children.  The family was on their way to Anvik where the two adults were to begin teaching school, when the plane they were on crashed last Saturday evening.

The plane had been chartered by the school district. The Evans spent a rough night awaiting rescuers, who were unable to reach the crash site until  Sunday morning.

The Evans’s were on the pay roll of the school district when the accident occurred, although their insurance was not scheduled to kick in until September 1. The Iditarod school board has since changed the start date to August 1, and the family is fully covered, according to Karen Ladegard, superintendent of the Iditarod School District.  Ladegard says classes in Anvik will begin on Monday despite the Evans’ hospitalization and the loss of long time Anvik teacher Julia Walker, who was killed in the crash, along with pilot Ernie Chase. Ledegard says retired teachers will work at Anvik on a temporary basis, until the Evans recover from their injuries.

Those who want to help the Evanses can make a contribution to the Evans family fund at any Wells Fargo branch. The account is number 5969770287.

IPHC Offering Reward for Lost Equipment

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

The International Pacific Halibut Commission is offering a reward for a couple of pieces of scientific equipment that have been lost in waters off Alaska.

AK: Riding the Whistle Stop Train

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Remote homes and cabins are a mainstay of life in the 49th state. Hearty Alaskans don’t consider it a burden to build on a property that’s only accessible by float plane, boat or snowmachine. And then there’s the train. In an area north of Talkeetna, the last true whistle stop train in the country is the only access cabin owners have to their wilderness retreats. APRN’s Annie Feidt rode along recently and has the story.

300 Villages: False Pass and Anaktuvuk Pass

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Now its time for our weekly trip around the state for 300 villages. We’ll head first to False Pass, a tiny fishing village in the Aleutian Islands. And then go way up north to Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range.