Child Advocates Work to Support Senate Bill 3

Anchorage commuters passing through the busy Lake Otis/Tudor intersection this evening between 6 and 7 will be encouraged to honk in support of ending child hunger. The local campaign is part of a national effort to address the growing problem of children going without meals. Kokayi Nosakhere is the local coordinator for the By 2015 America movement.

Nosakhere says a senate bill that would have helped feed more Alaska kids languished and died in the House Finance committee in 2009 and 10. He says Senator Bill Wielechowski offered Senate bill 3 in 2011. It passed the Senate and again landed in the House Finance committee.

“This year we’re saying, we see what you’re doing, it is intolerable, and we will stand up and intervene to prevent that from happening. We want the House Finance committee to stop bottle necking the process and allow the bill to go to a vote. If we lose on the floor we lose on the floor and we can deal with that in November. But to not allow legislators to vote on it is almost criminality,” Nosakhere said.

Nosakhere says Alaska has excellent teachers who work hard to help children become better educated citizens, but he says kids can’t learn if they’re distracted by hunger.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, you can just be a grandmother and know that you have to feed your child for the child to learn,” Nosakhere said.

Senate bill 3 would provide a state match for schools participating in the federal free and reduced school breakfast and lunch program.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori