Ben Matheson, KYUK - Bethel
Ben Matheson is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.
The Bethel City Council last night took one step towards a possible return to local option status. By a 4-to-3 vote, they introduced an ordinance, which, if passed by council next month would let voters would decide in October whether to allow local alcohol sales solely through a city-run liquor store.
The Bethel City Council is appealing the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s rejection of their protest of the Bethel Native Corporation’s package liquor store application. The council met in executive session Thursday evening for three and a half hours.
Subsistence fishing is open indefinitely on the Kuskokwim River. But that hasn’t been the norm this summer, as the river underwent two management regimes —state and federal—and strict closures for two species. Lower river fishermen are adjusting to the new reality of Kuskokwim subsistence—where conservative management is now the status quo.
The skeleton of the new Phillips Ayagnirvik Treatment Center, PATC, is coming up quickly and aims to be closed in for a winter of work. Kris Manke is Director of Construction for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, which is leading up the project. He says about 15 crew members are working now, including close to 70 percent local Alaska Native hires.
Searchers found the body of 28-year-old Benjamin Beaver Junior of Bethel after his boat hit a sandbar and sank.
Nearly a million acres have burned in southwest Alaska this year. 85 fires are still ablaze in the region. The middle Kuskokwim base of Aniak is the nerve center for a fleet of helicopters and other aircraft, shuttling supplies and crews working to stop fires before they reach communities and cabins. As the season progresses, teams are settling into Aniak for the summer.
The prospect of enrolling the younger generation of Y-K Delta Alaska Natives has been discussed for years. Now after the historic vote, Calista communications manager Thom Leonard says it too will take time to bring on the tens of thousands of new shareholders, That’s expected to start in the first half of 2017.
Thousands of so-called afterborns will be eligible for shares of Calista Corporation after shareholders voted Saturday. The preliminary results from the annual meeting in Kasigluk dramatically reshapes the ownership of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s regional Alaska Native Corporation.
The western Alaska census district named for a confederate slave owner and Civil War general has a new name. Governor Bill Walker wrote Thursday to the Census Bureau to begin the process of changing the name from the Wade Hampton Census District to Kusilvak (KOOSH-lee-vak) Census District.
An application for Bethel’s first liquor store in four decades is still alive.
A spending bill advancing in the US Senate includes full funding for Alaska Native health care providers’ contract support costs. That’s an area of native health care that’s been underfunded even though the supreme court has repeatedly ruled in favor of tribes.
Aniak and Chuathbaluk are receiving favorable winds today, cutting down on the smoke and fire danger. The fire across the river from Aniak has grown to 27,000 acres.
The latest figures show 21 new fires were logged in Alaska yesterday. That brings the total to nearly 300, which are burning almost 945 square miles. Fires are growing quickly in the middle Kuskokwim.
Fire officials are moving crews off the Whitefish Lake fire to Lower Kalskag as a staging area for protecting homes and other communities threatened by fires. Crews had been working to establish a fire line on the northern edge, but are now changing strategy.
The Kuskokwim River’s first 6-inch drift opening happens Monday afternoon from the Johnson River down to the refuge boundary at the mouth of the river. It runs from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2015.
A community permit system for a limited Kuskokwim king salmon harvest begins on Wednesday. 32 communities are eligible for the permit and so far 16 communities are signed up and a few still pending for the 7,000-fish king salmon permit fishery.
King salmon are beginning to show up on the Kuskokwim River. All eyes are on the few kings that are appearing in the Bethel Test Fishery and in subsistence fishermen’s nets during limited 4-inch openings. At a Wednesday work session of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, members prepared for more restrictions as the run picks up and a limited directed harvest.
More than 100 firefighters are battling a wildfire south of Kalskag that started Sunday from lightening. It has grown to 14,200 acres.
The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation is upping a reward to $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the fire that destroyed the PATC alcohol treatment center. They previously offered a $5,000 reward.
More than 80 firefighters are battling a 25-hundred acre blaze near Whitefish Lake. The fire south of Kalskag and the Kuskokwim River is one of about a dozen that were started by lightening on Sunday.