Dave Bendinger, KDLG - Dillingham
Mining Giant Rio Tinto announced Monday it will divest its holdings with Northern Dynasty, the sole owner of the Pebble mine prospect in Bristol Bay. Rio Tinto held 19 percent of Northern Dynasty’s publicly traded shares. But the company is not selling those shares. Instead, it will split them evenly between two charitable organizations.
Back in 1960, seven uninhabited Bristol Bay islands south of Togiak were incorporated into the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary. As the name suggests, the sanctuary protects one of the largest terrestrial haulout sites of Pacific walruses in North America. The Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Division decided last week that it will terminate its Round Island Program, which staffs the sanctuary to monitor the marine mammals and host visitors.
Despite all the fuss over the Save Our Salmon Initiative that passed by a narrow vote of Lake and Peninsula Boro Voters in 2011, that law is now officially null and void. That’s on account of a ruling from Superior Court Judge John Suddock on Wednesday, following a three-year long lawsuit brought by Pebble and the State of Alaska.
The state’s division of parks and recreation has reorganized the management structure of two of its largest parks. As part of the re-shuffling, one of Wood Tikchik’s two park rangers will be reassigned to Chugach later this year.
The EPA’s announcement today was directly targeted at the Pebble Mine. The developers of that project are understandably not pleased with what they say is a gross overreach of federal authority which should be concerning to all Alaskans.
The Bristol Bay Forever Initiative, which seeks to add a layer of legislative approval to any future hard rock mining within the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve, has survived a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. Backers expect the initiative to still be on the primary ballot this August.
At a hearing last week in Dillingham, a public defense attorney mentioned to the judge that he had been cautioned by his agency about discussing confidential matters with clients in custody at state correctional facilities. The agency had learned that the state’s Department of Corrections was either monitoring or recording phone calls between inmates and their attorneys, a practice that defies the attorney-client privilege.
State prosecutors today dismissed the case against a former Dillingham High School assistant wrestling coach who had been accused of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old female student.
The atmosphere was festive Tuesday night at the Dillingham boat harbor as dozens came to celebrate some recent successes in the fight against the Pebble Mine.
There was mixed reaction to the EPA’s release of its Bristol Bay watershed study. For the tribes, fishermen, and environmental groups who’ve lobbied the EPA to involve itself in the Pebble Mine debate, Wednesday’s announcement came as an reaffirmation of long-held beliefs:
The Alaska Air National Guard was called to Bristol Bay Wednesday night to help look for an overdue snowmachiner from Koliganek.
Students at Dillingham’s Alternative School had the opportunity to train for an Emergency Trauma Technician certification this month. An ETT can provide basic medical care in emergency situations, and graduates in years past have not only helped save lives in their communities, but have also gone on to further careers in the medical field.
Popular footwear brand XtraTuf is on a mission to prove to their disappointed loyal customers that the iconic boots are not just “Sort-of-Tough.” Two years ago, parent-company Honeywell transferred production of XtraTuf from Illinois, to a factory in China, and the product that rolled off the line was nowhere near what Alaskans had come to expect. XtraTuf says the quality is back and they want to replace any pairs purchased that didn’t hold up, no questions asked.
A group of Bristol Bay fishermen have filed suit against Trident Seafoods, Magone Marine Services, and the owner and operator of the vessel Lone Star, which sank in the Igushik River during the middle of this past year’s salmon fishery. The resulting oil spill shut down the fishery, costing most Igushik Beach set netters their season. They say they have still not been paid for their lost income for the season.
A recently hired Togiak village police officer is under arrest for the sexual abuse of a minor. Authorities say Daniel Gonzales, 22, admitted that he had sex with a 16-year-old girl in the front seat of his patrol vehicle on Oct. 21.
In June, the Choggiung Limited board of directors voted to restrict wood cutting on the corporation’s lands to shareholders only. The board further decided that harvest would be for personal use only, denying others the chance to buy cut wood from a Choggiung shareholder.
A 23-year old assistant wrestling coach and part time substitute teacher at Dillingham High School has been arrested for engaging in sexual relations with a 15-year old female student.
The 78-foot fishing vessel Lone Star, which had been operating as a salmon tender in the Igushik River before it sank on June 30, is finally on its way out of Bristol Bay. It’s been under tow since Wednesday, and is expected in Dutch Harbor on Saturday.
Come November, gone will be the days of the three free totes filled with goodies from Anchorage. PenAir, which for most of the year serves as the only commercial airline between Anchorage and several rural hubs in southwest Alaska, has announced new fees on baggage.