Dave Bendinger, KDLG - Dillingham
Bristol Bay fishermen at the mouth of the Igushik River were shut down again this afternoon, following reports of oil in their nets. An aerial survey flown earlier today observed a mile and a half long sheen of oil coming from the sunken tender Lone Star.
After the 78’ tender Lonestar went down Sunday morning, fishermen at the mouth of the Igushik River were told to pull in their nets. Igushik fishermen are predominantly from the village of Manokotak. The three-week season provides the sole income for many of them and the closure came just as the fishing was getting good.
The sinking of the tender “Lone Star” in the mouth of the Igushik River could not have happened at a worse time to close a fishery due to a fuel spill. It was right at the peak of the Sockeye Salmon run. The fishery was closed and then opened again.
The village of Chignik Lagoon on the Alaska Peninsula, with a year round population of around 70, hopes to break ground this season on a small, long-awaited hydroelectric project. For a price tag of about 2.5 million dollars, the simple system may produce as much power as the village typically needs. This is one of several alternative energy projects the Lake and Peninsula Borough has undertaken in an effort to lower costs and ease off of fossil fuels in its villages.
As of 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, the 2013 Togiak commercial sac roe herring fishery has closed. Fishing through tough weather over the weekend, the gillnet fleet scraped by with a couple hundred tons landed each day, and on Monday the buyers announced they were done buying for the season.
Some invasive species of bark beetles, if they make it to Alaska, could pose a serious threat to our trees and forests. In ten years of surveys, none have been detected, but state and federal forestry officials are coming to rely on volunteers to help monitor for them across the state. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger reports on one such volunteer who’s keeping an eye out the beetles around Dillingham.
The Bristol Bay Native Corporation and the mineral exploration company Millrock Resources made an agreement to explore for gold, copper, and molybdenum prospects on BBNC land near the Chigniks.
State narcotics officials say unsuspecting travelers are being used as drug mules to carry illegal pills to rural Alaska. Earlier this month, authorities intercepted a package of oxycodone pills at the Anchorage airport. They were inside a bag a traveler agreed to take to Dillingham for another woman.
At a first felony appearance before the magistrate at the Dillingham courthouse Wednesday morning, Leroy B. Dick, Jr, 42, of Manokotak, initially refused legal counsel, telling the judge: “To be honest, I could say I’m guilty of the crime.”
A Village Public Safety Officer has been shot and killed in the community of Manokotak, about 25 miles southwest of Dillingham. VPSO Thomas O. Madole, 54, is dead of an apparent gunshot wound. The Alaska State Troopers arrested Leroy B. Dick, Jr., 42, of Manokotak. Dick is being held at the Dillingham jail, facing charges of murder in the first degree.
On Wednesday, March 6, Tom Marsik and Kristin Donaldson of Dillingham had their home on Gauthier Way tested for air tightness. A conventional blower door test was used, which is common practice for energy audits. But Wednesday’s was no ordinary test; it was actually an attempt to secure an official world record for “Tightest Residential Building.”
Over the weekend, federal investigators were at the crash site of the ACE Air Cargo plane that went down in the Muklung Hills Friday morning, killing the pilot and co-pilot.
A plane crashed Friday morning in the Muklung Hills, roughly 20 miles northeast of Dillingham, but by 6pm Friday, authorities had not been able to reach the crash site.
A Dillingham couple attempted to set a new world record yesterday. They believe they have built the most air-tight house on the planet. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger stopped by as they prepared to test that theory.
The EPA has taken their Bristol Bay watershed assessment back to the drawing board for revisions. When finished, the assessment could become a basis for the EPA to veto the proposed Pebble mine, but a final version of the controversial study now won’t likely be completed until the end of the year.
The State of Alaska’s sexual assault case against former-Bristol Bay Native Corporation Board Member Sergie Chukwak has been dismissed.
One thing teachers and parents hope to see from their students is motivation, to show a little enthusiasm daily about learning something new, to embrace a challenge, to make productive use of their time in school each day. In the Automotive Class at Dillingham High School, students undertake routine maintenance on vehicles for free, if owners provide the parts and materials. The students are not only becoming pretty good at what they do, they’re also excited about it doing it. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger noticed the students’ motivation when he dropped his truck off for some maintenance.
The “Bristol Bay Forever” citizen initiative cleared the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Thursday, which means the initiative’s sponsors can start collecting the necessary signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.
Facing sexual assault charges, Sergie Chukwak has resigned from the board of Bristol Bay Native Corporation, where he had served since 2010. BBNC Board Chair Joseph Chythlook, said in a written statement today that Chukwak’s decision to voluntarily resign will allow the Board to “focus on effectively serving” its shareholders.
Derek Michael Stephens, 30, was arrested Friday afternoon in King Salmon on an outstanding warrant involving four counts of sexual exploitation of a child from the state of Idaho. Bristol Bay Borough Chief of Police Rodney Enevoldsen says authorities in Idaho made his department aware of the Warrant and the interest in Stephens in August, but until last week there had been no plans to extradite.