Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage

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Joaqlin Estus is a reporter at KNBA in Anchorage.

Most of us have never lived with without running water at home. Today, we’ll learn about some people who are just getting used to it, and others who would like to get used to having running water. In the second segment of the series Kick the Bucket, we’ll also hear some of the reasons Alaska hasn’t made modern plumbing a simple fact of life for all Alaskans.

You don't have to go to a foreign country to find Third World conditions. You can find more than six percent of Alaskans living in those conditions - without modern running water or sewer systems. The so-called "honey bucket" situation has frequently been deplored and millions of federal and state dollars have been devoted to dealing with it. But the reality remains that people in 3,300 households in the state live without running water and flush toilets and have much higher rates of hospitalization for respiratory and skin infections. Are there solutions? Maybe? Are we getting closer to those solutions? Maybe not. Today we begin a five-part series entitled "Kick the Bucket," in which we'll get a closer look at the water and sewer situation in rural Alaska. In part one, we look at the public health implication of inadequate water supplies.

About 500 athletes from elementary through high school will be at the Native Youth Olympics, which kicks off Thursday in Anchorage. Download Audio

An Ojibwe woman and independent journalist Mary Annette Pember recently visited Alaska for a series of stories on historical trauma and Native American mental health practices. Pember says the troubled lives of Native Americans reflect their troubled history. Download Audio

State Senate Finance Committee members are going over proposed agency budgets one by one, looking for funds or programs they can cut. Thursday they questioned Department of Environmental Conservation officials, asking just how bad it would be to turn down federal dollars for water and sewer systems. Download Audio

The state on Monday asked the Alaska Supreme Court for more time in a case involving the adoption of a Yup’ik child, a case that tribes say will determine how the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, will be implemented in Alaska, and show whether Governor Bill Walker is serious about campaign pledges he made to work cooperatively with tribes.

All the regional Native nonprofits in the state, which represent most of the tribes in Alaska, have issued a joint statement asking Governor Bill Walker to change his position in the court case Tununuk II vs. the state of Alaska. They say Walker’s position will make it very difficult for tribal members to adopt Native children. The state says it’s only arguing for compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The case involves a Native child called Baby Dawn; her Alaska Native grandmother Elise of the village of Tununuk; and Baby Dawn’s non-Native former foster and now adoptive parents the Smiths of Anchorage. An Alaska Supreme Court ruling in December allowed the Smith’s petition to adopt Baby Dawn to override Elise’s stated wish to adopt her granddaughter.

The Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and a dozen regional Native non-profits are asking Governor Bill Walker to change his position in a case involving the adoption of Alaska Native children. They say the state’s position in the case Tununuk v. the state of Alaska erects barriers between tribal children and tribal homes.

Members of the Legislative Bush Caucus were told last week in a “Lunch and Learn” session on rural sanitation almost a billion dollars is needed to build, replace, and maintain rural sanitation systems. But, the gap between the level of need and funding is widening. Download Audio

Governor Bill Walker’s administration is seeking a delay in a long-running tribal sovereignty case, saying it wants to form a working group to explore policy issues and potential alternatives to continued litigation. But the tribes’ attorney says the state’s request for a delay is just a ploy to get around its loss in court. Download Audio

State transportation commissioner Patrick Kemp has been ousted following his defense of the department's pursuit of the Juneau access road. Download Audio

The city of Anchorage can claim a new record. The city did not see a temperature drop below zero for the entire year of 2014. The last time Anchorage residents saw a below zero reading was December 26, 2013.

Subsistence harvests are managed by federal agencies with input from local residents through regional advisory councils. Local residents aren’t stepping up to be on the councils. Download Audio

As we’ll see, the effects of warming temperatures on infrastructure can be costly and sometimes dramatic. In much of Alaska, bridges, roads, buildings, and runways have been built on permafrost. That’s soil that became frozen during ice ages from 400 to 10,000 years ago, and a few feet down is frozen rock-hard year around. Download Audio

As Alaskans grapple with the effects of a warming planet, they look to federal and state agencies to help with problems that are too big for an individual or even a community to tackle. But it’s not clear if statutes and regulations, and agency fundingare up to the task. Download Audio

Alaskans have heard a lot about the effects climate change has had on land in the state, but new studies suggest it’s also having a big impact on the health of residents. Download Audio

Wild foods are important to Alaskans, and especially to rural residents, but subsistence users and scientists say climate change is affecting wildlife populations, access to subsistence resources, and food preservation. Download Audio

Baby Boomers, like everyone else, know that avoiding tobacco use, watching their weight, exercising, and staying mentally active, contribute to longer life. However, researchers recently announced findings that show there may be a downside to living longer. Download Audio

Native leaders say a Sept. 12th Alaska Supreme Court ruling in a case involving a Yup’ik child will cause higher numbers of Native children to be cut off from their families and culture. Download Audio

Over the past several decades, there’s been a renaissance in Alaska Native traditional dancing. KNBA’s Joaqlin Estus recently visited with one of the founders of an Inupiaq dance group in Anchorage, who told her about his personal journey toward tradition. Download Audio