Len Anderson, APRN Contributor
landerson (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8449 | About Len
For over a decade, the Matunuska-Susitna Borough has outstripped the rest of Alaska in population growth. From 2000 to 2012, the borough increased by over 34,000 residents. That 58 percent rate is nearly four times Anchorage and the state as a whole. One group finding the Mat-Su particularly attractive are Alaska Natives.
Perhaps when you imagine a typical Alaskan Native elder, you think of an older person living in a bush village, or maybe a hub community like Bethel, Barrow or Wrangell. And that’s still true for many elders. But increasing numbers are joining their families in Alaska’s cities. As part of our on-going series looking at how we define ourselves and live our lives as Alaskans, Len Anderson looks at the role of Alaska Native elders in an urban environment.
Traveling Outside, many of us encounter questions about Alaska stemming from curiosity and ignorance. Do we live in igloos? Is it always winter with six months darkness? Is American money accepted? But rural Alaska residents often feel their urban-dwelling fellow Alaskans have just as many misperceptions about their bush homes. As part of our on-going series looking at how we define our culture and live our lives as Alaskans, Len Anderson presents these examples.
Ask most Alaska Natives “Where are you from” and chances are even a second or third generation urban dweller will name a rural community. Ties with one’s region are strong….even for those who never even really lived in there. This week, Len Anderson brings you the story of one urban-raised Inupiaq woman whose longing to connect with her roots first hand prompted her to move “home” to Kotzebue.
Moving from urban anywhere to rural Alaska can be a tough transition – some newcomers don’t last long, worn down by the long winters or a feeling of isolation. Others stay, sometimes for years. Len Anderson talked to some Northwest Alaska residents to find out what makes the difference.
Despite years of effort and millions of dollars in state campaigns, Alaska’s suicide rate remains at nearly double the nation’s average. On Saturday communities across the state participated in suicide prevention walks and gatherings.
For the second time in three days, Anchorage was treated to a positive economic forecast for 2012. While the numbers varied between the state department of labor and the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation reports, the shared projected trend was reassuring.
It looks like a second consecutive year of mild job growth for Anchorage as the city continues to emerge from the employment dip experienced in 2009.
Yesterday morning School Superintendent Carol Comeau presented her administration’s proposed 2012-2013 budget to the Anchorage School Board, which then began a two day, in-depth review. Compared to recent years, the general operating fund increase is slight, less than two million dollars, but in terms of program and personnel cuts, the impact is deep.
This week the Anchorage Police Department released its quarterly awards. The recipients included officers, dispatchers and citizens. As expected, some involved officers serving citizens, but in some cases the assistance was the reverse. KSKA’s Len Anderson reports.
Last year, Alaskan exports topped $5 billion for the first time. Governor Sean Parnell made the announcement Monday based on a final tally of exported goods from last January through November.
The second of the two finalists hoping to succeed retiring Carol Comeau for the Anchorage School District’s superintendent position spent three day’s interviewing and visiting the city last week. During that time, Stephen Atwater met with the local press.
Anchorage property owners are about to learn the latest assessed valuation of their properties. The city assessor’s office is set to mail out some 96,000 green cards giving the property valuation for this tax year and, at the same time, begin the 30 day appeal period.
During the first and second weeks of January, the two finalists competing to replace retiring Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau were scheduled for three day visits to the city. Jim Browder, former superintendent of the Lee County school district in Florida was here January 6th through the 8th. On Friday evening, a two hour community forum was held where the public could ask candidate Browder questions.
The first of the two finalists for the Anchorage School District superintendent position began a three day visit yesterday. After his first face-to-face interview with the school board, the candidate hoping to replace retiring Carol Comeau visited schools, met Anchorage assembly members and talked to the local press.
This week APRN and our affiliates across the state have been taking a look back at favorite and significant stories of 2011. Tonight we start in Nome.
Less than a month after Karluk Manor began taking in chronic alcoholic tenants, the Housing First facility finds itself not the object, but the springboard for a lawsuit against the Municipality of Anchorage.
A man who injected an Anchorage teenager with heroin before Christmas now faces four charges and $90,000 bail. Meanwhile the 14-year-old girl remains in a city hospital.
A proposed bill awaiting the next legislative session seeks to increase the protection over the finances of Alaska’s seniors–especially from their relatives and caregivers.
This week the Food Bank and Salvation Army, along with Marine Corps Toys for Tots held Neighborhood GIFT. The annual event drew nearly 5,000 families in need to six locations for holiday dinner fixings and toys.