Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage
ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8452 | About Lori
Increasing reports of deformed frogs and toads in the mid 90s, prompted Congress to mandate studies to look into the problem. Amphibians are sort of the canary in the coal mine for gauging the environmental health of land and surface water. The study was released in November, and looks at amphibian abnormalities on 152 wildlife refuges across the country, including five in Alaska.
The Department of Defense released a 16 page Arctic Strategy document on Friday. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talked about it at an event in Nova Scotia. The report states the arctic is at a “strategic inflection point,” transforming from a region of relative isolation to one of increasing access to resource extraction, fishing and tourism as sea ice recedes faster than projected.
A JBER soldier was awarded the highest military honor for an act of heroism in a non-war setting today. Sergeant 1st Class John Kerns recieved the Soldier’s Medal for pulling a man from a burning car after it crashed and before it exploded a few moments later.
A new book celebrates 25 years of collaborative research and science between the Cup’ik people of Chevak, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The title, Banding Together to learn and Preserve, 25 years of goose banding at old Chevak lays out the premise of this year book style collection of pictures and science information gathered during the decades of bird banding.
A new report on suicide in Alaska from the State Division of Public Health’s epidemiology section, found rates are higher in more northern regions. Erik Woelber is a graduate student intern with the epidemiology section. Woelber says the study breaks communities into three categories by size and road access and looks at factors that may have contributed to the suicide rate. Woelber says the rates of suicide at higher latitudes merits more research.
When I accepted a job in Anchorage more than a dozen years ago, my new boss told me the neighborhood I’d be working in was sketchy. She said signs of illicit sex and drug use, along with alcohol debris would be common in the parking lot. And that homeless people would sleep on the porch. It was all true. That was my introduction to Fairview. But last Saturday I glimpsed a very different version of the neighborhood through the stories of smiling residents who love Fairview, faults and all.
The University of Alaska Anchorage is hosting community engagement events this week. The focus is on being urban in Alaska. Bree Kessler is an assistant professor for Health Sciences at the center for community engagement and learning. She says on Saturday a pop up museum will appear for a few hours in a downtown neighborhood.
The United States and Canada are friendly neighbors with many common cultural and business interests. A new book suggests that partnership should be formalized. The title: Merger of the Century – Why Canada and America Should Become One Country, succinctly defines the premise. Author and dual citizen Diane Francis says because Canada has vast, undeveloped resources but scant population and military, it needs the U.S. to help develop and protect what America also needs.
Alaska is the most seismically active place in America and one of the most earthquake prone areas on the planet. There were numerous large earthquakes in the 1960s followed by a few decades of relative calm, but that’s changed in recent years. It’s not a matter of if, but when for the next big earthquake in Alaska.
APRN: Tuesday, 11/5 at 10:00am
The issues of substance abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault garner a lot of attention at the Alaska Federation of Native Conference in Fairbanks. Calls to strengthen tribal control over subsistence matters were highlighted by a round-table discussion with Senator Mark Begich and an address by Senator Lisa Murkowski where she deemed certain Federal Subsistence Board rules “ridiculous.”
KSKA: Friday, 11/1 at 2:00pm & Saturday, 11/2 at 6:00pm
TV: Friday, 11/1 at 7:30pm & Saturday, 11/2 at 5:00pm
The Alaska Federation of Natives convention that just concluded in Fairbanks had a theme of traditional values this year. Protection became a big component of that. The perennial call to ensure that subsistence rights are not diminished was strong, but even stronger this year was the outpouring of support for young people, who opened up with gut wrenching stories of pain from the fall out of addiction, suicide and abuse.
The annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention wrapped up Saturday in Fairbanks. AFN board co-chairs were elected in the morning. Ana Hoffman garnered the most votes. Hoffman is the President and CEO of the Bethel Native Corporation.
The Alaska Federation of Natives Convention entered second day today. On the agenda: Affordable Care Act opportunities, arctic policy and suicide prevention.
Bryce Edgmon with the Bush caucus of the Alaska legislature spoke to AFN delegates this morning. Edgmon, a Democrat from Dillingham, said the caucus took a forceful stance against the photo ID mandates for voter registration and against the proposal to amend the state constitution for using state dollars for non public schools.
The Alaska Federation of Natives Convention got underway this morning in Fairbanks. The keynote speaker today was Nelson Angapak, retired as Senior Vice President of AFN. He urged young people to work hard to achieve success, to listen to their elders and for Native people to come together to confront big challenges like threats to subsistence and federal cuts to programs.
Governor Sean Parnell announced at AFN today that he’s preparing to launch demonstration projects to allow tribal courts to process more alcohol and domestic violence cases. He said tribes “can often provide local, culturally relevant justice services.” Jerry Isaac is President of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, which has one of the most active tribal court systems in the state. APRN’s Lori Townsend asked for his reaction to Governor Parnell’s announcement: