Zachariah Hughes, KNOM - Nome
The city of Nome just bought a new recycling shed online. It’s another step towards diverting more waste from the landfill, and either re-purposing it or shipping it out of Alaska. Rural recycling presents some unique challenges for environmental management. And the city is finding some unique solutions.
A legislative proposal creating a path for qualified Village Public Safety Officers to carry firearms has cleared another hurdle. SB 98 was passed on Thursday by the Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee. But some serious concerns were raised about the proposal.
In January, two minors were charged in the Nome Court House with 11 counts of wanton waste of big game. The case comes from an incident a year-and-a-half ago near Brevig Mission in which a herd of musk ox were illegally killed and not harvested. At the time of the incident the defendants were 13 and 10-years-old.
Two-and-a-half months after severe flooding ruined homes and vital infrastructure, Stebbins is organizing to put recovery funds towards fixing long-standing problems exacerbated by the storm damage. President Obama declared November’s storms in Western Alaska a natural disaster last month, unlocking federal funds to help the community.
President Obama has declared November’s storms in Western Alaska a natural disaster. The storms inflicted heavy damage on Kotlik and Stebbins, and created problems in other Bering Straits communities.
Affordable housing is getting harder to find in Nome and surrounding villages. The regional non-profit corporation – Kawerak – is drafting a document to present to the state legislature identifying housing as one of the major issues facing the communities in the area.
As the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers finalizes details of its deep-water port recommendations the agency is anticipating continued heavy development in Northern and Western Alaska. The plan expects not only increased vessel traffic in the Bering Straits region, but offshore drilling in the Chukchi Sea and graphite production at a fledgling mining claim on the Seward Peninsula.
Alaska Senator Mark Begich has written Interior Secretary Sally Jewell asking her to exercise restraint in upcoming policy recommendations on the ivory trade.
In the last two months, the Center for Disease Control has seen a rising trend in reports of acute respiratory illness in young and middle-age patients across the country. In Alaska, hundreds of cases of flu have been reported and the state is urging residents to get the flu vaccine, continuing their fee waiver to entice more participation.
A recent draft report prepared by the Fairbanks-based company Northern Land Use Research Alaska found what is likely about a hundred unmarked graves in Nome’s cemetery. The company conducted a Ground Penetrating Radar Analysis of the areas around Nome’s existent graveyard as part of a planned expansion for the grounds. Josie Bahnke is Nome’s city manager and says the cemetery expansion is steadily moving forward.
On St Lawrence Island, the tribal government of Gambell gave one walrus tusk to each household in the community of just under 800. The distribution is meant to provide ivory carvers with a bit of raw material to work with, in order to bring in a little extra cash amid the ongoing economic disaster from last spring’s poor walrus harvest on St. Lawrence Island.
Earlier this month, the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs put out a “request for proposals”—or RFP—for contracts to set up an emergency food system. The plan is to stockpile food for 40,000 people at two separate locations in the state.
Late last month, residents of Savoonga and Gambell on St. Lawrence Island began finding hundreds of dead seabirds as they washed ashore. This week, state officials said the event was from a common disease, and is no cause for concern.
Hundreds of dead birds washed up on the shores of St. Lawrence Island towards the end of November. And though the cause of the die off isn’t yet known, the quick response demonstrates a mounting capacity for dealing with unexpected environmental events in the region.
Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich of Alaska are co-sponsoring an amendment to move forward building four heavy ice-breakers. It would allow the Navy to begin shopping contracts for bids on all the components necessary to build the costly boats.
A small Canadian mining company is in the exploratory phases of setting up a graphite mine on the Seward Peninsula. Though years away from being operational, the Graphite Creek deposit could be the nation’s first and only graphite mine.
Team Rubicon, the disaster-relief NGO made up of retired military personnel, is heading to Kotlik on Monday. The same group has sent volunteers to Haiti, Pakistan, Chile, and, most recently, the Philippines. It’s part of the multi-agency effort to help communities in Western Alaska clean-up after powerful storms two weeks ago.