Olivia Ebertz, KYUK - Bethel


Unvaccinated Bethel city employees demand more time to consider vaccine mandate

City of Bethel employees have a week to either get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose or get fired. Most city employees are already vaccinated; less than 15% are not. Part of the unvaccinated minority is demanding more time and more education to learn about the vaccine. 
A wooden building with an SUV in front

Nearly half of Bethel police are unvaccinated and could lose their jobs

The six unvaccinated police officers don't live in Bethel full-time. Instead, they fly in and out — working two weeks on, two weeks off.

Bethel mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for city workers

The City of Bethel has mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for all city workers. All Bethel city employees, consultants, contractors, and volunteers must receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27. City administrators announced the new policy on Sept. 13 in an email to city workers.
A man wearing a blue coat and white gloves looks at a computer.

State ICU call center could ease rural health care gap, Yukon-Kuskokwim health officials say

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation does not have its own intensive care unit, so it depends on transferring critically ill or injured patients to hospitals around the state. But the recent surge in COVID-19 cases means that most ICU departments are at or near capacity. There aren’t enough beds for new patients.
A man in a gray t-shirt with black hairs stares ahead.

Subsistence users, scientists seek answers for chum salmon declines

Why are the chum numbers so low? The short answer is that no one really knows for sure. But there are a lot of theories.

How low chum runs changed the lives of these Western Alaska fisheries workers

For decades, Kwik’Pak Fisheries in the Western Alaska village of Emmonak has provided reliable summer employment in one of the state’s most unemployed regions. But with salmon runs low and commercial fishing closed, it’s offering few jobs this summer. Commercial fishermen and women are feeling the economic stress, and those who are still working at the plant have had to transition to new roles.
A man in a puffy winter jacket stares at the camera.

Yukon subsistence users go to new lengths for food after chums don’t return

Subsistence fishing on the lower Yukon River is closed for both king and chum salmon. Residents who usually depend heavily on the fish are pivoting toward other ways to get meat.
Two men in jackets lift a box that says "This side up"

When Yukon River chum stocks collapsed, donated fish came in from Bristol Bay

The Yukon River has seen its worst summer chum salmon run on record, and its third-worst chinook run.

State allows Donlin Gold to lease land for 315-mile pipeline

On July 20, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) granted Donlin Gold the right to lease state land to build a pipeline that will power its mine. This is the second time that the state has reached this decision. 
A white roman buiulding as seen from above

Treasury changes ARPA rules, grants all tribes $1 million

The U.S Department of Treasury has changed its rules on how American Rescue Plan Act Funds will be distributed to tribes. The changes open up a lot more funding for smaller tribes in Alaska and the Lower 48.
Photo of burned out water plant

Installation of long-awaited water plant underway in Tuluksak

A long-awaited water plant has arrived in Tuluksak after a fire destroyed the community’s only source of running water back in January 2021. Efforts to ship the new portable water plant to Tuluksak have been underway since the winter.
A boat with a bunch of buildings on it and a crane carrying a net

Fearing dismal salmon returns, Yukon River processor turns to gardening

The goal is to keep the business operating and workers employed, so Kwik’pak Fisheries in Emmonak is diversifying its business by building greenhouses right next to its fish processing plant.

Southwest Alaska ranks highest for maternal mortality

Alaska has a lower rate than the national average, but still sees 6 to 13 maternal deaths each year, according to the Alaska Maternal Child Death Review Committee. Rates are highest among Indigenous mothers in Southwestern Alaska.
An Alaska Native woman in a blue jacket

Bethel elder Eula David, co-author of English-Yup’ik medical dictionary, dies

Originally from Scammon Bay, David was a worldly, culturally fluid and fluent woman who went on to live in Fortuna Ledge, Mekoryuk, and eventually Bethel.
Two lab technicians wearing protective equipment transfer vials from a box.

Alpha variant of COVID-19 appears in Y-K Delta

The Alpha strain is also known as the B.1.1.7 variant. It has also previously been referred to as the UK variant.
A house in flames

Visiting construction worker puts out house fire in Y-K Delta village

A man was injured during the blaze, but nobody was injured when a house caught fire in Crooked Creek, which lacks a fire department.
A metal tower with some satelite dishes on the side

Here’s how Alaskans can get help with monthly internet bills

If you make less than $21,722 or lost income during the pandemic, you could qualify for a $75 per month internet subsidy.
A musk ox walking along the beach

Hunt opens for musk ox stranded on ice floes

The musk ox were stranded on the ice floes after wandering onto the sea ice during breakup.
A priest reads from a book

After pandemic cancellation, Russian Orthodox residents in Bethel celebrate Pascha in person

On May 3, Orthodox Christians in Bethel celebrated their most important religious holiday: Easter, or Pascha. It’s the first major holiday the congregation has gathered together for in nearly a year and a half.
A woman holds a phone up taking apicture of a big blue tank inside a room

Tuluksak got a special water treatment system meant for the whole village. Only the school was using it.

Entry into the school was restricted on due to concerns about health hazards and disruption of the school day.