Wesley Early, KOTZ - Kotzebue

Wesley Early, KOTZ - Kotzebue
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Wesley is the news director for KOTZ in Kotzebue. He previously worked at Alaska Public Media as a web editor, producer and education reporter.
A beige building with the blue words Alaska Airlines

City of Kotzebue begins mask mandate and new testing requirements

The city is instituting a mandatory mask mandate for anyone who leaves their residence. Violators are subject to a warning, with police issuing fines for subsequent violations.
A white young man with a dog in a black sweathshirt next to a river

Harvard student from Noorvik awarded prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

Wilfried Kuugauraq Zibell, originally from the Northwest Arctic, studies Inupiaq and Yiddish literature at Harvard and was recently accepted as a Rhodes Scholar.
An Alaska Native man with a bolo tie and glaasses

Representative-elect Patkotak says he opposes joining a caucus that seeks cuts to certain rural Alaska programs

Patkotak's position will make it much harder for a majority conservative Republican caucus to form.
A city seen from above covered in snow

Kotzebue man accused of murdering brother, injuring housemate in knife attack

One of the victims died at the Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue, while the other was medevacked to Anchorage with serious injuries.
A woman in an anorak holds up a photo frame and looks through it

Kotzebue Iñupiaq dancer showcased in Biden campaign victory video

Kotzebue native Jacqui Lambert is featured dancing the Bow and Arrow Song in front of Cook Inlet in the Biden victory video, which has been viewed at least 60 million times.
flames seen through a haze with a firefighter walking by

Kotzebue’s Bayside Restaurant goes down in flames during winter storm

There was one person who may have been in the restaurant who was not accounted for as of Thursday afternoon.
A village at the end of a marshs

‘A wake up call’ COVID-19 cases in Maniilaq service area doubled in October

Residents of Kotzebue made up a large majority of the cases, with 96 residents testing positive. The villages of Buckland and Noatak also saw spikes.

Black teacher sues North Slope district for not addressing students’ racist threats in Nuiqsut

The lawsuit alleges students threatened the teacher using racist language and symbols, but were never disciplined.
A store front that has a logbehicles are parked in a with a red flag. Several

Operators of AC grocery stores fined $20K for child labor violations

Federal investigators found that in the AC stores in Alaska, there were 30 workers between the ages of 14 and 15 working outside of the legal amount of hours allowed by the government.
A man in a ide vest and flannel on a computer screen

Pandemic dominates discussions as AFN convention goes virtual

With no booths to browse hand-crafted art pieces and attendees having to settle for virtual hugs, the 2020 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention was a drier affair than usual.
Two side-by-side imiages, one of an Alaska Native girl sitting on a porch, the other of two elders sitting outside

‘We need you for the future’: Elders and Youth conducts virtual conference

This year’s meeting was a little different, conducted mostly through pre-recorded messages and live Zoom calls. However, both keynote addresses highlighted the desire to keep thousands of years of Native culture moving forward, pandemic or not.
A brown building with a green rood. A red pickup truck is parked in the lot and a sign in green letters says Maniilaq Health Center

Kotzebue sees cluster of COVID-19 cases

10 Kotzebue residents have tested positive over the last week, including 2 employees of the local healthcare provider.

Alaska Airlines could suspend passengers from future flights for violating new face mask policy

The Seattle-based company said it will start issuing formal warnings to any passengers who don't wear a face covering, though there will be exceptions.

Shuttered for months, Kotzebue churches slowly reopen to parishioners

While in-person ttendance is still lower than before the pandemic, churches have added an online component to their services.

State investment agency approves $500K for summer work on Ambler Road project

The Ambler Road project has been a lightning rod for controversy for years, pitting the desire to expand business and mining interests in the state against the concerns over impacts to the environment and subsistence

State investment arm seeks approval to put up to $500K towards controversial Ambler road

If approved, the $500,000 would go to aerial photography of the proposed route, public outreach and the hiring of program manager, among other items.

Six lightning-caused fires burn tundra in Noatak National Preserve

While the area is made up of tundra, lake core studies show that naturally-occurring fires happened fairly regularly.

Officials suspect community spread of COVID-19 in Kotzebue, as new case is reported

A Kotzebue resident has tested positive for COVID-19, Maniilaq Association officials announced Friday night. That marks the third case in the city and fourth in Maniilaq’s service area, which covers the Northwest Arctic Borough and the village of Point Hope.
A brown building with a green rood. A red pickup truck is parked in the lot and a sign in green letters says Maniilaq Health Center

As test demand increases, Northwest Alaska officials say their supply can’t keep up

Maniilaq says that with increased testing in Kotzebue and in smaller villages, the regional health corporation says that demand for testing has gone up.

First coronavirus case reported in North Slope Borough

A resident from the North Slope Borough has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first positive case in the region.