Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. zhughes [at] alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8424 | @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah

State Hurrying To Update Rural Infrastructure Before Federal Dollars Diminish

Federal money for rural infrastructure is drying up, and state agencies are overhauling projects while they still can. With Alaska’s brief construction season about to begin, state officials are hurrying to bring airfields, roads, and other Bush infrastructure up to standard before funds get scarce. Download Audio

Breakup Creating Havoc For Ice Dredgers

The early break-up of sea ice has left winter gold-dredging operations scrambling to haul equipment back to shore – and not everyone has fared well so far. Download Audio

Bill Arming VPSOs Goes To Governor’s Desk

Village Public Safety Officers will soon be able to carry fire arms if Governor Sean Parnell signs a measure approved this morning in the Senate. Download Audio

Study Investigates Potential Impacts Of Road Development On Western Arctic Caribou Herd

In March, a group of researchers announced the results of a multi-year study assessing the impacts to caribou habitat of a potential service road from the Dalton Highway to the Ambler Mining District. Download Audio

Graphite One Resources Purchases Promising Seward Peninsula Claim

Vancouver-based Graphite One Resources announced this month they’ve finalized all land purchases for a promising graphite claim on the Seward Peninsula. But village residents in the area are concerned the proposed mine could harm subsistence resources. And they’re frustrated they haven’t yet heard from company officials. Download Audio

Rural Communities Get Help With Tax Prep

The Alaska Business Development Center spent last week coordinating free tax assistance across the state. Teams of two and three volunteers travel to small bush communities to help residents prepare tax returns. Download Audio

Red King Crab Harvest Abysmal In Bering Straits

Earlier in March, 1.2 million pounds of Tanner crab were caught in the Southeast’s commercial fishery, the biggest haul in over a decade. But in the Bering Straits region the winter season for Red King Crabs has been abysmal. Download Audio

Nome Health Groups Hold Vaccination Drive Amid Iditarod Festivities

Health groups took advantage of Iditarod visitors last week by holding a vaccination drive at the Nome Recreation Center. Download Audio

Feds Seeking Local Advice On Environmental Protocols

Members of the federal agency that oversees marine mammals held a teleconference in Nome on Wednesday to solicit region-specific advice on emergency response. It’s part of a process to draft environmental protocols for the Arctic that incorporate local expertise. Download Audio

Bill Arming VPSOs Passes House

A bill providing funding and support for some Village Public Safety Officers to carry firearms passed unanimously in the house this morning. Download Audio

AK: Rural Recycling

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. Downlaod Audio

VPSO Firearms Bill Moves Ahead

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.

2 Minors Charged In Illegal Musk Ox Killings

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. Download Audio

Stebbins Planning To Fix Long-Standing Problems Using Recovery Funds

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. Download Audio

Bill Aims To Arm VPSOs As Danger Levels Rise

The legislature’s Community and Regional Affairs Committee convened Tuesday to discuss House Bill 199, a proposal to allow arming village public safety officers in rural Alaska. Download Audio

Western Alaska Residents Await Disaster Relief Money

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. Download Audio

Document Highlights Rural Housing Shortage

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. Download Audio

World Wildlife Fund Releasing Walrus Ivory Report

Next month, the World Wildlife Fund is releasing a report on walrus ivory. Download Audio

Army Corp Of Engineers Finalizes Deep-Water Port Recommendations

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. Download Audio

Begich Calls for Restraint in Ivory Trade Policy

Alaska Senator Mark Begich has written Interior Secretary Sally Jewell asking her to exercise restraint in upcoming policy recommendations on the ivory trade.