Sen. Murkowski Announces AFN Hearing on Suicide Prevention

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Suicide, particularly youth suicide is one of those ugly sides to our state’s statistics. Of course we know that suicide is far more than a statistic. It impacts our families, it impacts our communities, and in certain parts of Alaska, youth suicide has been devastating.
On October 22nd, at the AFN Convention, I will be conducting a field hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to really delve into more of the issues surrounding youth suicide, some of the connections that we know to be at play, whether it’s depression, whether it’s witnessing acts of violence within the home, whether it is lack of support.
Read more.

Are Alaska Nonprofits Ready for the Next Recession?

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For the last three years, while the rest of the country was in recession, Alaska maintained some sense of normalcy. When I moved here in the early 1990s, the state had just begun to recover from the recession of the late 80's. What I heard then and since is that in Alaska, we do OK when the Lower 48 is in recession, but when they recover, it's our turn. I am not sure if that is a fact or a myth, but many of our leading citizens believe it is so. Who am I to question? When the market crashed in 2008, we published a series of articles on how to survive a bad economy. To date we have not been as challenged as nonprofits down south, but the last few years have not been easy, even for us. Alaska’s nonprofits had to adjust to decreased support from foundations and corporations – those donations most affected by a recession. Read more.

Filipinos Helped Shape America of Today

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Both the U.S. and State Legislature have declared October as Filipino- American History Month. Yet with so much happening in the news, and with plenty at stake both in our nation and state, it is easy to overlook the importance of this occasion. But let us just pause for a moment to think about Filipino-American history. Filipinos have been part of American history for many centuries. The first Filipinos landed on the continent in 1587, several decades before the Pilgrims arrived. Before our Founding Fathers declared independence from the Brits, a group of Filipinos had already settled in Louisiana. More than a century before Alaska became a state, Filipinos had already made it here, engaging in fur trade with Alaska Natives. Read more.

Learn the Yup’ik Alphabet

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This video, presenting the Yup'ik alphabet, was created by a group of students (and teachers) at Ket'acik & Aapalluk Memorial School in Kwethluk, a village in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Read more.

Italy Part 2 – My Favorite Art in Italy

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Venice’s Santa Lucia railway station is on the Grand Canal, my first clue that getting around this watery city meant using the aquatic bus system, Vaparettos. We stayed on Lido Island, a typical resort with over-priced boutiques, ice cream vendors and beaches with cabanas. Lido translates to beach, hence lido decks on cruise ships. Read more.

Arctic Imperative: Dan Sullivan, Commissioner – Department of Natural Resources, State of Alaska

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This video is of a speech presented by Dan Sullivan, Commissioner, Department of Natural Resources, State of Alaska at the Arctic Imperative Summit in June at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. Click for more.

My Father’s Rifles

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The first thing I remember when I pick up my old rifle was its kick. And then I remember its smell, a mixture of my father’s gun oil and the gun powder used in the bullets and the old leather from the sling. Even though there shouldn’t be a distinction, there is. My gun smells different than other rifles. Read more.

Inspiration: Portrait of a Ceramics Artist

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Photographer Chris Grunder sent us this video, entitled Inspiration. It focuses on the work of his mother, Alaskan ceramic artist Becky Grunder. Check out the video.

Riding Alaska’s Bore Tide

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Summer may be officially over, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the memories. Local filmmaker Adam Holzer sent us this great video of a truly Alaskan surfing expedition. Adam says: "My friend Kyle Eckstrom from Hawaii was in town for a wedding and during a discussion over coffee, I jokingly asked him if he wanted to surf the bore tide that day (he is a very experienced surfer). Kyle had no clue what it was and I had never done it, but he seemed enthralled with the idea, so we ran with it." Watch the video.

Beary Interesting Science

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Who said you can't do bear research while in high school? Through a new continuing education program hosted by the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, high school science and math teachers will be offered graduate school credit to teach bear science this Fall. Read more.

The SpokenCoast: Kotzebue and Point Hope

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Blogger Marissa Krupa, creator of The SpokenCoast project, has travelled to Alaska as part of her tour documenting the stories of people in communities along the Pacific Coast - from Chile to Alaska. She recently submitted the following videos, shot in Kotzebue and Point Hope. Take a look... See the videos.

A Real Dialogue about Racial Equity in Alaska

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A few weeks ago, I was waiting in my car for my sister to come out of a grocery store, window down, and two young men, both white, were having a loud discussion about race. I tried (not very hard) to not listen, but as I was in the middle of the unnerving project I’ll describe in a bit, bad manners took over. They discussed different racial problems, whether minorities should be “blaming” everything on race, whether affirmative action was right, and one was vehement that the “Native Pride” hats were racist in nature. What struck me was – they probably would be talking a bit differently if I was part of the discussion. Read more.

Cabbage Conundrum: What Do You Do with a 125 lb Cabbage?

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What to do with a giant cabbage? Eat it? Show it? How about feed it to an 800 lb grizzly bear? Every year, visitors from around Alaska come to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see our executive director, Mike Miller, feed our three adult brown bears some ”leftovers” from the State fair. Read the full story.

Arctic Imperative: Thomas Mack, President – Aleut Corporation

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The Aleut people have been stewards of this land and the vast surrounding waters for over 10,000 years, during which time we adjusted to a multitude of environmental, climate and human factors. Now we are witnessing the opening of the Northwest Passage shipping lanes which will bring even more changes. Read the full remarks.

Abdication of Education: How can we Re-engage Parents?

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It isn't a decision that any of us made consciously or willingly, it's more the result of circumstances, but as a society we have abdicated the education of our children to a specialized segment of society. That segment has taken the responsibility we've given it and created an intricately structured system of learning as well as a system of administration of that learning. So now, here we are, dissatisfied with the cost and effectiveness of those systems and wondering what we can do about it. Read more.

Lone Wolf Goes the Distance

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Somewhere in the rolling tundra east of Deadhorse, a lone wolf hunts. The 100-pound male will take anything it can catch, or find — a ptarmigan, a darting tundra rodent, a fish, the scraps of a carcass, or, if lucky, a moose calf or caribou. Hunger is a common companion, but the wolf somehow survived when his mate probably died of it last winter. Read more.

Arctic Imperative: Scott Minerd, CEO – Guggenheim Partners Asset Management

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In the 17th and 18th centuries there was an economic model that became very popular called mercantilism. Under mercantilism, the nations of Europe expanded their territories into new regions and used those regions as an opportunity to extract resources and bring wealth back to their homes. While mercantilism is generally thought to have benefited the European nations at the expense of their trading partners, there were certain benefits that accrued to the partner regions under the mercantilist system. Read the complete remarks.

Origins, Part One

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When I was six years old, I fell into a coma. I was out for about two weeks, but when I awoke I discovered several things: 1. A packet of letters and flowers from my kindergarten classmates wishing me to get well. 2. A room full of strange doctors. 3. My memories had disappeared. 4. My voice had disappeared. Read more.

Judi Betts Workshop Inside Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

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Flash-back twenty-one years ago, May 1990, Judi Betts was juror at a Fairbanks Watercolor Society exhibition and workshop. My watercolor, “She the Prom” had been accepted into the show—the piece depicted the mutton chop prom dress I had sewn for daughter Jennifer. What a thrill for me, a soccer mom, this was my first outside-the-state acceptance. Click to read the full article.

Farthest North Forget-me-nots in Alaska

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…or the US, for that matter. Forget-me-nots are the Alaska state flower, and this is, without a doubt, the farthest north plant. I transplanted it from Point Hope years ago, and it is doing very well this year, with flowers a good 5 inches taller than ever before in Barrow (although still about 6 inches shorter than they were in Point Hope).