Ruth Moody will be giving a free vocal workshop this Sunday at the AB Hall in Skagway. This...
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Alaska and Yukon Headlines
Massive weather events have shaken up coastal communities in Alaska and Philippines this month.
Now, two state legislators are asking their constituents to support to relief efforts on both fronts.
When super-typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines, it walloped the rural western province of Aklan.
Phones and internet still appear to be down. The information that is making its way out of Aklan, isn’t promising. A government official told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that 11 people have died in the province of Aklan, and and more than 9,000 homes were leveled.
Alaska state representative Cathy Muñoz remembers what the province was like a year ago, when she and representative Bob Herron went there for a trade mission.
It was Alaska’s first-ever official visit to the Philippines. Muñoz says there was a huge welcome lined up when they reached Aklan’s capital city.
“Just about the entire community lined up to greet us,” Muñoz said. “Thousands of people lined the street as we were getting out of the car to attend a reception in our honor.”
“They had bands and hundreds of marchers greeting us. It was just an overwhelming experience.”
When Muñoz and Herron were in the Philippines, they talked to dozens of legislators and educators – about fisheries exports and new university exchange programs. They even laid the groundwork for a sister city partnership, between Juneau and the provincial capital of Kalibo.
But since the typhoon, Muñoz and Herron haven’t heard from any of their contacts in Aklan.
While Alaskans wait for word from typhoon-struck areas, Muñoz says there are ways to offer aid now.
“The Filipino Community [Inc.] here in Juneau is having an event very soon,” Muñoz said. “And I donated to that event so that we can raise monies that will be sent home.”
Long before the trade mission, Muñoz says Alaskans and Filipinos had developed a bond.
“The Filipino people have made contributions to the development of the territory and the state for years and years,” Muñoz said. “I think it’s really important that we come together as a community to support the Philippines and the people that have direct connections to the land and the devastation.”
In Herron’s district, Unalaska’s Fil-Am Association is holding a dinner on Saturday to raise money for aid organizations, too.
Herron says his constituents should attend that event if they can. But he also urges them to think about relief efforts more broadly – and consider what’s going on here in Alaska.
A string of fall storms has been wreaking havoc on the western part of the state. The storms damaged homes and chewed up water and sewer systems. The village of Kotlik is asking the state to declare a disaster there. Others are expected to follow suit.
Rebuilding in Kotlik and other remote villages is going to be a huge challenge. To help, Herron says he gave to the Red Cross.
“In terms of what happened in Kotlik and in terms of what happened in the Philippines, it’s a very small donation,” Herron said. “But I want the money to go to coastal communities that are impacted by tremendous weather events.”
There’s another common thread that connects Alaska and the Philippines, though. It goes beyond shared culture or economic interests and it might be to blame for such creating such powerful storms in the first place.
Herron says it’s climate change.
“All of us – that’s people who live on this planet – we have to recognize what is happening,” Herron said. “And we’re going to have to realize that there could be many benefits to what is happening. And we’ve got to try to minimize the impacts. And that’s a tall order.”
It’s also a long-term goal. Right now, survivors on Alaska’s coast, and in the Philippines, are facing immediate challenges. They need the basics, Herron says. Then, they can try to start over.
Tribal leaders from Alaska and the rest of the country had a chance this week talk with the highest powers in the federal government.
Nearly all of President Obama’s cabinet secretaries participated in the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference, as did Obama himself.
This was the fifth such conference in as many years. The gathering is an Obama initiative to reach out to tribes and show his administration is listening. It includes break-out sessions with department and agency heads, and a presidential address. Ted Mala, who in past years represented Buckland, says the value is enormous.
“We’ve never had a president or an administration pay this much attention to us,” Mala said. “It’s given us access to the secretaries, and for the first time ever we have a voice, in my opinion.”
We had a degree of it with other administrations but this one has blown the doors open, and it’s incredible.
Will Micklin came representing the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes. He says the highlight for him was hearing the president mention contract support costs. It was a reference to the decades-long failure of the government to fully pay tribes for services they provide, primarily health care.
“We require that they fulfill obligations and their commitiments in order that we can most effectively govern ourselves, and it starts with paying your contractual obligations,” Micklin said.
Obama, though, only said he’d heard their call for full reimbursement and pledged to work with Congress to find a solution. Micklin says when tribal leaders show their faces every year it helps hold the president accountable for his promises. Micklin believes the conference can produce results.
“It’s beginning to. We know the president means what he says,” Micklin said. “We sometimes have difficulty with his key officials, and so we’re trying to close the gap between what the president promises and what his key officials deliver.”
Mary Ann Mills of the Kenaitze Tribe said the best part for her was a smaller session she attended with top Interior Department personnel.
“I was a little bit disappointed with the president Obama because he didn’t mention Alaska one time in his speech and we have so many issues there,” Mills said. “I thought he’d say something about our health care and about the violence against women and the high suicide rate, and I thought he would lend a little more support than he did.”
Just before the conference, Obama invited a dozen Native American leaders to the White House for a special meeting.
The only Alaskan among them wasn’t the leader of a tribe but a corporation: Chris McNeil, CEO of Sealaska. He says he focused on three issues: subsistence rights, changes to the 8a program that helps Native corporations win government contracts, and community development financing.
Like many other indigenous languages, Tlingit is in survival mode. Revitalizing the language was the focus of this year’s Tlingit Tribes and Clans Conference held in Juneau last week.
A Juneau resident has one solution for how to keep the language alive. During a conference session, realtor and assemblyman Carlton Smith gave participants a lesson in how to teach Tlingit to children with puppets. And he does it with the help of a special guest.
Charlie introduces himself in Tlingit to the room. As is traditional, he recognizes his mother’s relatives, his fathers’ relatives, then his grandparents, and finally, he recognizes everyone else.
Charlie’s Tlingit name is Shanak’w Uwaa. He identifies his moiety (Eagle), his clan (Keet Gooshi Hit’), and where he’s from (Klukwan, or Jil’ kat kwaan).
Charlie is wearing grey Carhartt overalls, long underwear, a green and white flannel shirt, and tan work boots. He has a full head of grey hair, dark bushy eyebrows and mustache, and black-rimmed glasses.
He’s roughly three and a half feet tall and can only talk when he’s sitting on Carlton Smith’s lap.
Smith got into ventriloquism fifty years ago as a ten-year-old boy living in Haines. When Smith was bedridden with hepatitis for four months, his father bought him his first puppet from a Sears-Roebuck catalog – a red-headed figure wearing a green suit named Jerry.
“There were children walking below my bedroom window and Jerry and I were talking to them as they would walk home from school,” Smith tells the audience. “The first day or two, there were five or six children, the second day there were eight or nine. By the end of the week, there were 20 children that came to see this little green man that wanted to talk to them from a second story window.”
Like many childhood toys, Jerry was eventually forgotten, until three years ago when Smith rediscovered Jerry in a trunk.
Then, another discovery on a flight to Anchorage.
“I was looking out the window and I realized I could count to ten without moving my lips in Tlingit. And then I was going right down the list of clans and place names and I thought, ‘Oh, this is kind of cool.’”
That’s how Smith got the idea of doing Tlingit ventriloquism, but he wasn’t sure how the community would receive it. So he went to the late Tlingit elder and religious leader Dr. Walter Soboleff for advice. Soboleff liked the idea but said it couldn’t be done with Jerry. He advised Smith to create a new figure – a Native one.
“My namesake, Shanak’w Uwaa, means ‘in the image of the ancient people.’ Walter said, ‘He was one of my best friends from Kilisnoo. He said, ‘What you do is you create a brand new figure in the image of the person you’re named after.’”
As Smith looks at Charlie, he says, “That’s who this is – Shanak’w Uwaa.”
Shanak’w Uwaa is the Tlingit name of Charlie James of Klukwan, who would be 108 years old if he were alive today. Smith never met his namesake.
Using photos of Charlie James, Smith worked with a figure maker in Michigan on details like skin tone and hair color.
Charlie, says Smith, was created for one main purpose, “This is really about children.”
For a year and a half, Smith and Charlie went to Tlingit and Haida Headstart every Friday. “These little kids would just want to grab him, claw him,” Smith recalls.
Charlie would sing songs in Tlingit and count to ten.
Smith says children are captivated by the animation which makes learning Tlingit easier.
Later on in the conference session, participants are asked to pair up and make basic Tlingit dialogue with sock puppets, an activity that can be done with children. Two Tlingit teachers – Roby Littlefield and Bessie Jim – pair up.
“She asked me what my name was and I pretended not to hear her,” Littlefield says, interpreting. “So she asked me louder. One of us asked where do you live?”
Neither has spoken the language with puppets before, but both like the idea. Jim plans to bring the technique back to her students in Carcross, Yukon.
“I think they’ll get a lot more out of it and it’s more fun. And my brother used to say, ‘The language is fun.’ He said, ‘They’re always laughing,’” Jim says, laughing herself.
Littlefield says teaching with puppets can help her middle school students in Sitka with something they’re working on right now, “We’re learning the animal names and we have little stuffed animals and little hard animals. So they’re going to learn the name of the animals and then talk to each other in whatever puppet voice they choose.”
The most important thing, says Smith, is having fun. His goal at the conference was to share a different way of teaching Tlingit to children, a way that might breathe new life into a challenging task. And he hopes Charlie will help accomplish that.
On November 10, Jim Merriner of the State Board of Education awarded the honor of 2014 Teacher of the Year to Dillingham K-5 reading teacher Denise Lisac. Lisac is the fifth Dillingam teacher to earn the title since 1963.
On an ordinary afternoon, Denise Lisac can be found in the fourth and fifth grade classrooms, assisting students with reading assignments. Today, she’s teaching a group of enthralled fourth graders the illustrious history of dude ranching.
Lisac was recently named Alaska’s Teacher of the Year for 2014, and is the fifth Teacher of the Year to come from Dillingham City Schools.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” said Lisac in a recent interview. “It’s a great honor for the community, and I’m proud to represent our school and our state.”
Her colleagues say she is among the best of the best, but in her more than 3 decades of quiet, committed service as an educator, Lisac says worrying about recognition has never been part of the job.
“I teach because I really enjoy it. I like coming to school every day and being with the kids,” she said. “I really wish this award could go to more people. It’s hard to say, ‘Well, this award can only go to one person, and I should be the one,’ because there are just a lot of really good teachers.”
State teacher of the year nominees have the often difficult task of selling their attributes to the state’s committee of educators. Lisac told them she has a simple philosophy that works: a strong sense of community is necessary for children’s success in the classroom.
“I always started off my classes with that in mind. Students should work cooperatively with each other, so that they’re really familiar with one another, and work better together.” Lisac said.
As a reading teacher, Lisac has what she calls the rare privilege of taking her personality classroom to classroom, sharing a love of reading with students, like those fourth graders.
“Well, what do you think they’re going to do with those cattle?” Lisac asked one student.
“They could either ride ‘em or milk ‘em,” said the student. After another moment of thought, the student added, “Or cook ‘em!”
As teacher of the year, Lisac will bring some yet to be named technology back to the school district, gets to offer a scholarship to one student, will speak at conferences and workshops as Alaska’s top educator and will to travel to Washington DC, meet the president, and could be named the nation’s teacher of the year.
“This is pretty amazing, I can’t imagine that!” Lisac said, laughing.
For Lisac, the award is certainly an honor, but she says that like most teachers, the real reward is watching as students grow up and progress. In first grade, Ms. Lisac was my teacher.
“For me, it is so wonderful to watch my students from first grade grow up and graduate and do such wonderful things,” Lisac said. “It makes me proud that you’re interviewing me for KDLG, and you’re one of my past students.”
This week we head to Kiana, a village of about 350 people on the Kobuk River about 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Bertha Barr works for the village’s food distribution program.
“Bertha Barr, I live in Kiana, I work for the Food Distribution Reservation and Indian Reserve, FDPIR. It’s just where I’ve lived my whole life and what I’m used to and all the friendly people and my family and all the subsistence lifestyle and all that.
We have mountains all around and there’s three rivers that’s what the native village of Katyaak means, “where three rivers meet.” It’s the Kobuk River, and it’s the Squirrel River and it’s the small channel.
There’s mountains, the mountains out here. In summertime there’s sandbars all over. There’s a sandbar right in front. There are sandbars on the side. Summertime we go out boating, fishing for salmon and sea fish. Wintertime we go out hunting for caribou and uh, birds.
The rivers are starting to freeze over, they’re actually ice-fishing right now and they’re actually catching what we call tiktaalik.
There’s no restaurants, but there’s places to rent if you’re staying for a short period of time. In the summer time we have this company, it’s called Kiana Lodge so they get actually people, tourists, and they come and go stay at the lodge and go fishing or hunting.
It’s just a real beautiful town and friendly people and come and go visit.”
More police officers will be patrolling downtown Anchorage late at night when the bars let out, starting this weekend.
Officers will patrol in cars and on foot downtown overnight on the weekends.
Mayor Dan Sullivan says he directed more police downtown during during bar break to deter crime and to increase safety. The decision came after a string of violent crimes in the downtown area this year followed by meetings about the problem with the Police Chief and groups representing downtown businesses.
The decision means at least eight more officers will be on the night shift downtown. The patrols start Friday, Nov. 15.
A Hometown Alaska listener writes: How about an episode of ‘Mice and Moose.’ Those two critters seem to be the most problematic pests in Southcentral. A show about how to keep them out of our homes and yards would be informative. Answer questions like: Does squirting expansion foam around the exterior bottom of homes keep mice out? Does hanging bars of Irish Spring soap in trees really keep moose away?
Mark Sabel, your wish is granted!
This week we’ll share listener and guest remedies for unwanted mice and moose visitors. Send YOUR suggestions to email@example.com and we’ll share them on the air.
Half the fun of prepping for this show is researching Irish Spring soap. Local garden columnist Jeff Lowenfels pooh-poohs that idea, plus a few more:
First of all, hanging Irish Spring soap doesn’t work. Nor does hanging bags of human hair, spraying garlic or having a big dog… Tying dryer softener strips up in trees seems to work for some, but I am not sure that isn’t because a bunch of these in a tree looks silly.
Human hair? That’s creepy. Nonetheless, plenty of Internet scribes would beg to differ with Southcentral Alaska’s longtime garden guru over the Irish Spring soap. Here’s one from the Alaska Preppers Network with an elaborate recipe:
Take said bar soap, and slice it up. Take a big pot of water and set to boil. When at boiling point, put it on medium heat and add the soap. Let it sit there until all the soap is dissolved. When all is said and done, you are going to have a bluish/greenish and milky white water. Let it cool down just enough so it won’t scald you. Grab a bucket and dump the pot of water in it and add water to the top of the bucket. Use a large spoon or a small bowl and pour around and on your garden area(s). The smell will keep the moose, deer, bears and other critters away. It also has an effect on slugs and I have had success keeping them at bay with this.
Mice are no less despised when they invade our private space, and ‘‘Wacky Ways to keep Mice Away” ran the gamut from devices that emit high frequency noise to sachets of chili peppers. Oh, they also hate mint.
Join us Wednesday on Hometown Alaska and get answers to your burning questions about moose and mice, two scourges of life on The Last Frontier.
- Wacky Ways to Keep Mice Away
- The Power of Irish Spring! Alaska Preppers Network
- Moose-proofing and other last minute yard prep, Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News
- How to get rid of mice naturally, wikiHow
- Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
- Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
- Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)
HOST: Kathleen McCoy
LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, November 20, 2013. 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Alaska time)
REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, November 20, 2013. 9:00 – 10:00 pm (Alaska time)
Would tribal law enforcement jurisdiction help address the social and cultural problems in rural Alaska? It has been debated for decades, and now a congressionally-mandated panel says it’s the only way to go. But, a Supreme Court ruling says there is no Indian country in most of the state.
HOST: Steve Heimel, Alaska Public Radio Network
- Troy Eid, Chairman, Indian Law and Order Commission
- Callers Statewide
- Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).
- Send e-mail to talk [at] alaskapublic [dot] org (comments may be read on air)
- Call 550-8422 in Anchorage or 1-800-478-8255 if you’re outside Anchorage during the live broadcast
LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.
Picture a snowbound inn in the remote Yukon. A murderer is on the loose and the parents have left their two young daughters to go help with the birth of a neighbor’s child. But the Mounties are on their way and, hey-aren’t those Christmas carols I hear coming from inside? Join Shane Mitchell as he talks about how growing up in rural America influenced his new heart-warming play, Christmas on the Yukon presented by Anchorage Community Theatre running November 22nd through December 22nd.
ORIGINAL BROADCAST: Friday November 15th, 2013 at 2:45 p.m.
SUBSCRIBE: Get Stage Talk updates automatically — via:
Audio will be posted following radio broadcast
The next Line One focuses on HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), including the current risk factors, the natural history of HIV infection, the symptoms of infection and AIDS, and the evolving treatment.
- Alaskan Aids Assistance Association
- World AIDS Day
- NIH: AIDS Info
- NIH: HIV Replication Cycle
- YouTube: HIV Life Cycle
HOST : Dr. Thad Woodard, Anchorage pediatrican
- Dr. Beth Saltonstall, Medical Director DCHS STD / HIV Program, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
- Heather Davis, Executive Director Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association
LIVE BROADCAST: November 18, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. (Alaska time)
REPEAT BROADCAST: November 18, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)
DR. WOODARD’S FAVORITE HEALTH AND SCIENCE LINKS:
- Cleveland Clinic
- Mayo Clinic
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI)
- Science Based Medicine
- Super Smart Health
SUBSCRIBE: Get Line One: Your Health Connection updates automatically by:
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly voted during their regular meeting Thursday to approve a land exchange sale between the Borough and Chena Hot Springs Resort.
It’s a deal that’s been in the works for more than a decade. It stalled earlier this year after a disagreement over the appraised value of the property.
Assemblyman Michael Dukes has been unhappy with the negotiations to sell nearly 1,500 acres of Borough property to Chena Hot Springs Resort for most of the year.
“I cannot support it based on all the shenanigans,” he said. “Even just the appearance of shenanigans in my opinion at this point.”
Resort owner Bernie Karl originally agreed to purchase the land at fair market value. The property was appraised at $390 per acre in the spring, but Karl told the Assembly he didn’t believe he was getting a fair deal.
In July, Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins’ administration proposed an ordinance that applied a credit of more than $282,000 to the total purchase price for improvements and access easements.
Dukes says the credit fundamentally changes the terms of the original purchase agreement.
“The whole reason this land sale exchange has gone forward as an exchange was because there was something being offered and it was the easements,” he told the Mayor. “The access at no costs to the borough, meaning they weren’t going to get a credit for it.”
Lance Roberts offered an amendment to raise the purchase price of the land based on his estimation that trail improvements made by the Resort, would directly benefit Chena Hot Springs.
“There’s going to be more public out there using those trails and this is going to get the resort more business because of a better trail system out there,” Roberts said.
The amendment failed after a lengthy debate.
John Davies pointed to the Resort’s reputation arguing that what’s good for the Resort is also good for the Borough.
“The role that Chena Hot Springs has played in increasing winter tourism in this town is in no small measure due to the marketing and attraction that the Karl’s have created out there at the Hot Springs,” Davies said.
In his closing remarks, Presiding Officer Karl Kassel told the assembly he believes negotiations went poorly, but he doesn’t think either party could have fared better.
“The bottom line for me is that we’ve gotten to what I feel is probably a fair price for the property and it’s within our best interest to move forward even though I’m not happy about the process of how we got here,” Kassel said.
The Resort will pay more than $297,000 for the land with 10 percent down at 6 percent interest over 15 years. The Borough will survey the boundary at a cost of $15,000.
The Alaska State Troopers’ largest patrol vessel is back in service after an engine upgrade in its home port of Dutch Harbor. The patrol vessel Stimson was out of commission for 10 days earlier this month during the overhaul.
Skipper Troy Magnusen says the patrol vessel’s engines were well past their prime.
“One of our engines was about 800 hours over rebuild time, and the other was about 1800 hours over,” he says.
So Magnusen says the engines were upgraded piece-by-piece while the vessel was in port. The project cost about $175,000.
There were no impacts to patrols, though the maintenance work did keep the troopers from helping respond to a maritime disaster — the grounding of the fishing vessel Arctic Hunter on November 1st.
Now that they’re up and running, Magnusen says the Stimson has one patrol left this year — though he couldn’t say when or where to avoid tipping off fishermen who might be breaking regulations.
“We do a lot of the Bering Sea patrols, for the king crab, opilio,” he says.
Next year, they’ll be back on their other beats.
“We do the Bristol Bay red salmon season in the summertime. We enforce the … Sand Point/False Pass area, for cod and salmon,” Magnusen says. “We run out to Adak a couple of times a year to do cod out that direction and also for the caribou season, the hunting season that they have out there, [and] search and rescues if needed.”
Even though there’s plenty of work for the Stimson in Western Alaska, the engine maintenance project reignited rumors that the troopers wanted to move the vessel elsewhere.
Operations commander Burke Waldron says it’s staying put for now. But he says there is some truth to those rumors.
“We are constantly evaluating where our boats, both large and small, airplanes and people are stationed, and if we can be more efficient or better serve the state by moving those assets or resources around,” Waldron says.
Kodiak is the homeport for the P/V Woldstad. Together, the Woldstad and Stimson cover Western Alaska.
Waldron says it makes sense to keep the Stimson where it is — so it can focus on the Chain.
“Right now it’s suited well for the Aleutian chain and Bristol Bay and Arctic fisheries patrols. [It] also, you know, provides public safety services to the Aleutian chain,” he says. “Obviously if we move the boat away from that region, that would have additional costs for us, and travel time, to get to some of those patrols.”
With money tight in the state right now, that’s something the troopers are trying to avoid. With their latest investment in the Stimson, Waldron says the troopers should be able to get a lot more work out of the vessel.