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
Lower Kuskokwim school officials say it was a 2nd grade student with a lighter that caused the fire in a detached building’s bathroom.
The school will be disciplining the 2nd grade student according to the district’s policies.
“Typically that would be a suspension and the days would be the determining factor, it could go up to an include expulsion, but that would really depend on the age of the student and the conditions surrounding the event,” Jacob Jensen, the Lower Kuskokwim School District Superintendent, said.
No flames left the bathroom, according to the fire department, but the classroom suffered serious damage.
“There was quite extensive damage to the building, so we’re investigating what repairs might be necessary to bring it up to code, or if that building is even worth repairing or not,” Jensen said.
Jensen says that the teacher, Jill Hoffman, did an exemplary job of evacuating students and keeping everyone safe and calm. He says the response was textbook and the fire department put out the fire before it could spread beyond the bathroom. Jensen says incidents like this are something that the district is working to prevent.
“Obviously we’re not going to frisk every student that comes in the door. We’ve go to take into account that kids do things and don’t think about them. We’re going to be looking at protocols and policies and procures to see if there is something we can do in the future to prevent something like this,” Jensen said. ”But a lot of it has to do with awareness and talking to the kids and having the fire department is in there talking abut fire safety. And that we’re taking those lessons and making kids understand that fire is dangerous.”
The 2nd grade class is a bit in limbo at the moment, as students are spread amongst other classrooms while the school works to find a permanent solution.
Alaska’s congressional delegation is pushing for disaster funds related to 2012’s low Chinook runs on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. Twenty-two new lawmakers are now included on a letter of support for $150 million in relief to be spread across other national fishery disasters.
The group now includes prominent East Coast senators like Charles Schumer and Marco Rubio. A total of 38 senators and house members are listed.
The $150 million have been included in a 2014 appropriations bill, but it has not been passed. The lawmakers say the money could be used in a variety of ways, including direct assistance to residents and scientific studies.
The funding would also covers disasters related to Cook Inlet salmon, plus Florida oysters, Mississippi blue crab, and lost fishing from Hurricane Sandy.
Bethel’s rural status is not immediately at risk. But once the population hits 7,000, it will be presumed to be non-rural unless it proves to have rural characteristics.
The federal subsistence board is in a multi-year process of reviewing how it decides which communities have the critical rural priority for accessing resources on federal lands as described under ANILCA.
That process was the subject of a meeting in Bethel Wednesday, but most people gave their thoughts on Bethel.
Alan Joseph said that the population thresholds are somewhat arbitrary.
“Say if the community became non-rural at 7,000 it would be like telling Yup’iks in Bethel that at 12 o’clock that that stop being Yup’iks,” Joseph said. ”You have to look at the way the people live and decide to keep it that way.”
There are communities above 7,000 people still considered rural, like Sitka and Kodiak. To remain rural, they have to show rural characteristics. Mary Gregory made the case that subsistence is at the core of many people’s lives.
“If you come to my house right now you will find 10 pikes hanging in my kitchen trying to dry out and a string of tomcods that are also hanging and my house smells like fish because I’m a 99.9 percent subsistence food user,” Gregory said. ”A lot of people are like that, especially the elderly people who live here.”
Ignacious Louie Andrew recognized that change has accelerated in recent years, but the basic native values are still strong:
“We have gone through a tremendous changes, but as we continue to change, subsistence traditional native practices and values will provide a continuity to the past,” Andrew said..
Bethel specifically sees a lot of turnover, according to Roberta Chavez.
“People come and go to bethel all the time you see them moving here, leaving here,” Chavez said. ”The people that remain have been here since time immemorial and they have the right to continue to live that way.”
There are a total of 10 meetings happening all around the state. Comments will be analyzed and brought to the Federal Subsistence Board. Steve Kessler works as the Forest Service’s subsistence program leader and says the comments are important to the process.
“Are these thresholds guidelines the correct ones to use, or should we be using something else,” Kessler said. “Should we be aggregating communities in some other way?”
“What does the public think the federal subsistence board and the secretaries of interior and agriculture ought to be using to determine which communities are rural?”
The board will meet in April and could propose changes to pass up to the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, who ultimately make the call. You can give comments by emailing email@example.com. The deadline for comments is Dec. 2.
Anchorage has become embroiled in an appropriations debate. Legislative money for tennis courts – or ice rinks. Some assembly members want to crack down on towing firms. The municipality is exploring a plan to unify the fire and police dispatch. The Anchorage Assembly has been working on Title 11, regulating taxis. Alaska Airlines says it will allow passengers to use more electronic devices. Food trucks have become popular in many American cities. Anchorage is seeing them too – but there are questions about these mobile kitchens as Sean details.
HOST: Michael Carey
- Paul Jenkins, Anchorage Daily Planet
- Daysha Eaton, KSKA
- Sean Doogan, Alaska Dispatch
KSKA (FM 91.1) BROADCAST: Friday, November 15 2013 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Alaska Public Television BROADCAST: Friday, November 15 2013 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday November 16 , 2013 at 4:30 p.m.