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Alaska and Yukon Headlines
A federal judge has dismissed the appeal of an Alaska man convicted of charges stemming from a 2010 run-in with park rangers in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.
Jim Wilde was arrested after failing to stop his boat for a safety inspection on the Yukon River. In his appeal, he argued the National Park Service lacked authority to stop him because the lands beneath the Yukon River are owned by the state and he was not involved in a subsistence activity. U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline disagreed.
Wilde’s attorney told the Fairbanks Daily News-Mineran appeal was possible.
A federal magistrate in 2012 found Wilde guilty of three misdemeanor counts, and Wilde was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.
The value of Bristol Bay driftnet permits continues to increase.
The value placed on those permits by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission jumped up over $14,000 to about $117,000. That’s compared to the more than $102,000 dollars value recorded back in October. The November figure of about $117,000 is the largest value for Bristol Bay driftnet permits in over a year.
The Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission bases their value on the actual prices that permits are sold for but there is a lag, sometimes as much as a couple of months. A look around some of the brokerage sites shows quite a bit of variation in the prices for Bristol Bay driftnet permits.
For instance Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer has 4 drift permits listed for sale with prices ranging from $140,000 to about $185,000. Dock Street Brokers in Seattle confirms that a driftnet permit sold back in mid-October for $135,000 and they have a seller with a permit currently listed at $140,000.
While there appears to be quite a bit of momentum for higher driftnet permit prices the same can’t be said for setnet permits in Bristol Bay.
The November value placed on those permits by CFEC is about $36,000, which is unchanged from the value recorded back in October. That value is the lowest such value for Bristol Bay setnet permits in the last year. Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer has two setnet permits listed.
One has an asking price of $43,000 and the second has an asking price of $45,000. Dock Street Brokers has two setnet permits listed at $46,000 each. They have other Bristol Bay setnet permits listed with prices from $80,000 to $120,000. However, those permits come with sites and, in a couple of instances, gear.
A Bethel man is facing a felony assault charge for allegedly hurting his two-year-old son. Last week, Bethel Police were called to a home early in the morning and arrested 30-year-old Maurice Andrews Senior.
The investigation showed a 2-year-old child had suffered visible facial wounds after reportedly being thrown on the ground and kicked multiple times. The child was treated in Bethel for multiple wounds and a broken clavicle and flown to Anchorage for further testing.
Court documents indicate that Andrews had a strong odor of alcohol.
Andrews is facing a felony assault three charge involving a child under the age of ten. Bail was set at 5,000 dollars. Andrews’ next court appearance is Friday afternoon.
Researchers expect that salmon productivity could shift in Southeast Alaska streams over the next 70 years as temperatures rise and rainfall increases because of climate change.
Projections suggest that the average annual temperature for Southeast Alaska and western British Columbia coast would increase 6.1 degrees to just under 44 degrees Fahrenheit in the year 2080. Precipitation in the form of rain could increase over twenty inches to a total of 145 inches, while snowfall could drop about 30% to about 30 inches a year.
“There could be some serious differences,” said Michael Goldstein of the U.S. Forest Service.
Goldstein was among a group of researchers who briefed attendees on the unpublished research at the recent Southeast Alaska Watershed Symposium in Juneau. A similar presentation on the impacts of climate change was made during the recent Al-Can Summit organized by the Juneau World Affairs Council.
Goldstein said the changes in temperature and precipitation would not be uniform throughout the entire Southeast Alaska and western British Columbia area.
So, temperature and precipitation had the greatest change in the northern mainland and the least change in the southern island provinces. Precipitation as snow had the greatest change in the southern mainland and the least change in the outer coast.”
It could mean warmer and drier extended summers, and warmer and wetter winters.
By 2080, Juneau could be like Prince Rupert. Projected average of 45 degrees Fahrenheit or thereabouts is similar to the average temperature of May 2013. I was looking around the internet and Alabama has an average winter temperature of 45 degrees as well.”
Returning spawning salmon near Salmon Creek in 2013. Photo by Greg Culley
The projections were presented in conjunction with separate research and modeling done by Colin Shanley, a planner and analyst with The Nature Conservancy in Juneau, in his effort to identify salmon habitat ranging from the most vulnerable to the most resilient.
This is watershed-based analysis. Not a cell-based analysis or estuary-based analysis. Basically, watershed area, monthly precipitation both present and predicted from the present climate model, same thing for monthly temperature, watershed elevation, percent lakes, and percent glaciers as well.”
Dr. Sanjay Pyare, associate professor of geography and environmental science at University of Alaska Southeast, said that climate change could play a crucial role in altering stream temperatures and episodic discharges from nearby glaciers and the ice field.
“If you look at the overall discharge coming out of an area like Southeast Alaska and northern British Columbia annually compared to a place like the Mississippi River Basin, it’s actually something like two times the overall freshwater discharge,” Pyare said. “Obviously, it has a lower land mass overall. So, there’s a lot of water coming down the pipes in a place like Southeast Alaska.”
Watersheds that are predominately glacial-fed may, for example, have their peak discharge in mid-summer with colder water. Snow- or rain-fed watersheds may have two discharge peaks in the spring and early fall.
Mt. Edgecumbe High School student Shanelle Afcan delivered a powerful commentary last week on Sitka’s KCAW Raven Radio about the disappearance of her Alaska Native culture.
Shanelle is a member of the Mount Edgecumbe Radio Club, which won a Spirit of Youth award last year in the category of Technology & Media.
The club hosts a youth-led, hour-long monthly radio show on the local public radio station. The show connects the Sitka community to the student community by breaking down youth stereotypes.
I’m Shanelle Afcan.
Alaska leads the nation for drinking and suicides per capita. Many have theories as to why Alaskans drink to get drunk, such as: “The Natives aren’t accustomed to it, so they get out of control.” Yet when we peruse songs, movies, history, and even the everyday household, the majority of severe drinking problems are seen as stemming from a loss, as of a loved one, as clearly sung in Brad Paisley’s Whiskey Lullaby in which the main character “put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger in order to drink away her memory.”
The same feeling of loss creates the alcoholism epidemic in Alaskan communities. After Sheldon Jackson’s report to Congress that the Natives needed to be civilized, children as young as the age of five, who had never previously left their villages, were forcibly taken to boarding schools. One man now reaching elder status recounts:
I was eight years old and my brother was six when we were sent away to the Wrangell Institute boarding school in the fall of 1955. Boarding school taught me that everything I knew about my culture, language, and world view were evil, and must be pushed away.
My own grandparents were among the generation to face this abuse. Of the horrors that they were most willing to talk about was their inability to speak a word of their Native tongue inside or outside of the classroom, lest they face severe punishment. They came back to their village after graduation so ashamed of their culture that they never taught my parents Yup’ik, and in turn I did not learn, along with the rest of my generation. Moreover, when the boarding school generation became parents, they could only parent what they knew in their childhood days, and what they knew of was cruel violence. Many, after losing so much became alcoholic.
In modern education, we no longer punish children, nor do we actively try to purge their culture. But the void that was created not long ago still goes unaddressed. I am living proof. As I was growing up I believed whole-heartedly in the power of education. And since the system we have today does not prepare students for hunting, fishing, gathering, or conversing with an elder in their native language to gain wisdom, I do not have any of these skills. Instead, I know how to get a job. But jobs are scarce in rural areas. Therefore, any student like myself who commits herself to her school work is ultimately committing himself or hersellf to leaving their hometown, lifestyle, culture, and family. The student who partially commits to the traditional way of life, and partially to school is inadequate in both, and will usually end up in limbo, in a pit of inability to support themselves either in their homes or in the cities.
This is our void. A void powerful enough to put many people at the bottom of a bucket.
The Alaska suicide and alcohol epidemic stems from assimilation. And it’s time for change.
I attend Mt. Edgecumbe High School — the same boarding school both my grandfathers were forced to attend in their youth. Needless to say, assimilation is a great success. But in that success, a tremendous loss remains for my people and for myself. A long time ago our cultures were taken away, and in their place were left alcohol, suicide, disconnection.
The challenge for us all today is to take away such corrosions, and in their places leave culture.