APRN Alaska News

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Get Alaska statewide news from the stations of the Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN). With a central news room in Anchorage and contributing reporters spread across the state, we capture news in the Voices of Alaska and share it with the world. Tune in to your local APRN station in Alaska, visit us online at APRN.ORG or subscribe to the Alaska News podcast right here. These are individual news stories, most of which appear in Alaska News Nightly (available as a separate podcast).
Updated: 44 min 43 sec ago

State Releases New Guidelines for Mercury and Fish

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:05

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The state epidemiology office has released a new mercury contamination risk determination for Alaska fish. The new guidelines basically increase the number of Alaskan fish that can be eaten safely and without restriction.

Ali Hamade  Environmental Public Health Manager for the state, said Alaska fish has a lot going for it health-wise:

The benefits are really huge in terms of nutrients and if you catch the fish yourself there’s the sport benefit, there’s the cultural benefit,” Hamade said. “…so we really hope that people continue to make good fish consumption choices.”

In addition to the fish already on the unrestricted consumption list—including all types of Alaskan Salmon— the new guidelines determined that lingcod, certain rockfish and eight other fish species can be safely eaten by kids and women of child bearing age without restriction.

Categories: Alaska News

More Mercury Found in Arctic Birds

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:04

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A new study from the journal “Waterbirds” shows there’s an increasing amount of mercury occurring in birds in Alaska’s arctic coast.

Categories: Alaska News

Tourist Train Derails in Skagway; Injuries Minor

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:04

A tourist train derailed Wednesday afternoon north of Skagway and initial reports stated some passengers received minor injuries.

The White Pass Yukon Railroad runs scenic train tours between Skagway and Carcross, Yukon. Railroad president John Finlayson confirmed the derailment and said the company was still investigating the cause. He said did not want to comment on any injuries while passengers were being treated and evaluated.

Coast Guard Spokesman Kip Wadlow said Air Station Sitka helicopters were put on standby to assist, but were not called out.

Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau was notified and went into incident command about 3:45 p.m., according to spokesman Jim Strader. Shortly before 4:30 p.m., Strader said Bartlett received notification to stand down.

Skagway municipal officials and Skagway fire and police departments on Wednesday referred all questions about the incident to White Pass.

Skagway tourism director Buckwheat Donahue said he was told the incident took place near Summit Lake along the border with Canada. He said he was also told by White Pass representatives that trains were cancelled the rest of Wednesday and possibly part of Thursday.

The railroad was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. Now it services as one of Skagway’s primary scenic attractions for visitors, traveling over White Pass between Skagway and Carcross, Yukon.

Categories: Alaska News

Canadian Environmental Officials Give OK to Mine NE of Ketchikan

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:03

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Canadian environmental officials just gave provisional approval to a controversial mine planned for an area northeast of Ketchikan. Their counterparts in British Columbia have done the same.

Fisheries, tribal and other activists on both sides of the border say this is one of the last chances for critics to let Canadian officials hear their opposition.

Categories: Alaska News

New App Out for Cup’ik Language

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:02



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The Cup’ik language is about to get its biggest audience yet. A new app has been developed to help Cup’ik students learn their language and show it off to the world.

When you’re searching for the newest iPad app you may be surprised to find one in an Alaska Native language. But that’s what you’d get when you download a version of the ‘Milly, Molly’ storybook series.

“Milly and Molly climb up onto the seat by Apakcuaq, ‘Hello!’ Says Apakcuaq.”

Those are the voices of Cup’ik narrator Rebecca Nayamin, Ignatius Chayalkun, and Lillian Olson from the story ‘Milly, Molly and Bertie;’ or ‘Mil’iq, Maaliq and Apakcuaqlu’ Cup’ik.

The story has been translated into several languages, and now Cup’ik. The new app was developed with a language innovation grant from the Association of Alaska School Boards.

Dr. Robert Whicker is the Consortium for Digital Learning Director. He says some they’re looking for ways to preserve and maintain Alaska Native languages.

“Now we have 20 Alaskan Native languages, some on the verge of being very endangered and some on the verge of disappearing,” he said. “And we’re seeing a strong interest at the State level and also the Federal in the preservation of these languages.”

That is why they awarded the grant to the Kashunamiut School District. It is a single site school district for Chevak, Alaska; one of two villages along the Bering Sea where Cup’ik is still spoken. The village is remote: about 500 miles from the Alaska road system.

Whicker and other members of the AASB traveled to Chevak, to assist with the recording. But decided they could save time and money by producing it at a location better suited for such an undertaking.

“We saw real quickly, that this was going to take a long time if we were going to do it the way we did it then,” Whicker said. “We decided that we should send the three speakers to the New Zealand recording studios and they would just hammer these books out within a week. I just think this was a very heroic trip. People we’re basically travelling halfway around the world to preserve their language for their children.”

Three months after the recording was completed at Kiwa Digital, the Cup’ik versions of the ‘Milly, Molly’ series are now available in the iTunes store.

The app is considered as an interactive book with features such as full word for word narration. Also an added feature of word pronunciation when a word is tapped, and syllable pronunciation when a word is double-tapped. Whicker said they’re being downloaded worldwide.

“They’re being downloaded in Russia, they’re being downloaded in Europe, they’re being downloaded on the East Coast of the United States,” he said. “Why? I’m not really sure but there’s an interest in learning and seeing how other people communicate in their native language.”

Along with the ‘Milly, Molly’ series, two more books narrated and illustrated by Alaskan Native students are also available on the app store.

To check the app out, type out any variation of the word Cup’ik into the iTunes Store search bar.

Or visit AASB’s CDL site.

 

Categories: Alaska News

Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz Workshop Gets Underway

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:01

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The Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz Workshop is underway this week in Sitka.  For the last two years, Daniels has interrupted her touring and teaching schedule to live at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, and coach a half-dozen students of widely-ranging ages and ability.

Categories: Alaska News

DOL Leader: Alaska Model for Job Training

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:01

Alaska has model job training and employment programs, according to the head of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Earlier this week Secretary Tom Perez visited facilities in Fairbanks and Southcentral Alaska. He said the Alaska Job Corps Center in Palmer stands out. There, young people learn job skills in areas such as accounting, construction, and nursing.

“When we went to the Job Corps in Palmer, one of my best memories is an employer who has hired over a dozen Job Corps graduates and every single one of them has been a home run for him,” Perez said.

Perez praised the Fairbanks Pipeline Training Center, where labor unions and the state of Alaska have partnered up to train pipefitters, laborers, operators, and teamsters. He said he met several veterans there, and, with Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) held a roundtable in Anchorage with others.

“We also met and learned from so many veterans about what we can do to make veterans – who do so much for us day in and day out, defending our nation – can have these pathways to a middle class civilian life where they’re able to realize their highest and best dreams,” Perez said.  And we do a lot of work at the Department of Labor to connect that when they’re leaving service to good middle class jobs.”

Part of the business philosophy of Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks, is to pay employees more than the minimum wage. Perez said a higher wage puts more money into the economy, and makes a middle-class lifestyle possible:

“Because no one who works a full-time job should have to live in poverty,” he said. “And there are so many Alaskans here who are doing just that. The minimum wage does not sustain a life here in Alaska or across the country and especially with the cost of living here.”

In Anchorage, Perez learned about the job assistance programs offered by Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

Holly Morales is director of the Employment and Training Services department there. She said CITC staff outlined to Perez the comprehensive range of services the agency offers to Alaska Native and American Indian people, helping with everything from bus passes and vouchers for clothing, to training for nurses and iron workers:

“We have a system here where we’re able to consolidate certain funding from federal agencies that allow us to serve that participant with wraparound,” Morales said. “Basically they walk in our door and we provide them with almost all the services they need within our capabilities. We may have to refer them out, but we try to provide they with everything they need to get the job that they want.”

Morales said she welcomes a slight increase in job training funding at the start of the federal fiscal year in October. “There’s always room for opportunity for us to provide more training if we had more dollars,” she said. “Only so much you can do when there’s such high demand. There’s always room for us to provide additional training.”

 

Categories: Alaska News

Number of Tourists Visiting the Last Frontier Sets Record

Wed, 2014-07-23 15:53

Alaska has set a record for the number of tourists visiting the nation’s northernmost state.

The State Division of Economic Development in a release says Alaska had 1.96 million visitors between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014.

That beats the previous mark by 5,000 visitors set during the 2007-2008 year.

There were 1.8 million visitors last year.

Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell attributes the increase to increased cruise ship calls in Alaska, and new national and international air service routes. The state also instituted an advertising campaign aimed at winter travelers.

Categories: Alaska News

Same-Sex Marriage Arguments Scheduled

Wed, 2014-07-23 15:19

Arguments are scheduled for October in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Five same-sex couples, four married outside of Alaska and one unmarried couple, sued to overturn the ban in May. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

The state, in its response, said Alaska isn’t required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. State attorneys also argue that Alaska, as a sovereign state, has the right to define and regulate marriage.

Categories: Alaska News

Assembly approves tax abatement for Fairview

Tue, 2014-07-22 23:03

Anchorage’s Fairview neighborhood now has a new tool to encourage development – a tax abatement incentive. The Assembly voted unanimously to approve the measure on Tuesday night.

Part of Fairview, including the area between Ingra and Gambell, is known as being deteriorated—the infrastructure is old and the buildings are falling apart. Chronic inebriates frequent the area.

To change that, area businesses and residents proposed creating a tax abatement.

“How it works is if a developer needs to put in public infrastructure as part of the project–a new waterline, sewer line, storm drains, roads, all of those things that are owned by the public–they would be able to write those off against their property taxes until it was paid off,” explained Fairview Business Association Project Manager Paul Fuhs. “After that they would pay full assessment on their property.”

To encourage developers to build high-density housing, the municipality will offer a full construction write-off.

Fuhs said the age and expense of replacing the current 50-year-old infrastructure deters investment in the area. This will fix that, and could change the neighborhood in other ways as well.

“We also hope that changing the architecture of the area and what’s there will change the way people behave. And right now, if it’s kind of skuzzy this is where people will hang out to drink and deal drugs and prostitution. So by changing the physical character of it, we’re going to change the real character of our neighborhood.”

Local business owner Heidi Heinrich glowed with happiness after hearing the Assembly pass the measure. “It’s so encouraging and leaves us so fulfilled to move on and do more.”

She said that includes solving the problem of chronic inebriates in the community.

The tax abatement plan was modeled on a similar project in Tacoma, Washington that led to increased multifamily housing and tax income to the city.

The municipality’s lawyer said it’s unclear if creating the tax abatement area in Fairview will set a precedent and necessitate that the Assembly give other deteriorated areas the same benefits.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: July 22, 2014

Tue, 2014-07-22 18:09

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn

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Former Bethel Foster Parent  Sentenced 66 Years for Child Sexual Abuse

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

Former Bethel foster parent Peter Tony will spend the rest of his life in prison.  Tony was sentenced Tuesday to 66 years in jail with no parole for three consolidated child sex abuse counts in which he pleaded guilty.

Fundraising Results Released for Alaska Races

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

With the primary election a month away, fundraising totals are out for all candidates for statewide and legislative races.

Critics Say Canadian Mining Projects Could Damage Regional Fisheries

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Canadian investors are putting millions of new dollars into mining projects near the Southeast Alaska border. They include the K-S-M and Tulsequah Chief prospects, which critics say could damage regional fisheries.

Cyclist Death Investigation Underway While Friends Mourn

Ann Hillman, KSKA-Anchorage

Three bicyclists have been killed by vehicles in Anchorage this year. The most recent was 51-year-old Jeff Dusenbury, who was hit by a pickup truck in South Anchorage Saturday. Fellow cyclists are mourning his death and waiting for the outcome of the district attorney’s investigation.

Denali Climbing Season Ends, Summits Down

Phillip Manning, KTNA – Talkeetna

Denali climbing season has ended, and the numbers are not impressive.  This year had the lowest summit percentage in over 25 years.  A number of factors played into the lack of summits.

Dipnetters Try Their Luck On The Kenai River

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The state’s largest personal use fishery is happening on the Kenai River. Dipnetters from across the state are crowding onto the north and south beaches at the mouth of the river hoping to fill coolers with sockeye salmon.

Categories: Alaska News

Former Bethel Foster Parent Sentenced 66 Years for Child Sex Abuse

Tue, 2014-07-22 16:11

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Former Bethel foster parent Peter Tony will spend the rest of his life in prison.  Tony was sentenced Tuesday to 66 years in jail with no parole for three consolidated child sex abuse counts in which he pleaded guilty.

Categories: Alaska News

Mallott Raises Most Funds, But Parnell Maintains Biggest Bank Account

Tue, 2014-07-22 16:05

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Democratic candidate for governor Byron Mallott was the top fundraiser this reporting period, but Republican incumbent Sean Parnell maintains the most money going into the general election.

Mallott has raised $297,000 since February, with $55,000 coming from the Alaska Democratic Party and another $50,000 coming from his own pocket. Parnell hauled in $286,000 in that same period, including a $100,000 contribution from the Alaska Republican Party. Independent candidate Bill Walker raised $259,000, with $170,000 of that self-financed.

While Mallott brought in the most money, he also spent the most. His campaign used $277,000 since November, and is left with just $55,000 in the black. The Parnell campaign has $447,000 going into November, while Walker has $116,000 left to spend between now and the general.

Mallott’s biggest single expense was a polling contract with the Mellman Group, a D.C.-based political consulting firm. Much of his campaign income has gone to staffing and office expenses, and little has gone toward advertising. The Mallott campaign put $7,000 toward signs and $545 on Facebook advertisements. The campaign issued a press release attributing the amount of cash on hand primarily to travel, but just 6 percent of expenditures went toward airfare, hotel, or car rental.

The Walker campaign spent slightly less than Mallott, using up $268,000 of their funds. Walker has put the bulk of his money toward advertising, spending $44,000 on TV ads on KTUU Channel 2 in Anchorage and another $15,000 in the Fairbanks and Juneau television markets. His campaign has also spent nearly $30,000 on campaign signs and $23,000 on Facebook advertising.

The Parnell campaign used up just $170,000 of its war chest, dividing up its expenses between staffing, polling, and social media advertising.

The other candidates in the governor’s race – Republican challenger and Tea Party activist Russ Millette, Republican Gerald Heikes, Constitution Party candidate J.R. Myers, Libertarian Care Clift, and Democrat Phil Stoddard – raised $15,000 combined.

Both Parnell and Mallott may see a slight – even substantial – financial boost once the lieutenant governor nominees are selected in the party primary.

Republican lieutenant governor candidate and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has $15,000 going into the primary. He faces a nominal challenge from Kenai Republican Kelly Wolf, who has raised $50. Once the Republican nominee is selected, his funds are effectively merged with the gubernatorial candidate.

In the Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor, State Sen. Hollis French has raised $62,000 and Mat-Su teacher and political newcomer Bob Williams has brought in $30,000 since February. Williams has spent most of his funds, while French has held onto the bulk of his money. French has $69,000 still left on hand, exceeding the amount held in Mallott’s account.

Categories: Alaska News

Critics Say Canadian Mining Projects Could Damage Regional Fisheries

Tue, 2014-07-22 16:04

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Canadian investors are putting millions of new dollars into mining projects near the Southeast Alaska border. They include the K-S-M and Tulsequah Chief prospects, which critics say could damage regional fisheries.


Categories: Alaska News

Cyclist Death Investigation Underway While Friends Mourn

Tue, 2014-07-22 16:03

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Three bicyclists have been killed by vehicles in Anchorage this year. The most recent was Fifty-one-year-old Jeff Dusenbury, who was hit by a pickup truck in South Anchorage Saturday. Fellow cyclists are mourning his death and waiting for the outcome of the District Attorney’s investigation.

Three men sit on a grassy knoll above a pile of flowers marking the spot where their friend was killed just two days before. They chat about Jeff Dusenbury’s kindness – he was always willing to fix a kids bike. They talk about his passion for the sport.

“I got a call today from a friend of Jeff’s who said he was worried that no one’s going to want to ride with him anymore because Jeff was always the one who would call him and want to go for the ride,” said  Peter Van Tuyn.

As he speaks, three boys bike past. “They’re just having fun on a summer afternoon biking three miles an hour down this road. You know, Jeff was the safest cyclist – is it fair to say guys? – that we knew. He was always safety conscious, helmet, aware. And these kids are just doing what kids do. And if the same thing had happened here, you’re talking three kids. There’s no distinction between Jeff and that. It’s a tough thing.”

On Saturday morning Dusenbury was biking to meet Van Tuyn for a long ride. Decked out in his bright pink and blue gear and his helmet, he pedaled toward a short dirt path at the dead end of 84th Avenue. At the same time, a 17-year-old girl backed a pick up truck down the street, struck Dusenbury and fled the scene.

Police are still investigating the incident and say it could take up to six more weeks while they wait for toxicology reports and collect evidence. Then it’s up to the District Attorney’s office to decide if the driver will be charged.

Clint Campion with Anchorage DA says fatalities from bicycle-vehicle collisions are investigated in the same way as other traffic collisions. They collect information on how the vehicle was moving, if the people involved were impaired, and their histories.

“Normally we’re analyzing whether someone acted recklessly or with criminal negligence,” he explains. And if we believe that they did, then that’s going to rise to the level of a criminal offense. If someone was simply negligent and it doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense, then we may not charge them.”

Campion can’t talk about the inquiry into Dusenbury’s death. But he says sometimes investigations take months, which can be very hard on people who are grieving. The death of another cyclist, killed on Northern Lights in January, is still under investigation. Campion says it’s too soon to say if charges will be brought in either case.

Back at the memorial site, Darren Marin reflects on the lessons of his friend’s death for both cyclists and drivers. “Everybody needs to just slow down. Just slow down and don’t be in a rush and be aware of what you’re doing.”

But Mike Vania says, the tragedy won’t stop them from biking. “You gotta get on that bike and keep pedaling because we know Jeff would. If it happened to one of us, he’d be torn up, but we know he would ride. And we would want us to keep riding.”

“Oh, absolutely,” chimes in Marin.

About 700 cyclists die in vehicle collisions each year in the United States. That’s about 2 percent of vehicle related fatalities.

 

Categories: Alaska News

Denali Climbing Season Ends, Summits Down

Tue, 2014-07-22 16:02

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Denali climbing season has ended, and the numbers are not impressive.  This year had the lowest summit percentage in over 25 years.  A number of factors played into the lack of summits.

Categories: Alaska News

Dipnetters Try Their Luck On The Kenai River

Tue, 2014-07-22 15:23

Dipnetters crowd the water on the north shore of the Kenai River. Photo by Annie Feidt.

The state’s largest personal use fishery is happening on the Kenai river. Dipnetters from across the state are crowding onto the north and south beaches at the mouth of the river hoping to fill coolers with sockeye salmon. 

Chad Preston is standing chest deep in frigid ocean water. He’s fighting a swift current as he holds onto his dipnet. Preston’s been in the water all day and he’s not smiling.

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“Well I’m trying, so far I only caught one fish and I’m disappointed right now.”

Preston at least has one thing going for him- the water is not as crowded as it usually is.

Most people are waiting out the slow period on the beach. Novena Registe is sitting in the breezy sun with a group of friends. She opens up her cooler to show off the seven fish she’s caught so far.

Registe started dipnetting 10 years ago to feed her family. Now she does it for another reason- because she loves it.

“It’s when that fish hit that net and you pull it out, it’s a special feeling that no one can describe.”

Reporter: “Try to describe it.”

Registe: “It just makes you feel so good. It’s just exciting. I just love fishing.”

Novena Registe (left) shows off a fish she caught.

The crowds on the Kenai are not for everyone. When the fishing is hot, dipnetters are standing shoulder to shoulder in the water. Walking on the beach requires stepping over nets, sleds and other gear. But it’s not hard to find people who love the carnival-like scene, like Monica Workman:

“This is truly the Alaskan experience. And we own a boat and people think we’re crazy, they’re like, why don’t you just take your boat out and we’re like no way! Because this- the whole experience of just being on the beach, the water, the people, the sun- when it’s out- it’s just a really neat experience.”

Workman is dipnetting with her husband and two kids. She says they all have a job to do. Her husband catches the fish. Her son bonks them. Her daughter slices the gills and Workman guts them. This is their 5th year dipnetting. Their first year, she says, things were not as streamlined:

“We didn’t even pack water. We had a little net, my husband had hip waders and I didn’t have a knife, a cooler, nothing. We’re like well, let’s just see what it’s like. And people are so nice out here, there was a lady who lent me everything, she gave me a knife told me how to gut it and everything.”

Now the Workmans are the experts- passing their knowledge along to their friend Robert Carter, who is in his 70′s but dipnetting for the first time. It hasn’t been an easy initiation. Carter has patiently held his net in the water for most of day without catching a single fish. And then- finally- success.

Robert Carter poses for a “fancy picture” of the first fish he caught dipnetting on the Kenai.

He drags his net onto the beach to inspect his catch:

“It’s a monster!”

Carter holds his dipnet in one hand and his fish in the other and poses for a celebratory picture:

“I want a fancy picture. That was unbelievable!”

And with that, Carter heads back out in the water, going for his next fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Alaska News

Services Held for Bethel Woman

Mon, 2014-07-21 18:00

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A Bethel woman who had a baby while in a coma, then passed away was laid to rest over the weekend. The young woman was clinically brain dead for most of her pregnancy. Her baby, Faith, was born on July 8th and is now being raised by family in Bethel.

Jessie Ayagalria’s uncle, Henry Combs described her as a tomboy who loved making art and raising dogs. He said she also had a darker side though, which included abusing alcohol, and which he said sent her to the hospital one night in late January.

“It was a Sunday, in he evening,” Combs said. “Jessie had been gone for a while, out drinking for a while. I was out at church, and I had come home kinda late in the evening. She wasn’t feeling well. Then she ended up having the seizures and then we called 9-1-1.”

The 29-year-old was flown to Anchorage where doctors at Alaska Native Medical Center said she’d suffered cardiac arrest. She had no brain wave activity. They also discovered she was 12 weeks pregnant.

“There wasn’t much hope at first. Most of the doctor’s at ANMC said that she couldn’t carry the baby, that it wouldn’t work out,” Combs said.

But Combs said one doctor said it was possible. Family members agreed to put her on life support. The baby was born by C-section at 35 weeks on July 8th. They named her Faith.

Amy Bee said her cousin stayed strong for her baby.

“We all knew as soon as the baby was born … we were just waiting for Jessie to pass. And it was three days after she had her baby, I got the phone call that she passed away,” Bee said.

The community has rallied around the family. Bee and her husband Behrend Swope held a yard sale over the weekend to raise money for Faith’s care.

“We’re just putting on a sale here to benefit her. Hoping to help contribute to the family and help contribute to the family and help them afford the necessities for Faith as she’s in her early days here,” Swope said.

Krissy Medina with baby Faith. (Photo provided by KYUK-Bethel)

The baby’s aunt, Krissy Medina, is caring for Faith. She said the baby is doing well.

“She’s eating a lot more,” she said. “She’s growing. She makes me laugh every day. Seems like it’s like my sister being born again. Her whole face looks like her, especially her nose and her cheeks,” Medina said.

Combs said the family’s sadness is being eased by the baby that resembles her mom. He said he’s sharing their story because he hopes it will help others struggling with alcohol avoid the fate of his niece.

“As a lot of people do in Bethel you know its something more than just being able out to go have a good time,” Combs said.

“It ends up becoming something that’s done regularly. Unfortunately some of us kind of let that take over us. Jessie herself, I mean she did drink. She didn’t like it when others around her would, but she did herself. It was something she struggled with,” Combs said.

But Combs said despite the tragedy that his family has experienced they have not lost their faith.

“In the gravest circumstances there’s still hope and there’s faith,” Combs said. This whole entire endeavor you know really tried our family in faith and hope. There were times that we lost hope – we lost our faith. There were times when we pulled together — it’s been a long journey. What I took out of it was it renewed my faith, my hope you know that miracles do happen. Baby Faith, that’s a physical sign right there.”

Faith’s mother was laid to rest in Bethel this past weekend. Donations can be made to an account set up for the baby and her family at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union (Acc.#:1825307, checking). The family has also set up a page at ‘gofundme.com” and the yard sale to raise funds for the family is continuing this coming weekend. You can learn more about what’s being done for baby Faith at KYUK.org.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: July 21, 2014

Mon, 2014-07-21 17:27

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn

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Campaign Profile: Sullivan’s “Amazing Credentials”

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, DC

As a candidate for U.S. Senate, Dan Sullivan has a bucket of advantages. He married into an acclaimed Athabascan family. His own family, back in Cleveland, are six-figure donors to Republicans in high places. One of his biggest assets, though, is his resume. But political opponents say his record has thin spots and complain he oversells himself.

Companies Apply for LNG Export License

The Associated Press

The companies pursuing a major liquefied natural gas project in Alaska have applied for an export license with the U.S. Department of Energy. The application requests authorization to export up to 20 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas a year for 30 years. Participants in the project include BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp., TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC.

Scientists in Denali Looking for Dinosaur Remnants

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Scientists are back in Denali National Park for another year of dinosaur hunting. They are taking more measurements on a hillside not far from the park road that contains thousands of tracks laid down in what was an arctic lake bed about 70 million years ago.

Scientists Probing Alaska’s Bat Population

Joaquin Palomino, KSKA – Anchorage

Not much is known about the bat population that lives in Alaska. And until recently, there was no pressing need to study the nocturnal mammal. But with bats being decimated across much of the country by the fungal disease White Nose Syndrome, state and federal researchers are working to learn as much as they can about the animal.

North Slope Students Inspired by GeoForce

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Twenty-six high school students from the North Slope recently completed the third year of UAF’s GeoForce program. The four-year summer program gets students into the field to learn about geology hands-on. They’ve seen glaciers in Alaska, visited the Grand Canyon, and explored volcanoes in the northwest. Program Coordinator Sarah Fowell says GeoForce aims to motivate students to study science.

Oil Spill Drill Conducted Near Teller

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

Even as marine traffic increases past the Bering Strait, no one knows how well an oil spill could be cleaned up in the case of an accident. Stakeholders traveled to the region last week to conduct the first spill response exercise there, and learn more about the challenges.

Services Held for Bethel Woman

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

A Bethel woman who had a baby while in a coma, then passed away was laid to rest over the weekend. The young woman was clinically brain dead for most of her pregnancy. Her baby, Faith, was born on July 8th and is now being raised by family in Bethel.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Alaska News

Scientists in Denali Looking for Dinosaur Remnants

Mon, 2014-07-21 16:11

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Late last week Dr. Tony Fiorillo and his team were wrapping up work at the site near the road and preparing to helicopter out to another undisclosed location for a week of investigating a site he’s not ready to disclose much about, but they just published a report about the lake bed site in the journal “Geology.” They found a huge number of tracks there.

Their analysis of those tracks shows that these duck-billed Hadrosaur dinosaurs formed herds and fell into four age categories, indicating a social structure in which young dinosaurs were cared for by older ones.

They could obtain that fine detail because of the quality of the tracks. They can see the actual texture of the animals’ skin, which means its not just deeper mud compressed by the great weight of the dinosaur, but the actual spot on the surface where the foot went down.

These dinosaur social groups were walking in an Arctic warmer than today, with a temperature range similar to that of wintertime Tokyo – not really freezing much, if at all. And the site was definitely some sort of water hole.

Along with the Hadrosaur foot impressions, the scientists have found fossil plant impressions and the tracks of another Dinosaur species – a strange feathered one that is mostly seen in Asia. That’s one of the things they were looking for this year, and found, Fiorillo said.

Most of Fiorillo’s documentation ends up in the Perot Museum in Texas but some of it has now gone into an exhibit at the park’s  Murie Science Learning Center.

Categories: Alaska News

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