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10/8/14 Nome residents share goals, concerns about the future of the far north

The Institute of the North is bringing stakeholders and policy leaders together in a series of meetings in Arctic Alaska communities. As KNOM's Matthew Smith reports, the first two days of meetings in Nome covered both larger Arctic ambitions, and more immediate local needs. Participants included representatives of the City of Nome, the Sitnasuaq Native corporation, and the regional Native nonprofit organization Kawerak, as well as several other organizations and individuals from around the region.

Institute director Nils Andreassen noted the lack of money to address the long list of infrastructure needs.

Nome's Chuck Wheeler lambasted recent assessments that a deep-water harbor at Port Clarence would not affect fish, wildlife and other subsistence resources.

Gwenn Holdman, with the Alaska Center for Power at the University of Alaska Fairbanks ,said the central problem of affordable, sustainable energy will decide the fate of many Arctic communities.

Art Ivanoff with the Bering Strait Alliance said it's important to give kids educational and job experience opportunities to build the economy.

Other topics included fisheries, health, and maritime navigation. The Institute of the North conference continues in Kotzebue today and tomorrow (Oct. 8-9) then wraps up in Barrow on Friday and Saturday (Oct. 10-11).

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Health officials say Alaska is at lower risk for an Ebola outbreak than lower 48 states due to its remote location, sparse population, and scant contacts with affected countries. Still, as the News-Miner reports, the state is not taking the threat lightly. It's distributing information to health care providers on how to spot the disease in its early stages.

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