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3/15/15 - Y-K region Tribes meeting in Bethel to discuss forming a new regional tribal government

Taxes, law enforcement, fish and game management up for discussion
 
By Ben Matheson, KYUK
 
Tribal representatives from the Yukon-Kuskokwim region are meeting today in Bethel to discuss whether to create a new regional tribal government or pursue changes to an existing non-profit like the Association of Village Council Presidents. They could also choose to make no changes. The regional for-profit corporation Calista facilitated the Governance Convention.
 
Proponents of a new government say big changes are needed to unify the region. Several tribes and regional organizations have pushed back against the idea. They’ve argued the structure would undermine the sovereignty and divert the funding of individual tribes. Regional committee meetings facilitator Nelson Angapak says if a new structure is created, it will never take away any rights of existing tribes of the region.

The concept of a regional government has been around for decades. Seventy-six percent of delegates at a meeting in Anchorage last year voted to look at establishing a constitutional government, while 58 percent voted to consider changing the role of a regional non-profit. Angapak says the only authority this body would have is what is granted by the people of the region and the tribes of the region.
 
Calista says proposed changes could come back to all of region’s tribal members in the form of a vote. A draft 12-page constitution from the November meeting lays out a regional tribal government, complete with three branches including power for law enforcement, and fish and game management. A resolution from last year looks at capturing income taxes from Native corporations,  and assessing taxes on regional lands and businesses.
 
As of Thursday, about three-dozen tribes were fully registered for the YK Delta Regional Governance Convention and several more were expected to soon finalize their delegate’s participation.
 
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Top mushers race to the coast
By Matthew Smith, KNOM
 
From the midway point of Huslia Iditarod mushers have been racing to the coast—and a small field of top mushers are now taking shape after racing through warming temperatures and the biting winds into Unalakleet Sunday. KNOM’s Matthew Smith has more. 2:56
 
Nome’s Aaron Burmeister—first to the Huslia halfway—ran to the coast in two long runs from the midpoint: a quick 5-hour rest outside of Koyukuk  before taking his 8 hour in Kaltag. He then powered through one long 85 mile run to be the first musher into Unalakleet—and for a musher from Nome, he says it was familiar territory.
 
“I felt right at home when the wind started blowing," said Burmeister. "I’m comfortable on the coast, with the weather and have a good understanding of it. So that’s, that’s my comfort zone.”
  
Just over an hour behind Burmeister came Aliy Zirkle—who rested at the Tripod Flats Cabin about 35 miles out of Kaltag before making her way in.
 
As gusting winds carried flecks of ice and snow, Zirkle considered a replacement sled she had shipped to the checkpoint—but decided she’ll keep the one she has.“I like my sled," said Zirkle. "I would take a smaller sled if I had a smaller team, but I don’t. Trying to keep that one so I can hide behind it, in the wind. And it appears to be windy.”
 
Third in but first out of Unalakleet was Dallas Seavey, who sprinted toward food and other dropped supplies before leaving the checkpoint after just 5 minutes. Seavey had come within a mile of Burmiester on the trail to Unalakleet before stopping to rest. After the defending race champion sped through, Burmeister gave quick pursuit—following after fewer than five hours of rest before hitting the trail.
 
Rounding out the top mushers into Unalakleet was Jeff King—who said his team had been pulling strongly all race but began to have digestion issues after the Huslia halfway—which led to an unexpected stop on his way to the coast.
"It just really started for my in Koyukuk," said King. "I hadn’t had any issues with it, and there are some that look a little tired as a result. But rest and more food and they ran really good in here, you know? That’s why I fed fish tonight instead of more kibble, I’m wondering if I’m feeding too much kibble. Because their appetite is so good. I’m sure I could have got them I here, but I am not just willing to get them in here, because then, what have you got? You now, sit in the wind here. So I stopped.”
 
 
As the top mushers made their way into and out of Unalakleet, Race Marshal Mark Nordman looked to last year’s race to calculate when a winner could be expected under the burled arch in Nome.
 
“Let’s go off of last year. You know I’ve picked out Dallas Seavey because he was our champion last year, "said Nordman. "They ended up running what was 63 hours from Kaltag into Nome. So I don’t have that right in front of me but it’ll be a Tuesday.”
 
After a frigid trip through the interior and a historic stop to the mushing Mecca of Huslia, the top teams in Iditarod are now all on familiar territory: the perilous coast on the final miles to Nome.
 
For being the first musher to the coast Bermeister receives the Wells Fargo Gold Coast award—a payout of $3,500 in gold nuggets taken from Nome.
 
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday, mushers now in the lead are:
 
1.       Aaron Burmeister
2.       Dallas Seavey
3.       Mitch Seavey
4.       Ally Zirkle
5.       Jessie Royer
6.       Joar Leifson Ulsom
7.       Jeff King
8.       Pete Kaiser
9.       Wade Marrs
10.   Ken Anderson