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KNBA News - New cancer test targets Alaska Native, rural residents; Bible translated into Yup'ik

Jan. 4, 2016

Test aimed at most frequently diagnosed cancer among Alaska Natives 

By Associated Press

A new at-home test to screen for colorectal cancer is targeting Alaska Natives, who have high rates of the disease, and residents of rural villages, where standard methods of screening aren’t available. The Alaska Dispatch News reports the easy-to-use test uses a stool sample to determine whether further treatment is needed. According to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, colorectal cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer among Alaska Natives.

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Bible is now available in modern Yupik writing style.

By Associated Press

KYUK AM in Bethel reports the translation was produced after nearly half a century of work by fluent Yup'ik speakers and the American Bible Society.

Moravian Pastor Jones Anaver of Kwigllingok said the first missionaries translated the New Testament into an early form of Yup'ik writing. But today, Yup'ik textbooks and dictionaries in the local schools use a newer and easier-to-read script developed by linguist Steven Jacobson in the 1980s.

Anaver said rewriting the New Testament in Jacobson's newer writing style was critical so that younger people could read and fully understand it.

The team also translated the Old Testament into Yup'ik using the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

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Changing Arctic: Congressional legislation promotes Nome area deep-draft port

By Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Nome Mayor Richard Beneville said a vote last week by the U.S. Senate reassures him that Congress understands the nation’s need for Alaskan harbors that are big enough and deep enough to handle the increasing number of ships passing through the Bering Strait and Arctic Ocean.

We’re talking about the infrastructure for the nation in our state. It’s for the whole country. It’s very, very important,” Beneville said.

The Senate’s unanimous approval of the Point Spencer Land Conveyance Act authorizes the federal government to hand over 2,500 acres of land on Point Spencer to the Bering Straits Native Corporation and smaller parcels to the state and Coast Guard. That could lead to development of a so-called deep-draft harbor at Port Clarence, a remote spot near the tip of Point Spencer about 120 miles northwest of Nome.

“The fact that it happened and that it was announced – I think it’s great,” said Beneville.

Beneville said the measure does not mean the feds have decided against build the port in Nome, as was recommended in an Army Corps of Engineers report issued two years ago. He said if anything, it signals that the feds recognize the need for two or more such facilities.

“I think it’s going to be more than just a deep-water port in [Port] Clarence and a deep-water port in Nome,” said Beneville.

Matt Shuckerow ,  a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Don Young, said that’s what the congressman had in mind in May when he introduced the measure in the House at the same time Lisa Murkowski introduced it in the Senate.

 “Congressman Young and the entire delegation have supported the development of multiple port facilities, particularly as activity in the region increases,” said Shuckerow.

A Murkowski aide said that’s also the senator’s position on the issue.

Beneville believes expanding Nome’s harbor is still the better choice for the first deep-draft port, because it has important infrastructure that Port Clarence doesn’t.

“We have a regional hospital. We have the airport, with alternative runways. We have the road system. There’s a lot that we have that’s going to be needed,” said Beneville.”

The mayor said advocates for both sites aren’t competing. They’re cooperating, because both will be needed, along with at least one more, perhaps around Barrow, on the northernmost tip of Alaska.