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KNBA News - Bill on sex ed fails; Alaska Native Medical Center adds traditonal foods to patient menu


Legislation to change who can teach sexual education fails

By the Associated Press

A wide-ranging education bill emphasizing local and parental control has died after a vote in the state House yesterday [Wed].  The latest version of House Bill 156 would have suspended statewide standardized testing for two years, allowed parents to opt their kids out of any lesson, and put decisions about sexual education in the hands of local school boards.

Wednesday afternoon the House voted 20 yes to 19 no on the measure – it needed 21 yes votes to pass.


Bill overhauling criminal justice system complicated by amendments

By the Associated Press

An Alaska lawmaker's efforts to halt the rapid growth of the state's prison population may not come to fruition. When it was introduced, North Pole Sen. John Coghill's bill reduced sentences, put higher thresholds in place for property crimes and inserted a presumption of citation instead of arrest for many misdemeanors.

Now, it also includes specifications for who can serve on the state's Violent Crimes Compensation Board, tweaks to the state's civil asset forfeiture laws and a requirement that Alaska's Criminal Justice Commission draft a report on using bonds to reduce recidivism.

Coghill says lawmakers are amending the bill to add their own to it because it has the potential to pass. But, he says, the amendments add complications and fewer people are likely to support it.


Traditional foods hit the spot, aid healing, at Alaska Native Medical Center

By Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Recently in Southeast Alaska, eagles, ravens, seals and sea lions flew and swam around waiting for herring. In Sitka, subsistence fishermen placed hemlock trees in the water, and herring lay clumps of eggs on the branches. The branches were cut off, and some were flown to Anchorage, where at least one Alaska Native Medical Center patient waited with anticipation.

“I’ve gotta have some,” said 78-year--old Mamie Alexander. She says if she were home in Ketchikan, she’d be eating fish eggs by the plateful. For now, she’s happy to have it in a green salad. In fact, she’s so busy savoring the treat, she doesn't want to pause to answer a hospital worker's question.

“Is it good?”

“Mmmm, no time to talk,” Alexander said, laughing.

Dr. Gary Ferguson says a change in federal law allows health care providers to serve donations of traditional foods.

We want them to have traditional foods. So we’re adding, herring eggs will be on the menu. That’s exciting.

ANMC’s menu also includes dishes such as piruugax̂, or fish pie, salmon soup, beach asparagus, salmon bacon, fiddlehead ferns, and reindeer pot pie.

Ann Evan, of Nunapitchuk, names several dishes she ate growing up. dried white fish, fresh seal meat and muskrat with seal oil. She says it’s important for parents to keep feeding traditional foods to their children.

It’s more important to eat Eskimo food, let the kids learn how to eat Eskimo food. One of these days we might not have enough money to buy food and have to hunt some, Native food and some white food. That’s the best thing I can say.”

Dr. Ferguson says traditional foods offer patients rich nutritional benefits as well as a taste from home.