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KNBA News - Bethel getting first liquor store in 40+ years; Opioid withdrawal detox services stop

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

May 2, 2016

Bethel getting first liquor store in 40+ years

By Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – Bethel

Bethel’s first liquor store in over 40 years is set to open soon. AC Quickstop received the town’s first liquor license last fall after decades of restricted alcohol sales. AC General Manager Walter Pickett says the store could open as early as this week.

A few details still have to be worked out: wiring security cameras, hooking up a phone, installing a bulletproof front door, and receiving final stock deliveries.

Bethel Police Chief Andre Achee has toured the facility. Achee says he expects emergency call volume to increase with the liquor store opening and doesn’t know if he’ll have the staff to keep up. The police department is budgeted for 15 officers. Currently, it has six. Achee has presented plans to increase staffing to Bethel City Council, but hasn’t received approval.

The store created 12 new positions—10 store clerks and two security guards. All the employees, Pickett says, have received their state certification to sell alcohol.


Opioid detox ends at two facilities

By Associated Press

The Juneau Empire reports the Ernie Turner Center in Anchorage and the 16-bed Gateway to Recovery Detox Center in Fairbanks are no longer accepting patients withdrawing from opioids, though they remain open for detox from other substances like alcohol.

Both centers had physician assistants administer the medications Tramadol and Zyprexa for opiate detox, but according to federal regulation, only a Drug Enforcement Administration certified doctor can administer those medications in a detox setting. Because neither facility has such a doctor, they no longer can treat opioid withdrawals.

An official with Gateway to Recovery said the facility hopes to reopen the beds for opioid detox by the end of May.


Climate change brings new opportunities for resource development

By Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

This week, in Changing Arctic, a program about dramatic transitions under way in the far north, speakers at the recent Arctic Science Summit Week in Fairbanks discuss how climate change is affecting access to resources.

Public-lands managers in Alaska say climate change brings new challenges to the decades-long dilemma over balancing resource extraction with conservation of undeveloped land within the state’s 425 million acres.

“That’s a huge scale – it’s a continental-sized landmass that’s being managed,” said former Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) commissioner Mark Myers.

Myers managed Alaska’s 100 million-acre share of that landmass – a chunk about the size of California – until about two months ago, when he resigned his job as DNR commissioner. Myers said in a recent forum on Arctic policy at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks that conservationists believe vast expanses of land should be protected, because they’re among the last opportunities in the United States to preserve entire healthy ecosystems.

 “Other parts of the country – that land’s been overwhelmed by development,” said Myers. “There is very little truly functional ecosystem land left. In Alaska, it’s largely intact.”

But much of that land also holds valuable natural resources, and Myers said climate change has complicated the task of balancing conservation and development because warming has melted enough sea ice to open up access to those resources.

“Our sea routes – they’re opening, with the changes in sea ice, and that’s putting some significant new demands, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of stressors, and in terms of need to monitor and understand the environment,” said Myers.

Myers says despite today’s low prices, demand for oil and gas in the coming years will increase, and that and other resources in the circumpolar north will draw industry here.

“A huge part of the undiscovered resource endowment left in the world sits in the Arctic. And of that, about 27 percent of that sits in Alaska,” said Myer.

International law professor Betsy Baker says much work needs to be done to enable development of those resources, including infrastructure such as deep-water ports and further surveys of the Arctic Ocean floor. Meanwhile, Baker says managers and leaders must carefully plan to achieve a balance between conservation and development.

“We still have a chance to get it better up here, to get it right,” said Baker.

Baker, who sat in on the Arctic-policy forum, says projects like the Red Dog zinc mine in northwestern Alaska demonstrate the economic benefits of a well-managed resource-development operation that also protects the ecosystem in which the mine operates.