Legislative impasse continues
Layoff warning notices were sent yesterday (Monday June 1) to thousands of state employees as the legislative impasse over the budget continues. Layoffs take effect if Legislators don't pass a budget by July 1. The Alaska Senate rejected a budget House majority leaders had negotiated with the House minority, and passed a version of the budget similar to what lawmakers passed in April. The House rejected that budget. The budget now goes to a a conference committee of House and Senate negotiators.
Bethel requests more law enforcement, treatment for addicts, to fight drug trafficking
By Daysha Eaton, KYUK
In the third and final story in a series about heroin use in Bethel, KYUK's Daysha Eaton reports. The story includes views from officials such as City Manager Ann Capella, who says a coordinated grass-roots, campaign is needed. She encourages people to use a tip line to State Troopers. "If you see something, say something," said Capella, who is also hoping for more treatment for addicts.
City Council member Mark Springer said "We would be happy to see as much law enforcement pressure as possible..." against people importing heroin to Bethel. He says the drug trafficking has reached the level of "criminal conspiracy. It's organized crime."
Alan Wilson, with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Anchorage, said the increase in heroin use in Bethel is part of a national trend after regulators had drugs such as oxycontin reformulated to be less attractive to addicts.
Alaska State Trooper Todd Mooring, in Bethel, says some of the heroin is coming in with passengers carrying up to an ounce at a time via smaller airlines that don't have the level of screening required of larger airlines. The North Slope Borough is using a drug-sensing dog, or K-9 unit, to find drugs, something officials say could help in Bethel.