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9/10/14 KNBA News - Students estimate Permanent Fund dividends to be close to $2,000

Sep 9, 2014

Alaskans will find out the size of the Permanent Fund dividends in a week. Dividends based on the five-year investment earnings are distributed annually to eligible Alaska residents. KTUU reports three Polaris School students estimated this year's PFD amount at $1,909.  

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The state of Alaska is proposing several changes in its delivery of voting information to Alaska Natives whose first language is Yup’ik or Gwich’in. As KYUK's Daysha Eaton reports, the state is offering the changes after a federal judge issued a decision in a voting rights lawsuit last week. U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason ordered the state to better help voters who speak Yup’ik and Gwich’in understand their ballots.

The state's plan is focused on three areas: 1) Better information to voters that language assistance is available; 2) Having outreach workers better prepared to provide language assistance; 3) Better handling of different dialects.

The state is preparing ballot language for review by tribal councils and outreach workers to reflect different dialects. The state and its translators will be moving quickly; they want to have the changes made in time for the November election. The plaintiffs, Alaska Native speakers from Southwestern and interior Alaska are being represented by attorneys from the Native American Rights Fund. They have until Wednesday to respond to the state's plan. Then Judge Gleason will issue an order telling the state what they need to do.

Judge Gleason has not yet ruled on whether the state intentionally violated voter’s rights on the basis race or color.

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The population of Pacific Walrus in Alaska's Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea area declined by half between 1981 and 1999. A USGS statistician says hunting and changing sea conditions likely had some bearing on the decline.