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Alaska Native

A federal district court has sided with four villages who filed suit saying the state needs to do more to protect voting rights of non-English speaking Alaskans.  The state of Alaska said because the languages are not written, it was doing enough by providing oral translations. However, attorneys for the plaintiffs says poll workers are not directed nor paid to provide oral translations at the polls.

Gov. Sean Parnell vetoed a bill that would have scrubbed Courtview - the state's onlne criminal records database - of any charge that did not result in a conviction. The Alaska Court system has adopted a rule that would wipe the records of any person who was arrested but not charged with a crime.

Hundreds of people turned out in Anchorage Tuesday to comment on a proposal that would severely restrict development of the massive gold-and-copper Pebble mine in the Bristol Bay region Opponents of the mine say it poses to great a threat to salmon. Others say the project should be allowed to move through the permitting process before any action is taken to curtail development.

Joaqlin Estus

  About a hundred people Tuesday visited the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association offices in Anchorage to celebrate the publication of a book with hundreds of recipes for traditional dishes, as well as historic and contemporary photographs of food gathering and cooking, stories and much more. Author Suanne Unger says she and nine collaborators, plus many more contributors, worked on the book for six years, compiling recipes, interviewing elders, and searching for photographs. The CDC helped pay for the research and publishing, which allows APIA to sell the book for $25 per copy.

Joaqlin Estus / Koahnic Broadcasting

Testifying in a voters' rights case, Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai says villages with sizable populations of limited English speakers beat the state's average turnout in the 2012 Presidential election. However, absentee and early ballots are not counted in turnout numbers. She was testifying in a case in which villages and elders say the state failed to provide complete translations of voting materials into Native languages. The state says it has met legal requirements.  

State election officials testifying in court said they work hard to help Native language speakers and to recruit bilingual outreach workers.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill asks SBA for information that would show if 2011 requirements for Alaska Native corporations engaged in federal contracting are working.

The comment period on a proposed rule that would allow the Dept. of Interior to accept applications to place land in Alaska in trust.

The U.S. Department of Interior is asking for public comments on a new policy that will allow it to take land into trust for Alaska Native tribes. Trust lands cannot be sold, nor taxed. Tribes say the change will bring them one step closer to self-determination.

A federal judge says the Constitutional right to vote requires the state to translate election materials into Native languages for voters lacking English proficiency. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has introduced a bill that would require the translations, and other measures he says are needed to ensure equal access to polls. The Native Voting Rights bill would also require federal pre-clearance on decisions about polling places and early voting.

The Funny River wildfire is now 46% contained, meaning fire breaks that flames likely cannot cross surround nearly half the fire.

Alaska Congressman Don Young amended the Maguson-Stevens Act as it moved through the U.S. Natural Resources Committee,to allow subsistence fishermen a voice on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

The board of directors of the regional Native corporation Sealaska named Anthony Mallott as president and CEO. He's the son of former CEO and long-time board member Byron Mallott, who's running for Governor.

A health advisory is in effect for areas from Soldotna to Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna valley as some 200 firefighters work to contain a wildfire near Soldotna. Another 90 firefighters are working to contain the Tyonek wildfire that is headed toward Beluga, the site of the Chugach Electric powerplant at Beluga that supplies electricity to half of Anchorage.

Congressman Don Young, Alaska Republican, has proposed a measure that would set aside federal land in Northwest Alaska for an Arctic deep water port.

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