LKSD conducts new training to identify sexual grooming behavior

Jun 9, 2020

Months after former Bethel Elementary School Principal Chris Carmichael was arrested, and later charged with sexual abuse of a minor, the Lower Kuskokwim School District adopted a new training curriculum to prevent sexual abuse in schools, according to the district’s attorney. It’s aimed at identifying sexual grooming early, and stopping it before it escalates. The training, new to LKSD, is new to Alaska as well. 

Over the last decade, two massive marine heatwaves, better known as “blobs” swept the North Pacific Ocean, raising surface temperatures more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit causing blooms of toxic algae and major die-offs in the ecosystem.

Southeast’s Tribal transboundary commission gets new executive director

Jun 8, 2020

The head of a Tribal consortium tasked with tackling transboundary issues will retire. Tis Peterman of Wrangell had led the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission since 2017.

“I’ve worked projects all my life and now I just decided it’s time to take time for myself,” she said.

The commission was formed by Southeast Alaska Tribes concerned over environmental threats from transboundary mining.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Video of Chauvin, who is white, with his knee on the neck of Floyd, who is black, has caused days of protests and rioting in the Twin Cities and other communities across the country.

According to charging documents, an autopsy showed no evidence of strangulation or "traumatic asphyxia," but it says being restrained by police, combined with Floyd's underlying health problems, likely contributed to his death.

Southeast Alaska’s economy is poised to take a hit as most of the season’s cruises cancel. But a rough year for tourism could be a good moment for science. No cruise ships or tour buses mean researchers will be able to measure the region’s baseline air quality.

Last year, Southeast residents logged 45 air quality complaints against cruise ships with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Nine of them were in Skagway.

Returning to roots: Indian Health Service seeks traditional healers

May 28, 2020

Cheryl Morales started the medicinal garden at the Aaniiih Nakoda College demonstration farm with only four plants: yarrow, echinacea, plantain and licorice root.

After 10 years, the campus garden within the Fort Belknap reservation in northern Montana now holds more than 60 species that take up almost 30,000 square feet. Morales adds new plants annually. This year, she is testing Oregon grape root and breadroot.

Tribal groups, Pebble opponents object to change in access route to proposed project

May 27, 2020

Announcement of a major change in the access route to the proposed Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska is met with resistance from Tribal groups and other opponents. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday the “least environmentally damaging” access to the mine site is a road along the northern end of Iliamna Lake.

Previous plans called for a route that included crossing the lake via ferry.

The new preferred route means the mine backers will need to secure land rights from groups that oppose the project.

Almost a year ago on June 5, 2019, a lightning strike ignited the Swan Lake fire on the Kenai Peninsula. The fire burned more than 167,000 acres.

The remnants of that fire likely created prime habitat for morel mushrooms. And one ecologist hopes to crowdsource where hunters are finding them to understand more about the fungi.

But how do you get people who are inherently secretive about where they find morels --  to tell you where they find their morels?

In Anchorage, emergency room visits were down 30-50 percent in Alaska’s largest hospitals in March and April, according to hospital managers.

That might sound like a good thing, but emergency room doctors say that the statistic is evidence of a dangerous problem: patients not seeking medical care they need because they are afraid of catching the coronavirus.

Canadian border closure extended until June 21

May 26, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canadian border will  remain closed to non-essential travel for at least another month.

The U.S. and Canada agreed March 20th to close their border to non-essential traffic for 30 days. That closure was extended in April for another 30 days.

During a news conference, Trudeau told reporters that it’s too soon to say if the border closure could extend past June 21.