Utqiagvik sees strong start to spring whaling

May 11, 2020

It's been a bountiful spring on the ice so far for whaling crews out of Utqiaġvik. The community's first catches of the season came on April 30, when three crews landed 28-foot whales in the waters outside town. Patkotak Crew landed a 28-foot-1-inch agviq. Pamiilaq Crew's was 28 feet, 2 inches, and Ikayuaq Crew's was the largest at 28 feet, 9 inches.

After June 1, only federally qualified subsistence users will be able to harvest chinook salmon on federal public waters along the Kuskokwim River drainage.

A news release from the Federal Subsistence Management Program announced May 8 that the decision was reached during teleconference meeting on May 1 of the Federal Subsistence Board.

Asian giant hornets not likely to colonize Southeast Alaska, experts say

May 11, 2020

Authorities are working to track and kill an invasive species of Asian wasp given the sensationalist nickname “murder hornet” detected in British Columbia and Washington state.

Pictures of the Asian giant hornet are nothing short of terrifying. The face of the 2-inch insect looks malevolent. And it is: it preys on honey bees, capable of devouring colonies in a few hours. That said, unprovoked attacks on humans and livestock are rare.

Red handprints and a call for answers -- crowd walks for Susanna Jean Norton

May 11, 2020

Over the weekend, a crowd of people gathered at the Norton house on Third in Kotzebue. From there, they walked toward Rainbow Park, turned right and continued on to Front Street.

As they walked, drivers stopped their cars to watch the people pass, many of whom had red handprints across their mouths, and carried signs and photos of a young woman.

"It was very emotional once we started to walk and once we started to see more people out on the road pulling over, pulling out their phones for video and pictures," Roberta Sampson said. "It kind of just hit you a little harder."

Alaska Native leader and former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott dies at 77

May 9, 2020

Byron Mallott, the Alaska Native leader who served as lieutenant governor under former Gov. Bill Walker, has died unexpectedly at age 77.

Walker confirmed Mallott’s death in a phone interview Friday, saying he’d been in touch with Mallott’s family. The Anchorage Daily News reported that Mallott suffered a heart attack in Juneau late Thursday before being flown to Anchorage.

The Alaska State Court magistrate judge for Petersburg, Wrangell, and Kake has retired after being in the position for less than a year. Debra O’Gara plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies.

O’Gara may be leaving her job as the regional magistrate but she’s not leaving Petersburg. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies through a distance program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The U.S. Treasury and Interior departments announced Tuesday (May 5, 2020) they would begin disbursing part of an $8 billion Tribal allocation for coronavirus relief funds. The CARES Act funding is to help Tribes with relief efforts in the fight against coronavirus.

The Rasmuson Foundation recognized Haines master carver Wayne Price as its 2020 Distinguished Artist. Each year the foundation presents the $40,000 award to an Alaskan who has made outstanding contributions to arts and culture in the state over the course of their life.

Price grew up in Haines and has been carving wood and making art since he was a teenager.

Hooligan won’t be social distancing, but harvesters should

May 6, 2020

The annual hooligan run draws people to the river for spring harvest. But how will this typically convivial tradition work in a time of social distancing? The run hasn’t started yet, but tribes are planning for increased precautions.

Hooligan run every spring, whether or not there’s a pandemic. Travel restrictions and social distancing requirements don’t apply to smelt. But they do apply to the people who harvest them—even as the state begins to lift COVID-19 restrictions.

Stuck at home, Bethel kids connect with each other through video

May 1, 2020

Health mandates to stay isolated are especially hard for Bethel residents, who pride themselves on being part of a close-knit community. With schools closed, some families are turning to video calls to get kids and parents connected again. Joining one of those calls shows that Bethel is as close as ever.