US Postal Inspectors work to keep alcohol from reaching local option communities in the mail. Image from USPIS.

US Postal Inspectors work to keep alcohol from reaching local option communities in the mail. Image from USPIS.

Citizens in Bethel are weighing a decision on a proposal for the first liquor store in decades. In the shadow of the debate is a powerful and elaborate bootlegging economy across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. A small team of federal law enforcement agents with the United States Postal Inspection Service is working to keep alcohol out of the mail. It’s one of the oldest law enforcement agency in the country, a group with a unique mission that chases after each suspicious package. KYUK’s Ben Matheson has more in the third installment profiling efforts to stem the flow of illegal alcohol to local option communities in the YK Delta.

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Akiak Tribal Policeman Ryan Jackson staffed a checkpoint this winter intended to intercept alcohol before it entered the community. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Akiak Tribal Policeman Ryan Jackson staffed a checkpoint this winter intended to intercept alcohol before it entered the community. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Citizens in Bethel are weighing a decision on a proposal for the for the first liquor store in decades. In the shadow of the debate is a powerful and elaborate bootlegging economy across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

The region’s three Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Taskforce investigators can’t be everywhere at once. Some villages are trying to fill in gaps where bootlegged alcohol reaches dry option communities. In the second of a three-part series on the law enforcements efforts to stem the flow of alcohol to the region KYUK’s Ben Matheson reports on Akiak’s tribal approach.

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Bethel's WAANT team tracks alcohol moving from Bethel to dry communities. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Bethel’s WAANT team tracks alcohol moving from Bethel to dry communities. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Citizens in Bethel are weighing a decision on a proposal for the for the first liquor store in decades. In the shadow of the debate is a powerful and elaborate bootlegging economy across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In the first of a three-part series on efforts to curb the flow of alcohol KYUK’s Ben Matheson reports on law enforcement’s battle with black markets spread across the rivers and tundra of the vast region.

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YK Delta 1A athletes were honored on the all- state tournament team. Logo courtesy of AASA.

YK Delta 1A athletes were honored on the all state tournament team. Logo courtesy of AASA.

Several Y-K Delta athletes have been named to the 1A all state tournament basketball team following their performance at last month’s tournament.

Four Y-K Delta boys were selected. Fabian Akerelrea of the second place Scammon Bay Eagles was named to the team, along with teammates Angel Medina and Isaiah Pitka. Fritz Jackson of the Akiachak Huskies also was named to the squad.
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AYEA teens asked Governor Walker for a climate change task force. Photo courtesy of AYEA.

AYEA teens asked Governor Walker for a climate change task force. Photo courtesy of AYEA.

By KYUK Intern Ellie Coggins

A Yukon Kuskokwim Delta teen travelled to Juneau over his spring break to be part of the annual Alaska Youth for Environmental Action Civics and Conservation Summit. He and 21 others took their activism straight to the capitol building to ask Governor Bill Walker to create a climate change task force.

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Kate McWilliams is the founder of Arctic Belle Boutique. Photo from Arctic Belle Boutique.

Kate McWilliams is the founder of Arctic Belle Boutique. Photo from Arctic Belle Boutique.

A Bethel teen has started her own business, a women’s clothing consignment store. The 17-year-old senior at Bethel Regional High School opened ‘Arctic Belle Boutique’ in November, making her one of the community’s youngest entrepreneurs.

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A Bethel group is building a greywater recycling system to cut household water and sewer demands. Logo courtesy of Dump the Bucket.

A Bethel group is building a greywater recycling system to cut household water and sewer demands. Logo courtesy of Dump the Bucket.

A Bethel team is re-envisioning how household water is treated. They hope to build and test a custom greywater recycling system for hauled systems in Western Alaska that could steeply cut the amount of water households need to buy and reduce the amount of sewage they produce.

Their “Dump the Bucket” project aims to treat and reuse water in specific parts of the house. Brian Lefferts is director of Environmental Health and Engineering for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, which is leading the initiative. Read more →

Cama-i 2015 celebrated the diversity of the YK Delta and world. Dean Swope /KYUK.

Cama-i 2015 celebrated the diversity of the YK Delta. Dean Swope /KYUK.

The Cama-i festival packed the Bethel Regional High School gym for a weekend of dancing, singing, and celebrating life in the YK Delta.

Traditional and modern dance groups from the YK Delta and native performers from across the country came to Bethel to express in song and dance this year’s timeless theme: Generations Celebrating Through Dance.

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YK Delta athletes competed in the state NYO competition. Logo courtesy of CIRI.

YK Delta athletes competed in the state NYO competition. Logo courtesy of CIRI.

Kipnuk’s Sigfurd Dock is a new state record holder in the seal hop. At the state Native Youth Olympics competition in Anchorage this weekend, Dock bested a 6-year-old record with a performance of 188 feet. Dock was one of several Lower Kuskokim School District athletes that contributed to the district bringing home the 2015 team title.
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An artist's rendering of the proposed YKHC expansion. Courtesy YKHC.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed YKHC expansion. Courtesy of YKHC.

The Alaska Legislature passed a bill Sunday that would allow regional health organizations like the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation access to financing through the Alaska Municipal Bond bank, which in the past has only financed municipal projects.
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