The city of Bethel has had some trouble collecting taxes in recent months, but one tax they're not having trouble collecting is the 12% sales tax from alcohol. Since the city sold its first legal alcohol in April, Bethel has collected over a quarter of a million dollars from Bethel’s two alcohol vendors. A third vendor recently opened but those numbers were not included. .
Dolores Hunter of Marshall and her two children are suing the cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris USA and its parent company, Altria Group, for product liability, fraud, and the wrongful death of their family member, Delores' common law husband, Benjamin Francis, of Pilot Station. Francis died in 2004 of lung cancer after a long history of cigarette smoking.
Telecommunications company GCI says Mountain Village, St. Mary’s, Tununak and Quinhagak will have their cell services upgraded to 3G. This means residents in those communities will be able to take advantage of faster video, audio, internet browsing, talk and text within the next month.
Classes at the new building began Wednesday morning. At midday teachers, students, and community members gathered in the gym for an opening ceremony. A Russian Orthodox priest, wearing gold and black robes, blessed the school as a choir sang behind him. The priest then sprinkled holy water throughout the building. Afterwards, everyone gathered to eat a spaghetti lunch.
The Calista Corporation has announced a second dividend for shareholders this year. The Akilista dividend is based on the corporation's investments and will total $2.2 million this year, 10 percent higher than last year. This is in addition to the spring dividend based on Calista's profits.
There are new reporters hitting the Bethel streets, and they are taking on one of this month’s largest and eeriest scoops: Halloween. A third grade class at Gladys Jung Elementary School has begun a monthly newscast called the Crane's Corner News. The crane is the Gladys Jung mascot. Each month the students choose a topic, interview sources, and work with their teacher, Rachel DeHaan, to write a script. KYUK went to the school to hear the latest on what to expect this Halloween season in Bethel.
The idea of creating Indian Country in Alaska by putting private lands into federal trust status has many tribal advocates excited because they see it as an avenue leading to everything from administering justice in their villages to imposing taxes on tribal lands and escaping state and municipal taxes.