Alaska

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 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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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 →

Courtesy WAISCF.

Courtesy WAISCF.

A conference bringing together experts in western science and traditional knowledge takes place in Bethel this week. Hosted by KUC, the Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference will begin Wednesday morning. It’s meant to bring together science researchers, regional elders, educators, students, and community leaders and their wide range of experiences.
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Ed Pekar has been named the new BRHS principal. Photo courtesy LKSD.

Ed Pekar has been named the new BRHS principal. Photo courtesy LKSD.

Bethel Regional High School will have a new principal next year. Ed Pekar will serve in the job beginning over the summer and says he’s excited for what’s ahead.
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The UA Regents are meeting in Bethel. Logo courtesy of UA.

The UA Regents are meeting in Bethel. Logo courtesy of UA.

The University of Alaska Board of Regents opens two days of meetings Thursday in Bethel.

The system is searching for a new President with the retirement of Pat Gamble and will hear an update on the search process. Another high profile agenda item includes a discussion of the UA budget, which faces cuts as the Alaska Legislature grapples with a large deficit.

A handful of committees also meet. Public testimony before the Board of Regents takes place beginning at 9:00 a.m. Thursday and  10:00 a.m. Friday. The meeting is at the Cultural Center.

2014-2015 federal duck stamp. Image from USFWS.

2014-2015 federal duck stamp. Image from USFWS.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now implementing an interim policy to exempt Alaska rural subsistence hunters from needing a Federal Duck Stamp for hunting migratory birds.
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Image courtesy of Alaska Department of Law.

Image courtesy of Alaska Department of Law.

A Bethel woman has been indicted on a charge of manslaughter for allegedly fatally injecting her father with heroin. 35-year-old Shannon Cooke faces the charges for an incident from September 29th, 2014.

The state says that 56-year-old Thomas Tungwenuk was found unresponsive in an Anchorage apartment. Police and medics responded and the man was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Read more →

BNC President and CEO Ana Hoffman speaks at a community meeting in Bethel. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.

BNC President and CEO Ana Hoffman speaks at a community meeting in Bethel. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.

The clock is ticking on a sixty day period for the City of Bethel to consider protesting a package liquor store license before the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The Bethel Native Corporation’s Bethel Spirits LLC application was officially filed the morning of April 6th. The Alaska Commercial Company also plans to file for another package liquor store.
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Surveillance video shows the arrest on July 12, 2014. Screenshot from AC surveillance video.

Surveillance video shows the arrest on July 12, 2014. Screenshot from AC surveillance video.

Surveillance video shows a former Bethel city police officer repeatedly slamming a man to the ground in the parking lot of a grocery store during an arrest last summer. The man eventually pleaded guilty to harassing the officer. But with the new evidence, an attorney is trying to bring the case back to court.

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