Political stories

Katie Basile / KYUK

At least through the spring, there will be no change in the schedule at the Yukon Kuskokwim Fitness Center. A motion to close the center on Fridays and open it on Mondays failed 2-2 at last week’s Bethel City Council meeting.

Katie Basile / KYUK

District 38 state Rep. Zach Fansler laid out his position on proposed taxes, the Governor’s opioid disaster declaration, changes to oil and gas subsidies, and more during a live KYUK call-in show with constituents on Friday.

Representative Zach Fansler meets with District 38 constituents at an open house meeting at the Kuskokwim University Campus on February 11, 2017.
Katie Basile / KYUK

District 38 Rep. Zach Fansler responded to constituent questions during a live call-in show with KYUK on February 17. Rep. Fansler commented on the House Finance Committee's proposed income tax, on the Governor declaring the state’s opioid epidemic a public health disaster, on a proposed increase in motor fuel tax, and more. Listen to the full show by clicking the play button below or by listening to a rebroadcast on Monday, February 20 at 1 p.m.

Jackie Williams / KYUK Interns

On Friday, February 17, Alaskans have the opportunity to testify on HB 115, the proposed fiscal solution for the state proposed by the House Finance Committee. The bill combines earnings from the Permanent Fund with an income tax to generate state revenue.

Rep. Zach Fansler of Bethel and Rep. Tammie Wilson of North Pole listen to public testimony on the state of the Office of Children Services at the Bethel Legislative Information Office on February 11, 2017.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

On Saturday, Bethel residents weighed in on child welfare issues. Republican State Representative Tammie Wilson of North Pole has long been concerned about the state of the Office of Children's Services. Back when she was in the majority, Wilson called for a grand jury probe of OCS. KYUK reports that Bethel residents meeting with Wilson did not have much to recommend about criminal charges against OCS, but they did recommend more support, more training, and smaller case loads.

Governor Bill Walker has announced his appointments to several state boards and commissions. The announcement, issued Friday, includes two residents from Bethel.

Alaska Court System

Governor Bill Walker has appointed Nathaniel Peters to serve as Bethel’s Superior Court Judge. Walker made the announcement Thursday, along with judge appointments in Dillingham, Nome, and Kenai.

Tim Smith / NOAA

Many of the scientists working in Alaska waters are in Anchorage this week to share the results of their research at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium. Usually the gathering is full of the most recent discoveries and the results of large collaborative efforts to understand the implications of our rapidly changing seas. Climate change has taken center stage for some time now, and this year is no exception.  What's new this year is that many are worried about what will happen to the data they have gathered because of the political environment in Washington. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

Bethel demonstrators marched in solidarity with protesters around the world calling for women's rights in the wake of President Trump's inauguration. 

Signs in both English and Yup'ik called for basic equal rights for women and all people regardless of race or religion.

Organizer Bev Hoffman was happy with the turnout.

"It was a great day in Bethel, Alaska. 2.5 Million women, men and children joined in Women's Marches around the world and wes showed up in -25 temperatures Bethel Strong! It made me so proud to be a part of it," Hoffman said.


Katie Basile / KYUK

Saturday, the day following President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, over 1.3 million people around the world plan to take to the streets in a global women’s march. Organizers say that the march is meant to send a message to the new administration that women’s rights are human rights. The march is called the Women’s March on Washington and is occurring in 616 locations across the globe, including Bethel. KYUK spoke with demonstrators in Bethel as they prepared their signs for Saturday.