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Get Alaska statewide news from the stations of the Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN). With a central news room in Anchorage and contributing reporters spread across the state, we capture news in the Voices of Alaska and share it with the world. Tune in to your local APRN station in Alaska, visit us online at APRN.ORG or subscribe to the Alaska News podcast right here. These are individual news stories, most of which appear in Alaska News Nightly (available as a separate podcast).
Updated: 27 min 51 sec ago

North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program Sees Changes in 2015

Tue, 2014-12-30 17:22

The National Marine Fisheries Service held outreach meetings in Kodiak and Homer in December.

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Fishermen and NMFS representatives discussed the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer program.

The overall feeling at the meeting seemed to be discontent with a grain of salt. Many fishermen who attended voiced their frustration with the observer program in general. But, many also said that they understand what its purpose is. That sentiment is nothing new to Martin Lefled.

“I’m with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, based out of Seattle, and I’m the director of the observer program in Alaska for the federal fisheries,” Lefled said.

He says NMFS has received a lot of feedback and it’s listening.

“So, the council and NMFS recognized that something wasn’t working that the program has some flexibility to change,” Lefled said. “So, we’re changing it to the area that is working.”

Lefled says the greatest change will be to the way observers are placed on partial coverage category vessels. Starting in 2015, observers will be placed when a vessel is selected through the Observer Declare and Deploy System or ODDS.

In the past, large vessels with 100 percent coverage and vessels greater than 57 and a half feet fishing with trawl gear or hook-and-line fixed gear fell under what is called trip selection. Vessels between 40 and 57 and a half feet fishing with hook-and-line and pot gear were previously under vessel selection.

“So vessel selection was not working very well,” Lefled said. “So the change is that we’re going to treat all of those vessels just like we treat the bigger trip selection vessels, because that worked very well.”

So, all partial coverage category vessels that use trawl gear or are greater than or equal to 40 feet and use hook-and-line or pot gear will be in the trip selection pool.

Vessel owners and operators will be required to log each fishing trip onto ODDS at least 72 hour before departure. Then, they’ll be immediately notified if the trip has been randomly selected. If chosen, a NMFS contractor will provide the observer.

“And that’s going to fix the problem where previously, they were being selected for a two month period. So, the burden was very great,” he said. “So, we think we’ve made it more workable for the fleet so the impact of the observer coverage is going to be for just that trip that’s been picked. [There is a] relatively low rate so not that many trips will be picked. It will still be a burden, but just for a trip. And I think everyone can deal with a trip.”

The other main change to the program, Lefled says, is the rate for the larger vessels that are 57 and a half feet and greater is going up to 27 percent. So, about one in four trips will be picked.

The no selection pool comprises vessels fishing with hook-and-line or pot gear that are less than 40 feet, all catcher vessels of any length with jig, handline, troll, and dinglebar troll gear, and vessels that are conditionally released due to life raft capacity. Additionally, starting in 2015, vessels voluntarily participating in NMFS’ Electronic Monitoring Study will not be selected.

Malcolm Milne works with the North Pacific Fisheries Association. His group has been involved with testing and designing what he calls a reasonable and applicable electronic monitoring system. He says E-M could be a more economical alternative to a physical observer.

“The numbers are all over the board but it’s something like a thousand dollars a day for an observer on a boat – that’s what it’s costing the program,” Milne said. “We’re trying to get a system where we can bring those costs down and therefore provide more coverage across all the fisheries.”

Milne says he doesn’t foresee E-M replacing observers anytime soon. But, he says the program has potential; they’ve just got to work out the kinks.

“It’s still in its development stage- that’s for sure,” Milne said. “But, there’s been a lot of cooperation and a lot of frustration between the industry and the National Marine Fisheries Service, between getting the program running and what the goals should be and what direction we should be going with it. It’s a ways off.”

The idea of taking a camera instead of a live observer seemed to go over well with many fishermen in the room. But they still had questions about other facets of the program.

A few voiced concerns about an observer bumping an IFQ holder off a trip if there’s not enough room to carry both. Others worried that some observers don’t communicate enough with crews and write down complaints that they say aren’t entirely valid.

Chris Sylce of the Katrina M. had a suggestion for the program – allow tenders to transport observers on and off boats so they don’t have to be picked up on the docks.

“Where if the tenders could bring them to the grounds, we deliver to the tender, they get on their boat, we do a trip, they get back on the tender, they go back to town or they get on the other boat that’s coming to deliver,” Sylce said.

He thinks it would streamline the process, cause less hassle for some boats, and even out the playing field for others. He says it would be in the best interest of the program.

“And if they want to get their 24 percent coverage, this is huge, in my mind,” Sylce said. “Say I get selected for Trip 2 for an observer. Well, I [could] leave on Trip 1 and I just don’t go back to town. I deliver to a tender all winter. Technically, I do one trip all winter but I make 25 deliveries. So, I’m never going to have to take that observer because I never go to down.”

Martin Lefled says the council and NMFS are discussing the tender issue and are taking other concerns into consideration as well. But, big changes will only come after thorough research.

“We want to make sure the science has integrity,” Lefled said.

So, he asks fishermen to work with the program for another year as it develops more throughout 2015.

Categories: Alaska News

DEC Commissioner to Rule in 2015 on Groundwater Sulfolane-Cleanup Level

Tue, 2014-12-30 17:21

It appears the dispute over how much to clean up contaminated groundwater in the North Pole area will continue into the new year. Officials with the state’s environmental regulatory agency are still reviewing studies to help them decide on a safe cleanup level for the chemical that leaked from a North Pole refinery into the area’s groundwater.

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Officials with the state Department of Environmental Conservation suggested last fall that DEC Commissioner Larry Hartig may issue a decision on a cleanup level for groundwater contaminated with the industrial solvent sulfolane around the end of the year.

But DEC environmental program manager Bill O’Connell says that’s unlikely to happen.

The cleanup plan announced Monday requires Flint Hills Resources-Alaska, and potential future owners of its North Pole refinery, to continue remediating and removing contaminants from the facility. (Credit KUAC file photo)

Sulfolane leaked for years from the North Pole Refinery now owned by Flint Hills Resources-Alaska. Flint Hills closed the refinery last summer, citing increasing costs, including those related to the sulfolane cleanup. A portion of the facility is now used as a fuel terminal.

“Currently, there is no estimate for when DEC will issue a final cleanup level for sulfolane,” he said.

It’s a complex issue, made even more so because there’s no accepted standard for how much sulfolane a human can be exposed to before it poses a threat to health.

O’Connell says DEC officials are continuing their analysis of data as part of the review of a DEC staff recommendation for a stringent cleanup level of 14 parts-per-billion. Hartig agreed to the review in April in response to a request by Flint Hills Resources-Alaska. Flint Hills owns the North Pole refinery that leaked sulfolane into the groundwater, apparently before it bought the facility in 2004.

Flint Hills officials suggested a year ago that DEC should instead set a less-stringent cleanup level that would allow 25 times more sulfolane than the agency’s recommendation.

O’Connell says much of the data that DEC is weighing on the subject was presented during a two-day session in September by a panel of experts the DEC asked to look into the issue. The experts with Ohio-based Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, or TERA, focused on studies on reference doses for sulfolane. That refers to the maximum amount of a toxic substance that can be ingested before it poses a risk to human health.

“Those discussions were in regards to the reference dose, which is one factor of a number of factors that go into calculating a cleanup level for sulfolane,” he said

O’Connell says a report on the two days of discussions has been posted to the TERA website.

Categories: Alaska News

Troopers Seek Public’s Help In Locating Missing Wisconsin Man

Tue, 2014-12-30 17:20

Alaska State Troopers are seeking the public’s help in a search for a 72-year-old Wisconsin man who disappeared in August.

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Troopers say Roger Yaeger of Eagle River, Wisconsin, traveled to Alaska over the summer to view wildlife. Family members last heard from Yaeger Aug. 8 when he visited a relative in Wasilla.

Troopers traced Yaeger’s subsequent travel to Fairbanks, where he turned in his rental car a day or two after his Wasilla visit.

Troopers were contacted a few weeks ago by relatives who said Yaeger didn’t return emails for an extended period of time. According to troopers, Yaeger had told relatives he was going to travel around Alaska and would update them around Christmas.

Troopers say there is no record of Yaeger flying in Alaska or leaving the state.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska Marine Highway Prices To Rise Next Summer

Tue, 2014-12-30 17:19

It will cost passengers more to ride the state ferry starting in the summer. That’s when fares for most Alaska Marine Highway will increase by 4.5 percent.

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According to the Department of Transportation, tickets booked after the first of the year for travel after May first will reflect the new rates. Tickets booked before the New Year will fall under the current rates.

The new fare structure is spurred by the recommendations of a recent rate analysis. The Marine Transportation Advisory Board saw the preliminary recommendations of that report during a recent meeting in Ketchikan. DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says the department was planning to raise fares even before the recommendation.

“The department knew its rates were out of balance and by increasing most fares by four-and-a-half percent that was consistent with a lot of other recommendations that were coming through the department as a way to help increase revenues to offset operating costs. So the department would likely move ahead with this rate increase regardless,” Woodrow said. ”So by announcing it now, we’re giving the general public the most amount of time possible to prepare for that increase.”

The analysis was conducted by Northern Economics. It recommends the Marine Highway System set rates so that they to cover between 39 to 65 percent of operating expenses. Revenues currently cover less than one-third of the operating budget, according to the department.

Woodrow says the complete rate study will be released to the legislature in February. More changes in operating costs may come after that.

“The rate increase that was just announced was one of the first preliminary recommendations from that report,” Woodrow said. “The study is not complete yet so we’ve not released the first report. We’ll do that when we release the full report to the legislature this upcoming session.”

The analysis suggests that rates more than 25 percent above average not change. Woodrow says that means about 30 fares within the system will remain unchanged, including the route between Skagway and Haines, the highest per mile rate in Southeast.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska Prepares to Offer Grizzly License Plates

Tue, 2014-12-30 17:18

Alaska is bringing back the bear to license plates.

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The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaskans next spring will be able to choose license plates of blue and gold that reflect state flag colors or a new version of plates last offered in 1976 that feature a grizzly bear.

Outgoing state Rep. Peggy Wilson sponsored a measure last session to bring back the grizzly plates. House Bill 293 passed unanimously in the final days of the 2014 session.

The old grizzly plates had red lettering, beige mountains and a brown bear on its hind legs on a white background.

The new plates feature a darker bear on a fading blue background with a silhouette of the Alaska Range.

Categories: Alaska News

Walker Continues To Fill Out Cabinet With Administration, Education Commissioners

Tue, 2014-12-30 13:15

Gov. Bill Walker has made his final decision on his administration and education commissioner.

Walker has named Sheldon Fisher head of Administration, a department with a wide range of government responsibilities including overseeing the Division of Motor Vehicles as well as the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Fisher has been an executive at McKinley Capital Management since 2011. Before that, he led the sales and marketing team at Alaska Communications. Fisher also made a failed bid at public office in 2010, when he launched a primary challenge against Republican Congressman Don Young. Young took 70 percent of the vote. For the past month, former DMV director Amy Erickson has served as the acting administration commissioner.

Walker, in concert with the Board of Education, has also reappointed Mike Hanley as a commissioner. Hanley was originally named education commissioner in 2011, by then-Gov. Sean Parnell. Hanley — along with environmental conservation commissioner Larry Hartig, transportation commissioner Pat Kemp, and public safety commission Gary Folger — is one of four department heads from the previous administration who Walker has decided to keep on his cabinet. Before being named education commissioner, Hanley spent 20 years in the Anchorage School District, with six of those as a principal.

All of Walker’s commissioner appointments must be approved by the Legislature this spring.

Categories: Alaska News

$41,000 Raised for Victims of Christmas Day Crash

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:40

An Anchor Point girl is in stable condition after losing both of her legs in a traffic accident on Christmas Day.

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That’s according to a post by her aunt, Emily Haakenson, on a GoFundMe account she started to raise money for the girl’s medical treatment.

11-year old Angelica Haakenson and her pregnant mother, 29-year old Mathany Christine Satterwhite, were driving on Sterling Highway on Thursday when their truck broke down.

Angelica Haakenson – Photo Courtesy of gofundme.com/angelicahaakenson

The Peninsula Clarion reported Nathan Sargeant was helping family jump the truck when Anchor Point resident Larry Pyatt, slid into them with his vehicle.

Both Sargeant and Pyatt suffered minor injuries and Satterwhite was thrown into a ditch. Haakenson was pinned between two of the vehicles, resulting in multiple spinal fractures and severe trauma to her legs.

The mother and daughter were flown to Anchorage for emergency treatment. Satterwhite and her unborn child survived. Both of Haakenson’s legs were amputated above the knee.

Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $41,000 from about 600 donors, including local residents, peninsula businesses, and area emergency services.

Angelica Haakenson is a sixth-grader at Chapman Elementary School in Anchor Point.

Categories: Alaska News

One Dead, One Injured in Koyuk House Fire

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:39

Winter in Koyuk. Photo: KNOM file.

A Sunday house fire in Koyuk has claimed the life of one woman and seriously injured one other person.

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Alaska State Troopers received the call around 2 p.m. Sunday. Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen said in an email that “the call was a fire and that a person was found dead.”

The fire was extinguished by the time Troopers arrived on the scene, but not before the smoke and flames took the life of 82-year-old elder Ethel Adams. Another man in the home, 41-year-old Dale Adams, was seriously burned in the fire.

Dale’s sister Beda Prentice said people ice fishing nearby heard an explosion before seeing the thick black smoke.

“They heard a couple big pop noises, big noises from our home, and we’re assuming the kerosene heater blew up,” she said.

Beda thinks her brother Dale was burned trying to turn the heater off—and save the woman who raised them both as her own children—from the growing flames. “I know my brother was trying turn it out,” she said the heater, “because he has burns on his hands and arms and around his face.”

Beda said her brother was medevaced to Anchorage Sunday night. He got out of surgery Monday afternoon. He remains in the intensive care unit at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

One other person was in the home during the fire—a young boy—and Troopers say he escaped the flames unharmed and is now staying with relatives in Koyuk.

Family members have been notified of the blaze and are in Anchorage with Dale Adams; the remains of Ethel Adams will be sent to the state medical examiner to determine the exact cause of death.

The source of the fire is still under investigation, Troopers say. A deputy fire marshal traveled to Koyuk Monday to determine the cause of the fire.

The family of Ethel Adams is collecting donations to assist both in the burial of Ethel and the road to recovery for Dale.

Monetary donations to the family can be made at Credit Union 1 account 657799, type S76. When prompted, enter the letters PRE, the first three letters in the name of account holder Beda Prentice.

Airline miles can be donated to Alaska Airlines mileage account number 48355086 under the name of Beda Prentice.

Questions for other donations for the family can be addressed to Beda Patience at 907.963.2214.

The house fire comes just one week after the Koyuk Covenant Church suffered a fire of its own—when flames from the building’s wood stove caused smoke damage throughout the sanctuary and burned a hole in the floor beneath the stove.

No one was injured during the Dec. 21 church fire, but the blaze left the building unusable until funds could be raised for more extensive repairs.

Categories: Alaska News

Woman Killed in Anchorage Pedestrian Crash

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:37

Anchorage police say a woman died when she was struck by a vehicle as she walked on a rural municipal street.

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Police say 59-year-old Delores Greene was struck on O’Malley Road near its upper end in the city’s Hillside area.

The accident occurred just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday near O’Malley Road’s intersection with Main Tree Drive.

Police say Greene may have been crossing O’Malley when she was struck by a sedan driving west. The driver stopped and cooperated with police.

Categories: Alaska News

Court Overturns State Regulation Deeming Kodiak’s Bison Feral

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:35

Friday the Alaska Supreme Court overturned an Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulation from 2007 that declared domesticated livestock, specifically Kodiak’s bison herds, were feral if they stayed outside of their designated state grazing lease areas for too long. As feral animals, they would be fair game, and could be hunted like any other wild animal, subject to Fish and Game regulations.

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Categories: Alaska News

Pat Pitney Prepares To Address State’s Budget Issues

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:34

Alaska’s new director of the Office of Management and Budget has a big job ahead of her. Governor Walker announced on Friday that he wants to put a hold on six large projects until they can be thoroughly reviewed. The projects are the small diameter gas pipeline, the Kodiak rocket launch complex, the Knik Arm bridge, the Susitna-Watana hydroelectric dam, the Juneau access road and the Ambler road.

OMB’s new director Pat Pitney says she wants Alaskans to be involved in the conversation on how to trim the state budget as the price of oil falls. Pitney is a former vice chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

She says budget cuts are necessary, but the Walker administration wants to be strategic about where they happen.

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Categories: Alaska News

Avalanche Survivor Returns to Rainbow Ridge, Recovers Bodies of Companions

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:33

The survivor of the Dec. 6 avalanche at Rainbow Ridge returned to the site in the Eastern Alaska Range last week to recover the bodies of his friend and dog. Michael Hopper says he had to go, because Alaska State Troopers had ruled out a recovery mission until the danger of avalanche in the area subsided. That could’ve taken months.

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Michael Hopper says he and a companion set out a week ago intending to scout out the area where his friend, Erik Peterson, and his dog, Rowdy, were buried, to determine whether a recovery mission was even possible.

Both Hopper and his companion, Dan Perpich, are experienced backcountry skiiers. He says they knew it was risky to return to the site. He says they proceeded cautiously during the 2-and-a-half-hour trek to Rainbow Ridge from the Richardson Highway, about 10 miles north of Isabel Pass.

Michael Hopper says his dog, Rowdy, almost always accompanied him when he went backcountry skiing – like this 2010 outing in the Eastern Alaska Range near Black Rapids.
Credit Mike Hopper

“It was still unnerving, I have to admit,” he said.

Hopper says once they got back to the debris field where his friends were buried and surveyed the area, they decided a recovery was do-able. They mapped-out a safe route away from avalanche-prone areas, and started digging.

Hopper said Perpich was the ideal companion for the mission, because he’s a veteran who’s been through courses at the Army’s Northern Warfare Training Center out of the Black Rapids Training Site.

“He’s received plenty of training in avalanche awareness and also in rescue and recovery of all sorts,” he said. “So he was a pretty handy guy to have along.”

Hopper and Perpich worked two full days of work to remove the bodies and bring them out.

Hopper says it was a relief for both him and Peterson’s family to recover the bodies, because he’d been nagged by the thought of leaving his friends behind until the danger of avalanche subsided. That could’ve taken weeks, even months.

“We felt it was important, I think, to his family, to know their son was off the mountain. There was a sense of rightness about that,” he said. “And it was also good for me to find my dog as well.”

Hopper says he also found comfort in how he found his dog.

“Probably the only light in this dark mission was when we found Rowdy, he was curled up right up against Erik’s back. And he had his right paw on Erik’s shoulder. And it looked very, very much just like he’d just curled up right up against Erik and went to sleep.”

Hopper speaks quietly, and stops to clear his throat every couple of minutes. He says that’s because he re-injured his lungs during the recovery mission after damaging them when he was buried in the avalanche. He managed to dig himself out that time, but not before breathing in a lot of snow and accumulating fluid in his lungs.

“I’m under strict orders now not to play outside for a month,” he said.

Hooper told Alaska State Troopers last Tuesday that he’d recovered Peterson’s body. He turned it over to the Troopers, who in turn transported it to the state Medical Examiner’s office.

Hooper says the Peterson’s remains will be returned to his family in Rhode Island for interment.

Categories: Alaska News

As Federal Case Proceeds, State Drops Charges Against Dutch Harbor Asia Owners

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:32

State prosecutors have dropped their case against two Unalaskans accused of running a major drug operation out of their home and business. Now, it’s up to a federal court to determine the outcome.

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Tam Nguyen and Thu McConnell were arrested in May after police tied an alleged heroin sale back to their convenience store.

Police seized Dutch Harbor Asia on May 24. (Courtesy of Patrick Cyr)

When officers searched the Dutch Harbor Asia shop and the couple’s home on Biorka Drive, they found one of the biggest caches of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine they had ever seen in Unalaska. The street value was more than $500,000.

A grand jury indicted Nguyen and McConnell on multiple felony counts this summer. That paved the way for a trial in state court.

But last week, assistant district attorney Laura Dulic signed an order dismissing all charges against the defendants ”without prejudice.”

Dulic did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

According to a press release from the Alaska Attorney General’s Office, the decision came after talking with federal prosecutors.

Nguyen has also been indicted in U.S. District Court. And federal sentences are tough when it comes to distributing drugs and possessing firearms.

But those charges are based on evidence collected by Unalaska police. And defense attorneys have been fighting to get most of that thrown out of both state and federal court.

The attorneys argue that Unalaska police didn’t have probable cause to conduct searches back in May — when they traced an alleged drug sale to Dutch Harbor Asia.

It all started when officers asked a criminal informant to help them buy drugs in the community. The informant reached out to a man named Eric Roach, who allegedly paid a visit to Dutch Harbor Asia.

After that, Roach allegedly gave two packets of heroin to the police informant. And officers swooped in. They seized the store and detained Tam Nguyen while they waited for a magistrate to approve their first warrant.

In a motion filed in state court in August, David Mallet argued that “the police did not exert any of the standard control over any suspected drug buy between Roach and the defendant [Tam Nguyen].”

Mallet alleged that the police did not search Eric Roach to see if he was carrying drugs before he went into the store. Mallet said there’s no recording of the alleged sale — and no concrete proof that his client sold drugs.

Without that, Mallet argues that there’s no justification for a search warrant. The attorney defending Nguyen in federal court has made similar arguments.

The Unalaska police department is not commenting on the case until it’s resolved, according to deputy chief Mike Holman.

A federal judge is scheduled to consider Tam Nguyen’s request to dismiss evidence in January. In the meantime, Nguyen will stay in jail.

But his partner doesn’t have to. Now that the state’s case is closed, Thu McConnell has been released from custody.

Categories: Alaska News

Spay and Neuter Clinics Improve Village Safety

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:31

Kongiganak residents brought dogs to a free spay and neuter clinic. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

A team of veterinarians brought spaying, neutering, and vaccinations to two YK Delta villages last week. Alaska Native Rural Veterinary, a Fairbanks-based nonprofit visited Tuntutuliak and Kongiganak for the free clinic.

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Veterinarian Paula Gibson is in Kongiginak to spay, neuter, vaccinate, and deworm as many dogs as she can in a marathon day. She lives in Missouri, but grew up in Adak. She’s volunteering with Alaska Native Rural Veterinary. This December morning, her mobile surgical unit is set up in a wide hallway of the community’s washateria with a window overlooking the ocean.

In recent years, rural western Alaskan villages have struggled with loose dog populations. It’s not uncommon for some villages to pay young people a bounty of $10 or $20 dollars per dog when things get out of control.

Environmental health experts say overpopulation creates the potential for hungry and aggressive dogs and can lead to bites and in some cases maulings. The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation office of environmental health cites 703 animal bites in the YK Delta between 2007 and 2013.

In the lobby with about 10 others was Leann Miller and her small, gold-coated Scarlett, age two.

“I don’t know how she feels, maybe she’s excited and scared and nervous at the same time,” said Miller.

The community of over 400 located near the mouth of the Kuskokwim a few miles from the coast doesn’t get visits from vets. Residents would need to fly to Bethel for procedures like spays and neuters, which is cost prohibitive for many. The result can be a overpopulation of stray and loose dogs, raising the risk for dog bites, contact with rabies, and a more hungry dogs getting into garbage.

Jonathon Otto, a VPSO, brought his German wire-haired pointer hunting dog, Nuka, to be neutered.
Sergeant Otto says spaying and neutering is a better alternative to how village dog populations are usually controlled.

“They call me and we find someone to do the dog control, they round them up, take them to the dump, and take care of them,” said Otto.

Joe Joseph is President of the Kongiganak tribal council, which hosted the clinic in their building. He says the village’s dog control efforts are only a temporary fix.

“Neutering dogs, fixing them up, it’s going to help us a lot, I’m glad they’re doing that. For the safety of our kids, for the safety of our elders, I’m glad they’re doing that,” said Joseph.

It’s not only dogs they take care of. Hannah Jimmy held a gray cat, thought to be one of three in town.

“We call him kitty and sometimes Bobby,” said Jimmy.

After Gibson was finished with Bobby, there will be no Bobby Juniors. By late morning, the line was long for pet owners, and Gibson was eager to have as many animals as she could come across her table.

Gibson, who also works with Christian Veterinary Mission, says every dog counts.

“It may sound like we’re not doing enough when you look at the actual numbers of animals. But when you break it down into the number of puppies a dog can have or a male dog can father, we’re at least stopping that much, so it’s a start and there’s quite a bit more to do,” said Gibson.

Angie Fitch of Fairbanks is the director for Alaska Native Rural Veterinary.

“One female could have 16 to 20 puppies a year,” said Fitch.

After the team sterilized 38 dogs during the visit, the two communities can expect fewer puppy litters and fewer problem dogs.

Sponsors of the clinic include Grant Aviation, Delta Western, and the YKHC Office of Environmental health. The group hopes to visit 20 villages a year.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: December 29, 2014

Mon, 2014-12-29 16:30

Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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$41,000 Raised for Victims of Christmas Day Crash

Shady Grove Oliver, KBBI – Homer

An Anchor Point girl is in stable condition after losing both of her legs in a traffic accident on Christmas Day.

One Dead, One Injured in Koyuk House Fire

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

A Sunday house fire in Koyuk has claimed the life of one woman and seriously injured one other person.

Woman Killed in Anchorage Pedestrian Crash

The Associated Press

Anchorage police say a woman died when she was struck by a vehicle as she walked on a rural municipal street.

Court Overturns State Regulation Deeming Kodiak’s Bison Feral

Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak

Friday the Alaska Supreme Court overturned an Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulation from 2007 that declared domesticated livestock, specifically Kodiak’s bison herds, were feral if they stayed outside of their designated state grazing lease areas for too long. As feral animals, they would be fair game, and could be hunted like any other wild animal, subject to Fish and Game regulations.

Pat Pitney Prepares To Address State’s Budget Issues

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Alaska’s new director of the Office of Management and Budget has a big job ahead of her. Governor Walker announced on Friday that he wants to put a hold on six large projects until they can be thoroughly reviewed. The projects are the small diameter gas pipeline, the Kodiak rocket launch complex, the Knik Arm bridge, the Susitna-Watana hydroelectric dam, the Juneau access road and the Ambler road.

OMB’s new director Pat Pitney says she wants Alaskans to be involved in the conversation on how to trim the state budget as the price of oil falls. Pitney is a former vice chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

She says budget cuts are necessary, but the Walker administration wants to be strategic about where they happen.

Avalanche Survivor Returns to Rainbow Ridge, Recovers Bodies of Companions

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

The survivor of the Dec. 6 avalanche at Rainbow Ridge returned to the site last week to recover the bodies of his friend and dog. Michael Hopper says he had to go, because Alaska State Troopers had ruled out a recovery mission until the danger of avalanche in the area subsided.

As Federal Case Proceeds, State Drops Charges Against Dutch Harbor Asia Owners

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

State prosecutors have dropped their case against two Unalaskans accused of running a major drug operation out of their home and business. Now, it’s up to a federal court to determine the outcome.

Spay and Neuter Clinics Improve Village Safety

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

A team of veterinarians brought spaying, neutering, and vaccinations to two YK Delta villages last week. Alaska Native Rural Veterinary, a Fairbanks-based nonprofit visited Tuntutuliak and Kongiganak for the free clinic.

Categories: Alaska News

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