Archive for December, 2009

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2009

Dec 31, 2009

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

We hope you are having a wonderful and safe holiday!

From the Anonymous Bloggers

Coming soon… 

2009 Year in review


 

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AB is PROUD to announce a new blog from one of our AB bloggers: Pi in the Sky!

December 28, 2009

Dec 28, 2009

We here at AB want to introduce you to a new blog on Alaska issues, Pi in The Sky.
One of our board members, who lives here in Alaska, shares Native blood that is much to be proud of, has a tremendous love for the state and its people and has other talents that will show up in the posts has started this blog to help bring some clarity to more complex issues we face here in Alaska.
These issues that must be addressed,  in helping to build Alaska and all of its people into a better place, will be tackled, no matter how messy they get. We seem to have a real talent here in Alaska to walk around ‘elephants’ in the room when we get to many issues.
To REALLY bring progress to the many parts of Alaska they need to be brought forward. We believe you will find this a well researched blog and one to help us LEARN AND hopefully join a more progressive discussion on these tough subjects.
This first post that has been taken on is one of the tribes and the ‘nation to nation’ issue.
Please join with us and welcome “Pi in The Sky”. Come learn with all of us on what some of our history is and how we might head forward!!

Merry Christmas to our Troops and Veterans!

December 19, 2009

A Christmas Poem

Written by a Marine

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER IN IRAQ , LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN’T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
‘SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY! COUNTRY, MY CORPS.’

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.

I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, ‘CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.’

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
‘MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,!
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.’

A Christmas Poem

Written by a Marine:


TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER IN IRAQ , LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.


WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN’T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
‘SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY! COUNTRY, MY CORPS.’

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.

I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, ‘CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.’

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
‘MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,!
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.’

Victoria: Energy Ideas for Rural Alaska

December 14, 2009

Dec 14, 2009

Roland Briggs watches new technology, guess it might be the Mechanical Engineering part of his background which keeps him “tuned in”, and he wants to share some of what he sees as exciting.

As things cross his path and they look like they might have use in Alaska you will see him post on his new page in our Energy Section.

We’ll announce his updates on the main page and direct you to Roland’s page where you can join the discussion.

Roland will check in as often as he can given his busy schedule. This subject is close to his heart, finding more ways for rural Alaska to compete, thus he welcomes input and ideas.

~ Victoria

SOMETHING NEW

For those of you who are not aware I have lived in various villages in the Bristol Bay region most of my life.

I was lucky enough to be home schooled by a mom, Emorene (Randy)Briggs, who was a highly educated woman for her time. She was a Chemical Engineer educated in the Midwest and East coasts. She worked on the team that helped develop Styrene and over her lifetime did work with the Corp of Engineers here in Alaska, which she left as they would not let her out into the ‘field’ like they were the men at the timeJ and in our education system.

She had a great love of the fishery, people and education of all in our area. She made sure I was well prepped to head into Anchorage for high school and then onto Montana State University where I got a degree in Mechanical Engineering and was able to pursue other related areas while there.

Over my working life I have gotten to be involved with all sorts of ‘neat’ projects which you will most likely see me mention as it applies.

I am hoping that by posting occasionally on this area of interest, for at least me, I can spark more of an interest in and discussion by Alaskans who would most likely benefit from some changes in our energy structure.

ENERGY AND SOME NEW TECHNOLOGY —-

Liquid Batteries

I think liquid batteries could have huge potential in Rural AK.

Recently, researchers from MIT have designed a new kind of battery that, unlike conventional batteries, is made of all-liquid active materials. Donald Sadoway, a materials chemistry professor at MIT, and his team have fabricated prototypes of the liquid battery, and have demonstrated that the materials can quickly absorb large amounts of electricity, as required for solar energy storage.

We can collect energy from wind and solar sources and store and run the village much like a large home. Our village energy needs at different times of the year can be as low as 50 KW to much higher in the summer or fall months. Of course this might well change IF we can find a economical source that allows for more competitive light industries.

VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations Aquatic Clean Energy)

VIV is another promising technology…

A novel approach to extract energy from flowing water currents. It is unlike any other ocean energy or low-head hydropower concept. VIVACE is based on the extensively studied phenomenon of Vortex Induced Vibrations (VIV), which was first observed 500 years ago by Leonardo DaVinci in the form of “Aeolian Tones.” For decades, engineers have been trying to prevent VIV from damaging offshore equipment and structures. By maximizing and exploiting VIV rather than spoiling and preventing it, VIVACE takes this ‘problem’ and transforms it into a valuable resource for mankind.

Since we have so much “line cost” in Rural Alaska and yet water currents are always running, this new type of energy system might be of use at least in the summer time. Maybe even some places in AK in the winter time.  It could possibly even be used under the ice in places where there are slow moving currents.  I understand the Detroit River Project is a 15kw test system. Not sure when it is supposed to be up and running. I recently asked for an update on the status of it.  I will update as I find out.

~ Roland Briggs

~~~~~

We’ve turned off the comments here and ask that you leave your thoughts and comments on Roland’s thread in the energy section.  We will announce updates and post some of the more in-depth or thought provoking comments on our main page.

Victoria Briggs: Good news from Pilot Point and Ugashik! A Winter Update

December 3, 2009

Getting close to being frozen over~~ The Ugashik River right outside Victoria's house Taken: December 2, 2009

Dec 3, 2009

There is some better news this year coming from Pilot Point and Ugashik when it comes to our ability to deal with our winter conditions.

Our fishing season was much better this year than last on our main season of Sockeye salmon, although the Chinook/King returns continue to be dismal.

This allowed for most everyone to either work in the industry if they wanted/needed to and also to get fish put up for the winter.

Although the road project that was due in Pilot Point to start this year, to provide additional employment opportunities, got delayed we are hearing that most everyone got some summer employment who were looking for it.

This summer we also saw the overall fuel cost come down slightly so heating fuel is more reasonable. The city of Pilot Point was able to get its propane shipped in via barge and thus the cooking fuel is also much more reasonable than last year.

Ugashik got its spring barge in for its yearly fuel needs allowing people to stock up. We also should be able to draw on Pilot Point’s reserve if someone runs short.

Although we still have families that are in ‘need’ it appears to be more of a ‘normal’ range. Due to contacts made last year it looks like a food bank will be set up to distribute at least monthly commodities. We are currently working with them to get details ironed out.

If you want to help the Food Bank of Alaska  strengthen its outreach to villages please feel free to follow the link HERE.

You can always mention the donations are in our ‘honor’ and we will appreciate and share it.

We are just entering our winter moose season and there is decent snow cover right now that SHOULD allow hunters to move about much better than last year. There was a dismal fall season for most villagers, for moose, but we are hoping for a better winter one.

Ann and I are working with the villages to do some special things for the kids for the holidays so that should also take a little burden off those families who are struggling.

We have been lucky enough to have Toys for Tots agree to help. They are also always in need of assistance to reach all the villages requesting it.

Feel free to check out the link HERE.

Also, efforts for long term solutions continue and we should have some updates on those things this winter and we can share more.

All the concern and help we received last year help boost moral a great amount and I believe made all of us realize that we can gather together and work long term to offer better opportunities in our village.

Thank you for all your help and we will keep posting of happenings in our villages.

Keep up with us via Email Subscription!

December 3, 2009

Dec 3, 2009

On the  Anonymous Bloggers main page, look on the side bar to the right, under the Twitter Link:

“Email Subscription”

You will either see a box in which to enter your email address.  If you have a WordPress account,  and are logged in, then you’ll see a button that says “Sign me up!”.

A Food Drive Adoption Story

December 2, 2009

Dec 2, 2009

In our previous post we  mentioned that there were individuals that couldn’t afford to adopt a family on their own and wanted to know if they co-adopt a family.

Here is a story of just such a group of adoptees…

THE ADOPTION

Once upon a time there were  five ladies struggling with lives full of problems and challenges. They took the time to read about the plight of residents in Nunam Iqua, Alaska and wanted to help, but in light of their problems, couldn’t even think of taking on such a big job as adopting a whole family all by themselves. Each one, in her own time, asked the question, could a group of us gather together and take on the needs of a family?  We thought about it  and said, “Hey, let’s try it!”

Thus, with an e-mail, Ann introduced the ladies to one another and left them to sort themselves out. Within a few hours, the new group began the halting steps to organize themselves. Each one thought hard and realistically about what she could afford to do and the group chose one person to be a recording secretary and one to keep Ann in the loop and to ask her questions as time revealed them.

Ideas began to germinate among them about how to best manage the job. Those with more experience, shared what had worked well previously, and the group googled to find cost effective ways to purchase, pack and ship sorely needed items.

In the process of doing this, a mysterious thing began to happen. Five women, totally absorbed in surviving unemployment, income reduction, illness and other struggles, found themselves reaching out to one another.

They shared their stories, their problems, their histories and their battles with depression and loss. A funny thing began to happen. They began to feel better. They laughed together over shopping trips and the bargains they found, about the Post Office reaction to five crazy ladies lugging in boxes that risked herniating any postal clerk who tried to lift them.

In the process, their burdens consumed less of their time, their depression began to lift and they got to know one another better. Even when one of the ladies lost an elderly parent right in the middle of all this, she had the comfort and care of new friends to help her bear her loss, and their prayers and thoughts held her up. All she could think of was, “Please don’t give up on me! I still want to be part of the group!”

The story is ongoing, but in less than a week, this little group has managed to forge new friendships, gather others to help, and boxes are flying out of Post Offices from all over the country to help fellow citizens.


Thank you for taking time away from your shopping and emails to share your story with us!  Thanks to your efforts a family of eight in Nunam Iqua will have help with food and a little less to worry about this holiday season.

Family Adoptions Update:

Out of 29 households, 19 families have been adopted by generous people in both the US and Canada.

*  *  *

Thank you to VFW AK Post 10041

This morning we received a call from “Buck” Bukowski with VFW Alaska Post 10041, who told me that they had heard about the plight of Nunam Iqua,  discussed it at a meeting, and voted to send a donation of $1,000 to help the people of Nunam Iqua!  This donation will be made to Span Alaska for purchasing much needed items in bulk.

Thank you to VFW Bethel Post 10041!  Your generosity will be of great help to the residents of Nunam Iqua!

*  *  *

Media Interviews

Anonymous Bloggers have been hard at work trying to get the word out and bring help to these families.  We  have been interviewed by:

The Alaska Dispatch:  Hungry on the Edge of the Continent  by Jill Burke

APRN: Internet Helping Nunam Iqua Prepare for Winter by: Dave Donaldson

Nicholas Tucker Sr. on Native America Calling (starts at about 32:45)