Archive for July, 2011

News…

July 23, 2011

Parent corporation Calista is closing and liquidating  their Alaska Newpapers, Inc subsidiary.  

While we understand the business decision, we are  sad that these newspapers will no longer be available for news of rural Alaska within their  communities and for the rest of the state.

We are in a time of change all over America as regards news, news collection, news delivery, and news organizations.

News organizations are struggling all over America.

There are endless essays and conversations about whether this is good, bad , or both, as well as discussions of causes, such as effect of the internet on a  paid/paying subscriber/advertiser  base .

Today, none of that means much.

The loss of ANI , even the small operation that it is, will leave a gaping hole in information available to us all here in Alaska from huge portions of the state.

The food and fuel crisis in Western Alaska in the winter of 2008-2009 was eventually fairly well covered but until ANI published Mr Tucker’s letter in January, a number of warnings in the broader news world had been largely  ignored by Alaskans and their government.

The blogging community in Alaska hopped on the story, as did the  Alaska Dispatch  ( note the Dispatch reprinted an ANI story as well as reported on it’s own ) and eventually the ADN.

Our neighbors in Western Alaska received some much needed assistance, the issues which contributed to the crisis got some way overdue scrutiny from our government ( still not near enough action there, AK legislators and gov!), and we ended up with a broader set of news sources for rural Alaskan issues, most notably Kyle Hopkins’ Rural Blog at the ADN  and the expansion of coverage by the Alaska Dispatch

Some say blogs can, do, and will fill some of the gaps left by the loss and/ or dilution of  traditional news sources. Alaska’s bloggers did make  a difference in how far and how fast the news travelled that winter, most notably AKM’s work on her Mudflats site.

 AKM’s remark :

 The conversation is not over yet.  Voices that have not been heard for a long time have far to travel. 

resonates as much today as it did in January 2009.

Writing Raven at Alaska Real wrote many, many posts which set issues we need to deal with right out on the table  as well as staking a line in the sand as regards allowing more voices to be heard, truly heard, not stuffed in a folder to look at later :

I will say it again – this problem did not just spring up six weeks ago. Not only has this been generations in the making, the whole last year Native leaders, state leaders, corporations, people in the communities have been speaking out, warning about this, and even asking for help before it “hit the web.”

Phil Munger at Progressive Alaska wrote over and over again of fisheries management issues and related problems which affect rural Alaska with an eye towards broadening knowledge, action, and discussion in this state :

Reading through the coverage of this in the establishment press, in comments to those articles, and on the blogs, it appears that we’ve only scratched the surface of how to help the hardy people in Alaska’s most impoverished census district – Wade Hampton – survive and thrive through the unnerving changes our new century seems to have so many of in abundance.

Here at Anonymous Bloggers we have made a number of runs at what Ugavic calls “information sharing”- from sharing details of everyday life in the bush, far from road systems , energy grids, and sometimes even a store for groceries, to sharing information about how fish and game management, state and federal, affects the people who live with the decisions. At whatever level we have added to or encouraged knowledge of bush Alaska  which might be used to add to conversations about what-to-do we have succeeded at our *bloggerly* aims.

However, nothing we do here can take the place of real reporting by qualified, trained, seasoned reporters such as Alex DeMarban or Margaret Bauman of ANI. We will miss them greatly. We hope they and all other ANI staff find well-paying, decent jobs. We have selfish  hope we will , very soon, see those bylines appear elsewhere on rural focussed stories  in other publications.

 We will miss ANI’s focus on rural Alaska and hope the gap it will leave can and will be filled.    

” Voices that have not been heard for a long time …”  need a vehicle to travel the distance.

A break…sorta

July 17, 2011

The Bristol Bay sockeye fishery started well and then dropped off well short of projections. 

From an email note from Ugavic this morning:

“Our season has been totally odd. We, as did most of BB, started at least a week early, hit hard and then came to an almost dead halt for about a week. Due to gaps in the test fishery from weather there was no real warning and it spooked all of the fishermen. Ugashik has historically had a two peak season so hubby and many old time fishermen handled better than many, but his wife has not

:-))”

That’s not to say that anyone is getting to lollygag  , however.

Far from it!

All the hard work during our short Alaska spring to plan, start seedlings, and plant gardens in the cold houses and outdoor beds is starting to yield food for the table .

This short respite  allowed for catching up on weeding and mulching, checking on let’s-see-if-it-works projects like this corn

and taking a quick look around to see what the “neighbors” are up to

What a funny place for a robin nest!

Holy moley! A visitor not seen in these parts for many years…

Fish started running again some a couple days ago :

There are a lot of questions about why the projected fish return  may have dropped off . Margaret Bauman from The Bristol Bay Times, in an article reprinted in the Alaska Dispatch, spoke to a number of  people about what may or may not be going on.

While it may be honest for a biologist to say they don’t have a clue what happened to the projected but no-show 2-2s,  it’s sure worrisome to folks who have a few short weeks to make the bulk of the year’s income.

Sending best fishy wishes to all in Bristol Bay region, especially Ugavic and hubby!

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Note to self: Ask Vic the next time she gets a break about how her potatoes are doing. Mine are growing so big and so fast I’m starting to have dreams about Attack-of-the -Giant -Spuds. Since we ordered the seed potatoes from the same farm in the Interior I’m wondering  if it’s the climate in my part of Alaska or the stock…