Archive for the ‘Alaska Blogs’ Category

Rogues of Alaska – WTF Moments!

February 4, 2011

Feb 4, 2010

The Kenai Peninsula’s Tustumena 200 (T-200) sled dog race held Jan 29th – 30th brought more attention to one of our favorite dog teams!

The Rogues Gallery Kennel team of Kasilof, Alaska

Wasn’t The Fastest,

Wowed The Fans,

Won T-200 Fame

by receiving two coveted, hard earned awards while also finishing in 4th place!

One of the team’s stars shows off  her goofy antics and racing spirit.  Metoo is a perfect name for this gregarious girl who loves to race,  train & play, then gets to sleep on the bed.  Let’s not forget about the couch she hangs out on, or the toys she covets.  God knows what else but I think this is a pretty darn good life.

Follow the link to RGK’s blog post T200 Finish to enjoy Amy G’s  impressions as a newly minted race volunteer which she wrote in the comments.  I’m sure she had a few WTF moments herself (purely conjecture – it’s just fun to say).

-Martha

Colleen Robertia Wins T-200 Humanitarian and Sportsmanship Awards

By Joseph Robertia


2-1-2011

Just a quick post with lots of pics. Usually after a big race weekend we hit a bit of post race depression, it’s hard to go back to work after three day of fun, excitement, anxiety, adrenaline, etc. However, we got a bit of great news last night at the T-200 finishing banquet that makes it impossible not to be happy.

In addition to placing 4th overall in the race, Cole was honored to receive the Humanitarian Award, which is presented by the race veterinarians to the musher who took the best care of their dogs through the race.

During the speech of why Cole was the recipient, they said in addition to her dog care, she had the best looking team at the finish line (see pic above [by Will Morrow] of them still steaming their way into the finish chute, Penny and Zoom leading the way) with several dogs still hammering their harness and barking to keep on going. This is a real honor to receive this award and it means more to us than any placement in the race ever could. But to be fair, the award should have gone to Metoo, Quigley and Zoom, for I’m sure their tireless antics helped the veterinarians make their final decision.

For her award win, Cole receive a beautiful engraved plaque with a photo of a sled dog on it (which I’ll edit this post later and add a photo of her with it. We got home too late last night to take a pic and she had to work early this morning). She also received a fur ruff to add to her parka to keep her warm in blowing snow storms, so she can continue to take great care of her dogs.

Winning one award is always special, but Cole was also humbled to win the Sportsmanship Award as well last night. This award is chosen by the other mushers in the race, and goes to a musher with a positive attitude who helps other mushers out. We never heard exactly what it was that earned Cole the award, but she was happy throughout the race, cheered for the Jr T and T-100 mushers when they went by on passes, and helped park a few of the T-200 teams when they came in, so maybe some or all of this lent to a few votes.

For the award, Cole received a monetary prize, which as someone guessed in the comments on my last post, will get added to her race winning to help pay for the huge repair bill we accrued when the dog truck broke down twice earlier this season. That’s the sad irony of this sport, even when you win, you don’t break even, but we don’t do this to get rich, we do it because e love spending time outdoors with the dogs.

I wanted to mention a few other quick things. For anyone who didn’t read Amy’s entry in the “comments” of the last post, please do. Cole and I have been doing this for a while so we sometimes forget how things look through the eyes of a beginner. Amy wrote a beautiful and eloquent journal of her experiences this past weekend, and it gives great insight into so many things I would never have thought to mention. Please check it out.

Also, Amy, I forgot to mention in the last post, the loaf of super nutritious and delicious bread you gave Cole went a long way after the race. Cole was so, so tired after running for two days without rest, she came home too tired to make anything, too tired to even get out of her cold, wet mushing clothes. She just collapsed on the couch, and began to munch on the bread until she fell asleep. We had several of the racers in the house that night too, so below is a pic of her and Penny eating together just before they fell asleep. Our house dog Jeeves is also nosing his way in to make sure he isn’t missing out on anything too good.

O.K. all for now. Check back later today or tonight and I’ll add some pics of Cole’s award and her new ruff. thanks again to everyone who supports us and RGK. We couldn’t do this without your positive thoughts and comments. Oh, and for those who were worried about Buliwyf. He’s doing great. Yesterday we ran all the dogs who didn’t race and he was jumping around and doing his best to try and get to the team. He seems back to normal, but we’ll be conservative and still give him a week off from running just to be sure.

O.K. That’s it for real this time. Here’s several pics people have sent us from throughout the race:

Metoo doing her best impression of a Mexican jumping bean in the starting chute. That is Cole’s sister-in-law unsuccessfully attempting to hold Metoo on the ground.


Another shot of Metoo going wild. This time Cole tries to calm her down, while Penny says “Get this maniac away from me!” It’s hard to imagine Metoo is such an amazing sled dog, and yet she has lived in our house and slept in our bed every day since she was about 4 months old.

Reprinted with permission

The Rogues Gallery Kennel rescues and rehabilitates dogs.  If they can turn these misfits into racers, they can and will.  If they can’t, they lovingly care for them anyway.  This means there are a lot of happy, hungry mouths to feed.

If you know a business who would be interested in a tax deductible sponsorship…I can’t think of a more deserving race team than Rogues Gallery Kennel!

More than ever, they could use a  reliable truck for transporting their dogs to races away from home. Alaskan winter road conditions are just what you know or imagine them to be.

Read more about Rogues Gallery Kennel and enjoy their blog!

This sponsorship request is solely the responsibility of the author of this post.

Going Rogue…one dog at a time!

January 4, 2011

Jan 4, 2011

No, this post is not about Sarah Palin.  This post is about genuine Alaskan rogues who make up the family of misfit dogs called Rogues Gallery Kennel located in Kasilof, Alaska.

You may have noticed them on our blogroll.  You will definitely notice them after reading Joseph’s post reprinted here with permission.  While the owners Colleen and Joseph Robertia did not establish their kennel in the wilds of the Alaska tundra or on the Arctic ice floes, I am convinced that they could have had they felt so inclined.  They moved to the Kenai Peninsula years ago after making a leap of faith in coming to Alaska to follow their hearts.  They settled in the middle of a mushing Mecca, which provided some unique opportunities to reconnect with their love of animals and experience working with unusual ones.

Joseph writes the blog posts, while Colleen (Cole) races to win.  I have never found a blog more honest, more intense, more humorous, more educational, more full of heart than theirs. Many of their resident dogs were previously abandoned or physically challenged for various reasons. I decided it’s time that more people get to know Rogues Gallery Kennel now that racing season is upon us.  Everyone hears about the Iditarod, and maybe even the Yukon Quest races.  There are many sprint, mid & long distance races that make up the rest of the season, so sit back and enjoy a tale from the Gin Gin 200 held in late December.  Do YOU know where your mittens are?

* * *

Colleen Robertia Wins the 2010 Gin Gin 200!!!

By Joseph Robertia

Wahoo! We did it. For those who haven’t heard yet, Cole was the women’s division and overall race winner in the 2010 Gin Gin 200. She was also honored to receive the Humanitarian Award at the finishing banquet. Decided by the race veterinarians this prestigious award goes to the musher who took the best care of their team during the race. I (Joseph) also placed 6th, getting nine of the 10 dogs (mostly two year olds) I started with to the finish line.

The race was an adventure from beginning to end. As we packed for the race the night before we left, I noticed my racing sled not only had a broken runner, but the foot pad was also about to fall off. We stayed up until 2 a.m. trying to make last minute repairs: one worked, one didn’t.

Up in Paxson, where the race started, the temperature was minus 35, but the dogs didn’t seem to mind. They were lunging and howling like we had never seen before. We had made some major changes to our training regime this year, that we hopd would pay off, and it was already looking like it could.

Apparently we had a different time on our watch than the official time keeper’s watch, so Cole almost missed going out on schedule. We got her out of the chute with about 2 seconds to spare. I turned my attention to keeping my team for tearing loose after they saw her go out. I wasn’t slated to leave for another 30 minutes. They had other plans.

While a camera man squatted in front of my team to film how nuts they were going, the guys pulled my tie-off knot and off they went with no one on board. Led by Metoo and Brick, they barreled over the camera man and trampled him good. I made a dive for the sled and was luckily able to get them stopped. There is a video clip of the fiasco floating around the internet, for those interested in getting a good laugh.

After that minor mess-up I left without incident. The first 50 mile leg went great for Cole, She had the fastest time of the whole race field and couldn’t believe it. She came to find me and said “I’m leading and don’t know how. I’m the most conservative musher I know and I’m rating them down on the down hills.”

Meanwhile about 20 miles into my run, the foot pad we had “fixed” flew off the sled, so for the reaming 30 miles of the rough mountain run, plus the other 150 miles of the race, I was slipping and sliding to try to keep my footing on the icy runner. I had several crashes just from slipped off the runner so I felt a little worse for wear at the first checkpoint.

For the second leg of the race, the course follows an always cold 110-mile run down two rivers. It is a long, long night run and the mercury plummeted to minus 40 for most of the trip. These are tough temps to endure even briefly, but spending 14 hours in them is brutal when standing still on a sled. Thankfully there was a spectacular northern lights show going on overhead, so it kept us from focusing on our cold fingers, toes and in my case nose. It got a little frost-burned from the cold during the night.

The cold helped on one occasion though. I had drank at least a gallon of water before the run since I knew whatever I carried would freeze along the way, so about halfway through the run my teeth starting floating to put it mildly. In minus 40 I had to be quick, so I took off my mittens and let them hang by lanyards (long ropes that keep them from falling off), then I unzipped my gear and tried to pee as quickly as possible.

Not wanting to stop, I was peeing off the sled, and watching the dogs still through the narrow beam of my headlamp. I looked down once just to be sure I was getting any of my gear and that’s when I noticed I was peeing directly into my dangling mitten! Luckily in that cold I just let it freeze up, which happened within a few minutes, and then I knocked out the icy urine-cicles to have a mitten as good as new.

The dogs did great on the long run, even the young guys. Two year old Buliwyf, along with our bionic dog Wolf (who had a rebuilt and fused ankle after being hit by a car) led more than 100 miles of this leg and never flinched while facing overflow and other obstacles. My plan was to camp for two hours, but they looked too strong to quit, so I only I stopped once for about 45 minutes and rubbed them all down and changed out all their booties and fox tails (the furry belts the males wear in front of their genitals when it below minus 20 to protect them from getting frost bite.) They were very tired by the end, but they learned that after hard work comes hard rest, which is an important concept to teach a racing sled dog.

On the third leg of the race, the last hilly 42 miles to the finish, Cole continued to stretch her lead and again had the fastest run time of any of the racers. Over the course of the race pint-sized Penny led most of the way, along with Zoom, Keno and even Quigley, the only 2 year old strong enough to make her race team. She came into the finish line with the dogs still raring to go. I came in a few hours later in sixth place. I had everyone I started with except for Metoo.

She had gotten a sore wrist after the second leg. I had massaged it and put some healing ointments on it while she rested, and it got a little better, but didn’t have the heart to ask her to run without feeling 100 percent.

The vets took her into the lodge after I told them she was our house dog and wouldn’t understand being tied out like the others waiting transport by snowmachine back to the finish. Apparently Metoo worked her charm while there because after the race everyone who met her came over to tell me what a sweet dog she was, what a crack up shewas, and many other pleasantries.

At the finishing banquet Cole was also given the Humantiarian award. This is always real honor whenever it is received, but it is extremely rare to get it as a race winner. Sometimes to win a race, dogs are run hard, so they don’t look and feel as good as teams just a few spots behind the winners. We know since we are often in those spots behind the winners because we are so conservative with how we run our guys. But to win and get the award, it really speaks to how well cared for the dogs were before and during the race. Since we’re always trying to foster the message of taking the bets care of your dogs that you can, it was a great feeling to be recognized for this devotion.

On the way home the adventure continued. Just after midnight,on a icy, dark and isolated stretch of road we were cruising along at about 70 mph when suddenly the headlights lit something directly in front of us. I slammed on the breaks and swerved, but with all the weight of the truck dog box, gear and twenty 50-pound dogs, there’s no stopping swiftly. We skidded sideways and ran over the object which made a horrible noise as it went under the truck.

We barely managed not to lose control of the truck or flip off the road. When we finally came to a halt, we got out to see what it was and the object we hit was a $4,000 sled from our nextdoor neighbor. It had flown off their truck after a bungee broke in the minus 40 temperatures. Following several late night calls, we tracked them down and they came back to get the sled. Then after a mild blizzard in the mountain passes we made it home. Another Alaskan adventure in the bag.

This wasn’t out only luck though, we heard from the race marshal that the day after the race, the river we had all parked on during the rest-stops had overflowed hours after all the teams had left. Had it happened during the race who knows what would have happened the danger of having icy water flood and flow over the resting teams.

********

Read plenty more about Rogues Gallery Kennel and follow the blog:

http://rogueskennel.com/

A Break In The Clouds!

August 15, 2010

Aug 15, 2010

All of us here at AB have had a summer full of adventures and work. Some time with family, much time spent away from the computer and, as you probably noticed, the blog.

In Alaska, the month of August is considered the season of Fall. Since I never feel like we get Spring until at least mid-May, it tends to make the activity level even more harried when we realize we could well get snow and freezing temperatures in a month or so.

We are working on a number of things for you that have happened during this time away from the blog, and you should start to see the fruit of all that work soon.

It has been the season of fishing and growing and, in some instances, seems to include some shenanigans, too.

Stay tuned, but, for now, enjoy a break in the clouds as we did today in Bristol Bay, and may you, too, have a rainbow in your day.

Anonymous Bloggers on TV and Radio

March 2, 2010

Mar 2, 2010

Last week most of the Anonymous Bloggers team met up in Anchorage for a few days of socializing and strategizing. During the flurry of activity they managed to get a little air time for Anomymous Bloggers.

AnnS was a guest on Shannyn Moore’s television show on KYES and talked about village life in rural Alaska, last year’s food/fuel crisis and the food drive she initiated to bring food to the people of Nunam Iqua.

Shannyn also interviewed anonymous bloggers Alaska  Pi, Fawnskin Mudpuppy, Elsie and not-so-anonymous Victoria Briggs on her KUDO radio show on Saturday. (Listen here)

They talked about how the blog got started and why people from outside Alaska became interested in helping Alaska Native people. They also acknowledged the need to improve the dialog surrounding subsistence issues and strive for parity and dignity so stakeholders can come to the table with mutual respect to work on finding solutions to the plight of people living in the bush.

Take a minute to listen and see if you think they sound like you picture them.

 

 

 

Hollywood Came Calling

January 27, 2010

Jan 27, 2010

AB received an email forwarded by a fellow blogger. The inquiry was from a Hollywood researcher who was looking for people who lived ‘off the grid’ as they called it.  They included a link to the show.

The premise of the show was to observe  what we do on a day to day basis over the course of about 5 days.  Additionally, the host would be “inserted into our daily lives” to offer some comic relief.  The host is a well known comic and former host of family oriented shows, but we decided not to share the actual name.

After some discussion Vic bit the bullet just to see what all they had to say.

In a reply email she offered a few tidbits about things we did on an every day basis and a little about our surroundings.  She did not mention our last names, location or the blog.

The producer of the show responded immediately, requesting an appointment to chat, now if possible!   The producer was planning to do the filming in May,  while Vic explained that May was about the least eventful time of year since spring break-up is basically a mess and hard to get around in.  Break-up is kind of like a spring siesta.

They talked about finding families who participate in hunting,  steam baths, town gatherings, and homeschooling.  For us, who do live “off the grid”, these are staples of life in the bush.  I suppose that is the point!  They want to know more about us.

After a  short meeting following the phone call, these two Alaskans decided that it was just too weird to picture ourselves with a comedian being “inserted into our daily lives” while being filmed.  We will compose a courteous thanks-but-no-thanks and wish-you-the-best-of-luck email to the producer.   Soon.

Happy Anniversary Anonymous Bloggers! Looking back on our first year:

January 21, 2010

Anonymous Bloggers

Working together to bring relief to our fellow Americans!

Jan 21, 2010

Has it really been a year since Jane started this site?  We went from just a few of us who gathered here to exchange ideas on how to bring relief to rural Alaska, to having hundreds of people visiting here every day brainstorming both short and long term solutions to the issues that face rural Alaska.

We remember in the beginning when we first got excited that we had more visitors than board members.  Today we have someone visiting AB on average every 6 minutes!

What has brought nearly 100,000 hits to Anonymous Bloggers this first year?  Let us review.   Please feel free to wander the side bar and the archives to see everything we’ve been doing.

Here’s the time-line Jane created with a lot of hard work and patience.

Anonymous Bloggers our 1st year…a review…..

Jane started AB on January 21st, 2009  but we need to go back a few weeks before that to get a full understanding of why she made this decision.

Nicholas Tucker, Yup'ik Elder, Emmonak, Alaska

January 9, 2009

The crisis in rural Alaska came to light when Nicholas Tucker presented a letter to Fuel Summit Participants sharing the stories of people in his village who were suffering. His story was picked up by regional news outlets and eventually became headline news in Alaska.

Emmonak man seeks food airlift to combat economic crisis

A combination of extreme cold and high fuel prices has created a humanitarian crisis for the village of Emmonak, according to resident Nicholas Tucker.

January 14, 2009

Prominent Alaska blogger AKM brought the crisis in rural Alaska to the attention of hundreds of readers on her blog, TheMudflats, and asked for donations to send a filmmaker to Emmonak to document the situation. The footage eventually appeared on CNN.

A Cry for Help from Rural Alaska. Is Anyone Listening?

The Mudflats

January 14, 2009

One of our local progressive media heroes, Dennis Zaki of The Alaska Report, is stepping up trying to raise money to get to Emmonak and other villages to put a camera where it needs to be. Many national and international media outlets are interested in seeing footage. Flights are not inexpensive, and he’ll be traveling on his own dime. If you want to help put a spotlight on this issue as it relates to Emmonak and ALL Alaska’s rural villages in crisis, consider donating with the Paypal button below.

***

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker interviewed on KUDO.

Hope Coming to Emmonak and Beyond?

The Mudflats

January 14, 2009

If you didn’t get the opportunity to hear Nick Tucker talk to CC on KUDO, he had a message for all those who have stepped up to help rural Alaskans who are having to make the choice of whether to keep their children and elders warm, or fed. “It’s a blessed day. It’s like angels have landed on Earth.”

January 16, 2009

AnnS left this comment on TheMudflats:

January 17, 2009

Enough money to pay for Dennis Zaki’s flight has been raised and he is set to depart the following day.

Alaska’s Rural Villages in Crisis – Update.

The Mudflats
January 17, 2009 Thanks to generous contributions to the effort, many coming from Mudflatters, Dennis Zaki of The Alaska Report has raised enough money to pay for travel to Emmonak and other remote villages, to talk to locals on camera, and capture footage for use by the national media. Dennis needed $2000 for his ticket, and will distribute the rest for energy relief when he arrives in the bush. As of this writing, there is $6283. in the account!

***

AnnS left a comment on Margaret& Helen’s blog (a blog that went viral in the fall when Helen made one of many on-target assessments of Sarah Palin’s character) saying that the crisis was more widespread. More people jumped into help.

By: Struggling in Nunam Iqua

January 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Hi everyone,

I was asked to come here and blog. I have been blogging on themudflats.net about how it isn’t just Emmonak that is struggling.

It’s not just Emmonak that is struggling it’s the entire Yukon Delta. I live in Nunam Iqua, a village that is 25 miles south of Emmonak. Not only are we faced with the same issues as Emmonak but also our crisis is harder because we no longer have a store here. Our trading post collapsed several months ago, so we have no place here to get groceries.

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January 21, 2009

The attention the crisis in rural Alaska was receiving in the comments section on Helen & Margaret’s blog caused complaints by some who thought the conversation was to far off-topic. Information about ways to help were strewn across the comments section of a number of blogs – it need a clearinghouse.

We our started our Facebook group and registered our domain name on Jan 21, 2009

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January 23, 2009

The first boxes arrive in Nunam Iqua and we started our blog!

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January 25, 2009

The first, and maybe only, story in the main stream print media about the crisis was published in the Los Angeles Times on January 25, 2009.

In rural Alaska, villagers suffer in near silence

By Kim Murphy

January 25, 2009

Reporting from Tuluksak, Alaska — As the temperature plunged to minus-40 degrees last month, Nastasia Wassilie waited.

The 61-year-old widow had run out of wood and fuel oil, and had no money to buy more. Nor was there much food in the house.

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February 5, 2009

Almost a month after the crisis in Alaska made news there, CNN brought it to national attention

In rural Alaska villages, families struggle to survive

By Mallory Simon

CNN

(CNN) — Thousands of villagers in rural Alaska are struggling to survive, forced to choose between keeping their families warm and keeping their stomachs full, residents say.

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February 6, 2009

Victoria Briggs first reported that the suffering extends to the Alaska Peninsula.

Letter: Hardship exists on the Alaska Peninsula, too

Victoria Briggs Ugashik February 6, 2009 at 1:28PM AST

Before you read any farther please realize we are not putting our hand out for assistance, but certainly do need it! I am a resident in a village that is very small, 10-12 full time residents, that face many of the same issues that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta does.

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February 13, 2009

Food and donations from far-flung relief efforts begin to make a difference.

Worldwide donations find way to lower Yukon

A wave of donated food and cash has swept into lower Yukon River villages over the past month, with more than 19,000 pounds of supplies and $13,000 landing in Emmonak alone.

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February 17, 2009

The first boxes of food arrive in Ugashik/Pilot Point

ugaVic Says:

February 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Update – the first food reached us yesterday, thanx Seattle and MO (forgot the town – is written down – will fill in later) We got a box of food out to each of our most needy households yesterday. Since we hadn’t really said much about what we were doing until we had our food show up, they were surprised, overwhelmed and just so grateful my words can’t say enough. All of you who are working on this have them so surprised that someone actually cares – I can’t tell you the impact that has already made.

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February 19, 2009

Sarah Palin announces plan to visit rural villages on February 20.

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February 20, 2009

Sarah Palin Visits Russian Mission with Samaritan’s Purse

Video of Sarah Palin, upon leaving Wasilla with Samaritan’s Purse personalities to deliver faith-based aid to the villages of Russian Mission and Marshall. She states government is not the answer, faith-based organizations can help in the interim, but suggests young people should consider leaving their villages to find temporary work and return to the villages with the salaries the have earned to take part in the subsistence living skills they are trying to preserve.

Nicolas Tucker Sr., the brave villager from Emmonak who brought this crisis to our attention, flew to Russian Mission to speak with Sarah Palin. View a video of their conversation.

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March 2, 2009

Sustainable Gardening Becomes a Topic

The last few weeks in February brought some lively chatter in our Cold Weather Gardening threads. We were looking for sustainable solutions to life in the bush and got plenty of ideas and suggestions. Victoria answered many questions about garden tunnels and potatoes as a traditional staple; her growing season and tomatos and the 90 one-day-old chicks she was raising for summer egg production.

She told us privately she had been trying to get funds from the Ugashik and Pilot Point Village Councils to attend a sustainable gardening conference in Fairbanks to help start a community garden in Pilot Point but had not been successful.

We asked you to come up with creative ways to get her there.

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March 6, 2009

Victoria Will Travel to the Sustainable Gardening Conference in Fairbanks:

Thanks to all of you I am going to the sustainable/gardening conference!!!

L.Gardener stepped up and offered to pay for my plane ticket so it would be a ‘for sure’ thing. Then as people contributed we could gather funds and reimburse her. That is now done with a number of people from all over jumping in to help defray the cost. She shares some of the things she learned in her garden journal.

Victoria is a powerhouse! This post is a must-read to get an idea of her energetic enthusiasm in pursuing a more stable and richer life for Native Alaskans. By the end of it she’s already talking about her next project – the salmon bycatch issue!

***

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker rips Sarah Palin for “disrespect”

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker wrote to AlaskaReport.com editor Dennis Zaki and asked him to print his letter about his dissatisfaction with Governor Sarah Palin’s slow and lackluster response to the food/fuel crisis plaguing the villages of Western Alaska.

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March 17, 2009

Salmon Bycatch in the Pollock Fisheries

Our first post about the devastating effects salmon bycatch in the pollock fishing industry was having on the the salmon fisheries rural Alaskans depend on for winter sustenance.

We called for people to write letters to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which would be meeting in Anchorage April 1-7, demanding they call for a lower bycatch number than the one they were considering. We posted a petition and collected signatures from people from across the US and Canada and as far away as Germany who endorsed a lower bycatch. They were delivered by hand before the March 25 deadline for comments.

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March 31, 2009

Victoria to Attend the NPFMC Salmon Bycatch Meeting in Anchorage

Victoria, in an update, reported that she and Ann had been invited to attend the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting to speak before the council about the effects salmon bycatch is having on rural Alaska.

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April 5, 2009

Victoria Live Blogs From the NPFMC Salmon Bycatch Meeting

Victoria wrote about her first two days at the NPFMC meeting and continued to live blog through the rest of the conference. Sadly, the 68,392 limit was adopted, not the 32,500 that we had been urging, but Vic gave it all she had on behalf of all of us.

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April 16-27, 2009

Unusually early break-up on the Ugashik River

Normally it is right around the very end of April or the first of May before we start to see holes in the ice or the river flowing.

We usually go through days or even a week or more of open holes and areas of water. Then some breaking up of the river. We woke up Sunday morning, after a night of some winds in the 20-30 knot range and the river was flowing some.

Hubby, who grew up in the village does not ever remember it going from basically solid to flowing like this.

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April 24, 2009

First the bad news…

Out of Fuel in Nunam Iqua

Ann reported that Nunam Iqua’s fuel/stove oil tank had run dry. This happened because the early fall freeze in 2008 prevented their last fuel order from being delivered.

The next day, with the food drive slowing down, she and Victoria gave us a detailed update on the situations in their villages. This post offers another glimpse of the monumental task Ann and Vic undertook to help their fellow villagers and the extent to which people from all over pitched in to help.

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May 6,2009

In a conversation Victoria brought up to Ann how busy she was getting ready for the fishing season, and they were in need of  a good crew member for summer.  After hearing how mostly nonexistent the commercial fishing on the Yukon would be this year,  Segundo and Ann decided to take the offer and leave Nunam Iqua to spend the fishing season in Ugashik.

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May 9,2009

‘Tsunami’ Of Ice Wreaks Havoc On Alaskan Town

Breakup brought it’s own challenges on the Yukon, especially in Eagle Village which was flattened by an ice flood. FEMA stepped up to the plate this time and a plan for sensibly rebuilding the town using kit homes with the help of volunteers from the US, Canada and beyond was completed before winter set in. Bloggers worldwide contributed by donating money and supplies.

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May 18-27,2009

Watching and Waiting for Breakup on the Yukon

As breakup continued down the Yukon, communities along the way kept close watch on the flood warnings.

Bloggers waited anxiously for news from Ann in Nunam Iqua at the rivers mouth. She sent updates on May 18, May 19, May 22, May 23, May 26 and on May 27 when she reported that planes were able to land in Nunam Iqua and that her family would be leaving for Ugashik the next morning.

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May 28, 2009

The Stronghearts arrived in Ugashik.  Things are different there,  including cooking in Vic’s modern kitchen and bathing in the land of running water!

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June 28, 2009

Palin tweets that Emmonak residents are meeting subsistence needs

by Channel 2 News Staff

Sunday, June 28, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — According to Gov. Sarah Palin’s posts on Twitter, half of the people in Emmonak have met subsistence needs and the other half believe they can do the same. Palin says her rural advisor, John Moller, recently returned from Emmonak and those were his findings.

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June 30, 2009

Emmonak villager demands apology from Palin camp

Posted by thevillage

Posted: June 30, 2009

What was that good news? I asked Palin’s spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, today in an e-mail.

“The good news – At the Federal Subsistence meeting in Emmonak last week, Nick Tucker reported that 50 percent of the residents have met subsistence needs and other 50 percent are confident they will meet their needs,” Leighow replied.

(Tucker drew statewide and national attention this winter when he wrote a letter describing a food and fuel crisis on the lower Yukon.)

Here’s where it gets complicated. Tucker says he never said that and is demanding a public apology from the governor’s camp.

“I want them to take it back,” Tucker said in a short phone interview today.

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July 3, 2009

John Moller: I talked to many, many people over those two days

The Alaska Daily News rural blog, The Village, interviewed John Moller, Sarah Palin’s rural advisor, on Wednesday. They we’re specifically interested in the display of civil disobedience in Marshall but, since Moller was just back in the office after being out of cell phone range while fishing, he couldn’t address that so they talked about other rural issues including the Governor’s tweet about Emmonak.

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Governor Palin Resigns – Ann Asks What That Will Mean for Rural Alaska

After all the time we Alaskan Natives have been dealing with both the Palin administration’s actions and inactions toward the plight of our rural people, we now find ourselves asking a lot of questions. When I look at where we’ve come from and what I want for my people in the future, I find myself contemplating right now: What does this new leadership mean to bush Alaskans? Fisheries? Subsistence? etc etc

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July 11, 2009

Vic Took a Time Out to Give Us a Glimpse of Summer in Ugashik

So much of this time of year in Alaska, at least the western parts that fish, is rush, rush, rush!! You do any projects that need decent weather, earn most of your yearly income in a few short weeks and, if you can, get the relatives up to visit when it isn’t below freezing.

In the past few weeks I felt you needed to see part of what we try to sandwich in all this work, work and more work.

Time to view all the flowers, well some call them weeds, that spring up and give us color.

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August 2, 2009

AnnS Aired Rural Woes Internationally

Monday, August 3, 2009 – Salmon Ban on the Yukon River: (listen)

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has banned commercial fishing for king salmon along the Yukon River and is limiting subsistence fishing. The ban is in response to the state not meeting their treaty agreement with Canada for the past two years to deliver 45,000 kings via the Yukon. But groups of Native fishermen are ignoring the ban – facing possible jail time, heavy fines and equipment seizure. How will village residents make it through another tough winter if they’re not allowed to fish this summer? Guest is AnnS from the village of Nunam Iqua.

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August 5, 2009

Ann Writes an Open Letter to Rural Advisor John Moller

…During the program, moderator Harlan McKosato mentioned that he put in a call to you before the show but never got a call back.

Because rural Alaskans are openly voicing their serious fears about the coming winter, we were disappointed that you were not involved in the conversation with Ann and Nick on the air. Rural Alaskans need to know advisors have the ear of Governor Parnell and need to believe that the governor realizes today that things may be even worse this winter for rural Alaskan villages than the previous one….

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August 7, 2009

Alaska’s Governor Parnell Urges Disaster Relief for Yukon Fishery!

In a letter today, Governor Sean Parnell asked Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to declare a fishery disaster in the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery.

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August 10, 2009

Legislature overrides Palin’s stimulus veto By SEAN COCKERHAM

scockerham@adn.com

Published: August 10th, 2009 02:31 PM

Last Modified: August 11th, 2009 06:25 PM

The Alaska Legislature voted Monday to override former Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of $28 million in federal stimulus money for energy cost relief. But it was as close as a vote can get.

(snip) Palin vetoed the appropriation of $28 million in federal energy stimulus cash in May, two months before she resigned as governor.

She kept up her fight against the money by posting a message on her Facebook page Sunday.

“As governor, I did my utmost to warn our legislators that accepting stimulus funds will further tie Alaska to the federal government and chip away at Alaska’s right to chart its own course.

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August 11, 2009

Excerpt from a letter to a Tribal Administrator from Nick Tucker:

“…I want you, your children and grandchildren to get education. We’ve always been strong, intelligent, and wise, particularly our culture precious with values and teachings. Take that for our next generations. But, keep your heads up, your whole generation. We will have been a forced to be reckoned with, because I think, many of us are beginning to turn to God, and we might just rule with justice, goodness, fairness, and generosity again, but educated…”

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August 12, 2009

Obama’s Rural Tour Visits Bush Alaska

By KYLE HOPKINS

khopkins@adn.com

Published: August 12th, 2009 10:42 PM

Last Modified: August 13th, 2009 06:20 PM

BETHEL — Four of President Obama’s cabinet members whirled through a pair of remote Alaska communities Wednesday to hear an earful about the state’s novel needs and the borderline third-world conditions in some villages.

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August 14, 2009

Ann Writes an Open Letter to Governor Parnell, John Moller and others

…Although with another non existent salmon fishing season on the Yukon and winter fast approaching I am worried that this winter will in fact be worse than last winter. I was happy to see that Governor Parnell made a disaster declaration for the Salmon Fisheries on the Yukon, although I fear that this will not be enough

We at Anonymous Bloggers have been trying, in vain, to find out if the rural villages have enough fuel for the winter. We have contacted, with little to no response, the Rural Advisory Panel and the Rural Subcabinet and Rural Advisor Moller and the Attorney General.

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August 16, 2009

First Nations Call for Zero Bycatch

More than 65 first nations in Alaska and the Yukon are asking the United States’ Secretary of Commerce to ban the pollock industry’s bycatch of chinook river salmon.

At its annual meeting held recently at Lake Laberge, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) voted in favour of a resolution urging Gary Locke, the U.S. commerce secretary, to invoke his emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to zero.

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August 18, 2009

We were all saddened by the unexpected death of Segundo Strongheart on Tuesday, August 18. He suffered a massive heart attack in the early morning hours and despite immediate attempts to resuscitate him including use a defibrillator under the guidance of medical professionals by telephone, he passed away at 6:00 A.M.

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September 4, 2009

Another Open Letter From Ann to Governor Parnell, John Moller and Others

…Not only is the lack of both subsistence and commercial fishing, greatly diminishing our ability to put away fish for the winter but also the lack of funds brought in from commercial fishing is now making it hard, if not impossible, for rural Alaskans to put away other subsistence game.

Moose season is now. The birds are flying now. Now is the time to be out hunting for seals and whales. All of these types of game are critical for us to survive this winter. If we cannot purchase gas to go out and hunt then I fear this winter we will have a crisis of much greater proportions than last winter. Last winter we were able to depend a little bit on other game that we had put up for the winter since we were lacking fish.

It looks like this winter that option will not be available to many rural Alaskans because they simply cannot afford the gas and other necessities required to go out hunting…

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October 23, 2009

Pres. Obama Reaches Out to American Indian Tribes

By KYLE HOPKINS

khopklins@adn.com

Published: October 23rd, 2009 11:03 AM

Last Modified: October 24th, 2009 04:19 PM

The Obama administration is launching a rapid, sweeping review of the way the federal government manages subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska, Interior Department officials said Friday.

“The system, frankly, today is broken,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in a video shown at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in downtown Anchorage.

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November 5, 2009

President Obama delivers remarks at White House, Tribal Nations conference

Pres. Obama delivered the opening remarks at a White House Tribal Nations Conference and participated in a discussion with leaders from the 564 federally recognized tribes. The conference is addressing issues facing American Indian tribes such as economic development, housing and education. This is the first such meeting since 1994. Washington, DC.

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November 26, 2009

Fall Sea Ice Flood in Nunam Iqua Leave Residents Struggling

Ice piled up during the Fall Flood at Nunam Iqua 11/11/09

The flooding wreaked havoc on the Yukon River ice. The flooding brought in massive amounts of sea ice from the Bering Sea that unfortunately is still clogging the Yukon. Several people lost their fishing nets they had set under the ice and a couple of families even lost their boats during the flood.

With all of this sea ice still in the Yukon River at Nunam Iqua it has caused a hardship on the residents. Normally during the winter families will go out onto the river and place fishing nets under the ice to catch fresh fish. But due to the mess of sea ice currently in the Yukon this has become very difficult if not impossible to do now. Fresh fish caught under the ice with nets is a large staple for families during the winter.

Since Ann is spending this winter in Ugashik,  she is gathering information for promoting an adopt-a-family program in Nunam Iqua to match donors and families directly.

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December 3, 2009

Bright Outlook for Winter in Ugashik

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…

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December 14, 2009

Rollie Briggs’ Energy Ideas for Rural Alaska

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.

January 7, 2010

Alaska Federation of Natives calls for Native and rural subsistence priority on all Alaska lands

By Alex Demarban

The Arctic Sounder

The Alaska Federation of Natives lays out an ambitious agenda that seeks to expand hunting and fishing rights for Alaska Natives as part of the first-ever review of the federal subsistence program in Alaska.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar offering ways to improve the program, the statewide Native organization draws on historical arguments and legal precedent to make the case that all Natives, as well as rural residents, deserve priority over other hunters and fishermen.

Salazar announced the review in October.

The Jan. 7 letter, signed by AFN President Julie Kitka, also asks that the rural subsistence priority be applied to all land and waters in Alaska as Congress originally intended.

Read the story

January 15, 2010

FEDS DECLARE YUKON FISHERIES DISASTER

January 15, 2010 by alaskapi

From Governor Parnell’s news release:

State of Alaska > Governor > News > News Details Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook Printer Friendly FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 10-010

Secretary Locke Declares Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook January 15, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska –

Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed a decision by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke finding that a disaster has occurred with the 2009 Yukon River chinook salmon run, opening the door for federal aid to the area. “I appreciate Secretary Locke’s recognition of the severity of the situation along the Yukon River and the dependence of Alaskans on these salmon runs,” Governor Parnell said. The federal disaster declaration is in response to requests made by Governor Parnell, the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Alaska Federation of Natives. The request detailed the biological and economic situation on the Yukon River and the impacts of the reduced chinook runs. The declaration does not bring immediate aid to the affected area. The congressional delegation must still secure a federal appropriation. Federal aid, once secured, could be used for relief programs, stock research, training programs, fisheries infrastructure, or other regional projects.

Here's a copy of the actual letter from Sec. Locke to Gov. Parnell

YES WE CAN!!!!

How did you find us? A Guest post

January 8, 2010

Jan 8, 2010

We asked a dear friend of ours who goes by GreatGranny2c if she’d consider doing a guest post.  She has been incredibly active in the food drive, adopting families and coordinating for others to do so.  Being humble and magnanimous, she declined our suggestion to talk about these efforts.  Instead she decided  to share  her thoughts on Alaska and how she came to discover Anonymous Bloggers and the vast blogosphere of like minds – one of many rewards she received for her involvement.

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My current viewpoint on Alaska

By: GreatGranny2c

There are countless people from all over the world who discovered the sphere of Alaskan bloggers for the sole purpose of wanting to know who the heck is Sarah Palin. As I continued to watch the drama unfold on national television, I was amazed at the misconceptions about Alaska on the part of so-called reporters and commentators, as well as my wanting to know more about this woman who exuded such arrogance (yet sounded a bit uneducated to merit her behavior) and managed to incite crowds to a dangerous fervor. The one thing I can thank Sarah Palin for is my renewed interest in Alaska.

Alaskan was repeatedly referred to as “The Last Frontier” or “The Frozen North” and it seemed like everyone thought it was similar to the wildwest, full of crime and graft, limited educational and cultural opportunities – in another words, a real backwater! I think every reporter should have to go to whatever place they are reporting on, so that they can offer some facts and reality instead of misleading people.

As an Army family, my husband, myself, and our two daughters enjoyed nearly four years of life in the Anchorage area back in the 1970s. I worked for RCA Communications, we had purchased a home in the city, our daughters were in a public school, we involved ourselves in community activities, and many of our friends were *civilians* as opposed to being other Army families. I believe this gave us a greater insight into the political and cultural aspects of the state. (Especially when I got to meet Robert Redford at the AKPIRG debut of “All The President’s Men”!!)

From the beginning of our time in Alaska, we were very aware of the difficulties facing Native Americans in the state. My husband had gone on any number of treks into the wilderness and on river explorations, visiting small villages, experiencing the remoteness and seeing the shortages that caused so much suffering for so many, and sharing his thoughts and photos with me. We were also aware of the problems that were created when subsistence hunting and fishing laws were changed and the ways of life for the First People were forever changed. So many young people would leave their villages for months at a time to attend high school in Anchorage, be exposed to a totally different way of life, moral standards were much looser than they were accustomed to, it was very hard for these young people to return to their villages and families, knowing that they had outgrown their previous lifestyles, and that there likely were no jobs for them. So most stayed in the city………and so many suffered. The *free* money they received from the state turned out not to be free – it enabled way too many to become alcoholics and worse – too high a price for them.

The occasional article in the Anchorage Daily News talks about the bodies of homeless drunks being found on the streets, and I think “Everything changes but nothing changes”. It was a problem in the 1970s and is still a problem that no one seems to have a solution for. When we lived up there, I saw the prejudice against the Natives, just as I’ve seen it in the south against blacks, in the west against Hispanics, and in the midwest against the Indians. No matter how well-meaning some may think they are, throughout history, millions of people have been permanently damaged by the do-gooders who think Christianizing the heathens, forcing them onto reservations or designated lands, taking the children from their homes and putting them into boarding schools that were more like orphanages, and forcing them to think and act like *whites* was the right thing to do. I’m sorry, but I’ve never agreed with the needs of powerful people who want to fit others into a mold that they think is the only acceptible one.

My first contact with the Alaskan bloggers was at The Mudflats and within days, I had become familiar with Ann  and the Anonymous Bloggers, Immoral Minority, and on and on until I was spending half my day going from one site to another. I found out all (and more) than I ever wanted to know about Sarah Palin, but I couldn’t get enough of Alaska itself. We had retained some wonderful memories of our years in Alaska, but as we continued to travel the world over the next 20 odd years, then settled into retirement with grandchildren coming along, Alaska became a far-distant memory. Suddenly, Alaska was at the forefront of my thoughts, and I wanted to know more and more, make contact with locals, and re-engage in any way that I could, now that I was retired with plenty of free time on my hands.

I had not been with the blogs when the flooding took place last spring. People from around the world responded to their needs and I was very heartened to see so many good folks still willing to help others. I’ve made many friends via the Alaskan blogs. I will never meet any in person, but I feel I know them as well as I know my next door neighbor. I’ve helped a little here and there and so enjoyed the shopping trips to see what I could find that would be useful, as well as adding in some goodies that would just brighten someone’s day. I have countless websites bookmarked that are all Alaskan businesses – mostly the small ones. I try to shop them whenever I can to support the cottage industries and help to promote Native craftsmanship.

In just the few short months that I’ve been a part of this on-line community, I’ve seen the sites grow by leaps and bounds, which is no surprise. The caliber of the people who run the sites is A+. They care deeply about Alaska and its people, they research their topics, and strive for truth and fairness. Overall, conversation is civil at the majority of the sites that I visit, everyone is allowed to air their opposing views as long as they do it politely, and that keeps me going back for more. I’m thankful for the people who work so hard to improve the quality of life for their friends and neighbors, and I’m proud to be a very small part of this community. I wish them all much success in being heard and making a positive impact. Their continuing selflessness on behalf of others is fantastic.

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We think she is pretty fantastic, too!

Anonymous Bloggers announces Bella Awards

May 21, 2009

jammiegrammy

Our self-awarded  Jammie Grammy

May 21, 2009

We have been awarded a coveted “Bella  Award”  by 0>w/hole>1 . We are…

One of the sites that got the ball rolling for the food and fuel drives in rural Alaska.

Thanks for the recognition – we pajama-clad, anonymous bloggers really appreciate it!!

Along with this honor comes the responsibility of awarding the “Bella Award” to fifteen blogs that we have recently discovered.

Most behind-the-scenes helpers here independently recognized the striking similarity to the chain letter concept. I think we’re all old enough to remember receiving chain letters via snail mail and being faced with the risk of breaking a decades-old chain if we didn’t copy the letter BY HAND, insert a dollar and send it to all our friends.

Our pre-teen attempts to put a dollar in the mail in hopes of receiving a fortune in return has most people of a certain age wary of chain letters and reluctant to pass them along to grownup friends.

The Internet makes these things easier but it still presents a dilemma – do we or don’t we.

1bella award_After much deliberation we have decided to tempt fate and award our quota of Bellas to the entire community of Alaskan bloggers who brought the situation in rural Alaska to our attention and spurred an outpouring of love and aid from a community of caring souls worldwide! There are too many terrific Alaskan blogs to list but they know who they are and can comfortably accept our “Bella Award” and continue the chain we have dared to tamper with.

Alaska bloggers – please accept this “Bella Award” with our awe, thanks and utmost respect!

~ the anonymous bloggers team