Archive for the ‘John Moller’ Category

Breaking News…A step in the right direction!

October 25, 2009

Oct 25, 2009

Obama seeks changes in Alaska hunting, fishing oversight

We’d like to credit two mudpups who helped bring this to our attention, Gramiam and GreatGranny2C, who found this breaking news.

Feds seek to reshape hunting and fishing rules

‘SYSTEM IS BROKEN’: Interior Secretary proposes to revamp oversight of subsistence in Alaska.

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.

Subsistence rights — the battle over who gets the first opportunity to hunt and fish on state or federal land — is a headline issue at this year’s convention. For decades, the debate has pitted rural Alaskans and Alaska Natives, who say they hunt and fish to survive, against sports groups and urban hunters and fishermen, who argue everyone should have equal access to fish and game.

The state makes hunting and fishing rules across Alaska. But the feds regulate subsistence on federal lands, creating a confounding, overlapping system.

In contrast to the state Constitution, a 1980 federal law guarantees rural Alaskans priority when it comes to subsistence. Some Alaska Native leaders say the feds haven’t done enough to protect that right, and are proposing a resolution at the convention today that calls for broad changes to subsistence management.

AFN leaders met with Interior officials at least twice in the past four months, outlining some of those requests, said state Sen. Albert Kookesh, an AFN co-chairman who praised Friday’s announcement.

READ the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

A Response? You decide!

October 11, 2009

I was just about to shut my computer down for the night, then I decided I should check email.

To my great surprise I see three emails that I was not expecting.  The first two were from Jollie, Tara L (CED) and the last was from Moller, John (GOV).

Responses?  On a Saturday?

After my first stunned reaction I click on the first one from Ms. Jollie.  Here is what I saw/read:

“I will be out of the office until October 22. If you are emailing about fuel supplies in remote Alaska, this is the most current information as of October 9, 2009.

The Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA) is working to ensure adequate fuel supplies are available in Alaska’s remote, off road, villages. To that end, DCRA has made, and continues to make, an intense effort to contact off road communities regarding the status of fuel deliveries to their community. DCRA does not influence the selling price of fuel.

DCRA has identified 583 entities that cannot receive fuel delivery via the road system. These entities include Cities, Village Councils, Corporations and Schools that must stockpile large amounts of fuel for winter use. As of 9/29, DCRA has made 1,188 attempts to contact these entities. Of the 583 total entities, DCRA has successfully contacted 517, or 89%. Of the 583, 442, or 76%, report they have received their winter supply of fuel, or are in their normal cyclic delivery schedule with either a source internal or external to the community. Our work continues.”

In my absence please direct questions to Scott Ruby, DCRA Deputy Director. Scott may be reached at 269-4569 or at scott.ruby@alaska.gov.

Tara Jollie

Director

Division of Community and Regional Affairs

Obviously an auto response.  Let’s move on to number two:

“I will be out of the office until October 22. If you are emailing about fuel supplies in remote Alaska, this is the most current information as of October 9, 2009.

~SNIP~

In my absence please direct questions to Scott Ruby, DCRA Deputy Director. Scott may be reached at 269-4569 or at scott.ruby@alaska.gov.

Tara Jollie

Director

Division of Community and Regional Affairs

The exact same auto response.

(*Note these are NOT direct responses to emails that I sent, these are responses to emails that were sent by other concerned people that were cc’d to me*)

First thing I notice is that the first auto response is sent at 10:16 p.m. but the original email was sent at 2:27 p.m.  (Counting on my fingers… 2:27, 3:27, 4:27 etc..)  OK that’s like nearly 8 hours later.  Last time I checked auto responses were sent IMMEDIATELY when the email is received, right??  Unless this is some wierd State of Alaska/Government email anomally.  But then if you were going on vacation or whatever would you have it start on a Friday NOT a Saturday?  I’ll let y’all ponder that….

So let’s look at the first sentence:

“I will be out of the office until October 22. If you are emailing about fuel supplies in remote Alaska, this is the most current information as of October 9, 2009.

OK there’s the dead give away that it’s an auto response as if having it repeated a second time in another email didn’t give that away. October 22nd. Ok SURELY this is a coincidence right?? I mean she is going to be out of the office until the day I leave Ugashik to go and wait to have this baby. Coincidence I am certain.  Just like I am CERTAIN that there must be some legitimate pressing personal matter that is taking her out of the office…surely she just isn’t tucking tail and running away because of a few emails….Right?  I am certain there must be a legitimate reason or she must have had this leave time scheduled in advance and just forgot to turn on her email vacation response prior to 10 p.m. on a Saturday.

I mean this HAS to be an auto response right?  It’s not like she’s sitting at her computer firing off a COPIED response to all the emails she’s receiving hours after receiving them.  (* Found out that someone else who had been cc’d on an email received the same COPIED Auto Response to an earlier email one minute after I got mine*)

Next sentence….  If you are emailing about fuel supplies blah blah blah….. so obviously she has received a few emails inquiring about fuel supplies….ya think?

Moving on…

The Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA) is working to ensure adequate fuel supplies are available in Alaska’s remote, off road, villages. To that end, DCRA has made, and continues to make, an intense effort to contact off road communities regarding the status of fuel deliveries to their community. DCRA does not influence the selling price of fuel.

Has made, continues to make, an INTENSE EFFORT!!  Wish I could know what Ms. Jollie’s or the DCRA’s definition of INTENSE EFFORT is?  Because not responding for months and months to inquiries seems lacking to me…JMHO ;-)  Hmm DCRA does NOT influence the selling price of fuel…doesn’t that sound like what I had in my email to her?  Let’s check…

From: Ann Strongheart <nunamiquayouth@yahoo.com>

Subject: Fuel Watch

To: “Tara Jollie” <tara.jollie@alaska.gov>, “John Moller” <john.moller@alaska.gov>, “Attorney General” <attorney.general@alaska.gov>

Date: Friday, October 2, 2009, 11:30 AM

Ms. Jolie

~SNIP~

I expressed my concern that even if these communities have or will receive the fuel they need for the winter that I am concerned about at what cost and how will people be able to afford the fuel. You stated that it was not your departments job and/or responsibility to set fuel prices. Which I understand but I am still concerned and would HOPE that you would bring this to the Governors attention. That simply because a community has fuel available that does not ensure that residents will be able to afford said fuel. Especially due to the poor commercial fishing this past summer.

Yep that pretty much looks like something I had in my email to her.  The next section throws out a whole lot of statistics.  Wow that’s a lot of numbers!  1,188 attempts to contact, 517 contacted, 442 reporting that they have their fuel or look to have it delivered.  Then we finish it off with…Our work continues!  Can you really say OUR when you are leaving for unknown reasons?

So 442 reporting that they are set or will be set for the winter which is 76% of the villages or wait how did she word it…it was such a mess of important sounding words….aww yes here it is…Alaska’s remote, off road, villages that includes: Cities, Village Councils, Corporations and Schools.

Is it just me or does it seem like there are a whole lotta numbers and a whole lotta words that don’t really answer any questions?  Ok I know they say that they are calling around and they have all these numbers and percentages but other than saying:  OUR WORK CONTINUES…ummm whatelse is the DCRA doing? (besides staying up late on a Saturday evening sending out COPIED Auto responses to emails?  Guess I am NOT the only one up late on a Saturday sitting at the computer!)

Then Ms. Jollie goes on to say:

In my absense (no she is not tucking tail and panicking and running away!) Please direct questions to blah blah blah.  Contact information blah blah blah.  Passing the buck!!! Not going to answer all of these emails, caving under the strain blah blah blah

And there ya have, the DCRA’s Director’s Response!  It seems like magic that we even got this much of a response.

Well let’s move on to Mr. Moller’s response:

From: Moller, John (GOV) <john.moller@alaska.gov>

Subject: RE: Fuel Watch Meeting Oct 2, 2009

To: “Ann Strongheart” <nunamiquayouth@yahoo.com>, “General, Attorney (LAW sponsored)” <attorney.general@alaska.gov>, “Jollie, Tara L (CED)” <tara.jollie@alaska.gov>, “ombudsman ak” <ombudsman@legis.state.ak.us>

Date: Saturday, October 10, 2009, 9:54 PM

Dear Ms. Strongheart:

I understand your concerns with the continued high cost of energy. There are a number of programs that are available to help Alaskans in need. Attached is information about programs available through the Division of Public Assistance, which includes help in paying for heating expenses through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP) and the Alaska Heating Assistance Program (AKHAP).

In some areas of Alaska , these programs are operated by Alaska Native organizations. Attached is a flier that provides information about Heating Assistance, and it includes the list of Alaska Native Organizations that are operating Tribal LIHEAP/Heating Assistance programs. Kodiak Area Native Association and Bristol Bay Native Association’s programs are new this year and they are in the process of getting their offices ready to begin accepting applications.

The Women, Infant’s and Children’s program is administered by community grantees. Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. in Dillingham operates the WIC program in the Bristol Bay and Dillingham area. They can be reached at 842-2036. Families can get more information about the WIC program and how to apply at http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/nutri/wic/Participants/Default.htm

I hope all Alaskans apply for these programs that apply to them if they are in need. I hope you find this information helpful.

Regards,

John Moller

Rural Advisor

Office of Governor Parnell

907-465-3500

Before I start analyzing this one I’ll share my reply:

Mr. Moller,

Quyana for your response to my email. You offered some information about some programs which I will be sure to pass along.

Although, I can’t help but notice that you didn’t answer a single one of my questions. So here they are again. I hope that you will be able to address them. I am assuming that since you are the Rural Advisor to Governor Parnell that you will have access to the necessary information to answer them, even though they were originally directed at the DCRA and Ms. Jollie.

What is the fuel status for rural Alaska ?

After reading report #5 from your dept. I am assuming that only those 13 communities identified in the report are having fuel issues?? I am assuming the remaining 567 are all set fuelwise for the winter? Would you please clarify that.

I expressed my concern that even if these communities have or will receive the fuel they need for the winter that I am concerned about at what cost and how will people be able to afford the fuel. You stated that it was not your departments job and/or responsibility to set fuel prices. Which I understand but I am still concerned and would HOPE that you would bring this to the Governors attention. That simply because a community has fuel available that does not ensure that residents will be able to afford said fuel. Especially due to the poor commercial fishing this past summer.

What is the current status of the the villages listed in report #5 from your dept? Are they all set and have their fuel for the winter?

Does the public have access to the whole database? I would like to review it to ensure that all communities were identified. I am concerned b/c I don’t see Alakanuk nor Kotlik nor other YK Delta Villages listed.

Could you please include me on your mailing list for future reports on the fuel watch. I am working on a post for my blog and would like to be able to keep up to date on current fuel information. I will be going into wait to have this baby here in a few very short weeks and intend to fill my time actively advocating for rural Alaska .

Quyana Cakneq in advance for your response and attention to this matter.

Ann Strongheart


Let’s take a closer look at Mr. Moller’s response.  I;ll paste it here and put my thoughts and translations  in blue.

Dear Ms. Strongheart:

I understand your concerns with the continued high cost of energy. (I am tired of receiving emails and hearing about your complaints concerns! ) There are a number of programs that are available to help Alaskans in need. (I am giving you all this information in hopes of distracting you and getting you off of my back !  No it is NOT passing the buck to another government agency in hopes that you will pester them with your steady stream of emails and questions!) Attached is information about programs available through the Division of Public Assistance, which includes help in paying for heating expenses through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP) and the Alaska Heating Assistance Program (AKHAP).  (Please contact them and stop emailing me! because it’s hard work coming up with such a long run-on sentence that seems this impressive with lots of words!)

In some areas of Alaska , these programs are operated by Alaska Native organizations. (If you don’t already know your AVCP does this type of stuff for the Y/K Delta!) Attached is a flier that provides information about Heating Assistance, and it includes the list of Alaska Native Organizations that are operating Tribal LIHEAP/Heating Assistance programs. (Please print these out and distribute them and quit pestering me to do my job!) Kodiak Area Native Association and Bristol Bay Native Association’s programs are new this year and they are in the process of getting their offices ready to begin accepting applications.  (Maybe you can help them too since you are in Ugashik for the winter and hand out these flyers for me!)

The Women, Infant’s and Children’s program is administered by community grantees.  (WIC, you are pregnant and have a toddler!  Let’s see if I can distract you by throwing them in this email also!) Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. in Dillingham operates the WIC program in the Bristol Bay and Dillingham area. They can be reached at 842-2036. Families can get more information about the WIC program and how to apply at http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/nutri/wic/Participants/Default.htm (You are in that area now, so I am going to put their specific contact information here just for you!  DISTRACTION!! DISTRACTION!!! Leave me alone please! DISTRACTION!!)

I hope all Alaskans apply for these programs that apply to them if they are in need.  (Can you mumble that again?  I hope ALL Alaskans apply?) I hope you find this information helpful.  (Please don’t notice that I didn’t answer any of your questions and that I am simply trying to placate you and distract you and hopefully get you to start pestering another government agency and leave me alone!)

Regards,

John Moller

Rural Advisor

Office of Governor Parnell

907-465-3500

************

I will discuss these responses or lack thereof in the future.

-AnnS


Enough Fuel for the Winter? Don’t Expect the DCRA to Answer!

October 9, 2009
Nunam Iqua's Fuel/Tank Farm, picture taken Spring Flood '08

Nunam Iqua's Fuel/Tank Farm, picture taken Spring Flood '08

Those of you who visit Anonymous Bloggers know that we have been trying for months to find out whether or not the villages in rural Alaska have enough fuel to make it through this winter.  After last years crisis, we wanted to ensure that everyone got their fuel deliveries and are set for the winter.

This does not translate into the residents having enough money to buy fuel and food for this winter.  We wanted to make sure that fuel was simply available.   Surely that State of Alaska has a program to monitors this type of thing, especially after last winters fuel issues across rural Alaska, right?

They do,  and it’s called Fuel Watch and it is run by the Department of Community and Rural Affairs (DCRA).   Even Governor Parnell wants to know what the fuel situation is….

I tried sending out an email to get answers:

Dear Mr. Parnell, Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Moller, and Ms. Jollie;

Waqaa!  I am writing to inquire as to whether or not any of your offices have completed fuel inquiries for rural Alaska?  There was mention that villages were being contacted to assess their fuel situations and preparedness for this winter.

Additionally, what happened and/or what is the status of the Yukon Fisheries Disaster Declaration that was sent to DC?

Any information you could provide me about these issues would be greatly appreciated.  I am gravely concerned that this winters crisis in rural Alaska will be far worse than last winters, is there anything you can tell me that is in the works or under consideration to avert another crisis in bush Alaska  this winter?

Quyana Cakneq in advance for your help in this matter.  Please feel free to contact me at the below contact information.

After sending that email one of the board members at AB found  this report thanks to ADN’s Kyle Hopkins.

So I read the report and had some questions.  So since the report clearly states at the top:

Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA)

Report to the Commissioner

September 18, 2009

From Director Tara Jollie

Ms. Tara Jollie, Photo from KTUU

Ms. Tara Jollie, Photo from KTUU

I thought well I’ll contact Ms. Jollie, I mean it does say it’s from her right?  I had some questions.  So I called her.  I about fell off of my chair when she actually answered the phone!!  So I asked her my questions.  Specifically related to clarifying HER report.  Did I get answers?  NOPE!!  Instead I got the run around and a broken record response of … “We are having a meeting today (Oct. 2, 2009) and I was planning on answering your email after this meeting.”
Ok, well now I am getting some where right??  Well just to make sure that she didn’t forget my questions I immediately sent a follow up email:
Ms. Jollie,
Thank you very much for speaking with me earlier on the phone. I am glad to hear that you are meeting today to discuss the FUEL WATCH for rural Alaska.

I look forward to your email in response to my questions.  Here is a recap with a few extra questions:

What is the fuel status for rural Alaska?
After reading report #5 from your dept.  I am assuming that only those 13 communities identified in the report are having fuel issues??  I am assuming the remaining 567 are all set fuelwise for the winter?  Would you please clarify that.
I expressed my concern that even if these communities have or will receive the fuel they need for the winter that I am concerned about at what cost and how will people be able to afford the fuel.  You stated that it was not your departments job and/or responsibility to set fuel prices.  Which I understand but I am still concerned and would HOPE that you would bring this to the Governors attention.  That simply because a community has fuel available that does not ensure that residents will be able to afford said fuel.  Especially due to the poor commercial fishing this past summer.
What is the current status of the the villages listed in report #5 from your dept?  Are they all set and have their fuel for the winter?
Does the public have access to the whole database?  I would like to review it to ensure that all communities were identified.  I am concerned b/c I don’t see Alakanuk nor Kotlik nor other YK Delta Villages listed.
Could you please include me on your mailing list for future reports on the fuel watch.  I am working on a post for my blog and would like to be able to keep up to date on current fuel information.  I will be going into wait to have this baby here in a few very short weeks and intend to fill my time actively advocating for rural Alaska.

I look forward to your response.
AnnS

I give her 7 days to respond, then I send a courteous reminder:

Dear Ms. Jollie, (AG and Mr. Moller see below)

It has been 7 days since I not only emailed you about the Fuel Watch meetings/information but also spoke to you on the phone.  You assured me that you were going to respond to my email when I spoke to you on the phone.  I have attached that email again.  I look forward to hearing your responses to my questions.
Like I mentioned I am working on a post for our blog (https://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/) and I had hoped to include information about the meeting that you said was happening on Oct. 2.  But since it looks as if you will not respond to my emails I will just include what information I have managed to gather from other sources and will also mention that I have been unsuccessful getting any type of response from you or your office/department.
I plan on putting that post up tomorrow, Oct. 9, 2009 and following it up with an interview I am doing for APRN.  I would really like to include POSITIVE information that I have received from you and/or your office but since y’all don’t seem to want to respond to my emails…..sigh.
I really would like to include up to date information concerning the fuel watch meeting that you said occurred on Oct 2.  I am anxiously awaiting your response to my email below.
Quyana Cakneq in advance for you assistance in this matter.
AG Sullivan and Mr. Moller,
Would either of you be able to offer any answers to the questions below?
AnnS

Ms. Jollie’s contact information:

Phone: 907-269-7959

You, too, can join the quest for answers!

Additionally, I include the AG and Mr. Moller in my emails that I send out, so here’s their email addresses also….

“Attorney General” attorney.general@alaska.gov

“John Moller” john.moller@alaska.gov

Please feel free to post any replies that you receive here in the comments or email them to me.

-Ann

The Natives are RESTLESS and NO ONE cares!

August 14, 2009

Dear Governor Parnell, Mr. Moller, Ms. Jollie and Others*

My name is Ann Strongheart.  I am from the village of Nunam Iqua on the Yukon Delta.  I am certain most of you already know who I am, if not I invite you to visit my blog to learn more about me.  https://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/

Like Mr. Nicholas Tucker Sr., I have become an advocate of sorts for the people of bush Alaska.  After last winter’s crisis not only on the Yukon but also across bush Alaska I along with a group of wonderfully generous hardworking individuals have been trying to keep this winter from turning out like last year’s.

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 Sub cabinet and Rural Advisor Moller and the Attorney General and I could keep going and going with our attempts to get answers to the following questions:

Are the meetings for both the Advisory Panel and the Rural Sub cabinet open to the public? If so can we get a 1-800 so we might listen in?

Also, is it possible to get an agenda for both?

If we see something either on the agenda or missing from the agenda that concerns us is it possible to speak to the issue? If not who would we direct our concerns to?

As rural Alaskan citizens we have a number of concerns that are specific to our areas and are looking for a forum in which to have those issues addressed.

Those are just a few of the questions we have asked and had ignored.

I am curious about a few things, and I am hoping that SOMEONE that receives this email will help me learn.

Are rural Alaskans time and respect worth less than yours??  As rural Alaskans we take time out of our busy schedules trying to put away enough food for the winter to contact you all with our concerns.

Instead of prompt courteous responses we are either ignored or referred to someone else who in turn refers us to another and another.

Is this something that our Government officials take a special class on and learn how to placate their constituents?  It seems like to me that y’all figure if you ignore us enough or give us enough of a run around that maybe just maybe we’ll go away??

Are our concerns less important than urban Alaskans because it is so hard for us to make it into Anchorage or Juneau due to the cost of travel?  Does this make it easier to ignore our legitimate questions?

Is it your hope that eventually we will just all give up and move to Anchorage so y’all can take over the resources in rural Alaska ?

Let me assure you that will NEVER happen.  Alaskan Natives and Native Americans across not only Alaska but the entire United States are tired of being ignored, used, abused, discarded and manipulated!  We have been knocked down, and told what to do and not do for hundreds of years.  We, all Natives, are very proud people.  We may have been ignored and pushed around but no longer.  We are learning that we do have voices and that we can be not only heard but also listened to.  We will not give up what little land and resources we have now nor in the future.  We have already had too much taken away from us.  So don’t think that by placating and ignoring us that we’ll just give up.  We have just gotten started.  The “Natives” are restless and tired of being ignored and stepped on.

We have the same rights as every U.S. Citizen granted to us by the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence among others.  We won’t go quietly into the bush and continue to be ignored and taken advantage of.  I am quite certain that we, Native Alaskans and Native Americans, have earned more respect than we have been allotted by our Government Officials.   But what have you done to earn our respect?  I don’t think respect is earned by placating and ignoring someone, do you?

I know y’all are busy, but last time I checked everyone is.  I think our time is just as precious as yours.  I think if we can take the time out of subsistence fishing and gathering etc. to contact you that the least y’all could do would be to reply saying “I received your letter/call/etc. and I am busy but will respond to you when I can or forward your inquiry to someone who can respond.

At least take the time to blow us off properly by responding that you did in fact receive our letters rather than completely ignoring us.

It seems like the only way we, Alaskan Native and Rural Alaskans, can get your attention is to get the media involved.  We have to step up on our soap boxes and yell loud enough for y’all in Anchorage and Juneau to hear us.  Why in the world is it so hard for OUR elected and non elected officials, who are supposed to represent us, to address our questions?

So can anyone who received this email answer my questions?  At this point since the meeting is on Monday I’d even be happy to hear back from the Anchorage Daily News or the Alaska Dispatch, or any other media or individual since I doubt I will receive a response from any Government Officials.

Quyana Cakneq in advance for your time in reading and hopefully responding to this inquiry.

Ann Strongheart

(Attn:  Any MSM/newspapers whom are receipients of this letter have my permission to publish it.  Please feel to contact me if you have any questions)

*Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 2:30 PM
To: sean.parnell@alaska.gov; john.moller@alaska.gov; emil.notti@alaska.gov; tara.jollie@alaska.gov; ombudsman@legis.state.ak.us; jonathan.katchen@alaska.gov; michael.black@alaska.gov
Cc: Annie Feidt; Art Nelson; beth skabar; Wesley ADN; Dennis Zaki – AlaskaReport.com; Linda Biegel; Rep John Coghill; Cora Crome; Rep Nancy Dahlstrom; Sen Hollis French; Rep Carl Gatto; Karen Gillis; Rep Max Gruenberg; Rep Lindsey Holmes; TONY HOPFINGER; Kyle Hopkins; wesley loy; Rep Bob Lynn; Simon Mallory; Sen Lesil McGuire; Philip Munger; Harlan Native America Calling; Rep Jay Ramras; Neva Reece; Harley Sundown; Sen Gene Therriault; Nick Tucker; Sen Bill Wielechowski; bakerotz@otz.net; bacydfda@yahoo.com; tmack@aleutcorp.com; N1857@conocophillips.com; deweyskan@hotmail.com; robin@bbedc.com; gcannelos@denali.gov; Mary_pete@bethel.uaf.edu; Kathie@akml.org; jadams@gci.net; goneill@citci.com; Merlaine.kruse@ak.usda.gov; AFNInfo@NativeFederation.org; alex@alaskanewspapers.com
Subject: The Natives are RESTLESS and NO ONE cares!

Note: I’m posting this for Ann because she’s spent much of her valuable time today rebooting her computer just to  get this letter out.

In Bethel, Ethan Berkowitz, a former state legislator who lost a bid for Congress last year, joined the meeting to push for $180 million in stimulus money to create the infrastructure for broadband Internet in rural Alaska. I second that!

Also, Ann neglected to mention that both she and Nick took time from their busy lives to be guests on nationally-aired Native America Calling on  public radio recently. John Moller was invited to participate and didn’t reply.

~ Jane

***

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Open Letter to Alaska Rural Advisor John Moller

August 5, 2009

Aug 5, 2009

To: John Moller:  john.moller@alaska.gov

CC: Sean Parnell: governor@alaska.gov
Daniel S. Sullivan: attorney.general@alaska.gov
Linda Lord-Jenkins: ombudsman@legis.state.ak.us
Rachel Maddow: rachel@msnbc.com

Mr. Moller,

On August 3, Alaska Natives Ann Strongheart of Nunam Iqua and Nicholas Tucker of Emmonak were guests on “Native America Calling” on nationally-aired Native Voice 1 radio.  They were invited to discuss salmon bycatch and its effects on rural Alaskans.

Like so many other Alaskans, both Ann and Nick feel this is a critical issue facing rural Alaska today.

Ann Strongheart and her husband are working at a small salmon processing plant in Ugashik on the Alaska Peninsula this summer. She squeezed in time to spend an hour on the phone with NAC between cooking for the fishing crew, caring for a toddler, working as a strong advocate for rural Alaskans and being an expectant mother in the bush.

Mr. Tucker took time away from his subsistence fishing efforts to be on the program.

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.

If you were unable to work time into your schedule for that event, we would have greatly appreciated suggestions via the rural advisor’s office for an alternate speaker. Rural Alaskans want to hear what actions are being taken right now to avoid another winter crisis.  At the very least, we would have valued a simple response, of any kind, to the invitation.

People nationwide are paying attention to rural Alaska these days.  Will there be another winter crisis next January? Will people be asked to donate support to food drives because the government of Alaska ignored all the same warning signs, yet again?  If so, it will contrast mightily with the state attempting to pipe natural gas down to the lower 48 yet routing none of that gas to its own rural villages that recently paid $8 or $9 a gallon for fuel.

Please communicate with us.

The warning signs were there last winter but nobody paid attention.  We really want to know that efforts are being made now by the state to avert another disaster this winter.

We have posted this message on our blog. You may reply in the comments section at:

https://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/open-letter-to-alaska-rural-advisor-john-moller/

From: Anonymous Bloggers

*  *  *

Commenters: Ideas, suggestions, personal experiences and constructive criticism are welcome. Inappropriate and personal comments will be deleted.

Bloggers: Post all or part of this letter along with your thoughts but consider closing comments on your site and directing comments to this thread. Thanks!

*  *  *

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Is Anyone Doing Anything to Prevent Another Rural Crisis?

July 12, 2009

nick

Nicholas Tucker

Jul 12, 2009

It was a year ago today that Walt Monegan, then Department of Public Safety commissioner, was fired from his position as Alaska’s top cop. At the time of his departure Monegan warned of potential social unrest in rural Alaska because of poor fishing returns.

Given the gathering storm of a questionable fishing season, and the escalating price of fuel in our state, there will be serious stress placed upon communities and residents who will struggle with the coming winter’s challenges. Last week I had asked our Troopers and Fire Marshalls to outreach both to these communities, and to your departments in a cooperative effort to mitigate issues that will arise like: theft, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide; and, accidental death that all can come from sinking reserves of fuel, money and hope. Teamwork will never be so important.

~ Walt Monegan, July 12, 2008

The problems facing rural Alaskans were discussed at the legislature’s Special Energy Session last August Les Garas reported in January, 2009

During last August’s energy special session, the press focused its attention on Gov. Palin’s plan to send Alaskans a $1,200 check. What went unreported was the call from rural Alaska for something better, and their warning of this winter’s impending crisis. Many legislators worked to replace Gov. Palin’s plan with one that would have gone a long way to relieving the pain being felt across rural Alaska today, and even in communities like Fairbanks, where high heating costs are a growing concern. I reported on the impending rural fuel crisis in my newsletter following last August’s Energy Special Session  (“Pushing Compassion: Walking A Mile In A Bethel Resident’s Shoes. . . . Giving everyone the same help, and ignoring that some people in this state are struggling while some are not, seemed like policy that could be improved upon a lot,” Aug. 11, 2008 Office Newsletter)

The early warning sighs were there last year but the crisis was not recognized until Nicolas Tucker spoke up about the dire situation families in Emmonak were facing on January 9, 2009.

I am reaching out for these families. Help is needed and cannot be delayed. I cannot imagine so many in this village are in hunger, without fuel, and other essentials and uncertain about their future. What is mind boggling about the whole situation is that they have remained silent, anonymous, suffered, and cried. The four villages in this region are in close proximity to each other and the demography is the same. Is this going on in your village?

The warning signs are there again, is anyone in government listening?

At the end of June the governor sent out this tweet:

John Moller just returned from Emmonak, reports 50% of residents have subsistence needs met already, others confident they can do the same.

When the Anchorage Daily News asked the governor’s spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, about the tweet she replied:

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.

To which Nick Tucker replied:

I want them to take it back.

I’ve never said that. Ten times over, I’ve never said that. It was from one fisherman in Alakanuk.” I do not believe that we in Emmonak – Emmonak never said that.

He demanded an apology, Rural Advisor John Moller offered one and Nick has accepted, but now what?

Civil disobedience doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Residents of Marshall went fishing illegally and practically had to send out a press release to get the incident noticed.

A state wildlife trooper is headed to the village of Marshall to investigate subsistence fishermen who said they fished during a closed period in an act of civil disobedience.

The Yukon River fishermen told reporters they caught 100 king salmon on Friday to feed their elders and others in need.

Is anyone in a position of authority at the state or federal level doing anything to avoid a repeat of last year’s crisis?

Is anyone making sure winter fuel is in place or will be in place before the rivers freeze?

Is anyone sending in food by barge so it will be there when the preserved salmon runs out?

Is any research being done to decrease salmon bycatch by developing salmon safe nets similar to the dolphin safe nets that came about after a tuna boycott?

Is anyone working on anything to prevent another winter of donations and flat rate boxes?

If so, please let us know.

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Warm-Heart smallEagle Warm Hearts Fund

Buy gift cards for residents of Eagle who lost everything including their survival gear in the Yukon breakup!

Big Ray’s  is offering a 20% discount to Eagle Village residents and distributing gift cards to those who need them most. Gift cards are $10 – increase the quantity to donat more.

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

July 3, 2009

Jul 3, 2009

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 Emmanok.

Q. The governor had, on her Twitter account, written these reports about good news from the Yukon. She wrote that you’d been talking to someone with CNN out there and had good news to report, including that maybe 50 percent of the people in Emmonak had gotten their subsistence goals met so far. Where did that information come from?

A. Some of it, not knowing all of what you’re referring to. I did an interview with CNN while I was out there. Very brief, a couple of questions. Very brief. Some of the information I gave them was just based on my trip. One was with respect to 50 or more percent of the folks, in the Lower Yukon, anyways, getting their subsistence needs for the year in terms of salmon, came from my visit.

A couple of people mentioned at the subsistence, the federal subsistence board meeting, the public meeting there in Emmonak, that if I recall it was 50 or more percent have gotten it. Gotten their subsistence needs. And then many, many more people I talked to over the course of a couple days there had either gotten their subsistence … or were partially there in terms of getting what they traditionally use.

Q. That ended up being attributed to Nicholas Tucker who has become kind of a big voice out there in Emmonak. He’s the one who wrote the letter that got a lot of attention. Was he the one who told you that that 50 percent of the people had met their, their needs — their subsistence needs.
(Note: Tucker says he never said that and demanded an apology. He got one, in an e-mail from Moller Thursday. Tucker replied in an e-mail of his own, calling Moller a “man of honor.”)

A. You know Nick Tucker and I had a number of conversations over the, over the course of a couple of the days. And I don’t know if that was Nick, if he mentioned it specifically. I know there was a fisherman, I’d have to go back and look at my notes, that mentioned it at the subsistence board meetings. And a number of folks over the course of the next day that mentioned to me that you know, quite a few of them had gotten, gotten their subsistence needs. … (Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow) mentioned it to me that Nick Tucker — was, was referenced as the source of information on that 50 percent and if … I made that assertion and that’s not correct, I’ll have to call Nick and tell him I’m sorry. But I talked to many, many people over those two days … and I heard it on numerous occasions that people were getting their needs.

They go on to talk about the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting last March and the bycatch cap that was decided there. Then they bring it around to whether subsistence fishermen and a governor who doesn’t support a rural lifestyle preference can find a common ground.

Q. Is there a way to find common ground, can this administration find common ground with groups like rural subsistence fishermen considering that the governor doesn’t support a rural preference? Is there a way to bridge that gap?

A. Well to be fair here, there have been many governors that haven’t supported a rural preference, nor does our constitution. So I think that has to be spelled out pretty clear. This governor maybe I just didn’t pay as much attention in previous administrations, but certainly a lot of attention there.

…I’m not convinced that everybody that — that you’re hearing from everybody in terms of what they feel about the subsistence. … hearing from some other folks out there. With all due respect to Nick Tucker, everybody else — everybody doesn’t have that opinion. And, I just use Nick Tucker, I mean there’s others out there that have similar views as Nick. I don’t, necessarily, in all cases. Nor am I finding that many others don’t necessarily feel that same way. Their needs are being met. They just — We just don’t hear from those folks.

I hear from them when I’m on the ground out there, but they don’t call you.

And they end it with Moller sharing some of his thoughts on why fishing on the Kuskokwim River is going well.

They were supposed to talk again yesterday about the civil disobedience incident but hadn’t spoken by the reporter’s deadline and I didn’t see anything today so we’ll stay tuned for that.

~ Jane

Kenai Classic: Fishing Not Closed to Politicians

July 2, 2009
salmon LM

Jul 2, 2009

Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, caught this 63-pound king salmon during the 2006 Kenai River Classic, which raised about $800,000 for river conservation. (Office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski/Associated Press)

This comment from John is too important to be buried in the comment section!

Politicians and lobbyists from around the United States wine and dine and go fishing for Kings each year at the Kenai Classic. A couple hours from now (noon Thursday) everyone will be getting their pictures taken with their Kings that they caught on the Kenai River. Usually there are several US Senators, a bunch of State officials and lobbyists. Don Young was this year’s speaker. I guess the Governor isn’t there but I wouldn’t be surprised if Parnell is. From ADN’s article “Don Young to attend Kenai Classic Banquet”:

“The event has long attracted political power brokers from around the country who socialized and trolled for salmon during the annual fundraiser.”

I think it is so ironic that while people on the Yukon aren’t allowed to subsistence fish for Kings and seem to have a lot of difficulty even being heard by their state government, a couple hundred politicians from around the United States and Alaska are getting together, having a great time catching kings, raising funds for Kenai River preservation, and networking among themselves.

From the Kenai River Classic’s Website:

KRSA funds are dedicated to preserving critical spawning and rearing habitat, public education and research. To date, KRSA monies have been approved for a diverse number of projects including the construction of responsible bank fishing demonstration areas for the public; underwriting “Streamwatch,” an educational program in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, Alaska State Parks and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and to further ecosystem management research.

Apparently people aren’t an important part of the ecosystem.

~ Jane

___________________________________________________________________

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Getting caught in the gill net of Alaska politics

July 1, 2009

Jul 1, 2009

Our family left Nunam Iqua a few weeks ago to work this summer for Victoria and her husband, Roland, in Ugashik.  Although we are a few hundred miles away, we continue to stay in touch with our friends and family back in Nunam Iqua and Emmonak by phone and email.

In the last few days a lot of people have been talking about the Governor and her rural advisor, John Moller, reporting from Emmonak that my friend Nick Tucker allegedly said:  “50% of the people in Emmonak already have their fish gathered and put up for this season.”

That’s pretty hard to believe with all the fishing closures, and I think most people in the know would have trouble believing it.  I contacted Nick myself to ask him about this statement attributed to him by Mr. Moller and the Governor.  Nick is really upset about this report!  He said people are struggling to get their fish this season, just as I thought.

I’m so disappointed that it always seems like it’s us vs. them.  The state government and the Governor have the ability to work with the rural residents, not just against us.  Instead, they took the words of just one man in Alakanuk and embellished and twisted them.  Suddenly everyone in Emmonak somehow has met, or is about to meet, all their fishing needs for the season here in late June and early July.

Those who just want to help their villages and neighbors sometimes become unknowing pawns for those with ulterior motives.  Nick Tucker has gotten caught in such a political gill net on the issue of subsistence fishing on the Yukon River.

Knowing Nick, I can tell you that he is an elder in the true sense of the word.  This is a man who wants only to ease the hardships and suffering of his people.  He would like see this done through help with a goal toward self sufficiency.

Victoria also met Mr. Tucker at the by-catch meeting earlier this year.  She agrees that he is someone who in no way has any other motive than to bring the plight and needs of his people to the attention to those who might help.

Nick has become a defacto spokesman for the plight of villagers not only along the Yukon but also other bush Alaska villages.  Mr. Tucker has brought the voice of truth and concern to main stream media about the hardships and struggles that plagued villagers last winter.  His heartfelt plea for help was heard across not only Alaska, but also the nation and the world.  Nick has done all of this  in trying to bring help and attention to the plight of the villagers.

Now that summer is upon us,  another poor chinook salmon run is once again devastating not only the commercial fishing on the Yukon but also drastically limiting the subsistence fishing.  With extremely limited subsistence fishing openings the villagers struggle to put away dried salmon, a major staple, for the winter.

The same thing occurred last summer thus forcing villagers to choose between buying food or heating fuel last winter.  We worry this situation will be repeated this year.  We are trying to bring this to the attention of those who can help before it gets out of hand again.  I think I can speak for everyone by saying that we really do not want to have to have another food and fuel drive this winter to keep our villagers warm and fed!  Without  attention and help from the State, it looks like we might have to do so anyway.

As Nick tried to again bring attention to the disastrous lack of salmon fishing this year, he took his plea to the Federal Subsistence meeting being held in Emmonak.  The public outcome of that trip is that Mr. Tucker was quoted as saying everything was fine in Emmonak and that half of of the village had already gotten enough salmon to last through the winter.

That our highest ranking government official tweeted such a bogus statement is simply unbelievable.  Anyone with common sense would have heard that and thought to themselves  “Maybe I should check into that before I just throw it out there in a tweet.”  For them to turn around and say that Mr. Tucker made such an outrageous statement just adds further insult to injury.  Mr. Tucker reports “I’ve never said that. Ten times over, I’ve never said that!”

Mr. Tucker has demanded an apology from Governor Palin for this untruth.   Mr. Tucker should not have to wait this long for a forthcoming apology, no matter whether the reason for the mistatement was intentional or accidental.

This is not about politics, this is about respecting to an elder who was misunderstood or quoted out of context.

Rather than trying to save face it seems that our leaders should be trying to help the villagers struggling in this great state.  Last time I checked we are all residents of Alaska.  We are voters, constituents, and simply human beings.

What if the shoe was on the other foot?  Do you think we would have had to wait this long for someone to apologize to the Governor?  I don’t think so.  Last time I checked we are all human and thus we all make mistakes.  It takes a bigger person to admit to those mistakes.  I think that that is one of the most important lessons in life whether you are a politician or not….admit when you are wrong!  Be honest.

Ann and Victoria: Breaking news that 50% of Emmonak residents have met their subsistence needs for winter!

June 27, 2009

Jun 27, 2009

Ann and I were so excited, and surprised, to hear from our Governor via Twitter that her Rural Advisor, John Moller, had such a great visit to Emmonak.  She tweeted that 50% of the villagers had their subsistence needs already met – wow!

Ann and hubby Gundo came over to Victoria and Rollie’s house in order to phone home and get all the good news!

Ann and I are sitting impatiently waiting while Segundo calls his parents!

Thinking this will be so great if all the worry and stress is turning out to not be needed.

That people will have enough to eat of the basics this winter.

Maybe even the commercial fishermen will get a little bit of a season.

Gundo is quietly listening, nodding his head.

We hear the words:  ”So many…”

WOW, we think!!

The minute he gets off the phone we pounce on him with questions.

‘”So many” – seals, not fish!

No one in Ann’s village is even close to having enough food for winter.

Disappointment sets in. How to find out more info?  Form a game plan! We have to know more.  Is this an isolated situation in Nunam?

Dennis Zaki is due back on Monday after visiting the bush, we hope he can help fill in the blanks.

Emails went out.

We will fill you in as soon as we hear but so far it is not all good news on the lower Yukon, contrary to statements made by the Governor and her Advisor.

STAY TUNED for regular updates!