Archive for the ‘Winter Crisis 2009’ Category

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!!!!

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

Governor Parnell Asks for Status Reports on Fuel Supplies in Rural Areas

September 6, 2009

From the Alaska Dispatch, September 6, 2009:

Parnell tracks fuel supplies in rural Alaska

Rena Delbridge

Sep 5, 2009

In the wake of last winter’s fuel crisis in parts of the Bush, Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration is asking more than 400 fuel distributors, local governments and regional nonprofits for status reports on fuel supplies in rural areas as winter nears.

(Snip)

Parnell press secretary Sharon Leighow said the Division of Community and Regional Affairs staff is making 400 calls over the next two weeks to gather updates on where fuel shipments stand. The division has also set up a toll-free number — (877) 769-4614 — for people with concerns about adequate winter fuel supplies in their communities.

***

Since June we’ve asked if there will be affordable fuel in place in rural villages this fall, before the rivers freeze and barge deliveries become impossible. We waited for moths for answers. This led to further questions about the new Rural Sub-Cabinet and its Advisory Panel.

On June 29, faithful contributer Jim Behlke contacted Tara Jollie, the Director of the State’s Division of Community and Regional Affairs, and asked if villages had obtained adequate fuel supplies for the upcoming winter, or if she knew of any villages that may not be able to afford fuel for delivery before freeze up.

On July 10 Behlke also contacted the rural subcabinet’s chair, the Attorney General, and encouraged the subcabinet to convene and determine if any state assistance may be available to rural residents who couldn’t afford to purchase fuel for subsistence fishing and hunting

After weeks of deafening silence he publicly asked for a little more information about what the Rural Sub-Cabinet was doing to prevent a repeat of last year’s crisis. This article was published a month ago today in the Alaska Dispatch:

How’s that subcabinet doing?

Jim Behlke

Aug 7, 2009

I’ve been especially concerned about the health of rural Alaska after last winter’s fuel crisis. Then came flooding, and now parts of rural Alaska have had another disastrous fishing season that will probably lead to significant economic hardships next winter. So, I’ve been wondering about the Alaska Rural Action Subcabinet (ARAS).

He goes on to ask a number of questions about the Sub-Cabinet’s Advisory Panel including if and when they meet, are meetings open to the public and are minutes recorded.

We received some answers on August 13 from Sub-Cabinet Advisory Panel Chair Michael Black. The Panel meets quarterly, there are no minutes but notes are taken and a notice is posted the morning of their meetings in the Atwood Building in Anchorage.

You can read more in Ann’s August 31 post in which she points out how hard it would be for rural dwellers to participate.

We could go on and on about why the administration should have take action months ago to make sure fuel is in place now in the Bush and how the Advisory Panel to the Rural-Sub-Cabinet should have made this a priority since no one else was paying attention but we won’t. At least something’s being done now.

Rena Delbridge sums up the importance of acting quickly nowl in her Dispatch article .

Alaska’s harsh winter weather and ice prevent shipments on waterways from reaching rural areas in all but a few summer months. Most of the fuel must be delivered by early October, Tornga said. But already waters on the Kuskokwim are well below normal stages for barge transport, and temperatures in McGrath, a village several days upriver from Bethel, have dropped below freezing on a number of nights. If waters freeze before levels rise, a few communities could face the added expense of flying in fuel to replenish their tanks.

Nicholas Tucker: We Need to Prepare for Winter Now! *UPDATED*

September 4, 2009

Sep 4, 2009

Dear Governor Parnell, Mr. Moller, Ms. Jollie, Mr. Black,

After reading this  article in the Dispatch I am gravely concerned and worried even more so than before about what this winter will bring to rural Alaska.

“We have people desperate to go out moose hunting, whale and seal hunting, geese and other species of fish,” he said. “You could let them go out and get these by giving them the opportunity to get gas, motor oil, ammunition, repair parts and every single thing that is necessary to prepare much better for this winter.”

~ Nicholas Tucker

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.

I am quite confident in saying that none of us want to again have to rely on food and fuel drives to keep rural Alaska from having to make the choice between feeding their families or heating their homes this winter.  Additionally, I am certain that ADF&G will NOT open up commercial fishing of Coho Salmon to try to help rural Alaskans earn some money for fuel.  Even if they do, there might not be a market for them and the money that might be made probably won’t do much to avert another crisis this winter.

So, what can we do???  I know that a fisheries disaster declaration went to Washington DC.  But let’s be realistic, even if a disaster is declared the help and funds will be slow to come.  Although these monies and aid will help, they will not bring back the birds, the seals, the whales and other game we need to put away for winter.

There has to be something we can do NOW.  Fuel vouchers for gas so we can hunt now before the game heads south?  There has to be some type of emergency funding available to help rural Alaskans now, so we can try to put away enough game to make it through the winter.

Last winter the BIA stepped in and helped.  Who can help NOW?  I refuse to think that there isn’t something that can be done now.  We have been seeing the warning signs for months.  Winter is fast approaching.  Help and solutions need to happen NOW before people have to make the same life threatening decisions they had to make last winter.

Step up NOW, help NOW!  Come up with solutions NOW before we have a much bigger crisis than last winter.

Rural Alaskans will tell you NOW is the time we need help, NOW is the time to help prevent another crisis this winter.  NOW before winter sets in is the time to do something, not later when we start getting reports of families going without food or going cold this winter.

Please do your jobs, help your people!  We are telling you NOW that there is a high risk for a repeat of last year’s crisis only this year it looks to be much worse than last years.  Don’t ignore us, don’t wait until we are freezing and going without food to hear us.  Help EMPOWER us NOW, to keep us from having another crisis this winter.  Last winter was hard; this winter looks like it’s going to be worse.  We need to start coming up with solutions for not only this winter but also what about next year and after that?  Plan ahead, come up with solutions now, let’s not keep going through the same thing year after year.  Don’t ignore us and placate us until we are in a full emergency crisis winter after winter.

Coming up with solutions and preventative measures now will not only empower us but also will save hard earned taxpayers money now and in the future I am sure.

UPDATE!

Way to go Nick Tucker!

“Four days after he pitched a “crazy” idea to the state, Emmonak fisherman Nick Tucker Sr. is getting his wish: one last chance to earn money catching salmon before winter hits.”    Read the full article here.

 

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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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.