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By Daysha Eaton, KYUK

The Alaska Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s decision that Yup’ik Fishermen who fished for King salmon during a state closure should be convicted. The decision was issued Friday (March 27). 

The Attorney for the Yup’ik Fishermen is James Davis with the Northern Justice Project. He says the court asked the wrong question:

Historical trauma at the root of substance abuse and other mental health maladies

An Ojibwe woman and independent journalist recently visited Alaska for a series of stories on historical trauma and Native American mental health practices. Mary Annette Pember said the troubled lives of Native Americans reflect their troubled history.

Legislators back away from Anchorage’s pending school debt

Alaska lawmakers are attempting to fast-track a bill so the state won't have to help pay for $59 million in school bonds in the state's largest district. The Senate yesterday approved a measure that would retroactively halt the state's practice of partially reimbursing municipalities for school bonds issued after Jan. 1, 2015. Anchorage voters on April 7 will decide a $59 million bond package.

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Courtesy KRBD FM, Ketchikan, AK

  Aid to needy families, state child support services funding at risk

State officials have said federal funding could be on the line if the Legislature does not act to change Alaska child support payment laws. Two pools of money would be affected: $19 million for the state's child support services division and $45 million for Temporary Aid for Needy Families.

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Legislators propose cuts to state transportation budget

At least 20 distinct Native languages are spoken in Alaska, and every year, the population of speakers gets a little smaller. A Golovin senator now wants to reverse that trend by encouraging immersion language charter schools.

Democrat Donny Olson introduced a bill on Friday that would create a special certification process for instructors of Native languages, so that it would be easier for them to teach in schools.  He’s hoping to build on the success of legislation recognizing Alaska’s Native languages as official languages in their own right.

Senators on the Finance Committee Thursday questioned Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials, asking just how bad would it be to turn down federal dollars for construction of water and sewer systems.

DEC Administration Director Tom Cherian told legislators the $64 million capital budget DEC submitted is its lowest in ten years. The lion’s share of DEC’s capital budget, $55.5 million, would go to water and sewer projects. Of that, 71% is federal dollars. The state’s share would be a $9 million dollar match.

The Trustees for Alaska are going back to court to fight a federal okay for coal mining at Wishbone Hill in Palmer.  Trustee attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in Anchorage yesterday ( Wednesday) on behalf of the Castle Mountain Coalition (CMC) and other groups opposed to coal mining in the area.  Vicki Clark, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, says they’re concerned about a new coal mine going in under a permit that was issued decades ago.

Tununak v state of Alaska is "potentially explosive"

Yesterday, the state Department of Law asked the Alaska Supreme Court for more time in a case tribes say will show whether Governor Bill Walker is serious about campaign pledges to work cooperatively with tribes, and determine how the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, will be implemented in Alaska.

State asks Alaska Supreme Court for a 30-day extension in Tununak vs. State of Alaska case

Taxes, law enforcement, fish and game management up for discussion By Ben Matheson, KYUK Tribal representatives from the Yukon-Kuskokwim region are meeting today in Bethel to discuss whether to create a new regional tribal government or pursue changes to an existing non-profit like the Association of Village Council Presidents. They could also choose to make no changes. The regional for-profit corporation Calista facilitated the Governance Convention. Proponents of a new government say big changes are needed to unify the region.

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