Running for U.S. House seat, Lindbeck says diversifying Alaska’s economy a key issue

first_imgArctic | Business | Energy & Mining | Environment | Federal Government | Nation & World | State Government | TimberRunning for U.S. House seat, Lindbeck says diversifying Alaska’s economy a key issueNovember 2, 2016 by Aaron Bolton, KSTK-Wrangell Share:Democrat Steve Lindbeck is challenging incumbent Republican Don Young for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Photo courtesy Lindbeck for Alaska)Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Steve Lindbeck was scheduled to be in Wrangell on Saturday, but fog prevented him from making one of his final Southeast campaign stops.The former public radio executive officially announced his candidacy in May, hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Don Young, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.Lindbeck spoke with KSTK by phone.One of Lindbeck’s key issues is diversifying Alaska’s economy.He said developing the arctic is one way the federal government can spur development and help the state’s economy.“We really should approve the law of the sea treaty because that will clarify boundaries and authorities as exploitation of minerals and fisheries takes place,” Lindbeck said. “There’s just a tremendous amount of opportunity and risk that comes with the way this place is opening up, and we are not prepared as a country today.”Lindbeck said building a deep-water port is one the key infrastructure components needed, as well as greater Coast Guard coverage.He promotes exploring for resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before making decisions on its development.Lindbeck also supports Gov. Bill Walker’s push to build a natural gas pipeline.Lindbeck argues he would be a strong advocate for transboundary mining issues in Southeast and would like to see the International Joint Commission become involved. That’s a U.S.-Canada panel that handles transboundary water issues.“The State Department needs to push hard. The IJC obviously addresses this in other places and needs to do so here. We need to get President (Barack) Obama and Secretary (John) Kerry and President (Hilary) Clinton – presumably going forward – to stay after this problem,” Lindbeck said. “I think it’s probably a good idea to have a moratorium on approval of new Canadian permits until the government in British Columbia sort some of the recommendations.”Among other Southeast issues, Lindbeck said the Tongass should be able to supply timber for at least one mill, while protecting fisheries in the region.He said Alaska becoming exempt from the “roadless rule” would be one way of opening up logging lands.The federal regulation set aside millions of acres of forest across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state’s case for an exemption in March.Lindbeck also said the proposed Alaska Mental Health Trust land exchange would be good for the state.That’s been a contentious issue in Southeast.If Congress doesn’t approve the exchange by January, then Mental Health wants to log Ketchikan’s Deer Mountain and land above Mitkof Highway in Petersburg.Other issues Lindbeck is pushing for are broadband infrastructure expansion and legislation allowing college students to renegotiate loan debt.Linbeck’s campaign said it will focus on Anchorage and Fairbanks voters leading up to Election Day.Libertarian Jim McDermott and independent candidate Bernie Souphanavong also are  running against Republican incumbent Don Young.Share this story:last_img read more

National service dog nonprofit helps Fairbanks veterans

first_imgHealth | Interior | MilitaryNational service dog nonprofit helps Fairbanks veteransNovember 25, 2016 by Dan Bross, KUAC-Fairbanks Share:A Paws For Purple Hearts service dog greets visitors during an open house at the group’s new training center in south Fairbanks November 12th. (Photo by Dan Bross/KUAC)A national nonprofit group that provides service dogs to military service members and veterans has opened a new training facility in Fairbanks.Paws for Purple Hearts involves service members and vets in the dog training process.Audio Playerhttp://media.aprn.org/2016/ann-20161123-08.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The atmosphere is upbeat as people and dogs mix during an open house event at Paws For Purple Hearts new Fairbanks facility.The young dogs, Labrador and golden retrievers, wearing blue vests, calmly interact with visitors amidst the distracting party atmosphere. They’re young and and still in training, but obviously special animals.In Fairbanks for the open house, Paws For Purple Hearts national President and CEO Greg Sipple emphasizes that his group’s service dog program is different and his dogs are “the most sedate, calming and mellow dogs that we could find.””A lot of places will try to have that dog keep the world away from the veteran,” Sipple said. “Our philosophy is help the veteran get through and integrate back into society. So we’ll have the dog come closer to comfort them at times when their anxiety is high- even when they’re sleeping. The dog can sense the dreams, the emotion and the cortisol being emitted, ad the dogs will comfort the veteran.”Sipple, a former Navy pilot, also points to another unique aspect of the program: use of active duty service members and veterans suffering a range disabilities, including PTSD, to help train the dogs.”Right now the demand for service dogs is far out-stretching the capacity of every organization combined. So what we’re trying to do is make a force multiplier,” Sipple said. “By having the veterans come in, training with the dogs once or twice or three times, as many times as they really want to — something about that magical connection between a dog and a human being and their ability to read and understand our emotions is really what is the magical part of the organization.”Fairbanks is one of five locations in the U.S. where Paws For Purple Hearts operates, and the first to get a purpose-built training facility.With a large veteran population and three military installations, the interior Alaska location makes sense, but Sipple credited two local residents with bringing the organization to Fairbanks: Betsy Jacobs, the program coordinator for Paws for Purple Hearts and Nathan Colin, the director of Paws for Purple Hearts.Both longtime Fairbanks residents, Jacobs and Colin previously involved in therapy dog work. They saw the need for service dogs.”I would often be asked, ‘How do I get a service dog?’” Jacobs said. “I didn’t have an answer for them. There was no place in town where you could get one.”So the couple got trained by service dog pioneer and Paws for Purple Hearts founder Bonnie Bergen in California.”Once Betsy and I both went through her program, she seemed to think we were good candidates,” Colin said. “She asked us if we could open up a Paw for Purple Hearts here in Fairbanks.”Since March Colin and Jacobs say the fledgling Fairbanks branch of Paws For Purple Hearts, has worked with four dogs and about 25 service members and veterans.“Positive dog training — Susan Sampson has allowed us to use her facility free for the entire time, March until now,” Jacobs said.“Until we got our own facility now,” Colin said.“So we’ve only been meeting twice a week, but now that we’ve got our own place, we’ll be able to expand our service immensely,” Jacobs said.“And the neat thing snout our services – all our classes, all our events, everything for the servicemen and veterans – are free,” Colin said. “And if any of them want a dog, the dog is free.”That’s a big deal as the couple said trained service dogs can cost as much as $75,000.Paws For Purple Hearts CEO Sipple said the organization is entirely funded by private donations and grants, noting that Alaskan people and businesses have been generous in helping the organization get started and he aspires to expand into Anchorage and Juneau.Share this story:last_img read more

Amid violence and breakdown, no clear intervention for Florida shooter

first_imgMilitary | Nation & World | Public Safety | SouthcentralAmid violence and breakdown, no clear intervention for Florida shooterJanuary 13, 2017 by Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media Share:FBI Special Agent Marlon Ritzman addresses reporters at a press conference at Anchorage Police Department headquarters on Jan. 7, 2016. (Photo by Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)A week after a mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport, questions remain about why an Anchorage man with multiple domestic violence incidents and a documented mental breakdown was allowed to transport a handgun across the country.Audio Playerhttp://media.aprn.org/2017/ann-20170112-04.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Much remains unknown about alleged shooter Esteban Santiago, and law enforcement officials caution that his brushes with the law in Anchorage bore no clear warning signs.In a court hearing in March, Santiago gave short answers as he took a deferred sentencing agreement in a domestic violence case.“No one’s forcing you to do this?” Judge Gregory Motyka asked in a recording of the hearing.“No, sir,” Santiago replied.“And you’re not under the influence of any medications, drugs or alcohol at this present time?”“No, sir.”Under the deal, Santiago pleaded to a lesser charge, agreeing to complete an anger management course and not engage in any violent behavior.The original charge was from incident two months earlier in January.“Mr. Santiago was with his girlfriend G.P.” the municipal prosecutor said in the recording, reading from a document and referring to Santiago’s girlfriend by her initials. “Mr. Santiago forced his way into the bathroom, breaking the door in the frame in the process, and hit G.P. on the side of the head.”Santiago had contact with police four times last year stemming from accusations of domestic violence.At a news conference in Anchorage the day after the shooting, Police Chief Chris Tolley laid out a chronology of those encounters, none of which led to any new charges.“Officers investigated, and no probable cause was established for arrest,” Tolley said of an Oct. 21 allegation of strangulation that bought police into contact with Santiago.This came just weeks before Santiago went to the FBI and complained of mind control by government agencies, characterized by law enforcement as a “mental health crisis” and leading to a short stay in a psychiatric treatment facility.Police held on to a handgun Santiago had with him, although they ultimately returned it a month later.There’s speculation it was the same weapon he used when he allegedly opened fire at the airport, shooting eleven people.While in retrospect the domestic violence incidents and psychological episode might look like red flags, officials in Anchorage said that is a very different view from how things looked in real time.“It’s very sad to say that what happened in this DV case is very par for the course with what we see every single day,” Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor Seneca Theno said during an interview in her office.According to Theno, there are a lot of reasons police wouldn’t have been able to make an arrest amid accusations of strangulation or assault.For one, police aren’t able to review someone’s full record of interactions with law enforcement and courts while they’re responding to an incident, which makes it difficult to spot a pattern of abusive behavior.Secondly, officers are trained to consult with prosecutors over whether there’s enough evidence to ultimately make a case down the line.Without probable cause, there’s no recourse available to law enforcement.“It happens all the time with DV cases,” Theno said. “Domestic violence cases are some of the most difficult (to prosecute), in part, because they happen in the privacy of a home, most of the time. And there often times aren’t witnesses, and, frankly, that’s often times by design.”Theno doesn’t see anything exceptional in Santiago’s police record, and described the mental health crisis as coming out of the blue.Santiago went to police to retrieve his gun on Nov. 30, but they didn’t hand it over, for reasons that APD has not made clear. But on Dec. 8 he got it back.Theno cautioned while that might look reckless in hindsight, public officials treat firearms like all other property, no different from a backpack or phone.Unless its being held as evidence, police have to return it.“They don’t get to look back and say ‘well, you’re kind of sketchy, you’ve had some things and we’re not quite sure what’s going on, and so we’re going to hold on to your stuff because we’re not comfortable with you,’” Theno said. “They don’t have the legal authority to do that, regardless of what other incident they’ve had with that person.”Even amid a mental health crisis, there is no law that would have kept Santiago from reclaiming his firearm, unless he’d been formally declared mentally ill by a state judge, an extremely high bar to clear.Alaska doesn’t have any its own laws when it comes to gun ownership or prohibitions, just the federal standards.Under those rules, anyone convicted of a domestic violence assault is prohibited from owning or transporting a gun.When Santiago pleaded down to a delayed sentence on a lesser charge of “creating fear of injury,” that federal provision wasn’t tripped.Share this story:last_img read more

Long winter is making for cranky moose, Fish and Game warns

first_imgOutdoors | Public Safety | State Government | WildlifeLong winter is making for cranky moose, Fish and Game warnsMarch 15, 2017 by Avery Lill, KDLG-Dillingham Share:(Photo by KDLG)As this winter continues, longer and snowier than those in the recent past, moose are getting cantankerous warns the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in a Monday news release.Neil Barten, Fish and Game wildlife biologist in Dillingham, said that no aggressive moose have been reported in the area, but that potential is there, so it’s important not to pester them.“This winter’s been getting kind of long, and in places where the snow has piled up, the moose are kind of having to work harder to get food,” Barten said. “They’re burning up their energy reserves that they have to hopefully make it through the winter with, so as some people have kind of noted, they can get kind of ornery around this time of year because they are already stressed out.”Come late spring, Barten said people should be especially mindful of giving moose appropriate space.“When we get into late May, when the moose start dropping calves, moose are very good mothers,” he said. “They’re very defensive, and that’s the time of year that they can be very aggressive toward a dog, a person or whatever that happens to get close to them or their calves.”Fish and Game says that Alaskans have reported encounters with aggressive moose from Homer to Anchorage, Palmer and beyond in recent weeks.Share this story:last_img read more

Sen. David Wilson says he filed to run lieutenant governor by accident, doesn’t intend to run

first_imgCrime & Courts | Juneau | Southcentral | State GovernmentSen. David Wilson says he filed to run lieutenant governor by accident, doesn’t intend to runJuly 20, 2017 by Phillip Maning, KTNA-Talkeetna Share:State Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, addresses his colleagues in the Senate on Friday, June 16, 2017. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)On Wednesday, state Sen. David Wilson filed a letter of intent to run for lieutenant governor. Later the same day, he amended that filing, saying he is not running.Wilson, a Wasilla Republican, said he made the filing accidentally, and does not intend to run for any statewide office in 2018.He declined to elaborate on how he accidentally filed to run for the state’s second highest office, and said he has no further comment on the issue.Meanwhile, the state Office of Special Prosecutions has not made a decision about whether to charge Wilson for allegedly slapping an Alaska Dispatch News reporter in the Capitol.The Juneau Police Department handed the case off to the office in May, three weeks after reporter Nathaniel Herz said Wilson slapped him in an encounter.Herz had an audio recorder going when he asked the senator about his reaction to a recent story.“Was that reasonable?” Herz asked.“Reasonable?” Wilson retorted.“Fair?” Herz asked.“Fair…,” Wilson paused before a slapping sound on the recording. “There we go.”Chief Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson said he cannot provide further comment on an ongoing matter.Typical criminal cases go to local district attorneys for consideration.The state constitution makes legislators immune to arrests for misdemeanors while the Legislature is in session.The Legislature has been out of session since Sunday, for the first time since the incident.APRN and KTOO reporter Andrew Kitchenman contributed to this story. Share this story:last_img read more

Man found dead on campus of University of Alaska Southeast

first_imgJuneau | Public Safety | University of AlaskaMan found dead on campus of University of Alaska SoutheastJanuary 16, 2018 by Associated Press Share:JUNEAU — Authorities say a 50-year-old man has been found dead in a campus housing building at the University of Alaska Southeast.The Juneau Empire reports that the man was found dead Sunday night. University officials say he had recently enrolled at the school for the spring semester.The man’s name was not in a university news release.University Public Information Officer Keni Campbell says foul play is not suspected and there’s no risk to the campus community.The man’s family has been notified.Campbell says the incident is the first death on campus in quite a while.Counseling services are being made available for staff and students.Share this story:last_img read more

Man accused of ransacking Jordan Creek businesses faces new burglary charge

first_imgCrime & Courts | JuneauMan accused of ransacking Jordan Creek businesses faces new burglary chargeFebruary 19, 2018 by Tripp J Crouse, KTOO Share:A man charged with burglary last month, faces a new burglary charge after he allegedly broke into a Lemon Creek school.Shawn T. Beaird, 34, was arrested on a charge of burglary, criminal mischief and theft.Juneau police received a report of a burglary about 8:15 p.m. Friday at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, according to a news release.Police said they found Beaird inside the school. He attempted to flee and resisted officers but was eventually detained.According to police, Beaird forcibly entered the school, caused about $4,500 in damages to property and stole a small amount of cash.He’s also charged with violating conditions of his release in a previous case.In January, Beaird was indicted on burglary charges after allegedly ransacking Jordan Creek businesses.Charging documents in that case accuse him of breaking into three businesses in the Nugget Mall Annex of Jordan Creek, and stealing about $200.He was released on bail Jan. 29.Share this story:last_img read more

Sen. Murkowski endorses Republican Mike Dunleavy for governor

first_imgAlaska’s Energy Desk | Election Coverage | Politics | State GovernmentSen. Murkowski endorses Republican Mike Dunleavy for governorOctober 26, 2018 by Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Bethel Share:Sen. Lisa Murkowski visited Bethel on Friday to update the region on her work in Washington D.C. and listen to constituents. (Photo by Krysti Shallenberger/KYUK)Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski endorsed Mike Dunleavy in the battle for the governor’s seat during her visit to Bethel on Friday. Dunleavy, the Republican nominee, is running against Democrat Mark Begich and Libertarian Billy Toien.Sen. Murkowski says that Dunleavy’s stance on Ballot Measure 1, a controversial salmon habitat ballot measure, was a big factor in her support. Murkowski doesn’t support the salmon initiative —and neither does Dunleavy.“I have looked at the language of this initiative and as a former state legislator, and one who was responsible we get legislation and laws right, I’m very concerned that the ways this initiative is drafted.” Murkowski said. “It would bring about unintended consequences that will limit our opportunity and ability as individuals and communities to really move forward with even the most simple development project.”The ballot initiative would toughen the permitting process for large industrial projects proposed in salmon habitat, among other things. This could impact major mining projects like the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay and the proposed Donlin gold mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.Murkowski said that she supports the intent behind the ballot initiative. If the initiative doesn’t pass, she said she would urge the state Legislature to take up the issue of salmon habitat protection in the next session.“So what I would like to do, what I want to see happen, is see this initiative rejected and our state legislature look specifically to these issues,” Murkowski said.Alaskans will get to choose their next Governor and whether or not to pass the salmon habitat ballot initiative on Nov. 6.Share this story:last_img read more

Don Young: 46 years in an office he never expected to win

first_imgFederal Government | PoliticsDon Young: 46 years in an office he never expected to winMarch 7, 2019 by Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media Share:Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, at his swearing-in ceremony, March 14, 1973. Speaker of the House Carl Albert, D-Okla., administers the oath, with House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, R-Mich. (Public domain photo)Congressman Don Young has hit a milestone: He is now the longest-serving Republican member of Congress in history.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2019/03/ann-20190306-03.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.On Wednesday, Young surpassed the previous record held by Rep. Joseph Cannon, R-Ill., whose tenure began in 1873.Young has served since 1973. Of all the work he’s done in his 46 years in office, the bill he considers the most significant was the one allowing for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.“There’s no Alaskan right now that isn’t somehow touched by what I’ve been able to do in Congress. And people say, ‘That’s kind of presumptuous.’ But you think, everyone gets a permanent (fund) dividend check. That was my bill,” he said, referring to the pipeline legislation. “And people forget that. But I’m going to remind them again.”When Young makes national headlines, though, it’s usually for more colorful episodes, and they are recounted over and over, in every profile. The time he uttered a crude sexual term when addressing high school students. The time he had to apologize for using a derogatory word for Latino migrants. Or the time C-SPAN cameras caught him making faces on the House floor as a colleague was speaking about a Marine killed in action.Young said he is who he is, and he doesn’t mind the stories.“In some cases I may have outlived the so-called ‘politically correct’ term. But it’s still me,” he said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office, which is crowded with hunting trophies, photos and memorabilia.ln fact, Young said he’s likely to create some more colorful moments in the years to come.“Because I don’t like, very frankly, the wishy-washy, mamby-pamby-type people we’ve elected to Congress,” he said. “And if there’s a point to be made, I’ll make it.”When he took the oath of office in 1973, he never imagined he’d still be a congressman 46 years later. Young said he never expected to be in Congress at all.He was a state House member and got elected to the state Senate in 1970. As he tells it, he didn’t like the Senate, for the same reason he’s never wanted to be in the U.S. Senate.“I don’t like the way they conduct themselves. It’s not, I think, a real active body,” Young said. “That’s national and in the state legislative body.”Rep. Don Young’s Washington office has trophies and mementos on just about every surface. (Photo by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)His wife at the time, Lu, talked him into running for Congress as a way to quit politics: They figured the incumbent, Nick Begich, would win and Young could go back to Fort Yukon and captain tugboats again.“Well, I ran for Congress and (as) everyone knows, Nick took off Oct. 16 and never was found, and he still beat me,” Young said.Congressman Begich’s chartered plane disappeared three weeks before Election Day in 1972. That November, Young took just 44 percent of the vote.That’s another one of those stories people tell about Young, how “he lost to a dead man.” Did it bother him?“Oh, I joke about it. A little bit,” he said. “I sort of felt like the Pony Express rider that gets his horse shot out from underneath him, and he finds a swayback, wall-eyed horse, but other than to ride that horse he’ll get killed.”Young won a special election in 1973 to take the seat. And he kept winning, every two years. He’s 85, the oldest member now in Congress. Young said he plans to serve as long as he remains in good health and the voters of Alaska decide to keep him.And by the way, Young is the longest-serving Republican member of Congress, House or Senate. He would have to serve 13 more years to beat the record held by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who died last month.Share this story:last_img read more

On Yukon, late salmon run means month-and-a-half fishery reduced to less than two weeks

first_imgA News | Community | Economy | Environment | Fisheries | Oceans | WesternOn Yukon, late salmon run means month-and-a-half fishery reduced to less than two weeksJuly 28, 2019 by Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – Bethel Share:Fishermen dock before running into the Kwik’Pak store for supplies before the Yukon’s final commercial summer opening on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)The lower Yukon River, one of the nation’s poorest regions, has one major industry: chum salmon fishing. The summer fishery usually opens at the beginning of June, but this year it didn’t open until July. KYUK visited Kwik’Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, the only company buying lower Yukon salmon, to talk with people about the late season’s economic impact.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2019/07/190724_kwikpak_pkg.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.It’s 1:50 p.m. on a July afternoon. The final commercial fishing opening of the summer starts in 10 minutes. A line of open skiffs stretches out from Kwik’Pak’s gas dock, waiting to fuel up.“Five boats waiting,” Kenneth Lee, who’s running the pump, counts off. “Along with five that are parked.”Fishermen and their families run into the Kwik’Pak store for snacks and supplies. They leave with candy bars, cases of Shasta soda, rope and zip-close bags. Commercial fisherman Lamarr Lowe comes out unwrapping a special treat.“Had to go get a nice Cuban cigar to sit back and relax, watch the net splash,” Lowe says, laughing behind gold-framed Ray Ban sunglasses. When asked if that means it’s going to be a good opening, he responds, “That’s what we’re all hoping for.”Commercial fisherman Lorraine Joseph is fishing with her father and hopes to net a couple hundred fish today, but she won’t be able to catch up to where they usually are this time of year.“But we’re making some money,” she says before climbing in her boat.Lee, the man pumping gas, is also a commercial fisherman, but he’s sitting out this opening because of a torn net. Earlier this year he bought a bigger boat, and to pay it off, he lined up a summer job clerking at the Kwik’Pak store.“I take care of parts, deliveries,” he explained.Lee planned to commercial fish during openings, clerk at the store the rest of the days, and be debt free, riding around in his new boat by the end of the summer. But things didn’t go as planned. He, like the rest of the fleet, had to sit out June and wait for the fish.“I was like everybody else, wondering when the fishing season going to open,” Lee remembered. “It was a little odd for me.”The delay gave him plenty of time to meet his subsistence fishing needs, but it didn’t give him any cash. Unlike most fishermen, Lee has a full-time job during the rest of the year, working as a teacher’s aide. Most Yukon fishermen rely on commercial fishing as their main source of income for the year. That money pays for the gas and supplies to subsist through the summer and into the winter. About a quarter of commercial fishermen aren’t fishing this year. They can’t afford it. Startup costs can be a couple thousand dollars.Lee says that he’s earned as much as $20,000 during a summer season, and as low as $8,000.“Probably won’t even exceed $5,000 this year,” he estimated. “It’ll put a little hardship on me, making payments to bills, or all the bills, actually, some food on the table, gas to go get my subsistence gatherings, but I’ll find a way to manage.”Darren Jennings works on a Kwik’Pak tender, a ship that collects salmon from fishermen on the river. The job started when the fishing did. Jennings supplements his income with mechanic work and trapping, but Kwik’Pak is his main paycheck.“I’ve been doing subsistence. Food stamps helps a lot, stuff like that while we don’t have no job. I’ve got to feed my kids somehow,” he said.The entire lower Yukon fishery, from the processing workers to the fishermen, is about 60% its usual size. That means around 250 people don’t have a job this summer. The fishery usually infuses about $10 million into the region’s economy. This year it won’t do even half that.Jack Schultheis, Kwik’Pak Operations Manager, says that the summer fishery usually processes about 2.5 million pounds of chum salmon. This year it has processed about 800,000 pounds.“I guess you could call it an economic calamity, (an) economic depression,” Schultheis said. “I don’t want to call it a disaster, because we did get the fish.”With the month-and-a-half summer fishery compressed to less than two weeks, there was no room for error. But when the fishery finally opened, a series of unfortunate events hit, all outside Kwik’Pak’s control.“Not only was there a lack of production,” Schultheis explained, “but when we did finally get good production out of the fishermen, everything else seemed to go wrong for us.”Multiple power outages fried crucial machinery, including an ice maker, forcing Kwik’Pak to fly in plane-loads of ice from Anchorage. One outage even canceled a fishing opening.For days, cell phones and internet shut down. Landlines were unreliable. Customers couldn’t contact Kwik’Pak and instead found salmon elsewhere. Other customers, like Whole Foods, had already dropped Kwik’Pak weeks before when the season didn’t open as scheduled.To request a plane to either pick up fish or fly in ice, Schultheis would hand-write a note, which he would give to a pilot heading upriver, who would deliver it to a friend in a nearby village, who would then call the airlines.Also that week, a historic heat wave swept Alaska. The lower Yukon River hit its highest recorded water temperature, and fishermen reported salmon floating dead in the water.“It seems like it was a lifetime,” Schultheis said, looking back on the short fishery, “because we had so many problems with it. But we got through it.”In the end, Kwik’Pak didn’t lose a single fish, and it still has enough customers to buy its products. Schultheis says that they protected the company’s reputation, and hopefully the chance to earn a better income for the region next summer. There’s still potential for a commercial fishery on the fall chum this year, but that run is expected to be late and weak.Commerical fisherman and Kwik’Pak store clerk Kenneth Lee gassing up boats in Emmonak, Alaska on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)Darren Jennings works on a Kwik’Pak tender, pictured here at Kwik’Pak Fisheries on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)Kwik’Pak Fisheries Operation Manager Jack Schultheis at Kwik’Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, Alaska on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)A commercial fisherman heads out for the Yukon River’s final commercial summer opening on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)Ice covers wild salmon at Kwik’Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, Alaska on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)Kwik’Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, Alaska on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)A crane unloads totes of salmon from a tender at Kwik’Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, Alaska on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)Fish totes at Kwik’Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, Alaska on July 15, 2019. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK)12345678 read more