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Fat Fridays: A mighty lean week for Alaskan grants from Uncle Sam

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Every Friday, Alaska's congressional delegation touts how much federal grant and loan funding it has helped bring home. And Alaska Dispatch does its part, contributing to the public record in a heralded tradition of journalistic stenography: We decode the bureaucratic jargon and lay out for you, dear reader, the goody take.

By any measure, it was a lean week for the Last Frontier in Washington, D.C. The 49th state's big three in D.C. -- U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski and U.S. Rep. Don Young -- together report delivering just a pittance in "federal grants and loan money" from the Capitol's hallowed halls.

We can only hope it's because they were focused on the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, the nation's largest representative annual gathering of First Peoples, currently under way in Anchorage, Alaska.

Here's a breakdown of the $1.47 million in funds they report delivering home:

  • $48,863 awarded by the U.S. Justice Department to 15 jurisdictions in Alaska for "purchase of bulletproof vests" toward law enforcement (jurisdictions are not identified);
  • $554,140 in grant money to the Tanadgusix Corp. in Saint Paul for expanding broadband Internet access;
  • $483,000 for a belated transition to digital broadcast spectrum for Capital Community Broadcasting, Inc., in Juneau, the state's capital city. The funds come in form of a federal grant toward "digital master control and production equipment";
  • $175,000 in rural cooperative development grant money for the University of Alaska Anchorage
  • $158,656 in tribal college grant moneys for Ilisagvik Tribal College in Barrow to "modernize its transportation fleet";
  • $50,000 to the Metlakatla Housing Authority for needed repairs to eight low-income homes, owned by elders in Metlakatla, a tiny community just about as far southeast as one can travel in the Alaska Panhandle.