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Lisa Demer

BETHEL -- The Federal Subsistence Board is coming to Bethel, McGrath and Aniak in early September for a rare Kuskokwim River field trip.

The eight-member board oversees a multi-agency federal effort “to provide the opportunity for a subsistence way of life by rural Alaskans on federal public lands and waters while maintaining healthy populations of fish and wildlife,” according to the Federal Subsistence Management Program website.

On Sept. 8, half the board members will go to Bethel and the other half will head upriver to McGrath. The next day, the whole board is set to meet in Aniak, said Gene Peltola, who heads the federal Office of Subsistence Management, which is part of the Department of Interior...

Lisa Demer

DONLIN GOLD WORK CAMP -- On a remote ridge in the big, open space between Bethel and Anchorage, where the land and minerals are owned by Alaska Native corporations, developers want to cut deep into the earth to extract microscopic bits of gold.

The Donlin Gold project is moving quietly forward. Backers are seeking key government permissions and trying to secure the trust of local residents.

Developers say the mine’s design will be the safest, most stable possible. A wealth of good jobs would open up in the cash-starved Western Alaska region if Donlin is developed, project sponsors say...

Lisa Demer

BETHEL -- A 1-year-old girl fell into a bucket of water and drowned Thursday in the Western Alaska village of Kotlik, Alaska State Troopers reported Friday.

The 5-gallon bucket was in the bathroom of the small house, just 800 or 900 square feet, troopers said. It was half-full of water used for hand-washing since the home doesn’t have running water, trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said in an email.

The mother was home with the 1-year-old and two siblings, Ipsen said. She had talked to the child about 10 minutes before an older sibling found her in the bucket midday Thursday. The child wasn’t able to get out of the bucket herself, troopers said. Troopers didn’t identify the family...

Lisa Demer

BETHEL -- The city of Bethel has hired an Anchorage lawyer to represent it in any cases that arise from last week’s police shooting and an earlier incident that resulted in a witness complaint of police brutality .

Bill Ingaldson, a former state prosecutor with a longstanding private practice in Anchorage, said he was retained on an hourly basis and that his firm has worked previously for Bethel. The amount the city is paying wasn’t immediately available...

Lisa Demer

State health officials are investigating a cluster of possible botulism cases in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta that began with a shared meal of fermented fish heads, an epidemiologist said Monday.

Of four people who ate together last week, one died and two others fell ill, said Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist in the Alaska Division of Public Health.

Alaska State Troopers on Sunday evening identified the man who died as Allen Nook, 59, of Lower Kalskag, a village of about 300 people on the Kuskokwim River 350 miles west of Anchorage. He ate the fish Wednesday and complained of seeing double and feeling ill, according to the troopers report.

Nook was found dead in his home Friday. His body was flown to Anchorage for an autopsy by the state medical examiner...

Lisa Demer

BETHEL — In the midst of two investigations into Bethel police actions, a video has emerged that sheds light on — and raises questions about — one of the incidents.

The three-minute video posted Monday on radio station KYUK’s website and Facebook page shows an altercation Friday between a man and two officers in which he rushes them with a baseball bat, swings at an officer who had fallen, and ends up on the ground himself...

Lisa Demer

A man from Lower Kalskag who became sick after eating fermented fish was found dead in his home Friday, Alaska State Troopers reported Sunday evening.

Allen Nook, 59, ate the fish Wednesday and complained of seeing double and feeling ill, according to the trooper report. Around 2 p.m. Friday, a community member found him unresponsive in his home. Local health workers were called and he was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. Troopers were notified. Nook's body was flown to Anchorage for an autopsy by the state medical examiner.

The trooper report did not provide any details on the fermented fish. In the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, some residents ferment fish heads.

Nook's family has been notified, troopers said...

Lisa Demer

The fight over the proposed Pebble mine came to the Egan Center on Tuesday at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing before a crowd of hundreds, some holding salmon cutouts or wearing anti-Pebble stickers and others with red stop signs saying “Hands off Alaska.”

The EPA is seeking public comment on its proposal to put sharp limits on the Pebble project with the goal of protecting Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon runs.

People on both sides of the conflict testified about their love of salmon and how they cherish the thriving Bristol Bay runs...

Lisa Demer

Public hearings on a federal agency’s proposal to put sharp limits on a big mine in the Bristol Bay area are being held this week in Anchorage and in the affected region.

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comment on its plan to protect Bristol Bay’s salmon runs by limiting how much salmon habitat could be harmed by a mine.

Here is the hearing schedule:...

Lisa Demer

BETHEL -- In a city with no curbside trash pickup, where plastic shopping bags must be biodegradable but stuff still accumulates in yards, dumpsters are not only essential but celebrated.

The dumpsters of Bethel are canvases for public art and billboards for public health. They are where residents are supposed to throw away garbage but their value extends beyond function.

"Everybody thinks of Bethel as being ugly and it’s not,” said Tiffany Tony, operations director for the region’s vocational school, Yuut Elitnaurviat. “Bethel is quirky.”...

Lisa Demer