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Bob Hallinen,Lisa Demer

ALONG KUSKOKUAK SLOUGH -- On a sunny summer day, the quiet peace of a remote fish camp on a slow-moving branch of the Kuskokwim River became a crazy-busy place of heading and gutting, cutting and hanging.The salmon were running, and Bethel elders Roy and Ida Alexie, along with daughters, grandkids and extended family, were catching them.“I’ll take the heart!” 6-year-old Alyssa “Frankie” Wassillie called out as her mom -- one of Ida’s many nieces -- guided an ulu through the crunch of salmon bone and flesh.Life at this Yup’ik camp blends deep traditions with modern twists, bursts of intense work with stretches of easy play and relaxation.Read more: At Kuskokwim River fish camp, smokehouses fill with fish and tradition Watch this video on YouTube or Vimeo, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos.
Alaska Dispatch

The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions

A National Academy of Sciences program investigates the rapidly changing landscape in the Arctic and how the changes affect regions that rely on frozen water. This “new normal” of reduced ice and snow has repercussions across the Arctic, from ecosystems and people to climate, according to researchers.This video focuses on the National Research Council report that has determined emerging questions to help us understand how these changes will affect society and the environment globally.
Laurel Andrews

Whale vs Pontoon plane - Angoon Alaska

A float plane's near-miss with a whale in the Southeast Alaska community of Angoon was caught on video last week.Thomas Hamm of San Diego, California, shot the video on the morning on July 10. Hamm had been in Angoon on business, he said Monday, and was waiting for a plane to take him back to Juneau when he caught the close encounter on film.Hamm said the video was “just a lucky shot.”Hamm has been to Alaska three times now. “Going up there is like going to another world for me,” he said. The plane, a DeHavilland Beaver, belongs to Harris Aircraft Services. The company is based out of nearby Sitka and flies to a number of communities in Southeast Alaska.Angoon, population 459, is located on Admiralty Island about 55 miles southwest of Juneau and 41 miles northeast of Sitka, according to the Alaska city database. The community is only accessible by boat or float plane, and boasts a seaplane base but no land-based runway. 
Marc Lester
In Fairbanks, several waste transfer sites are popular places for residents hunt for items to reclaim and recycle. Many people drop off and pick up items under pavilions for reusable goods. Some people search through the dumpsters as well. In this video, four residents talk about what they look for at they look for and what they've found at the dumps in the Interior. READ MORE: In Fairbanks, it's not dumpster diving, it's dump shoppingWatch this video on Vimeo or YouTube and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Marc Lester at
Bill Roth
King salmon that have returned from the ocean to Ship Creek school up near the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery in Anchorage. They will be used as broodstock to enhance the sport fishing opportunities at Ship Creek, Eklutna Tailrace, Seward, and the Prince William Sound communities of Whittier, Cordova, and Valdez. Fish and Game also stocks area lakes with catchable-sized king salmon for ice fishing.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Bill Roth at broth(at)
Kyle Hopkins
MP, age 7 1/2, is getting too old for this. The Belgian Malinois police dog was just months from retirement Saturday when he and his handler, Anchorage police officer Nathan Keays, arrived in Mountain View to investigate reports of a man wielding a machete.One of seven patrol dogs working for the Anchorage Police Department, MP’s job is to chase down suspects, search buildings and sniff out evidence criminals might toss while on the run.MP was stabbed at least three times in the head and neck and spent an hour in surgery, Keays said. The weekend encounter in East Anchorage turned a citywide spotlight on the department’s nearly 40-year-old canine unit as well-wishers wondered about the condition of the wounded dog.On Monday, the officer spoke to reporters about the arrest for the first time, describing what happened in his own words. MP, he said, held his own. READ MORE: APD dog panting to return to work after stabbing
Alaska Public Media

We Are A Puppetry Troupe | INDIE ALASKA

Indie Alaska is an original video series produced by Alaska Public Media in partnership with PBS Digital Studios. The weekly series captures the diverse and colorful lifestyles of everyday Alaskans at work and at play. Together, these videos present a fresh and authentic look at living in Alaska.In this episode we meet Geppetto's Junkyard, a group of 20 amateur puppeteers living in Haines, Alaska. Their performances cater to locals, and mostly to adults.
Tara Young,Suzanna Caldwell

Believe it or not, musk ox milk is a real hit in coffee.It’s rich and fatty and not the least bit offensive in flavor, at least according to taste tests by managers at the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer.Last week, cows started to wean their babies, and for the first time in two decades managers decided to try milking the musk oxen. Turns out they can, with somewhat surprising results.Musk Ox Farm executive director Mark Austin said historical records show mixed results when it comes to how much milk a musk ox can produce. The first known milking of musk oxen at the farm was done in the late 1980s, when the Palmer location first opened. Musk oxen don’t produce much milk, but because of that it’s rich with fat and protein. Austin said they thought musk oxen could generally produce about a cup of milk a day.But as he stood in one of the farm’s barns Thursday, holding a pint-sized jar filled to the brim with warm milk from one cow, it seemed that assessment might be up for debate.“Looks like we’re getting more efficient,” he said.Of seven lactating females in the herd, three have taken -- more or less -- to being milked. It’s not the most natural situation for the musk oxen, whose teats are somewhat smaller and tucked farther toward the back legs than those of a cow or goat, according to herd manager Janelle Curtis.Curtis and a team of interns started testing whether musk oxen could stand milking earlier this week. Some thrashed, others just lay down in the pen, while three seemed to like it, including Lola, a 4-year-old first-time mom to baby Topaz.She’s funny about milking, Curtis said. As they begin the milking process, Lola relaxes and her eyes roll back a bit, seemingly content. On Thursday she stayed still in the stanchion used to keep her steady while interns plunged their hands into her thick guard hair, carefully collecting small amounts of milk at time.Alexis Daggett, an intern from Wisconsin, grew up with milking goats and quickly squirted powerful streams of milk from Lola’s teats before having to pause because of hand cramps. She said it’s not that different from milking goats or any other kind of herd animal. The biggest difference is the long guard hairs that cover the musk ox. You have to be cautious not to pull them, Daggett said.“It’d be like reaching up and pulling the hair on someone’s head,” Daggett said.Some of the milk will go toward feeding baby Pearl, who was born about a month after the rest of the calves in the herd. She's being weaned with the rest of her cohorts but she's a bit smaller, and staff hope the milk will help her more quickly catch up to the rest of the calves. They’ll also freeze some of it for calves that might need it in the future.The farm staff has already started experimenting with the milk, though it won't be available for public consumption. Ice cream seems the most exciting possibility, Curtis said, due to the high fat content of the milk.Earlier this week, they used it to make chocolate fudge.The verdict?“It was delicious,” Curtis said. “Really creamy.”And for workers at the farm, full of possibility.
Tara Young

As an interagency coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service, a good portion of Bobbie Jo Skibo's job in the summer involves education and management of fishing on the Russian River.Two runs of sockeye salmon, one in June and another in July, bring fishermen from all corners of Alaska and beyond to partake in a cultural experience Alaskans refer to as "combat fishing." “Some of the things people can experience in high-density fishing is that they can get hooked," Skibo said -- though she wasn't referring to the addictive nature of getting a fish at the end of the line. "So if you’re not really watching you can get hooked in the face, the ears, it’s unfortunate but it does happen quite often here. Sometimes the combat portion is everybody’s trying to catch that fish and they’re not looking out for each other.”"Combat fishing is just a fight for a good fishing spot," said Russian River Ferry operator Brookes Reames of Jackson, Miss. "On the river as with any other type of fishing it really has a lot to do with the spot that you're at. And out here when it's very populated with people, you'll catch a salmon and somebody will step right where you were, where you caught that salmon, and take your spot. It's that easy to lose your spot. It really is a fight for the fish."Clarence Delaughter, originally from Miami, Fla., has been fishing on the Kenai since he retired from the military and relocated to Alaska in 1977. He said combat fishing means “you get you a spot and you fight to keep it. That’s just what it means because there be so many people sometimes.”To get to some of the good fishing holes on the Russian River, anglers have to hike through the woods along scenic banks of ferns and trees. People are slightly more spread out and serene there than their neighbors fishing downstream on the Kenai, where fishing is shoulder to shoulder and tempers can flare if anyone gets in the way of landing a salmon. Anglers say another key difference between the two fishing spots is that on the Russian River, the water is so clear you can see a fish catch a line. The bright blue, glacial-fed water on the Kenai is opaque, making it near-impossible to see the fish. So anglers have to do what Skibo refers to as the "Kenai roll," and keep casting their line in hopes of feeling that little tug of a fish.But the Kenai has it's advantages: It's accessible, the shoreline vegetation is sparser -- making it easier to spot bears -- and there's no hike to get to the river. The same ferry that takes anglers from the Sportman's Landing campground and parking lot at Mile 55 on the Sterling Highway across the Kenai River to where they can hike to the Russian River, also provides easy access the Kenai's far shore.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)
Alaska Public Media

I Am The Town Obituary Writer | INDIE ALASKA

Indie Alaska is an original video series produced by Alaska Public Media in partnership with PBS Digital Studios. The weekly series captures the diverse and colorful lifestyles of everyday Alaskans at work and at play. Together, these videos present a fresh and authentic look at living in Alaska.In this episode we meet writer Heather Lende. She's been a columnist for publications in Alaska and nationwide, and published books about life in rural Haines, Alaska. Her third book, "Find the Good," will be published Spring 2015. However, the job Lende is most passionate about is as obituary writer for her local paper, the Chilkat Valley News. 
Kyle Hopkins,Marc Lester

Alcohol & Me: Wellness Court

Nick Zywot’s mom stopped talking to him because of his drinking. After a decade of sobriety, police arrested him a few days after Christmas for DUI No. 6.Jesse Powell notched his fourth DUI in September. Tia Smart went to court 10 times for underage drinking before her latest assault charge.That was last year. Today, these Alaskans share two things in common: All chose to battle their way through a special court program designed to help them stay sober. And all face jail time if they screw up.Welcome to Wellness Court, an alternative to regular courtrooms that the Alaska Judicial Council and economics researchers say holds promise for cracking the cycle of Alaska inmates who can’t stay out of jail. Created in 1999 with a single Anchorage court, the program has expanded to 11 courts across the state with more venues under consideration, said program coordinator Michelle Bartley.Some courts are designed to help veterans or people who struggle with mental health problems. Others, like the Anchorage Wellness Court, focus on misdemeanor alcohol offenders who often have multiple DUIs on their rap sheet and face serious prison time if busted again.Those who agree to the program -- which can include mandatory use of anti-addiction medication, 12-step groups and intensive treatment -- face up to a year in prison. Their lives are in pieces. “You’ve lost your kids. You’ve lost friends. You’ve lost your husband. You’ve lost lots of personal relationships,” said District Court Judge David Wallace, who oversees the misdemeanor wellness court in Anchorage. “This is your last opportunity.”Another wellness court focuses on people accused of felonies. Over the past year, 521 people have participated in the “problem-solving” or therapeutic programs. A 2012 state study published by the Alaska Judicial Council and the Institute of Social and Economic Research found that those who do graduate are at least 30 percent less likely to re-offend.While specialty courts are relatively new to Alaska, the idea reaches back to the 1980s when drug cases began to overwhelm many U.S. courtrooms. By the end of the decade, frustrated judges suspected that prison time alone did little to stop addicts from committing new crimes upon release.Drug treatment courts emerged in an effort to slow recidivism.In the late 1990s, the same approach was being applied to people who kept getting in trouble with the law because they won’t or can’t stop drinking.It’s been hard to break the cycle of relapse, said Powell, who is 41. But things could be much worse.“I don’t deal well with guilt of any kind. Knowing that I caused somebody harm or death, (I) probably couldn’t live with that,” he said.In an effort to report on potential solutions to Alaska’s soaring rates of alcohol-related crime, the Anchorage Daily News recently spent two months visiting the Anchorage Wellness Court and talking with people working their way through the program. Contact Kyle Hopkins at or on Twitter.
Tara Young
A group of good friends, lifelong Alaskans, got together to experience the magic of the longest day of the year in the heart of Alaska's Interior. Their drone helped beautifully capture the moment.