Donlin Gold Mine

Our Ancestors taught us to respect the people, Mother Nature, and in this case… the land. Not only will this destroy the animals that roam the waters, and the animals that seek water… it will destroy the next generation, and perhaps – the teenagers and children as well, and many more generations to come.

The money that is distributed from the mine, will corrupt our generation, more than it already has. This generation is not like the generations before us – we are more corrupted. More unhinged than we ever were before.

I am not only speaking for the generation I am ashamed to be a part of, but I speak for the ancestors who raised me to be compassionate of this blessed land. Though the people with money close their eyes and walk away, those are the same people who become blind with greed and a thirst for money becomes unquenchable.

Our elders fall in tears, as they watch the mutated fish, wash up to our homes and fish camps. Our children’s eyes blankly watch the currents and waves of the poisonous rivers, that they once found paradise and happiness in. My ears become numb with sadness, my heart ripping apart, as I hear the elders, the strong men and women wail with their voices wavering throughout the courtroom and flying through the tundras and reaching to the villages who are not even placed in the Kuskokwim.

My tears fall as I type this, to this site – knowing that these words will escape the government and the people’s ears, like it is as easy as getting money out of our pockets, for an industry to kill us all, including the animals and the salmon that sustain us.

Theodora Sipary, Napaskiak, AK

We are responsible for our river

I am not a shareholder, but I was born and raised on the Kuskoskwim and I know how important salmon and the subsistence way of life is to the people here. I’m opposed to the mine. It’s our responsibility to keep our rivers and environment clean and healthy for all and for future generations. Without a healthy environment, all the gold in the world won’t be able to save us.

Lisa Carpenter-Meyers, Bethel, AK

Alaska’s Public Safety Should Not Be For Sale

Closing more than half of Wildwood Correctional Center to send 500 incarcerated Alaskans out-of-state to private prisons is bad business and unsafe for Alaskans. Private prison companies are about one thing: making a profit for their investors.

Private prisons trade Alaskans’ safety for an assumed cost savings. A U.S. Department of Justice 2016 Review of private prisons discovered, “The three contract prisons we visited were all cited by the BOP for one or more safety and security deficiencies…” This led Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to conclude; “[Private Prisons] simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.”

Alaska has already decided that private prisons were not in the best interest of the State or incarcerated Alaskans.

“There is no reason for the State to put Alaskans in jeopardy by sending inmates to private prisons out-of-state that are more dangerous and run counter to the public safety goals set by the State of Alaska.”

Private prisons do not save money; they only claim to save money. Private prisons do not provide services equal to what the State provides. They put shareholder profits before Alaskans’ best interests. Alaskans found this out first-hand when the FBI concluded an investigation that dealt with a private prison group, which ended in the conviction of an Alaska Legislator in 2007.

The State of Alaska cannot afford to place private prisons owners’ profits before public safety. “Alaska’s public safety should not be for sale.”

Brad Wilson, Alaska Correctional Officers Association Business Manager

Low-Income, Vulnerable Alaskans and Children Among Most Severely Impacted By Governor’s Proposed Budget

More than 400 children, individuals and families receiving services from the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP), a statewide nonprofit, will be among the Alaskans most severely impacted by the Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

“While RurAL CAP has not had the time to understand the full effect the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Governor’s Budget will have on our community, it is evident there will be devastating impacts experienced by low-income and vulnerable Alaskans statewide, particularly rural Alaska Natives,” said Patrick M. Anderson, RurAL CAP Chief Executive Officer.

The reduction and elimination of essential community services threatens access to education, housing, transportation, jobs, and health and wellness services for those who need it most. These impacts are magnified in our rural and remote communities, according to Anderson.

Head Start, administered statewide by the RurAL CAP Child Development Division, prepares young children to succeed in school by promoting their development through services that support early learning, health, and family well-being. By defunding Head Start, up to one-third of the 684 children RurAL CAP currently serves statewide could be impacted, resulting in 228 low-income children losing access to vital Head Start services. Additionally, the proposed cuts would result in the complete elimination of Parents as Teachers home-based child and family programming to 60 families in three underserved rural communities. Parents as Teachers promotes the optimal early development, learning and health of young children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.

RurAL CAP’s Supportive Housing Division helps some of Anchorage’s most vulnerable populations move to economic independence through affordable and supporting housing services by addressing the frequently interrelated problems of homelessness, disability, unemployment, drug/alcohol addiction, and mental illness through increasing access to affordable housing and supportive services for low-income Alaskans.

In FY2018, RurAL CAP served 547 individuals through permanent supportive housing and transitional housing for homeless families. Of those served, 185 were children. By defunding Homeless Services Programs, RurAL CAP would no longer be able to provide supportive services to vulnerable Alaskans residing in its supportive housing facilities including Karluk Manor, 325 E 3rd, Sitka Place, and Safe Harbor Muldoon. This could result in the displacement of over 500 vulnerable individuals and families experiencing mental illness, chronic alcoholism and other substance related disorders, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and at-risk children. Affected funding includes the Basic Homeless Assistance Program, Special Needs Housing Grant Program, Homeless Grant Match Program, and the Human Services Community Matching Grant. These funding sources provide essential operating grants for shelters and supportive housing.

Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors representing the public sector, the private sector, and the different regions of rural Alaska, RurAL CAP, a private, statewide, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to empower low-income Alaskans through advocacy, education, affordable housing and direct services that respect our unique values and cultures, will collaborate with our community and partners to ensure that all Alaskans have access to the vital services needed to promote our vision of Healthy People, Sustainable Communities, Vibrant Cultures.

Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. Anchorage, AK

ASHNHA’s statement on Governor Dunleavy’s outrageous budget

The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) today (February 13th, 2019) reacted to Governor Dunleavy’s proposed budget.

“Governor Dunleavy’s proposed budget, if enacted, would destabilize Alaska’s health care system, eliminate access to health care for tens of thousands of Alaskans, and make Alaska less safe and less secure,” said ASHNHA president and CEO Becky Hultberg.

“This budget is outrageous. Hospitals will close, health care specialists will leave Alaska, and crime will continue to increase as Alaskans lose access to addiction and behavioral health treatment. The state will be less healthy, less safe, and in a state of despair for the future. While Governor Dunleavy may not believe government has a role in health care, his belief is disconnected from the reality that our current health care system relies on government payments for a significant percentage of total services, and our entire system will crumble without them. This is a classic example of ideology taking precedent over practicality, and all Alaskans will feel the consequences.

The governor’s cuts will lead to thousands of lost jobs in the health care sector, which will have huge ripple effects on the state’s economy. During the recent recession, health care was one of the few industries adding jobs. To willingly damage one of the only growing industries in the state will plunge Alaska back into recession.

Article VII of the Alaska Constitution says that the legislature shall provide for the promotion and protection of public health. The governor’s budget does not uphold this constitutional mandate, and ASHNHA urges the legislature to craft its own reasonable and responsible state budget. ASHNHA stands ready to work alongside elected officials and policy makers who want to move Alaska forward by improving health care access and outcomes for Alaskans while helping drive the state economy.”

The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association represents more than 65 hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations that employ more than 10,000 Alaskans. Its membership spans geographically from Ketchikan to Utqiagvik.

Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association Anchorage, AK