My name is Mike Williams, Sr. From Akiak, Alaska – a hunter, fisherman. Gatherer of our foods. I am urging you to vote for Tiffany Zulkosky for State Representative, Alyse Galvin for US House of Representatives, and Dr. Al Gross for US Senate. Tiffany has represented us very well in Juneau, Alyse will be a great voice for us as well as Al in Washington DC. They will be great for continued post office, respect for Tribal Sovereignty, water and sewer projects, education for our kids, Climate Change impacts, affordable health care, hunting and fishing rights, erosion control, VAWA and VOCA, mental health and substance abuse funding, and COVID-19 funding support. Quyana for voting for them!
Mike Williams, Sr.
Forensic scientist’s provide scientific support to the criminal justice system
National Forensic Science Week 2020
When I tell people I’m a forensic scientist they either immediately start probing me for the latest gruesome autopsy story or ask if we found the guilty party. Fortunately for me I do neither of these things.
What forensic scientists do is take evidence from a crime scene and use science to answer questions. The questions can be manifold – who touched the knife? Which gun fired a specific bullet? What is that white powder? Did this shoe make that impression? We have a vast number of tools, techniques and methods at our disposal to help us answer those questions clearly and impartially.
A forensic scientist’s mission is to provide scientific support to the criminal justice system. This can come in many forms, the most common of which is analysis of evidence and report writing. However, some of us are called to crime scenes. Occasionally we’re asked to testify in court, and we provide trainings to prosecutors and public defenders. We also train law enforcement officers in proper recovery techniques and evidence handling.
An important thing to know about forensic scientists is that most will do just about anything to avoid the limelight but…
This is National Forensic Science Week, and that means we need to recognize the dedicated and diligent professionals who come to work every day and expose themselves to the worst acts of humanity in pursuit of scientific truth.
The Department of Public Safety opened the doors to the Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory a little over 30 years ago. Since then we’ve grown in terms of staff (we’ll be close to 40 by the end of the year) and physical space (we moved into our “new” facility in 2012). We are accredited to international standards (ISO 17025), have an exceptional quality assurance program focused on learning and improvement, and are working to fully embrace the broader forensic community.
For a small laboratory, we’ve been home to a high number of past and current presidents of professional organizations and chairs and vice chairs of national forensic science committees; we’ve published valuable research, and invented new technologies to improve the collection and recovery of evidence. I’m proud of each and every one of these contributions, but mostly I’m excited to see what the next generation of forensic scientists will accomplish as they lead us into the future.
The path we’re on is a good one. With our incredible staff and facility, and the right direction and support, we can become one of the premier forensic science institutes in the world.
Obviously, this year has been dominated by COVID-19 and the associated concerns of how to remain fully operational without jeopardizing our staff’s health. We’ve put in a significant amount of workplace safety measures, but COVID also forced us to think differently in order to continue to work. So far, we’ve managed to keep up with the case submissions even while working on a rotational schedule for in-person work.
While the crime lab is only one cog in our criminal justice machinery, it’s an important one, and I love the work we do. Every day, the exemplary crime lab staff provide the good, impartial science needed to help create a safer Alaska.
This National Forensic Science Week, please take a moment to think of the quiet, introverted scientists working behind the scenes to provide answers and justice for those who need it most. Without them Alaska would be a very different place.
Chief David Kanaris, Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory
Northern Dynasty apologizes to All Alaskans
Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. announced today (September 23, 2020) that Tom Collier, CEO of its 100%-owned US-based subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership (the “Pebble Partnership”), has submitted his resignation in light of comments made about elected and regulatory officials in Alaska in private conversations covertly videotaped by an environmental activist group.
Collier’s resignation has been accepted by Northern Dynasty’s senior management and Board of Directors. The Company has named former Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively, a well-known and respected Alaska business and political leader who most recently served as Chairman of the Pebble Partnership’s general partner, Pebble Mines Corp., as interim CEO pending a leadership search.
Collier’s comments embellished both his and the Pebble Partnership’s relationships with elected officials and federal representatives in Alaska, including Governor Dunleavy, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and senior representatives of the US Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”). The comments were clearly offensive to these and other political, business and community leaders in the state and for this, Northern Dynasty unreservedly apologizes to all Alaskans.
Conversations with Collier, as well as others with Northern Dynasty President & CEO Ron Thiessen, were secretly videotaped by two unknown individuals posing as representatives of a Hong Kong-based investment firm with links to a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise (SOE). A Washington DC-based environmental group, the Environmental Investigation Agency, released the tapes online Monday after obscuring the voices and identities of the individuals posing as investors.
“The unethical manner in which these tapes were acquired does not excuse the comments that were made, or the crass way they were expressed,” said Ron Thiessen, Northern Dynasty President & CEO. “On behalf of the Company and our employees, I offer my unreserved apology to all those who were hurt or offended, and all Alaskans.”
A former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, senior executive with NANA Regional Corporation, and current Alaska Railroad Corporation Director, John Shively said the Pebble Project is too important to the region and the state not to proceed, and for every effort not to be made to develop the project responsibly in the best interests of all Alaskans.
“My priority is to advance our current plan through the regulatory process so we can prove to the state’s political leaders, regulatory officials and all Alaskans that we can meet the very high environmental standards expected of us,” he said.
Thiessen said the two actors posing as foreign investors on behalf of the Environmental Investigation Agency were clearly trying to entrap the two executives into stating there is a defined plan to expand Pebble beyond the 20-year mine life currently being permitted. In this objective, he said, they clearly failed.
“The mine development proposal currently being evaluated by the USACE, and for which we expect a final Record of Decision this fall, provides for 20 years of mining at an average daily throughput of 180,000 tons, and processing of 1.3 billion tons of mineralized material,” Thiessen said. “What we have said consistently, and is reinforced in the ‘Pebble tapes’ released this week, is the operator of the Pebble mine may decide at some point in the future to propose additional phases of development, but there exists no formal plan to do so today.”
Thiessen added that any extension or expansion of the Pebble Project proposed in future would have to go through a comprehensive, multi-year federal and state permitting process.
Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.
Vancouver, BC Canada