Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Alaska Progressive Blog Roundup - September 5, 2009

First, a couple of comments on this series.

Progressive Alaska began attempting to do a Saturday roundup of important news from the previous week in the Alaska progressive blogosphere early in 2008. Back then there weren't nearly as many progressive blogs here as there now are. The range of issues we now cover is quite broad. Since this series began, a lot more national attention has been brought upon Alaska because of the 2008 presidential campaign.

The past few weeks, I've gotten a lot of emails from people complaining that I had missed one story or another. Some accused me of neglecting a story because I "have issues" with the author, or because I "don't care" about a particular topic.

There's no way PA is able to keep up with all the good stuff being written about now by the progressive Alaskan blogs. As it is, I spend as much time as I ever have, keeping up on or learning more about Alaska politics, culture, trends and so on. Indeed, I have far less time to keep up on national and international events than I would like because of this.

I teach a full class load at UAA, have private students, serve on four boards, participate in other volunteer activities, and am trying to fulfill three music composition commissions. Doing a comprehensive weekend roundup is going by the wayside, more and more.

Maybe some other blog can pick up the slack.

That being said, I DO miss having the time to do a fair and full weekly roundup.

To me, the most heartening development this past week was the strong, passionate return to full-time blogging from western Alaska, of Ann Strongheart. For many people, here in Alaska and around the world, Ann's has become the most articulate voice regarding the ongoing, worsening crisis in the Alaska bush. Ann's most recent letter to Gov. Sean Parnell, initially posted at Anonymous Bloggers, has been re-posted at several blogs.

This past week, Nick Tucker from Emmonak and Myron Naneng from Bethel both wrote powerful open letters to the new gubernatorial administration on various aspects of end-of-summer harvesting, and about concerns over the rural fuel supply for the coming winter. Some communities ran out last winter.

Just yesterday and today comes news that the Parnell administration may be acting far more responsibly on this than had his predecessor's. Here's Rena Delbridge, now writing for The Alaska Dispatch:

In the wake of last winter's fuel crisis in parts of the Bush, Gov. Sean Parnell's administration is asking more than 400 fuel distributors, local governments and regional nonprofits for status reports on fuel supplies in rural areas as winter nears.

Craig Tornga, vice president of Crowley Maritime Corp., said he's been in contact with Randy Ruaro, Parnell's chief of staff, on the matter. Tornga said some financially strapped communities are struggling already to gather the funds to pay for fuel shipments, and there isn't much time left before rivers ice up, blocking barges from making their final deliveries for the year.

Parnell press secretary Sharon Leighow said the Division of Community and Regional Affairs staff is making 400 calls over the next two weeks to gather updates on where fuel shipments stand. The division has also set up a toll-free number -- (877) 769-4614 -- for people with concerns about adequate winter fuel supplies in their communities.

An 800 number? What a good idea. When is Parnell's chief rural affairs guy, John Moller, going to get one?

Linda Kellen at
Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis has been helpful in regard to so much on this crisis. Whether it was personally helping the Strongheart family with bringing Segundo Strongheart to rest, or explaining nuances of how the state is dealing with the public meetings and information dissemination aspects of their rural affairs policy, Linda's help has been crucial.

The Mudflats community has also been a vital component in keeping up the pressure on the Parnell administration to take preparations for this coming winter as seriously as the situation warrants.

Meanwhile, Bent Alaska, Henkimaa and Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis are keeping public awareness of sexual orientation and identity discrimination in Anchorage in the public spotlight, even as the Alaska traditional media seems to be moving right along, ceding the not very Rev. Jerry Prevo and his minions their "special rights." Once again.

Next week, I hope to concentrate on some of the summer's photographic gems put out by Alaska's progressive bloggers.

Sorry I didn't have time to cover more this week.

images - notice of public meeting for the Rural sub-cabinet advisory board, posted only in the Atwood Building on the day of the meeting (note they don't even say what time the meeting will be held); Ann Strongheart - from Anonymous Bloggers via Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis


Aussie Blue Sky said...

Weeks ago when I wrote an obituary for Segundo Strongheart for my blog I referred to Ann as a "prominent Alaska activist".

Prescient, much?

Martha Unalaska Yard Sign said...

Phil - I think you're slacking a little these days, my goodness! Only four boards, a full time teaching job with private students, a garden, a family, a commitment to blogging and composing music? I absolutely do not know how you do it all, but I am so appreciative of the work you do for the community of Alaska!

For readers who may not have seen this outcome, Ann Strongheart updated her post at Anonymous Bloggers with the news that this morning, Sunday, ADF&G allowed a six hour commercial opening for coho (silver) salmon on the Lower Yukon thanks to Mr. Tucker and everyone one else (many) who supported his request. This is a happy day! If you are reading, think FISH jumping and swimming into NETS, lots and lots of them!

Anonymous said...

toll-free numbers are essential for the Unorganized Borough and rural Alaska. None of our Congressional folks have one; most agencies with an office in the hub Villages do not.

At least we have one more added to the thin list. Thank you!

Kate said...

That's Myron Naneng you're referring to, president of AVCP and board member of Alaska Federation of Natives. He's been such a great leader for Alaska Natives, I thought he deserved more than a misspelled name drop.

Philip Munger said...


Fixed the misspelling. Thanks for so kindly helping prove my point.