Turn Back the pages—Dec. 17, 1987
Our Chief is gone – Almost 2,000 mourners crowded into and around the Alaska National Guard Armory in Bethel Wednesday to pay tribute to Chief Eddie Hoffman, who died Friday in Providence Hospital in Anchorage of complications resulting from surgery. Long-time Bethel resident Charlie Guinn eulogized Hoffman, his friend and neighbor, as a generous man, one who gave all he had to his family, friends and community. The sheer numbers of mourners gave evidence of the lives Chief Eddie touched. Governor Steve Cowper, Anchorage Mayor Tony Knowles, the Hoffman family and almost everyone in Bethel who could, was at the service. Many villagers made the journey into Bethel to say goodbye to their most fierce champion of Native subsistence lifestyle. City offices, schools, court, and most other offices closed down part or all of the day to allow their employees to attend the services.
Water, sewer, solid waste top city’s capital projects wish list for the legislature – Water, sewer and solid waste projects are the city of Bethel’s top capital project priority for the years 1988 and 1989. The city council decided at their Tuesday night, Dec. 15 meeting that they would ask from the Alaska legislature this year $1.3 million to build and improve sewer, water and solid waste facilities here. The request represents a change from the city’s top priorities of former years. Its primary request for state capital projects money in prior years has been linked to the construction of the bulkhead seawall. The seawall, dubbed the “river stabilization project/petro dock wingwall extension” rated number 2 in the city’s wish list planned for the 1988 legislators. Sought for this project from the state is $2 million. And rated number 3 was “road upgrade” projects. Sought is $1,250,000.
BCS to operate new mental health home here – A Bethel facility exclusively devoted to providing services to the chronically mentally ill is expected to be opened by Bethel Community Services (BCS) in early January. Although formal memorandums of agreement have not yet been signed by the three participating agencies – BCS, YKHC (Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation) and the state Division of Mental Health – BCS officials have evidently received preliminary word that plans for the project can go ahead. The state’s $247,500 grant, which will allow BCS to operate a ‘mental health home’ through the end of the state’s current fiscal year, June 30, is being handled administratively by YKHC.
LKSD & teachers declare impasse in negotiations – Negotiating teams representing the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) board of directors and the district’s teacher’s union, the Lower Kuskokwim Education Association (LKEA) are at impasse. The teams met on two consecutive Saturdays over the past two weeks and deadlocked over salary questions, according to representatives of both teams. Representing the district has been Saul Friedman, a district-hired Anchorage attorney. Chair of the LKEA team is Richard Kern, a Napakiak teacher. The district’s 260-some teachers have been working without a contract since the current one expired in July of this year. The teachers’ ‘last best offer’ on salary was step and column increases and a $1,000 bonus for each teacher. The district’s last best offer was step and column increases with no bonus or salary hikes.
Hepatitis spreads in Delta – Twenty-three cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in Hooper Bay since June of this year, according to the state Public Health Nurse’s office in Bethel. Hooper Bay is located northeast of Bethel on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta coast. Several other villages in the Delta have reported between two and seven cases this summer, said Sue Martin, regional nurse manager for the state itinerant nursing program. Other villages which have reported cases in the past several weeks are: Atmautluak, Kasigluk, Marshall, Upper Kalskag, Bethel, Alakanuk, Nightmute, Napakiak, Toksook Bay and St. Mary’s. Hepatitis A commonly lasts for one to two weeks. Its typical symptoms include an upset stomach, appetite loss, and possibly vomiting. The caseload “could peter out or mushroom with the holidays,” noted Martin. Treatment for the illness is simply and usually rest, intake of fluids, and a diet of foods easy to digest. Immunizations, which are effective for a three-month term, are available. The disease is transferred by failure of individuals to wash after having gone to the bathroom.
Bethel audiences given royal treatment during five performances of “King and I” – Rogers and Hammerstein would have been pleased at the first venture of Bethel community theatre last weekend, when the Bethel Council on the Arts and the Bethel High School’s cooperative production of “The King and I” was performed by a local cast of 80. Putting on (or pulling-off, some would say) a full musical production, complete with ballet, is ordinarily no small task, but doing it in five short weeks is nothing short of amazing. Selecting a cast of 80 from a population of around 4,000 for this musical production was accomplished in just three auditions. Corina LePore easily won the audience over as Anna Leonowens, the English school teacher who is hired by the King of Siam to teach his 70-plus children. A very proper and lovely Anna, Ms. LePore, moved gracefully and convincingly through the entire play.
Nunapitchuk graduate appointed – Mollyanne Coolidge, a sophomore at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska, has been appointed to the position of Resident Assistant at North Pacific Hall, a women’s residence hall at the century-old institution. A graduate of Anna Tobeluk Memorial High School in Nunapitchuk, she is also on the college varsity basketball team.
Boys home hires new director – A 33-year-old Fairbanks man is scheduled to begin work next week at the Bethel Group Home as treatment director. Howard Swartz, who holds a master’s degree in child counseling and psychology, will work at the boys’ home here beginning Monday, Dec. 21. He replaces Ric Iannolino, who left the boys home’s employ last month to work at the Bethel-based Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. Iannolino is employed by YKHC as a regional trainer in the agency’s alcohol program.