Courtesy of ADF&G

The proposed Donlin gold mine is going through the permitting process and recently picked up 13 Title 16 permits from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Those permits will allow the company to eliminate one salmon stream and partially erase another. 

That has alarmed many people in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, especially since there isn’t a formal public comment process at Fish and Game. A controversial salmon habitat ballot initiative was supposed to fix that, but Alaskans voted it down by a huge margin during the general election earlier this month.

KYUK talked with outgoing commissioner Sam Cotton about Fish and Game’s role in the permitting process for big projects, and how the agency could open it up for more public participation in the future. The following is an interview that has been condensed and edited.  

Courtesy of Mary Sattler Peltola

Mary Ciuniq Pete may have gone, but her work continues. She left a huge legacy in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. 

Open water stretches from bank to bank on the Kuskokuak Slough above Kwethluk.
Bethel Search and Rescue

It’s another warm winter and another late freeze-up along the Lower Kuskokwim River. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Bethel Search and Rescue warns that the river is not safe for travel. 

Courtesy of Mary Sattler Peltola

Update: A memorial and viewing service will be held for Mary Pete on November 20 at Kehl's Legacy Funeral Home in Anchorage from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. A service in Bethel will be announced at a later time.

Mary Ciuniq Pete died November 17 at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. She succumbed to complications from ovarian cancer. Pete was 61. 

She left behind a huge legacy in Alaska as she worked to protect subsistence, and then later as the Director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus.

KYUK spoke with several friends and former colleagues who remembered the contributions that Pete made to Alaska, and to the lives of everyone in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. 

Lt. Governor Valerie Davidson speaking at an assembly at Gladys Jung Elementary in Bethel on Thursday, November 15, 2018.
Berett Wilber / Lt. Governor Valerie Davidson's Office


Alaska’s recently appointed Lt. Gov. Valerie Narr’araaluk Davidson took her first trip back to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta earlier this week, and KYUK’s Christine Trudeau sat down in the studio with her to find out what’s next for the state's first female Alaska Native lieutenant governor.



LKSD Director of Personnel and Student Services Josh Gill hands Jakob Sipary of Napaskiak his first place trophy for English Expository Speaking on December 13, 2017.
Patrick Williams / LKSD

This weekend is the 2018 Mixed Six Conference Volleyball Tournament at Bethel Regional High School. Akiuk, Akula, Atmautluak, Kipnuk, Kwethluk, Newtok, Napakiak, Nunapitchuk, Quinhagak, Toksook Bay, Tuntutuliak, and Tununak will be competing for their chance to go to the state Mixed Six Tournament in Anchorage. 

Former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy talks to the audience during a Juneau Chamber of Commerce forum on Thursday, September 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska.
Rashah McChesney / Alaska’s Energy Desk


As Governor-elect Mike Dunleavy prepares to take office on December 3, there are still a lot of unknowns about how he’ll approach his campaign priorities, a big one being education. What a Dunleavy administration might do on the issue of public education is a big question looming over not only the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, but rural schools across the state.


An ice pick easily pokes through the thin ice on the Kuskokwim River in front of Bethel on November 15, 2018.
Mark Leary / Bethel Search and Rescue

Ice has formed irregularly on the Kuskokwim River in front of Bethel, and Bethel Search and Rescue warns that the ice is not safe for motorized vehicles at this time. The group advises anybody walking on the ice to manaq, ice fish, or set-net to stay away from snow drifts and keep an ice pick in front of your feet.

KYUK Interns Document Youth Conference

Nov 15, 2018
Dorothy Jackson / KYUK

For the 10th year in a row, organizers with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault's Stand Up Speak Up Alaska program have put together a youth engagement and leadership conference known as Lead On.  


Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

Crooked Creek, located on the Upper Kuskokwim River, is the closest village to the proposed Donlin mine. The signs of Donlin Gold are everywhere in town, but the local community is conflicted about the mine. Some residents see the potential for much needed economic development, while others see the possible disruption of their subsistence lifestyle.

Two men who grew up in Crooked Creek worked for Donlin Gold in the past. Both see its development as inevitable, but disagree on whether the mine should happen at all. 


Yup'ik Word of the Week

Alexie Isaac Memorial Scholarship

A talkshow about the little things that help make life healthier. With hosts, Esther Green and Diane McEachern.