Bethel City Council could be uncovered by insurance in potential wrongful termination lawsuit.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The City of Bethel could be on the hook for a lot of money. Bethel’s insurance company told the city council on Tuesday that the city is on its own if former City Manager Pete Williams files a wrongful termination lawsuit. 

Barbara Thurston, the executive director of Alaska Public Entity Insurance, said the reason the city would not be covered can be seen in the insurance contract the city signed.

"It requires that members consult an attorney before terminating an employee and following the recommendations of the attorney," Thurston said.

Jeremy Hsieh / KTOO

The Alaska Legislature wants to set aside the month of November to celebrate Alaska Native heritage, and a bill to make that happen just passed both houses. All it needs is Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s signature. 

Two Charged In Long House Beating

May 16, 2019

Bethel Police are looking for two people that were indicted in last month’s beating of the manager of the Long House Hotel. 

It was April 18, about 2:15 a.m. on the night before Easter, when Don Black, the hotel manager, was awakened to help deal with a noise complaint. In his pajamas, he and Wesley Alexie, another employee at the hotel, approached a second-floor room to find out what was going on. Black says that when he said he was the manager and tried to enter the room, things escalated quickly. He sent Alexie to call the police.

ALASKAbuds owner Nick Miller plans to open his store next month.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Bethel is now only weeks away from its first marijuana store. The state Marijuana Control Board approved the license for ALASKAbuds "with delegation."  That means it’s approved with a condition, the condition being state fire marshal approval. 

Nick Miller owns ALASKAbuds with his wife. He also sits on the Marijuana Control Board, but he didn’t get to vote on his own application. Miller says that he is not worried about getting fire marshal approval.

Kharacters Alaskan Bar

Sex Offender Jailed

May 15, 2019

An alcohol-fueled sexual assault in Newtok has landed a man in the Bethel jail. Troopers were called Friday about the assault. They arrived Monday. Their investigation revealed that Jonathan Usugan, age 41, allegedly broke into a home Friday morning and sexually assaulted a woman. Usugan is already on the state’s sex offender registry. He is now in the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center facing two charges for sexual assault and one for entering the house illegally. Troopers report that alcohol was “a factor in the incident.”

It’s Almost Time For Salmon On The Yukon

May 15, 2019
Katie Basile

Salmon are expected to show up in the Yukon River in just a few weeks, and biologists say that fishermen can expect a similar or slightly higher number of kings in the river than last year. They predict a run size of 168,000 to 241,000 kings this summer.

“This current outlook is similar to last year,” said Holly Carroll, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's manager of the Yukon River’s summer king and chum runs. “The midpoint for this year is about 204,000. So if it comes in at the low end, it will be similar to last year.”

Bethel City Council could be uncovered by insurance in potential wrongful termination lawsuit.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

For the first time in history, the Bethel City Council passed an ordinance to compensate members for attending meetings. But it will only take effect if a public vote affirms the decision. The council has not yet acted to place the measure on the ballot in October. 

The ordinance introduced by Fritz Charles passed 4 to 3, with Charles, Mayor Fred Watson, Vice-Mayor Raymond “Thor” Williams, and council member Carole Jung-Jordan voting for compensation. Council members Leif Albertson, Mitchell Forbes, and Perry Barr voted against the ordinance. 

Bethel City Council could be uncovered by insurance in potential wrongful termination lawsuit.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Bethel City Council had a busy night. Among other things, it signed off on its roads plan and approved ONC's Ciullkulek Subdivision.  

The vote on the subdivision was unanimous. ONC has plans for 38 homes and a senior center near the post office, and has touted the project as new affordable housing in Bethel. The roads plan seeks more than a million dollars in federal funding under the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and would require a $175,000 city match.

Teachers In Rural Alaska: Growing Our Own

May 15, 2019
Kaylee King / KYUK

This school year, Kaylee King produced and directed a film with her fellow KYUK interns Katya John, Dorothy Jackson, and Lucilia Angaiak. The focus of their film is the impact that teacher turnover has on students in the Lower Kuskokwim. You can check out their documentary here.