Courtesy of Mark Leary

The ice road on the frozen Kuskokwim River has been plowed to its longest length ever: 355 miles.

That’s longer than most traditional highways in the state, but it’s likely a bit rougher in places since that the road is a frozen river. Still, it allows for snowmachine and vehicle traffic in a region that otherwise relies on unpredictable airplane travel in the winter. 

Tundra Suites hotel owner Chin S. Kim and associate Mi Ae Young pled guilty to Medicaid fraud and agreed to pay restitution of $135,000.
Teresa Cotsirilos/KYUK

Over two years after former Bethel hotel Tundra Suites’ Medicaid fraud was uncovered, the legal case has come to an end. Tundra Suites owner Chin S. Kim and his associate, Mi Ae Young, each pled guilty to one count of medical assistance fraud. They will pay $135,000 jointly as restitution. 

Bethel Police identified one of the suspects in the ALASKAbuds break-in and burglary, a 14 or 15-year-old boy.
Bethel Police Department

Bethel Police have identified one of the suspects in the ALASKAbuds marijuana store break-in and burglary. Acting Police Chief Amy Davis said that she received a tip from someone who knew the burglars.

Courtesy of Mark Leary

For the first time ever, the ice road on the frozen Kuskokwim River has been plowed to Sleetmute, a village north of Bethel. According to Mark Leary, who helped lead the effort, the ice road now stretches about 355 miles from Tuntutuliak, located south of Bethel, to Sleetmute.

Bethel police are asking for help identifying the two individuals who broke into the ALASKAbuds marijuana store on Monday, Feb. 17.
Courtesy of Bethel Police Department

One month in business, and Bethel’s first marijuana store has been broken into and stolen from. ALASKAbuds was burglarized on Monday, Feb. 17 around 12:30 a.m. The store manager reports that no marijuana or cash was taken.  

Kusko Kush co-owner Naim Shabani says that the store plans to open in early March.
Naim Shabani

Bethel’s second marijuana store is almost open for business. On Feb. 13, the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office conducted its final inspection of Kusko Kush. Store co-owner Naim Shabani said that it “passed with flying colors,” and he plans on opening in early March.

Bethel City Council will have to decide how to fund community action grants after losing funding from alcohol sales taxes.
City of Bethel

One of the effects of enacting local option is that Bethel loses much of its alcohol sales tax, which is $500,000 that the city estimated it would receive last year. It still receives some alcohol sales tax from restaurant beer and wine sales. The decreased revenue means funding for Bethel’s Community Action Grant program is almost gone as well. 

Credit Avery Lill / KYUKEdit | Remove

Musher Maurice Andrews of Bethel took first in the Kwethluk Sled Dog Race this past weekend. The race was composed of two 20-mile sprint races across a snowy trail on Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16. Mushers were ranked by their total elapsed time.

The Lower Kuskokwim School District was awarded a $34 million grant to build a new school building in Eek.
Courtesy of LKSD

The state has awarded the Lower Kuskokwim School District $34,450,733 to add another school building in Eek, with the district chipping in $703,076. However, Eek is only one of several schools in the district needing new facilities. LKSD Superintendent Dan Walker explains why Eek got a new school and other villages, like Napakiak, didn’t.

Courtesy of Peter Evon

Peter Evon is leaving his job as executive director for the Orutsararmiut Native Council in Bethel, but he saw some big milestones at ONC during his nearly two-year tenure there.