Coffee at KYUK

Weekdays after the news, closing out the 8 o'clock and noon hours; 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Sometimes light, sometimes serious. "Coffee at KYUK" is where our community connects.

Ways to Connect

John Wayne Howe is one of five candidates running for Alaska's open U.S. Senate seat, and is competing in the primary election on Aug. 18 as part of the Alaska Independence Party. Howe is the last of the senate candidates to be interviewed on Coffee@KYUK. We’ve interviewed Democratic candidates Dr. Al Gross and Chris Cumings. The two remaining candidates in the race, incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan and Democrat Edgar Blatchfor, did not respond to our invitation.

Construction season in Bethel is already on its way, and residents are seeing long wait times on road projects. Rob McDonald, superintendent at Knik Construction, joined Coffee@KYUK to give an update on those projects, and to explain why residents are having to wait longer in line.

Kimberly Hankins will bring her 17 years of experience at LKSD to the district' chief executive position.
Lower Kuskokwim School District

Lower Kuskokwim School District Superintendent Kimberly Hankins took over the position July 1, 2020. She discusses changes in the district over the years like an increased graduation rate and additions of classes in Yup'ik language and culture.

As the school year approaches, Bethel 4-H is making plans for fall. The program provides year-round activities for youths, including meal programs and after-school childcare. Bethel 4-H operates under the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and is working with UAF on developing these plans. KYUK talked with Kellie Johnson, Assistant Director of the Bethel 4-H Program, about what the Bethel community can expect this August.

The Kuskokwim River salmon run has not been what state data suggested it would be. The kings arrived low and late, and now concerns are turning to chum, which are also arriving in low numbers and could also be late. The person crunching and tracking these Kuskokwim salmon numbers for the state is Sean Larson with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who joins us on Coffee@KYUK.

Earlier this month, a federal judge issued an injunction that prevents Alaska Native corporations from receiving part of Tribal funding set aside in the CARES Act. Back in April, when Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, some of that funding was set aside to go to Native American and Alaska Native Tribal governments, and to Alaska Native corporations.

That set off litigation as Tribal governments in the lower 48 and in Alaska claimed that Alaska Native corporations do not qualify for funding because they are not Tribal governments.

Nathan McGowan, President and CEO of the St. George Tanaq Corporation, joined Coffee@KYUK to talk about the issue.

The 2020 Elections are just around the corner. Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, joins Coffee@KYUK to talk about how rural Alaskans can use a new online system to register for their absentee-by-mail ballots.

Katie Basile

On the Kuskokwim River, king salmon are running low and late, and have mostly passed through the lower river. It’s possible that they won’t meet the state’s escapement goals. Meanwhile, chum and sockeye are also running late. Both are tracking with last year’s run, and are beginning to pick up in the lower river. Alaska Department of Fish and Game Kuskokwim fishery biologist Nick Smith shares more about how the salmon runs look on the Kuskokwim River and throughout Western Alaska.

Felix Patrick pulls a chum out of the Yukon with a Kenai style dip net.
Kyle Clayton / KYUK

The entire Kuskokwim River mainstem opened to gillnets on July 7. Gillnets are the dominant gear to harvest salmon on the Kuskokwim. But in recent years, as restrictions on gillnets have increased, some lower river fishermen have begun experimenting with dipnets to harvest salmon. One of those fishermen is Bethel resident, Aaron Moses. He’s turned dipnetting into a summer pursuit and has begun teaching others how to use this method as well.

The U.S. Census Bureau is entering a new phase, and following up on those who have yet to be counted in rural Alaska. Donna Bach, partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, and Donald Bendz, media coordinator, talked about the importance of filling out the census forms.