Health related stories.

A trailer burns behind Front Street Cafe in Bethel on October 2, 2019.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The second house fire in two days erupted in Bethel. Just after 4 p.m. on Wed. Oct. 2, fire crews responded to a call of a trailer in flames behind Front Street Cafe. Acting Fire Chief Daron Solesbee says there were no injuries or fatalities.

A third of Lower Kalskag has gone without running water even though the rest of the village has been piped for over a decade.
Joey Mendolia / Alaska Public Media

Running water is coming to Lower Kalskag, a village where only part of the town has had the service up until now. The discrepancy has provided a way to analyze how a home changes with the addition of running water. 

A bottle of R&R Whiskey found lying in a Bethel parking lot.
Dean Swope / KYUK

How Bethel votes on alcohol has a big effect on both the community and its emergency service providers. That’s the takeaway from a study looking at more than a decade of data from law enforcement, health providers, state agencies, and non-profits.

Dean Swope/KYUK

Last week, a picture of a blood smear with a black dot that looked like a bug in it circulated on Facebook. Below it, a caption said that the image was of a smashed bedbug and was taken in a YKHC emergency room. In a press release, YKHC said that the day the image was taken, hospital cleaning staff “examined all patient rooms in the emergency department and found no signs of bedbugs or other insects in any room.” 


In Bethel, there’s a shortage of public health nurses. The situation is easing, but has been limiting what is available for people who depend on public health services in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. 

A water truck fills up at the Bethel City Subdivision water treatment plant.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

On Tuesday, the City of Bethel held a public meeting to address concerns regarding recent water tests. In September 2018, test results showed elevated levels of copper and lead exceeding federal standards in some locations in Bethel’s City Subdivision. Testing in July of this year showed decreased levels of copper and lead that meet federal standards. 

After the City of Bethel doubled the amount of water flowing through the City Subdivision water treatment plant in fall of 2018, it failed to properly treat it, leading to the water pulling lead and copper into the city's drinking water.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

This week, the City of Bethel held a meeting to address public concerns regarding Bethel’s water test results. State officials, along with the city’s engineers, explained why copper and lead levels increased in the water last year and what homeowners can do to protect themselves.

The most recent results from Bethel’s City Subdivision water tests are in, and it's good news. They show copper and lead levels now meeting federal standards. A large infrastructure project last fall is the suspected cause of why the levels had gone up. 

For those planning to hit the gym this holiday season, be advised that new holiday hours are going into effect.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Bethel residents are being advised to take precautions after elevated levels of lead and copper were found in the city’s drinking water from select locations. The city is awaiting results from additional tests and discussing solutions.

Katie Basile / KYUK

The village of Newtok has been waiting over two decades to move to its new home in Mertarvik. As they’ve waited, their public health infrastructure has eroded like the ground beneath the village.