Stories about politics.

Elyssa Loughlin / KYUK

Bethel police are getting new body cams. In their June 8 meeting, Bethel City Council approved the purchase of 30 new body cameras for the Bethel Police Department. The funding comes from a grant that the department received from the state.

Elyssa Loughlin / KYUK

On June 8, Bethel City Council voted unanimously to accept a $45,000 grant from the State of Alaska. The grant must be used to promote or incentivize the COVID-19 vaccine in unvaccinated individuals. The city has until the end of June 2021 to spend all the funds. City Manager Pete Williams has proposed offering $100 to those willing to get the vaccine, but he said that figure is just an idea.

Elyssa Loughlin / KYUK

On the June 8 Bethel City Council agenda will be vaccine cash incentives, police body cams, and taxes on senior citizens. 

Before being appointed by the Council mid-term to his present seat, Mark Springer had served two previous terms on Bethel’s City Council. It’s his third time on the ballot.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Orutsararmiut Native Council voted not to retain Mark Springer as the tribe’s executive director. On June 3, ONC Chairman Walter Jim confirmed the decision by the tribal council, but did not comment further, saying that he was busy. 

Greg Kim / KYUK

Short-term rentals, also known as bed and breakfasts, provide thousands of dollars in tax revenue to the City of Bethel and house many of the town’s transient workers. But the city says that a number of the rentals located in residential districts are operating illegally. The city shut down one of them, saying that it was built without permission, resulting in an ongoing two-year legal battle. To resolve the dispute, the city may end up changing the law for all short term rentals.


Elyssa Loughlin / KYUK

On May 25, the Bethel City Council voted to create positions for youth aged 14 to 17 on city committees and commissions. 

Elyssa Loughlin / KYUK

Starting the week of May 31, Bethel City Hall will be out of commission. A construction company will spend June, July, and August replacing the roof, and that will displace city offices. 

US Department Of The Treasury

The U.S. Department of the Treasury extended the deadline for Tribes to withdraw their American Rescue Plan funding from federal coffers by two weeks.

Council member Mark Springer said said that Bethel City Council and its Public Safety Commission actually don’t have much purview over the Bethel Police Department, but he urged City Manager Pete Williams to look into alleged problems with rape kits.
Dean Swope / KYUK

In their May 25 meeting, Bethel City Council is expected to be busy with an agenda ranging from considering changes to mask mandates to redistricting.

Bethel's second marijuana store, Kusko Kush, opened its doors Feb. 26.
Greg Kim / KYUK

During their May 14 meeting, the Bethel Planning Commission tabled the public hearing for a permit to open a third marijuana store. The store would be located in the Q2 Quick Foods building.