Stories about politics.

Greg Kim / KYUK

Friday, June 19 was supposed to be payday for City of Bethel employees, but no one received their checks. Miscommunication in the finance department resulted in the city’s employees receiving their paychecks three days late, on June 22. In response, at the regular meeting on June 23, the city council directed the administration to bring in outside help.  

City of Bethel

After opening up the potential for a by-mail election this October, the Bethel City Council is considering two other voting options at its June 23 regular meeting: early voting and electronic voting.

Willy Keppel/Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Two candidates have filed for the District 38 seat in the Alaska House of Representatives: incumbent Tiffany Zulkosky, and challenger Willy Keppel. Zulkosky, a Democrat, will be running in the primary. Keppel, from the Veteran’s Party, will need to gather signatures to appear in the general election.

Alaska Airlines passengers arriving in Bethel sign up to take voluntary coronavirus tests. April 29, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

After two individuals in Bethel were notified of positive coronavirus test results on consecutive days, the city is wondering if there are more undetected cases in Bethel. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation reports that less than 60% of passengers who arrive at Bethel’s airport are volunteering for testing. The city has plans to try to increase that number to 100%. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

On June 9, Bethel City Council took action to allow for by-mail elections, passed a budget, and made plans to use the city’s $8.4 million of CARES Act Funding.

City of Bethel

In its June 9 meeting, Bethel City Council will be preparing to spend $8.4 million in federal CARES Act funding, looking at ways to conduct an election during the COVID-19 pandemic, and considering action on next year’s budget.

The council will have to formally accept CARES Act funding in order for the city to receive the money. City Manager Vincenzo "Vinny" Corazza is proposing a partnership with Bethel Community Services Foundation to plan and execute how the $8.4 million gets spent. The money can only be used for COVID-19-related expenditures.

Bethel's new police chief, Richard Simmons, will be available for a meet and greet session at Bethel City Hall at 6 p.m. on June 9.
City of Bethel


Bethel will have a chance to meet its new police chief, Richard Simmons, tonight. Simmons will be available for a "meet and greet" session at 6:00 p.m. on June 9 at Bethel City Hall, right before the city council meeting. The city’s press release for the event states that masks will be required and social distancing should be observed.

Al Gross campaign

There are a total of five people running for Alaska's U.S. Senate seat, currently held by incumbent Dan Sullivan. The Independent candidate that has been endorsed by the Alaska Democratic Party, Dr. Al Gross, says that he entered the race because he is concerned about the divisive nature of President Trump’s leadership, and wants to help change health care in the United States.

Proposition 1 on the 2019 Bethel municipal ballot asks voters if they would like to return Bethel to local option status and limit alcohol licenses to restaurants and eating places. Fili's Pizza is the only Bethel restaurant with an alcohol license and wo
Dean Swope / KYUK

Several weeks ago, Fili’s Pizza, a restaurant in Bethel, began selling beer and wine via curbside pickup and delivery. Alcohol delivery and pickup was authorized by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on April 14 to help Alaskan restaurants and bars generate revenue during the coronavirus-related business shutdowns. But some Bethel residents are saying that curbside alcohol sales should be banned under Bethel’s local option status, and the state says that's a valid argument. 

Greg Kim / KYUK

The City of Bethel will be receiving $8.4 million in CARES Act funding from the federal government, but the city can only spend it on COVID-19-related expenses. The funds cannot be mixed with the normal operating budget, even though the city is expecting hundreds of thousands of dollars less in sales tax revenue this year because the pandemic has slowed down business.