Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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Hope McKenney

News Director

Born in rural Northern California, Hope started as a reporter and producer at KZYX in Mendocino County. She then worked at Kichwa Hatari — the first Quechua language radio station in the U.S., based in New York — and KQED in San Francisco. 

She has lived in Bolivia, Peru, and Cuba, and is now excited to cover the beautiful Aleutians. 

  • Alaska businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic have until next Friday to apply for a second round of federal funding; the state takes steps to address school drop-out rates by putting education plans in the hands of tribes; and Yupik dance performances headlined the Cama’i Dance Festival in Bethel.
  • A local internet provider that has previously only offered WiFi to Unalaskans announced last month that it's launching a new LTE service. The island now has three options for cell service, and OptimERA is one of them.
  • Unalaska Public Library moved into its temporary location at the Burma Road Chapel last week, and while some things are new and some are missed, lovers of Alaska history will be happy to know they can still hang out and read about the Aleutians; the Kodiak community of Old Harbor is tapping into millions in federal funds to shore up its tsunami preparedness; and a week after a large orb of light was observed moving across the early morning Alaska sky, scientists have offered an explanation.
  • A longtime executive of Unalaska’s Native village corporation has resigned. Chris Salts is no longer the chief financial officer, Ounalashka Corp. said in a Tuesday statement.
  • Five people were medevaced out of Unalaska Sunday on a Coast Guard C130. “In truth, it wasn't that unique of a situation, except the weather compounded what we deal with on a daily basis,” said Jennifer Heller, interim director of operations and a certified nurse midwife at the island’s Iliuliuk Family and Health Services clinic.
  • A city proposal to allow all-purpose vehicles on Unalaska’s streets failed to move forward Tuesday. The Unalaska City Council voted against allowing the ordinance to proceed to its next meeting. Unalaska currently prohibits the use of all-purpose vehicles — like four-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles — on city streets. But a state law that went into effect this year opens the door to allow these modes of transport on public roads in places not prohibited by local law or ordinance.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a man from a fish processing boat about 90 miles northwest of Unalaska Thursday; a federal appeals court will grant a land exchange needed to build a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge; and the Alaska Board of Fisheries voted down a red king crab proposal last week that was supported by both the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and fishermen.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a man from a fish processing boat about 90 miles northwest of Unalaska Thursday, according to a USCG statement. The helicopter crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley hoisted the injured man from the 262-foot fish processor America’s Finest just before 1 p.m. They flew to Unalaska where he was placed in the care of LifeMed personnel.
  • The Unalaska girls varsity basketball team finished their season Saturday at the 2A regional tournament in Anchorage in a final game against Unalakleet; organizers of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference say they’re looking for the next generation of kelp farmers and entrepreneurs to take to Alaska’s coastal waters to grow what some see as a burgeoning future seafood market; and the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting on Southeast regulatory changes is in full swing in Anchorage, but there's still a vacancy on the board, 40 days after the governor was supposed to appoint a successor.
  • Unalaska’s city manager will leave her post in less than three months, when her three-year contract with the city comes to an end on May 31. City Manager Erin Reinders sent an email Wednesday afternoon to city staff announcing her departure. Reinders said she was notified Tuesday morning that the Unalaska City Council would not be renewing her contract for another term.