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. 

  • The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three hunters near Sand Point on Wednesday after the group's boat sank on the southern end of Popof Island.
  • The Coast Guard rescued three hunters near Sand Point on Wednesday who were stranded after their boat sank on the southern end of Popof Island; Indigenous heavy metal band Merciless Indian Savages uses its music and lyrics to take a critical look at issues impacting Native people; and a favorite Alaska kids TV show is getting two episodes in Alaska Native languages.
  • Iliuliuk Family and Health Services’ clinic director is stepping down after more than two years at the helm of the Unalaska clinic.Melanee Tiura will be taking a job as an administrator with Providence Medical Center in Valdez. Her last day at IFHS is Dec. 10.
  • The Unalaska girls volleyball team wraps up their season; it’s the second holiday season of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year has one major difference, if you ask the state’s top doctor; and President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law last Monday.
  • The Unalaska Department of Public Utilities is upgrading electrical equipment that’s been causing some of the island’s recent power outages; the Dunleavy administration is wading into the debate by naming a task force to study the issue of bycatch and find ways to make it better for everyone working on the water; and the Unalaska Elder Exercise Group is back.
  • House Speaker Louise Stutes has appointed a former Unalaska mayor to a new ferry oversight board.Shirley Marquardt will be joining the nine-member Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board, which was established through the passage of House Bill 63 — introduced by Speaker Stutes last session.
  • Unalaska may be one step closer to cleaning up some of the contaminated military sites left over from World War II; new COVID-19 cases have dropped by more than a third in the last couple of weeks, but Alaskans are still getting infected and dying at rates that lead the nation; and a University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher has been internationally recognized for his work on sea ice and climate modelling.
  • The City of St. Paul says two essential workers tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, after flying into the community. The tests were performed at the local health center as part of the city’s travel testing requirements, according to a city statement.
  • Aleutian Airways has delayed its launch to Unalaska until next spring; the City of St. Paul says two essential workers tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, after flying into the community; and the first international Indigenous musical festival, Rock Aak’w, showcased several Native artists.
  • Nearly a decade of work will culminate in a commemoration to honor an Unangax̂ soldier killed in World War II; health officials continue to add to the tally of deaths from Alaska’s worst surge of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing its work on Unalaska’s Formerly Used Defense Sites.