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. 

  • Unalaska’s elementary school principal has resigned, but district officials won’t say why.LaVettra Clayton’s last day was Tuesday, according to School Superintendent Robbie Swint Jr.
  • Unalaska’s elementary school principal has resigned, and officials won’t say why; Gov. Mike Dunleavy painted a stark picture of the state’s COVID-19 woes as a surge in cases of the Delta variant put hospitals in crisis mode; and how much seafood do people eat on a day-to-day basis, and how does that number play a role in regulating clean water?
  • Ninety-one percent of eligible St. Paul residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to city officials.That — along with strict protective measures — has helped keep the coronavirus largely out of the small Pribilof island community. St. Paul has recorded just two COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, said City Manager Phil Zavadil. The first was in April and the second in August.
  • The number of Northern fur seals in the Bering Sea has dropped by around 70% since the 1970s — and researchers haven’t been sure exactly why; the COVID-19 crisis continues at Alaska’s largest hospital, a week after Providence Alaska Medical Center announced it’s begun rationing health care; and more than 50 people have died in commercial aviation accidents in Alaska since 2016.
  • Unalaska’s local risk factor has increased to “substantial” due to a rise in local COVID-19 cases.Since Friday, the city has reported 12 new cases of the virus. This brings the island’s total to 27 active community cases, up from 18 last week. There are also 20 industry cases currently in quarantine, according to city officials.
  • A Japanese Navy training ship stopped over in Dutch Harbor on Sunday, as part of its overseas training cruise; Unalaska will soon have seven functioning tsunami sirens; and Unalaska’s local risk factor has increased to “substantial” due to a rise in local COVID-19 cases.
  • Last month, representatives from Unalaska traveled to the interior to give a presentation on the Makushin Geothermal Project; in today’s climate, the Aleutian Islands are the windiest area in Alaska, but not for long; and a story from the archives about Unalaskans' donations following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
  • In a contentious City Council meeting Tuesday, councilors voted to keep Unalaska’s current mask mandate in place for the next two weeks; doctors who work at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage said Tuesday that they’ve begun to ration care as Alaska endures one of the worst surges of COVID-19 in the country; and the U.S. Coast Guard reported encountering Chinese warships within 50 miles of the Aleutian Islands this past August during patrols in the Arctic and Bering Sea.
  • Nearly nine months after Adak reported its first case of COVID-19, the nation’s westernmost city is seeing a spike in infections.
  • The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced earlier this month that all major crab stocks are down. And for the first time in over 25 years, the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery will be closed.