Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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Maggie Nelson

Reporter

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses. In 2017 Maggie spent time working on a commercial tender boat out of Wrangell and is excited to finally return to Alaska to produce content for the Unalaska community.

  • Unalaska is officially connected to high speed fiber internet, but not everyone on the island has access to the new service.GCI connected its first customers in December, and now, Rural Affairs Director Jenifer Nelson said around 200 homes in the community of about 4,500 year-round residents are turned on and either actively using the fiber broadband or ready to start service.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a man from a factory trawler near Unalaska Tuesday.A Kodiak helicopter aircrew hoisted the mariner from the 310-foot fishing vessel Northern Eagle early in the morning on Jan. 24, according to a statement from the Coast Guard. He was then transported to the care of LifeMed personnel in Cold Bay.
  • The company aiming to bring geothermal energy to Unalaska plans to pay more than $90 million to an engineering and construction firm to build the volcano-powered project, under a contract announced Jan. 18.Ounalashka Corporation/Chena Power, LLC, the company behind the project, is a joint venture between Unalaska’s Native corporation and Fairbanks-based Chena Power. And while OCCP Project Manager Dave Matthews said they plan to start construction of the plant this coming summer, the company still hasn’t announced that it’s secured any funding.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has denied an emergency request Friday to close crucial habitat for Bristol Bay red king crab to all types of commercial fishing.That comes after Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers petitioned in late September for a closure of the red king crab savings areas to protect the species during a time of historically low stocks.The nonprofit, which represents independent crab harvesters, requested that the grounds be closed to all fishing gears from Jan. 1, 2023 through the end of June.
  • The company aiming to bring geothermal energy to Unalaska plans to pay more than $90 million to an engineering and construction firm to design the volcano-powered project, under a contract announced Wednesday; Kodiak’s Tanner crab fleet is continuing to stand down, saying they still haven’t come to an agreement with local processors on price; and following a chaotic start to the session, the Alaska House elected Wasilla Representative Cathy Tilton to the role of House Speaker Wednesday.
  • The collapse of the Bering Sea crab fisheries has put St. Paul Island at risk of losing some of its essential services.The city’s economy is about 90% dependent on the harvest of snow crab, which closed for the first time in the fishery’s history in October. Without Bering Sea snow crab or Bristol Bay red king crab — which has been closed since 2021 — the City of St. Paul is estimating a roughly $2.7 million hit.In light of those anticipated losses, St. Paul’s city government declared a cultural, economic and social emergency in late October, following the fishery closures, and subsequently implemented budgetary cuts, hiring freezes and other measures.Now, the Pribilof Island community faces the loss of its emergency medical services.
  • GCI is still activating its high-speed internet service in Unalaska; Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski says she’s working on legislation to streamline the process for fishery disaster payments; and Alaska schools are preparing to meet the new state educational requirements of the READS Act next fall.
  • The City of St. Paul is at risk of losing its emergency medical services; Kodiak’s Tanner crab fishery opened Sunday, but the fleet is continuing to stand down; and seven days of singing, feasting and services culminated last weekend for members of the Russian Orthodox Church.
  • A collection of 50-year-old audio recordings from the Aleutians have been digitized and are now accessible online.The recordings were part of an Unalaska school project from the ‘70s. A group of students and their teacher recorded various Elders in hopes of documenting the language, culture and history of the Unangax̂ community and the Aleutian region.There’s about 60 reel-to-reel audio tapes that make up the collection. They include topics from day-to-day activities to historic events, fishing stories and recipes, to accounts from Makushin and the other lost villages that were forcibly evacuated during World War II.
  • An Unalaska teen who went missing early Thursday morning was found in stable condition; the upcoming legislative session will be the third legislative cycle where House members begin without a concrete idea of who is in the majority; and the Alaska Marine Highway System is getting some new leadership.