Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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Theo Greenly

Reporter

Theo Greenly is a Report for America corps member. He got his start in public radio as an intern at KCRW in Santa Monica, California. Since then, he's produced radio stories for stations around the country, and has worked on podcasts as an intern at NPR. He studied journalism at Santa Monica College, creative writing at the University of Colorado Boulder, and radio production at the Transom Story Workshop. When not reporting, he’s probably looking for someone to go hiking with. Wanna go for a hike?

  • After delays due to weather, the MV Tustumena, which was scheduled to arrive in Unalaska on Saturday, has now been pushed back a week, according to the Department of Transportation. The department cancelled all ferry sailings through Oct. 5, citing crew shortages as the cause.The Tustumena has now been rescheduled to arrive in Unalaska on Friday Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. and to depart the following morning at 3:30 a.m.Visit dot.alaska.gov/amhs for more information.
  • Fur seals are an essential subsistence food for the Unangax̂ communities in the Bering Sea’s Pribilof Islands. But for years, scientists have been unable to explain why the seals’ populations have been falling. Now, a new peer-reviewed study points its finger at an industry that’s long been suspected, but never definitively linked with the population declines: Alaska’s huge commercial pollock fishery, which harvests the same species that nursing female seals rely on to feed their pups.
  • The Pribilof community of St. Paul has only had 2 cases of COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic; a look into one of Anchorage’s overburdened ICUs; and Alaskans will receive $1,100 Permanent Fund Dividend payments beginning in October.
  • A Japanese Navy training ship stopped over in Dutch Harbor on Sunday as part of its overseas training cruise.Mayor Vince Tutiakoff Sr. welcomed the crew at the city dock, and greeted the ship’s commanding officer, Rear Admiral Ishimaki Yoshiyasu.The JS Kashima is 143 meters long, with a mounted 76mm rapid-fire gun and two 324mm triple torpedo launchers.
  • In a somewhat contentious City Council meeting Tuesday, councilors voted to keep Unalaska’s current mask mandate in place for the next two weeks.The island currently has 40 positive COVID-19 cases — 15 of them community members, according to city officials.While the local coronavirus risk level remains in the “moderate” category, council members also took other things into account, like the shortage of hospital beds in Anchorage, and the increased number of people being medevaced off the island.“For the first year of the pandemic, I think we had two medevacs for the entire year. What we’ve seen with [the Delta variant] — we’ve had three medevacs in the last six weeks,” said Melanee Tiura, the clinic director at Iliuliuk Family and Health Services.
  • The closure of the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery has enormous implications for Unalaska and surrounding communities; Ravn Alaska’s new nonstop aircraft touched down in Unalaska for the first time yesterday; and some evacuees from Afghanistan will soon be making Alaska their home.
  • COVID-19 cases spike in Adak for the first time this year; Unalaska firefighters climb Bunker Hill to honor the victims of 9/11; and after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alaska Symphony of Seafood returns.
  • The Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska has applied for funding that could boost the island’s broadband capabilities. If approved, the tribe would use the money towards building a fiber optic cable from Washington state to Unalaska.
  • The Unalaska preschool’s morning session will be closed until Sept. 13; the window for Alaska Native tribes to apply for free wireless broadband licenses closes Wednesday night; and a look back at the 24th annual Qawalangin Tribe's culture camp, where around 50 youth learned about Unangax̂ culture, values and skills.
  • The window for Alaska Native tribes to apply for grants to build broadband infrastructure closes Wednesday night.Approximately 60,000 people in Alaska live without broadband, impeding access to services like telemedicine and remote education. In an effort to help communities close that “digital gap,” the federal government has offered $980 million to help deliver broadband to Indigenous tribes throughout the nation.