Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
Your voice in the Aleutians.
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  • Coastal Alaska is on the front lines of climate change. Extreme weather events are becoming more common, and many communities along Alaska’s shores wonder if the future will bring more of the same. A group of researchers tries to answer what storms might look like in the future by turning toward the past.
  • The Unalaska Learning Center is hosting a grand opening for its new building this weekend. Part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Bristol Bay campus, the center was previously located next to the high school’s woodshop. Now, it’s in the former alternative education building. "We have this large open space — much more welcoming," said Jill Spetz, instructional services manager for the center.
  • 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.
  • A mid-September storm caused major damage in parts of Western Alaska. In Unalaska though, it brought strangely warm temperatures and a warning sign about future storm activity in the region. Wreckage from the historic storm spans about 1,000 miles of coastline from the Lower Kuskokwim area, up north to the Norton Sound region. Flooding and strong winds caused power outages, road and home damage and destroyed subsistence harvests and the means to replace those. While Unalaska was preparing for similar conditions and possible devastation, locals got lucky as the storm passed further west, near Shemya Island. Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said the high seas and strong winds were the remnants of Typhoon Merbok. And while they missed the Eastern Aleutians, they did push subtropical air into the region.
  • Researchers looking into the decline of Steller sea lions over the last decade noticed that the concentration of mercury levels in lion pups was increasing in some parts of the Aleutian Islands — but they didn’t know why. Now, a group of scientists from around the nation are working to solve that mystery with a research project called Aleutian Mercury Dynamics. The project’s goal is to create a timeline to see mercury levels in the Aleutian Islands over the last few thousand years.
  • A collection of audio reels made in the Aleutian region in the 1970s was digitized and will soon be available online through the University of Alaska Fairbanks.The recordings were part of a school project that started in 1977 when a group of Unalaska students and their teacher Ray Hudson started collecting texts about the culture, language and history of the Aleutians. They called themselves the “Cuttlefish Class” – a name they picked out together – and they called their project the “Cuttlefish Series.”The students put together six hefty volumes meant to bring the island community and Unangax̂ culture into the classroom. They contain things like fishing stories, letters, recipes for alodics (an Unangax̂ form of fry bread), as well as memories from Makushin and the other lost villages that were forcibly evacuated during World War II.
  • A Pribilof Island community of less than 400 people has received more than $250,000 in federal funds to train locals to work at its commercial aircraft…
  • Aleutian Region Breaks 95-Year Records For July Heat, Rainfall
    Last month marked the hottest, driest July in the Aleutian Islands in 95 years.The conditions matched the larger trend across Alaska, which experienced…