Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage

Joaqlin Estus is a reporter at KNBA in Anchorage.

Alaska Native Medical Center to host state’s first Ronald McDonald House

Alaska’s first “Ronald McDonald House” is opening next year at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. The facility will provide temporary housing at little or no cost for pregnant women and families with children receiving care. Download Audio

Budget cuts close rural road maintenance stations

Under Gov. Bill Walker's proposed budget, five road maintenance stations in eastern Interior Alaska will close. Mid-month, state officials will be meeting with affected communities to share information, answer questions, and hear suggestions for potential solutions from the public. Download Audio

Wage increase kicks In January 1

In 2014 Alaskans voted for one-dollar increases to go into effect in 2015 and 2016. The first, raised it from $7.75 per hour, to $8.75. The second, to $9.75 an hour goes into effect January 1, 2016. Download Audio

New health center opens in Sutton

More than a hundred people turned out last Thursday for a ribbon-cutting at a community health center in Sutton, a town on the Glenn Highway 60 miles northeast of Anchorage. The center will serve residents from Palmer to Eureka. And although the Indian Health Service contributed funding, and the Chickaloon Native Village Council manages the center, it will be open to Natives and non-Natives alike. Download Audio

Anchorage fundraiser for Fairbanks Four draws hundreds

Over the weekend in Anchorage, a crowd gathered to listen to music, dance, eat and donate money for the Fairbanks Four. They raised $7,000 for the newly freed men. Download Audio

Fairbanks 4 released, welcomed with community potluck

George Frese, Kevin Pease and Eugene Vent were released from the Fairbanks Correctional Center last night, and met up with hundreds of supporters a short time later at the Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall in Fairbanks.

USDA awards $2.3M to Alaska telemedicine, distance learning

The U.S. Department of Agriculture chose Thursday, National Rural Health Day, to announce $2.3 million in grants to support telemedicine and distance learning programs in Alaska.

Arctic Council looks to Alaska citizen science network

A tribal citizen science network that got its start in Alaska is being touted as a model for tracking climate change in the Arctic. The eight-nation Arctic Council plans to expand the Local Environmental Observer Network to other Arctic nations. Download Audio

Obama hears from a roundtable of Alaska Native leaders

President Barack Obama is in Alaska to learn and talk about climate change. Before giving a speech to dozens of foreign ministers and dignitaries from around the world attending a conference on climate change, the president met with Alaska Native leaders.

Murkowski hears testimony on the state’s growing prison population

Alaska has already outgrown the $250-million Goose Creek Correctional Center that opened in 2012. Instead of pouring more money into building and maintaining prisons, people testifying in a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs field hearing in Anchorage on Thursday said it’d be smarter to turn some of the money toward keeping people out of prison. Download Audio

$8.5M In Cuts to Troopers Spread A Thin Force Event Thinner

Rural residents already complain that state troopers are slow to respond to serious crimes and dangerous situations. But as of July first, 30 state trooper positions have been eliminated. With more lay-offs coming, it's going to get worse -- in both urban and rural Alaska. Download Audio

Innovative Program Brings Dental Care to Underserved Alaskans

Ten years ago, the American Dental Association unsuccessfully sued to get the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to halt its Alaska Dental Health Therapist (DHAT) program. Now the program has won a national award for its innovative approach to providing Alaska Natives with dental care. And the idea is expanding to other states. Download Audio:

Congress Approves Commission on Native American Children

The U.S. Congress on Tuesday unanimously adopted legislation to create a Commission on Native American children, according to a prepared statement by bill sponsor and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Obama Creates Arctic Steering Committee

President Obama discussed Alaska, climate change, and Arctic issues in a speech May 20. That came after an executive order in January creating an Arctic Executive Steering Committee to coordinate federal Arctic activities. These may be signs Arctic issues are gaining a higher profile.

Construction starts on Alaska Native Medical Center housing

Tribal, state, and private sector leaders Wednesday kicked off construction of housing at the Alaska Native Medical Center. They say it will improve services for Alaska Native and American Indian people who travel to Anchorage from across the state for health care. A state Senator who helped get the project financed says it will also save the state millions of dollars a year for decades to come.

Law Firm Gifts $3.5M to Tribal Health

A national law firm that specializes in Indian law is donating $3.5 million to improve medical care for tribal members. The decision comes after the firm, which has offices in Anchorage, helped win a case before the U.S. Supreme Court involving hundreds of millions of dollars for tribal health organizations. Download Audio:

Kick the Bucket: The Future of Rural Sanitation in Alaska

Over the past four days, we have brought you stories that go out into the field for an in-depth look at Alaska's rural sanitation situation - a series we call "Kick the Bucket." We have seen how the lack of modern sanitation is linked to disease as people strain the limits of their clean water supply. And we have looked at the implications of decreasing funding and looming maintenance expenses in villages with a limited cash economy. Today we’ll wrap up the series by trying to look into the future.

Rural Sanitation Series: Innovating Beyond the Honey Bucket

What if you didn't have piped water and sewer, and the government wasn't picking up the tab to get you some. How would you find a low-cost system that you could keep running through the winter? In the fourth segment of "Kick the Bucket," find out how experts are looking for answers to rural sanitation issues in Alaska. Download Audio:

Kick the Bucket: Experts Seek Alternatives To Costly, Ineffective Sanitation Systems

What if you didn’t have piped water and sewer, and the government wasn’t picking up the tab to get you some? How would you find a low-cost system that you could keep running through the winter? In this segment of “Kick the Bucket,” find out how experts are looking for answers to rural sanitation issues in Alaska.

Rural Alaska Communities Struggle To Keep Water And Sewer Systems Running

Even rural communities that have raised the money to build modern sanitation systems face the threat of their ultimate failure due to the lack of funding for operations and maintenance, wiping away whatever health gains were achieved.