Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, April 23, 2004

UAS Native orators excel in Anchorage

JUNEAU - Several University of Alaska Southeast students won awards at a statewide Native oratory contest held Saturday at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

More than forty Native high school and college students spoke out at the third annual Alaska Native Oratory Society grand contest about issues ranging from victimization and suicide to apprenticeships and forgotten Native artisans.

Lily Hudson, a senior from UAS won high honors in the storytelling and dramatic declamation divisions. Lyle James of UAS placed second. Hudson's story was a tribute to her grandmother, whose mother had passed the Tlingit legend to her.

Former Haines resident Mary Folletti, a UAS student, won in the Native language category with a speech in Tlingit and English to honor elders.

In addition to representatives from university campuses in Anchorage and Juneau, the contest included participants from Hoonah, Nenana, Igiugig, Quinahok, Kwigillingok, Barrow, and Nondalton, organizers said.

Nearly seventy educators, business people, elders, and activists participated as judges.

The results are:

In Oratory, first place, Quentin Simeon (UAA); second place, Matthew Gilbert (UAA); third place, David Karabelnikoff (UAA).

In Dramatic Declamation, first place, Lily Hudson (UAS); second place, Mary Hostetter (Igiugig); third place, Doreen Speer (UAA).

In Storytelling, first place, Lily Hudson; second place, Lyle James (UAS); third place, David Karabelnikoff (UAA).

In Native Language, first place, Mary Folletti (UAS); second place, Christine Pleasant (Quinahok); third place, John Allen John (Kwigillingok).

Peninsula's bark beetle battle gets more funds

KENAI - The Kenai Peninsula Borough is putting a $929,000 federal grant toward continuing efforts to deal with trees killed off in the spruce bark beetle outbreak.

But the stream of federal dollars pumped into the program in recent years may be ending, said borough assembly member Chris Moss.

"We always say this may be the last amount of money, but I think this might be, and hopefully we can carry on," Moss said.

But a spokeswoman in Sen. Ted Stevens' office in Washington, D.C., said there is no reason to think any particular program would become any more or less in jeopardy than any other in future budgets.

House panel sets groundwork for casino

ANCHORAGE - A bill that could allow a gambling casino in Anchorage has passed the state House Finance Committee.

The bill, sponsored by the committee, would set up a gambling commission with the power to allow a single casino in Anchorage.

The bill was the idea of Perry Green, a well-known Anchorage furrier and poker player, who proposes to turn the failed state-owned Anchorage Seafood International plant into a casino.

Green has employed some of the top lobbyists at the Capitol to push the measure, which he describes as a way to create jobs and provide tax revenue to the state and city. Green said Wednesday that he is paying for the lobbying efforts mostly from his property leasing business. He said he also has a financial partner, who he would not name.

Ice on Tanana River rotting rapidly

FAIRBANKS - Ice on the Tanana River at Nenana is rotting rapidly and officials at the Nenana Ice Classic are scrambling to finish sorting tickets before it moves out completely.

"If the ice goes out before we finish entering all the tickets we won't even be able to notify all the winners," said Ice Classic manager Cherrie Forness.

Workers will take two or three days to finish entering guesses, Forness said.

"I don't think it's going to be much longer," she told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "Four to seven days we're figuring."

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