HANGING ART – Raven Shaw hangs up art at her booth for the Sitka Artisans Market this afternoon at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Her business, Raven's Random, sells original art stickers and prints. The market opens tonight and runs through Sunday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

ACLU: Native Women In Nome Not Getting Justice

By The Associated Press
    NOME (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union today accused police in this small Alaska city of “a systemic and disastrous failure” to keep Native women safe from sexual assault.
    ACLU’s Alaska branch made that charge in a letter demanding the city pay $500,000 to a former 911 dispatcher who says her colleagues at the police department failed to investigate her report that a man raped her in her home. The letter said Clarice Hardy, who is of Inupiaq heritage, was unable to continue working there, and suffered nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks.
    The ACLU’s action comes 12 days after an AP investigation into complaints by Alaska Native women from Nome and surrounding villages that their reports of sexual assault were not investigated aggressively by the city’s police. Nome police data show that from 2008 through 2017, 8% of calls about sexual assaults against adults resulted in an arrest.
    In a written statement, Nome’s interim city manager, John Handeland, declined to respond to questions about the ACLU’s letter.
    “The city’s efforts to improve community policing, and sexual assault investigations in particular, have been well publicized,” he wrote.
    After a group of Alaska Native women began publicly raising complaints about Nome’s police last year, the city of fewer than 4,000 residents hired a new police chief, launched an audit of hundreds of old sexual assault cases and created a civilian police oversight committee.
    While the ACLU said it was writing the letter on behalf of Hardy, it said it is “prepared to seek justice” for other women who had similar experiences with the police department.
    “Dozens of other Alaska Native women have complained of sexual assaults to the Nome police, only to have their concerns dismissed or allowed to languish without investigation,” the ACLU’s letter charges. “It has become evident in recent months that a systemic, decades-long indifference to the safety of Alaska Native women in Nome has led to the deprivation of their rights to equal protection under the Constitutions of the United States and Alaska.”
    Stephen Koteff, the ACLU’s legal director in Alaska, told the AP he couldn’t comment on whether other women have contacted the organization with potential claims involving Nome police.

Cordova’s Ferry Service Shutting Down Until May

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — A coastal Alaska fishing town will soon be cut off from vehicles with the closure of its ferry service because of state budget cuts, officials said.
    The Alaska Marine Highway System will temporarily end service to Cordova following funding cuts by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Monday.
    The budget cuts approved by the state Legislature are expected to end winter trips to Cordova by the ferry service beginning Friday.
    There are no roads to the community about 150 miles (237 kilometers) southeast of Anchorage and the ferry typically runs a few times each week during the winter.
    After this week, Cordova, Valdez and the Native village of Tatitlek in Prince William Sound are not expected to receive another ferry visit until May, officials said.
    Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin watched last week as fishermen returning their families to the road system at the end of the season boarded the state ferry Aurora.
    “It’s an exodus,” Koplin said. “People are trying to get out of here.”
    Alaska’s coastal residents have warned of possible effects of ferry budget reduction including the loss of businesses and jobs. There is also a danger of the permanent departure of residents who cannot afford to pay for regular plane tickets of at least $150 instead of $70 ferry rides, officials said.
    Cordova has pressed the Dunleavy administration to shuffle the ferry system’s ships to provide periodic winter visits. The town may also explore private service, Koplin said.
    “It’s called baseline, minimal service, and that is not what Cordova is getting — we’re getting the lights turned off,” Koplin said.

Load of Fuel Shipped by Sea to North Slope

    PRUDHOE BAY – “Improving ice conditions off the coast of Alaska” have made it possible for 3.5 million gallons of diesel fuel to be delivered to the North Slope oil fields by barge, Colville, Inc., the Alaska-based company providing logistics and fuel transport services for the North Slope, has announced.
    The barge arrived at Deadhorse last Friday, and the offloading operation will continue through this week. Last year the company delivered 2 million gallons of diesel to Deadhorse by barge, Colville said.
     “Fuel for North Slope oil field operations is typically delivered overland by trucks pulling 59-foot tankers for than 850 miles from a refinery in Valdez and up the Dalton Highway to the North Slope,” the company said in the news release.
    “Colville makes 2,000 such trips each year, each hauling nearly 10,000 gallons of diesel. This year’s barge delivery is equivalent to 350 deliveries by truck,” the company said.
    The company said it will continue to consider additional barge deliveries of fuel in the future, but they will not replace the trucking operation.


Two tanker trucks discharge their 10,000-gallon loads of diesel fuel at the Colville tank farm at Prudhoe Bay. The trucks were loaded at the nearby Deadhorse dock from a barge bringing 3.5 million gallons of diesel for North Slope oil field operations. (Photo provided)



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