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UA News for March 28, 2023

In today's news: violence against women in Alaska is very high (UAA Justice Center Report) - the Homer police department hosted a self-defense workshop to help empower women to feel safer; UAF is coordinating with the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association and Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust on the 2023 Spring Virtual Fisherman's Expo on April 4; The Alaska Center for Energy and Power works closely with the Arctic Energy Office to explore energy solutions in the Arctic; and a story about a UAF graduate student's work to disentangle seals from fishing lines serves as an introduction to a story about the conflict between fishing, Indigenous rights and conservation.


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alaskapublic.org
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‘Ladies’ Fight Club:’ Homer police teach jiu-jitsu, situational awareness for women’s self-defense

Published Mar 28, 2023 by Hope McKenney, KBBI - Homer

About 80 women and girls came from across the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and even Palmer to take the department’s four-hour self-defense course last October. Training included lessons on maintaining situational awareness, like not being plugged into a phone in potentially unsafe spaces, and breaking from an attacker’s grasp.


Police say such techniques are meant to empower women to feel safe in a state that’s long ranked at or near the top in the nation for rates of domestic violence and sexual assault.


A 2020 survey from the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center estimated that nearly 58% of Alaska women have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or both during their lifetime.


Browning said the department is training women, in particular, since they’re the primary victims of isolated incidents of violence.


I think it’s important to have a woman-only class and men who are positive reinforcing instructors,” he said. “Some of the feedback we got in the last class was that it was really good to practice on women, but it was even better to be able to try it on a man and see how that feels, with some positive coaching and reinforcement.”


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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
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Fishing EXPO open to new and experienced anglers

Published Mar 28, 2023 by Jonny Armstrong

The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) and the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust (ASFT) are hosting a Spring Virtual Fishermen’s EXPO on April 4 and 5 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m to provide educational workshops and training to new and experienced local fishermen as well as others with interest in the fishing sector. During this EXPO, all the workshops and presentations will be offered in a virtual format.


Commercial and subsistence fishermen of all gear types will have the opportunity to attend free and interactive classes on fishermen training courses, commercial fishing insurance, management updates on halibut bycatch and pending salmon bycatch actions, business planning for fishermen, break-even analysis, preparing for your lender, Deckhand Logbook updates, troller-led oceanography in Southeast Alaska, ALFA’s crew training program and more. Presenters include Maddie Lightsey with Alaska Boats and Permits, Jess Sarsfield with AgWest Farm Credit, Marc Wheeler with Spruce Root, Sunny Rice and Gabe Dunham with SeaGrant, Linda Behnken and Natalie Sattler with ALFA, Kirk Johanson and Dylan Hopper with SeaMountain insurance and Tyler Hennon with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.


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Alaska Business
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The Alaska Energy Big Picture

Published Mar 27, 2023 by Tara O'Hanley

Conversations about US Arctic energy have been dominated by oil and gas, but Alaska—the nation’s connection to the Arctic—has so much more to offer in the energy sector, from natural resource extraction to being a natural testing ground for micro-grid and extreme weather energy research.


Inside the Joseph E. Usibelli Engineering Learning and Innovation Building on the UAF campus, the federal Arctic Energy Office shares close quarters with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.


Kochanowski brings his experience as a US Air Force officer once stationed at Elmendorf and former manager of the US Forest Service’s Alaska fleet. He was working for the Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy when he was tapped to give the department a physical presence in Alaska. The Arctic Energy Office, previously working under the Office of Fossil Energy, was re-established in 2001, the new century bringing a new focus on science and national security in the Far North.


Alaska is well suited as a technology testing ground and has acted as an energy laboratory for decades. “We like to say that if a technology works in Alaska, it’ll work anywhere because our conditions are so extreme,” says Arctic Energy Office Director Erin Whitney.



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Michigan Chapter | Sierra Club
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When Indigenous Rights, Conservation, and a Very Lucrative Fishery Collide

Published Mar 27, 2023 by Lily Nie March

THE ISLAND SENTINELS moved through the tundra grass, fast and silent. Wind blew the rain sideways. As the sentinels reached the tundra's edge, the animals caught wind of them and began to flop away en masse. The team slid down a steep bank of sand to the beach, carrying their long noose-poles like spears.


One by one, three nooses looped around the neck of a young northern fur seal, pinning him down. He bellowed hoarsely, baring pink mouth and white teeth. A plastic packing band was deeply embedded in his neck. Baby seals love to play with packing bands—they often poke their heads in, get stuck, and grow into the bands until they are lacerated or strangled. It's assumed most die before they are ever found.


Chelsea Kovalcsik, a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the group's disentanglement coordinator, snipped the band. The little seal used his first free breaths to roar back at his former captors, then galumphed—much faster now—over to his clan and disappeared into the brown mass.



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