28 December 2006


I'm not quite sure how this qualifies as "news" but the Associated Press has apparently just realized that life in rural Alaska is pretty tough:

This is the story of one village among scores left reeling from eroding budgets. It's a dilemma worsened by the termination of the state's revenue-sharing and municipal-assistance programs three years ago. Bandage fixes have since been employed to partially fill the gap, but at least in Point Hope, the money is quickly absorbed by such necessities as salaries, accrued debts and skyrocketing fuel bills, according to local officials.
On the one hand, I want to be offended and outraged that it's taken so long for something like this to deserve the in-depth look it's getting right now. Struggling local governments are nothing new and therefore not, in a literal sense, newsworthy. I haven't been in Alaska tremendously long and already I've written a number of stories on various aspects of this story.

On the other hand, any coverage - particularly by a statewide organization like the AP and played heavily in the ADN - brings more attention to what is easily one of the most important issues (on a long list) confronting the residents of remote Alaska. And the more attention there is on issues like these, perhaps the more likely it is that the legislature, state government, and other actors might lend a hand.

But I wouldn't count on it.

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