Voters in the Western Alaska community of Emmonak have narrowly decided to continue restricted alcohol sales and remain a so-called “damp” community under local option laws.
Certified results from the recent election were 122 votes in favor of keeping alcohol in Emmonak and 103 votes against. The community has a total of 502 eligible voters, according to local officials.
Emmonak is a community of more than 700 near the mouth of the Yukon River and had a long history of prohibiting alcohol. But voters in 2016 – also by a slim margin – approved alcohol sales at a facility run by the local government.
Emmonak’s City Clerk, Mona Andrews, has worked for the community during its last two local option elections.
“The first outcome, I thought it would pass, it was so close,” Andrews said. “The second round I was disappointed again. This time I had put signs everywhere in Emmonak to make sure people knew. I’m just sad that the results turned out for Emmonak to still be damp.”
Andrews says Emmonak is working on ways to remove bootleggers and address regional concerns over alcohol in the community. She says surrounding villages have complained about the negative effects alcohol from Emmonak is having on their residents.
Emmonak’s tribal leaders and other stakeholders plan on holding community discussions regarding alcohol.
Andrews expects continued efforts to restrict alcohol in the community. According to Alaska Statutes, Emmonak can start a new petition to hold another election as soon as the past results have been certified.
As University of Alaska faces uncertain financial future, officials focus on supporting current studentsIn the face of an unprecedented cut from the state, University of Alaska staff, faculty and students have a lot of uncertainty about their futures.
- Anchorage education advocate Alyse Galvin has filed to take another run at Alaska Congressman Don Young in 2020.
- Suppression efforts are focused on the southern section of the fire to protect nearby communities. Fire crews have 50% of that portion of the fire contained.
- The most recent state budget cuts mean the shelter will have to reduce its hours. The building will close from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., likely starting next month. That means no breakfast and no lunch.