Booze summit: Bethel gets visit from Zulkosky, governor’s office

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BOOZE IS CAUSING PROBLEMS IN THE REGION

Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, in office since being sworn in March 9, returns to Bethel this weekend with representatives from Gov. Bill Walker’s cabinet. They’ll address the gathering crisis developing with alcohol sales, Bethel residents, and people from nearby villages.

Letters from the villages of Napaskiak and Marshall, dry villages, have urged Walker to declare a state of emergency over liquor in Bethel, because too many village people are dying or being seriously injured since the city went “wet” in 2016.

Among those traveling to the “listening session” are Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan, and representatives from the lieutenant governor and attorney general’s offices.

Zulkosky’s listening session on the impact of Bethel’s liquor store on surrounding communities begins at 5:30 pm Saturday at the high school, Room C-22.

The first liquor store to open in Bethel, which had been a dry community, was in May of 2016. By the first winter, 2017, the Bethel Search and Rescue team was overwhelmed with dozens of calls from people in danger because of consuming alcohol and being exposed to the cold. The volunteer team could not keep up and was working itself into exhaustion.

RURAL AFFAIRS ADVISER HITS THE ROAD

Not attending the meeting as a representative of the governor is Jerad Godfrey, Walker’s former Rural Affairs Adviser. Godfrey is ending his service to the governor after reportedly becoming cross-threaded with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who is also Alaska Native.

Godfrey was the Director of Corporate Affairs for Afognak Native Corporation. He chaired Alaska’s Violent Crimes Compensation Board for 13 years, having been appointed by Alaska’s last three governors. Gov. Walker appointed him Rural Affairs Adviser in 2015.

No announcement has been made of his departure. Godfrey is of Alutiiq descent and was raised in Juneau, Northway, Bethel, Kodiak and Eagle River.

1 COMMENT

  1. Bethel is making lots of money off booze taxes and not funding services for booze related problems.

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