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There are a lot of us in 2008. Those with greater resources left last year (2007); nearly 15% of Bethel by mid-summer 2007 according to the Chamber of Commerce. I haven’t heard this year’s figures and don’t know how they gather the data. By October 2007 it was evident the trend for losing middle class students in the high school was continuing, lessening the diversity needed in a thriving school community the size of Bethel. People had used all their savings or retirement (if any) to deal with the increased living expenses, combining families by moving in with relatives, or shutting all rooms except the one next to the oil stove (Thank goodness for Toyo stoves. Heating my small house/room is only 150 gallons a year).

Some members of the Legislature had proposed back then to offer a portion of our state’s surplus royalities back to the folks needing to cover the costs of that oil at retail. That was scuttled in favor of Sen Lyman’s proposal to fund landlords and homeowners to weatherize their buildings. There aren’t enough certified weatherization inspectors; limited refunds for weatherization won’t be released without a before and after inspection. The refunds won’t cover those who weatherized the year before (2007). [ http://aprn.org/2008/10/14/state-energy-rebate-program-undergoes-change/] The scheme is for refunds, requiring up front money for making renovations, after up front money is used for the inspections, if there were inspectors….

Gov. Palin says she gave everyone, man, woman, and infant, $1200 to cover this year’s energy needs. A lot of us could only use the money to leave home.

[The “energy rebate” and the permanent fund dividend (PFD) is enough to go from Bethel to Anchorage, but not enough to live on. If anyone knows of paid temping jobs, or permanent ones, please let me know. No CDL or clinical but I can type and read, ‘rite, ‘rithmetic  ;o) ]

“Saying goodbye, thank you”, http://deltadiscovery.com/letters/letters.html
“Leaving Bethel with legacy of helping”, http://thetundradrums.com/section/letters

I have worked for many years with the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta on issues of health, environment, heritage and cultural resources, elders, science teachers, and information technology.

Unfortunately, I must now say goodbye and thank you as I must relocate away from Bethel. This won’t stop my support of grassroots science, elder participation, and thoughtful solutions from the communities of the Delta. Relocation won’t end my friendships, won’t end my learning, and won’t end my substantiated belief in the abilities of people out here to contribute to world knowledge and culture. (It has been a struggle to convince some organizations, governments, and institutions of such value, as many of you know, whether the issue was Village erosion or elder rights or cleaning up dumps or environmental health or protection of natural resources or emergency preparedness.)

I have seen many of my neighbor kids grow into productive adults. Thank you for what you have taught me. I have worked with incredible scientists and thinkers, though many won’t have formal training beyond high school. I have also learned from those who put in immense effort and sacrifice in formal settings so that we may benefit from their pastoral or technical caring. By their works I have known them.

While I am moving to a new home, I am still supporting rural Alaska and Alaska Natives through the website https://ykalaska.wordpress.com Virtual reality isn’t quite the same as “real reality” but please help me stay in touch through the website.

All through my life I have tried to live by the basic tradition of science and education–

Just as people must share seal meat and oil to maintain physical and social well-being, so, too, must they share knowledge–so that their minds will not rot.

I hope I have lived up to this while in Bethel.
M Pamela Bumsted, Grassroots Science
Bethel, AK

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