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In Noorvik, a Governor’s Gala

Governor Dunleavy greets residents inside the Noorvik gymnasium.

Alaska has a new governor: Mike Dunleavy. Per the State constitution, Governor Dunleavy’s inauguration was set for exactly noon on Monday, December 3, 2018. Noorvik, the home village of First Lady Rose Dunleavy, was selected for the event. When the day arrived, there was a big problem: poor weather meant the planes couldn’t land there.

Did this faze the residents of Noorvik, who staged a hometown gala for the event? Not at all, says volunteer fellow Katie Kazmierski: “no one seemed unhappy.” The crowd gathered around a single, small monitor in the school gym to patiently witness the swearing-in. (The event was being live-streamed from the nearby city of Kotzebue.) A few hours later, when the weather cleared and the First Family finally did make it to Noorvik, they were greeted by songs in both English and Inupiaq. Rose Dunleavy was greeted, too, by her Alaska Native name, Sattu.

Large crowd gathered inside brightly-illuminated school gymnasium.
An eager crowd gathered in the school gymnasium. Photo: Katie Kazmierski, KNOM.

For a community of fewer than 700 people, the chance to host an inauguration party was a moment to “put (Noorvik) on the map,” said multiple people in interviews aired on KNOM.

On-location reporting like this, a vital part of the mission, is also a special highlight for KNOM volunteer fellows. Prospective applicants can learn more right here at knom.org.

Image at top: The newly-inaugurated governor greets residents. Photo: Katie Kazmierski, KNOM.

Woman stands smiling on snowy ground at night, holding camping gear and wearing heavy winter clothes.
Ready to roll (or fly): volunteer Katie Kazmierski is pictured just after her return to Nome from her solo reporting trip in Noorvik. Photo: Margaret DeMaioribus, KNOM.