_Alcohol and Me

Different kind of court is a last chance before big trouble

June 28th, 2014

Nick Zywot’s mom stopped talking to him because of his drinking. After a decade of sobriety, police arrested him a few days after Christmas for DUI No. 6. Jesse Powell notched his fourth DUI in September. Tia Smart went to court 10 times for underage drinking before her latest assault charge. That was last […]

‘It never ceases to amaze me what people will do to other people’

June 7th, 2014

From the driver’s seat of his Anchorage police cruiser, Officer Barry Hetlet sees many people out wandering the streets of Fairview and downtown Anchorage in the middle of the night. At all hours, people stand on the street corners of Ingra and linger downtown. During rare quiet moments, between the mayhem of 911 calls, […]

“I have to do this this way”

May 31st, 2014

Barrow judge Michael Jeffery has made several changes to the way he runs his court to try to provide fair treatment for defendants who may be affected by a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. In 1990, a defense attorney presented evidence that her client was diagnosed with an FASD, and that it would be unjust to […]

‘I genuinely care’

May 23rd, 2014

Probation officer Terri Telkamp has a unique approach to her work in Barrow. She suspects many people who wind up on her caseload are affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and has adapted in ways she hopes will lessen the likelihood that felons will reoffend. In this video, Telkamp talks about her methods to […]

Alcohol & Me: ‘It’s a human tragedy’

May 2nd, 2014

As a state senator 25 years ago, John Binkley filed a several bills to combat fetal alcohol syndrome in Alaska. His effort had a lasting impact in many ways. Now, teachers must undergo training on the disorders and every alcohol-serving establishment must post a warning to pregnant women. […]

‘Nothing’s ever going to be the same’

April 3rd, 2014

Until a friend found his body last month outside a Fairview warehouse, Gregory Jack spent decades volunteering and dining just a few blocks away at the Bean’s Cafe. Friends and family gathered Wednesday to mourn the 59-year-old at the soup kitchen. One of those attending, Art Ivanoff, says he lost his closest friend. The […]

‘I feel blessed and very thankful that I’m here’

March 19th, 2014

Like many teens, Devon Hilts was anxious about moving out on her own and starting college after her high school graduation in Seldovia. What she overcame was less commonplace. Hilts, now 19, carries unpleasant memories of her early childhood — homelessness on the streets of Seattle, abusive men and a birth mother addicted to drugs […]

Alcohol & Me: Five things you should know about FASD

February 21st, 2014

If you think FASD doesn’t affect you and your family, Deb Evensen wants you to think again. Evensen has been educating Alaskans about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders for more than 30 years. She works with school districts and organizations across Alaska and the U.S. to address the issue. In this video, she explains the five […]

“It’s not something that can be fixed”

February 21st, 2014

Lounging by the pool on a cruise along the Mexican Riviera, sipping rum and Coke, in 2004, Heidi Case didn’t know she was pregnant. Like nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S., hers was unplanned. It wasn’t until her son, Jacob, was 7 years old that she realized her drinking had damaged his brain. […]

“My goal in life is to give her the best life she can have”

February 21st, 2014

Helen Benson changed her life while staying at a shelter for abused women. Pregnant with her daughter, Serenity, she turned away from a lifestyle of alcohol and drugs that she was desperate to overcome. Now sober for seven years, other challenges remain. In 2012, Serenity was diagnosed with partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. For Helen it […]