Sunday, May 1, 2011

Springtime Drama

It is well known that in small towns and villages, the end of winter and the beginning of spring brings out the crazy in people. This is definitely true here as there has been a unfortunate amount of drama in the village. It doesn't have anything to do with us. It has to do with the village council, who employed a woman from a nearby village. The Woman had many strange aspects to her personality, and it was eventually learned that through either an incredible amount of ignorance or a malicious intent she pretty much drained all the money from the village council. We're talking hundreds of thousands. This discovery came to light in the middle of an old fashioned power struggle between two major families in the village who have both been involved in village leadership over the years. Somehow the council dwindled in number until suddenly there were two people left on the council. This is a major problem because, I guess, three are necessary for voting in new members. While all the council employees were out of town for training, the village got together and held their own council election. This was a problem because lawyers were consulted and some lawyers declared the new council to be unlawfully elected and some lawyers declared the new council to be lawful.  The woman was fired by the new council, but for weeks, nobody knew if the council actually had power to fire her. Locks were changed. Phone numbers were changed. The Woman wrote a bunch of severance checks to various people in the village (this drained oodles of money.) It was discovered that the grant money for finishing the new council building was siphoned off for some other use. This is a HUGE problem, as not only can the building not be finished, the village now appears financially incompetent and is extremely unlikely to receive future grants for who knows how long. We have two friends who are also employed by the council office. Before The Woman was fired, she fired one of them back around December, but after The Woman was fired, our friend seemed to be still employed. There isn't any money to pay them though, and there are huge fees to settle from the legal problems of sorting this out. The Bureau of Indian Affairs declared that the election needed to happen again, and came in to see that it went properly. The same people were elected as before, but now they were official. They officially fired The Woman, but as the iceberg of disaster floated higher into the daylight it became apparent that there are few people around who can cope with untangling the disaster. Our friends seem to be in the best position to do so, having been employed under The Woman and fully aware of her character and having understanding of the village's position before, during and after all the trouble. Unfortunately, the power struggle is not over, and as persons here fight and manipulate each other for whatever they think is the best course of action, both of our friends have been fired, one yesterday by the council, one today by someone who isn't even a voting member of the village. So the mess continues. Are they really fired? Who will replace them to sort out the disastrous affairs of the village council? Will the village pass the upcoming audit? (not likely) How will they pay the $20,000 for the audit they likely will fail and how will they pay for another one? How will the council building get finished? How will they council pay employees? How will they pay for the basic utility bills? Who will represent Child Protective Services to keep an eye on the safety of the children of the village? Will the same people who backed The Woman regain power and hire her back? (As crazy as that seems, it is totally possible.) Will the village be able to sort out the mess or will this be too big to recover from, causing the village to dry up and disappear in a year or two? Every day seems to bring a new layer of drama to this mess. It is truly incredible. 

Just a disclaimer, in telling this story, it is possible that my facts are not straight. It seems impossible to know all the facts. 

Other drama in the village is that Alfred, one of Dave's students left yesterday. His mom called Dave and said that she wanted her son to be with her, as it looks like Al's grandfather is probably dying. So just like that, Al is gone and unlikely to return for the rest of the school year. It's impossible to know if he'll be back in the fall. He was living with his grandfather, until his grandfather got sick and had to go to Anchorage. Al has other relatives in the village, but it looked like he was being bounced from house to house a good deal in his grandfather's absence. It makes our heart ache for the kid, who has so much instability in his life. 

Good drama has also happened though. Back in January, Dave lost his wedding ring out in the snow. This was a needle in a haystack search, as there was a 1,000 foot triangle of area that it was *likely* to be in, and a huge area beyond that where it could maybe be. Dave borrowed a metal detector from another teacher, and as the snow melted, has spent many hours outside, searching and searching. Today, success!!!! He found it, outside the house of Principal Susan, in a chunk of ice. We rejoice. 

While searching for good ideas for the art fair, I tried making these pop can lanterns.
I thought that they were great, but that the cutting was difficult for an adult to do without cutting themselves. Thus the project was vetoed for the art fair, but I still recommend it for an adult with a hankering for a neat recycling project. 

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