Alaska News

Warming ocean temps shellfish poisoning can linger year-round

With warming ocean temperatures, the risk for paralytic shellfish poisoning can linger all year round. And Alaska has only one FDA-certified laboratory to test commercial shellfish.

Tribal organization wants to expand service programs

Southeast Alaska's largest tribal organization wants to expand its service programs. Part of the effort could be funded by profits from a business it's about to purchase.

Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Legislature OKs funds for Wells Fargo building; Paramo selected new ASD superintendent; Mat-Su looking for new superintendent; UAS prof in fair condition after bear mauling; Juneau Assembly Oks new pot rules; warming ocean temps raise concerns over shellfish poisoning; couple finds creative solution to Juneau housing shortage; tribal organization wants to expand programs; researchers want to expand roe markets

Researchers want to expand markets for roe

Researchers in Kodiak want to open up new markets and expand existing ones for a popular fish product. This delicacy is what you might imagine people at cocktail parties eating over stock market discussions. It’s also good with tortilla chips: roe.

UAS prof mauled by bear in fair condition

The University of Alaska professor who was mauled by a bear near Haines a couple weeks ago is now in fair condition at Providence Hospital in Anchorage. On April 18, 35-year-old Forest Wagner was attacked by a brown bear sow with at least one cub.

Paramo selected as new Anchorage Schools superintendent

Deena Paramo, the current superintendent at the Mat-Su Borough School District, is chosen to lead the state's largest school district.

Legislature OKs up to $12.5M for new LIO site

The Legislative Council approved spending up to $12.5 million to buy the Walls Fargo Bank building in Anchorage’s Spenard neighborhood on Monday. The building would be used for legislative offices and to provide a venue for public testimony.

Mat-Su school district searching for Paramo’s replacement

Susan Pougher, President of the Mat-Su school board, says when Dr. Deena Paramo was selected as one of two finalists for the Anchorage superintendent position, Mat-Su offficials started looking ahead.

Juneau Assembly approves new pot licensing rules

The Juneau Assembly approved new guidelines for a city pot license on Monday. Those seeking to cultivate commercial marijuana will have to apply for the $250 license, in addition to state’s.

Sitka Tribe opens biotoxin lab to monitor PSP

With warming ocean temperatures, the risk for paralytic shellfish poisoning can linger all year round. And Alaska has only one FDA-certified laboratory to test shellfish. There are no labs to protect those digging for their dinner, but that may soon change.

With ‘stuck’ housing market, a Juneau family lives aboard

Alaska’s capital is one of the most expensive places to live in the nation. With no roads in or out, the city has been dealing with a “stuck” housing market. A report commissioned by the City and Borough of Juneau says 1,000 affordable rental units are needed to keep up with the demand. Juneau’s housing market is especially tough for people living on low incomes. But one Juneau family is taking matters into their own hands and challenging the convention of what makes a house a home.

‘Most Likely to Succeed’ author encourages education innovation

An advocate for a revolution in education has been touring the nation and recently spent eight days visiting Alaska schools. Ted Dintersmith is a former venture capitalist turned education innovation enthusiast.

Alaska News Nightly: Monday, May 2, 2016

Moda Health leaving AK individual health market; Legislature making slow progress on criminal bill; new GOP chair calls for unity, but fault lines still show; jury selection starts in Kangas trial; AK floats new rules for pot; Quintillion continues work on cable project; fog delays Bethel liquor store opening; education innovation enthusiast touring AK

GOP supports mandatory drug-testing for welfare applicants

The Alaska Republican Party wants to require drug testing for welfare recipients. That’s one of the new planks it added to the party platform at its convention in Fairbanks over the weekend.

New GOP chairman calls for unity, but party fault lines still show

While Republicans nationally are divided for and against Donald Trump, the discord at the state convention in Fairbanks this weekend had a more local flavor. New party chairman Tuckerman Babcock asked fellow Republicans to let go of their grudges, which weren't far below the surface.

Legislature makes slow progress on criminal sentencing overhaul

Lawmakers found they had less room and not enough desks or phones to go around on Monday. That’s because they’re sharing space in Juneau’s Bill Ray Center while the Capitol is being renovated.

Jury selection starts in Kangas murder trial

Jury selection began Monday in Fairbanks for the trial of a Tanana man charged with killing two Alaska State Troopers. Nathaniel Kangas, 22, is charged with the May 1, 2014 murders of Sergeant Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich.

Moda Health leaving Alaska individual health market in 2017

One of the two companies offering individual health insurance policies for Alaskans on the federally facilitated health insurance marketplace has announced that it will be withdrawing from that market next year. Monday's announcement by Moda Health would leave Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield as the only company providing individual health insurance policies in the state.

Ferry fares rise for third time in a year

Beginning in May, it will cost 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48. The fare boost is part of another round of Alaska Marine Highway System tariff increases. Officials said they’ll increase income and help equalize rates across all routes.

Alakanuk man arrested after hitting brother-in-law with ax

A man from the Western Alaska village of Alakanuk is in custody after striking his brother-in-law in the head with an ax.

Hiker dies after fall in Denali National Park

A hiker died last week in Denali National Park. Searchers discovered the remains of 24-year-old Michael Purdy Sunday near the north end of Savage River Loop Trail.

Alaska floats rules for pot use at certain shops

The board tasked with regulating Alaska's nascent marijuana industry has approved draft regulations for how customers will be allowed to consume pot they buy in certain retail stores on site.

Fog delays Bethel liquor store opening

Weather conditions have delayed the opening of Bethel’s liquor store. Fog prevented Walter Pickett, AC general manager, from landing in Bethel Monday morning to give AC Quickstop its final compliance check before it opens what would be Bethel’s first liquor store in more than 40 years.

Alaska GOP names Babcock party chair

Tuckerman Babcock, a long-time Republican strategist and former aide to Gov. Wally Hickel, is the new chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.

Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Impending crime bill looms as Legislature moves to temporary building; Juneau PD: Intoxicated driver rams Governor’s Mansion; Iditarod Committee: Beals will not compete in 2017 race following domestic violence charges; Fairbanks Republicans fight to become delegates; drug enforcement discussed at Mat-Su public hearing; ice jam on the Yukon releases; troopers investigate 2 caribou wanton waste cases; Bethel prepares for first liquor store in 4 decades; AK: With the 'Little a Triathlon', a father grieves and gives; 49 Voices: Jenna Holcomb of Anchorage Download Audio

Republicans in Fairbanks vie to be national delegates

A few hundreds Republicans are gathered in Fairbanks today for the state party convention. APRN’s Liz Ruskin is reporting from there. Download Audio

Video: Transforming Adults Only: A Neighborhood Interaction

https://youtu.be/LIt0yMI1aFo

Ice jam on the Yukon releases

An ice jam on the Yukon River below Eagle has released. National Weather Service hydrologist Ed Plumb said the jam in place since Tuesday, broke up early this morning. Download Audio

Drug enforcement discussed at Mat-Su public hearing

Few people turned out to testify at a public hearing on the Matanuska Susitna Borough budget in Wasilla Thursday night, but those who did outlined a disturbing trend. Download Audio

Iditarod Committee: Beals will not compete in 2017 race following domestic violence charges

The Iditarod Trail Committee Board released a statement today regarding rules related to musher conduct. Recent reports of domestic violence charges against musher Travis Beals have prompted Iditarod officials to disallow any 2017 application from Beals. Download Audio

AK: With the ‘Little a Triathlon’, a father grieves and gives

How do you begin to cope with the death of your child? J.T. Lindholm is answering that question, in part, by organizing a triathlon this summer.

Juneau PD: Intoxicated driver rams Governor’s Mansion

Juneau police arrested a man late Thursday night for driving while intoxicated after finding him and a dog in a vehicle stuck in construction fencing at the Capitol. Download Audio

Video: To recruit for cleanup, Unalaska kids rap, dance to ‘Paper Planes’

Sitka Tribe opens biotoxin lab to monitor PSP

With warming ocean temperatures, the risk for paralytic shellfish poisoning can linger all year round. And Alaska has only one FDA-certified laboratory to test shellfish. There are no labs to protect those digging for their dinner, but that may soon change.

Board creates new regulations on retail marijuana consumption

The board tasked with regulating Alaska's nascent marijuana industry has approved draft regulations for how customers will be allowed to consume pot they buy in certain retail stores on site.

Troopers investigate 2 caribou wanton waste cases

Alaska State Wildlife Troopers are investigating two cases of wanton waste of caribou in northwest Alaska. Download Audio

Sitka drivers told: Hands off your cell phone

Alaska banned texting while driving in 2008. The maximum penalty for a first time offense is $10,000, the highest in the country. And in Sitka, the Assembly cracked down on the issue even further. On Tuesday night, the group passed a law that would fine those caught with a phone in their hand while driving. The policy intends to reduce distracted driving, but it’s rules are of deep concern to some local taxi drivers.

Bethel prepares for first liquor store in 4 decades

Bethel’s first liquor store in over 40 years is set to open next week. AC Quickstop received the town’s first liquor license last fall after decades of restricted alcohol sales, and Walter Pickett, AC general manager, says the store could open as early as Monday. Download Audio

Gearing up for Alaska’s wildfire season

Fire season has already started. The mild winter and lack of snow in Southcentral Alaska has firefighters nervous about the tinder dry conditions in and around the state's largest urban center. Interior Alaska is also an area of high fire danger this spring. Green up is early, but how much would new growth slow a big burn?

49 Voices: Jenna Holcomb of Anchorage

This week we're hearing from Jenna Holcomb in Anchorage. Holcomb is a life-long Alaskan and works at the Brown Bag Sandwich Company.

Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map

Municipality of Anchorage planners are engaged in a project that could outline how the city will look in 20 years. In the meantime, Anchorage neighborhoods are changing. Throughout the past decade, the city has seen growth that has brought forth new challenges. This week, a team of presenters has been hosting informational sessions around town on the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map Update. On this week's Alaska Edition, these presenters will fill us in on how the community can further this discussion.

State’s largest school district, 48K students to be led by an Alaskan–but which?

A months long search has yielded two candidates with very different experience across Alaska's schools. Download Audio

Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Negotiators reach deal on excess power program earnings; political intrigue at the Alaska Republican Convention; Anchorage narrows its superintendent search to two; House science committee grills McLerran on EPA's effort to block Pebble; former Alaska Senator Gravel to speak at UAA, Federal Board closes caribou hunting to non-locals in the Northwest Arctic, hooligan make strong return to Chilkoot and Chilkat Download Audio

House science committee grills McLerran on EPA’s effort to block Pebble

EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran testified in front of a House oversight committee Thursday. It was McLerran who decided to move forward with a Clean Water Act 404c determination in the Bristol Bay watershed, following an ecological risk assessment done by EPA. The House committee has been investigating whether or not that was fair to Pebble Mine and proper for EPA. Download Audio

Political intrigue at the Alaska Republican Convention

The state Republican Convention started this afternoon in Fairbanks. We sent APRN reporter Liz Ruskin to check it out. Download Audio

Former Alaska Senator Gravel to speak at UAA

Former Alaska U.S. Senator Mike Gravel is in Alaska this week. The outspoken Democrat is known for being fiercely independent, famously reading the Pentagon papers on the floor of the Senate in 1971 at a time when President Richard Nixon refused to release them to reporters. He also attempted a run for President in 2008. Download Audio

Negotiators reach deal on excess power program earnings

House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement for use of any excess earnings from a fund set up to help rural areas faced with high electricity costs. Download Audio

Federal Board closes caribou hunting to non-locals in the Northwest Arctic

In the Northwest Arctic, caribou hunting has been contentious for years. Alaska’s largest herd continues to decline, while tensions have emerged between rural subsistence users and outside hunters. Download Audio

Hooligan make strong return to Chilkoot and Chilkat

The hooligan are back. After last year’s disappointing runs in the Chilkoot and Chilkat rivers, Haines and Klukwan subsistence fishermen are excited that this spring’s return has been abundant. Area biologists don’t know why the runs fluctuate so much. But they’re trying to bolster research to understand the traditionally important fish a little better. Download Audio

Alaska cities brace for reduced state funding

Alaska’s larger cities could see a drop in state funding as Community Revenue Sharing is scaled down. Anchorage takes the biggest hit. Juneau could lose over a million dollars in the next few years. Meanwhile, some rural communities could receive more. But as legislators squabble about how to fill the state’s budget void, the uncertainty has some municipalities wondering if they’ll be fine, or have to close entirely.