Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: Monday, May 30, 2016

Firefighters battling Medfra fire; climber dies on Denali; state to explore privatizing detention centers; Forest Service reminds tourist why glacier is shrinking; birders enjoying rare sighting; veteran teacher retires in Unalaska; bed bug battle includes chocolate

Forest Service reminds tourists why Mendenhall glacier is shrinking

On a busy summer day, thousands of people -- mostly cruise ship passengers -- visit Juneau's Mendenhall glacier. The U.S. Forest Service wants those tourists to take in the dramatic views, but also consider why the glacier is shrinking. Visitor center director John Neary is making it his personal mission.

Czech climber dies while skiing on Denali

A mountaineer from the Czech Republic is dead after an estimated 1,500-foot fall on Denali Mountain. The National Park Service reports 45-year-old Pavel Michut was skiing Messner Couloir when he fell Saturday.

First Alaska ibis sighting has birders going ‘ballistic’

An unusual bird was spotted in two separate Southeast towns on the same day last week. The ibises were a rare treat that has left bird experts scratching their heads, wondering why these southern birds have landed in Alaska.

Juneau man captures story of icebreaker Storis in labor-of-love documentary

Congress is considering funding a new icebreaker to serve in the Arctic. It would be a heavy, polar-class Coast Guard cutter, to get through thick ice. But size isn’t everything when it comes to Coast Guard ships. A Juneau man has made a film about the Storis, a dainty icebreaker by polar standards, that rescued mariners and enforced the law along Alaska’s coast for almost 60 years.

Author’s war on bed bugs included a little chocolate

My bed is an island. It’s covered with books, notebooks, research, pens,paintbrushes and, often, my beloved granddaughter. Still, it's an island. No part of my sheets or other bedding touches the floor or a wall. My pillows, mattress and box spring are each encased in squeaky bug proof covers.

Veteran teacher retires ending an era for Unalaska preschool

After 26 years, it’s the end of an era for Unalaska’s preschool. Teacher Susan Carlisle is retiring.

State to explore privatizing juvenile detention centers

The state is seeking contractors to look into the feasibility of privatizing four of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' juvenile detention facilities.

Energy Solutions for rural Alaska

How much do you pay for electricity? If you live in rural Alaska- the answer is likely a lot. Most rural Alaskans pay at least three times more for their electric bill than residents in Anchorage

Unalaska ambulance inherited by Chignik

One of Unalaska’s former ambulances will soon be taking a ferry ride to the Alaskan Peninsula town of Chignik. Chignik is an incorporated city in the Lake and Peninsula Borough, home to about 60 permanent residents and hundreds of seasonal workers.

Panel digs into BlueCrest fracking plan

Cook Inletkeeper sponsored a panel discussion about BlueCrest Energy's hydraulic fracturing plans in the Cosmopolitan Unit north of Anchor Point.

Medfra Fire grows to more than1,600 acres; firefighters battling winds

Crews are battling a large blaze about 50 miles southeast of McGrath, dubbed the Medfra Fire.

Meeting federal regs, Sitka treats water with UV light

Some of the best drinking water anywhere may be just a little bit better now. Sitka officials on the 19th of May cut the ribbon on a new, $8 million dollar ultraviolet disinfection plant for the town’s water supply.

Alaska News Nightly: Friday, May 27, 2016

In stalemated Legislature, 'Musk Ox' may hold the key; attorneys in Sockeye fire case ask for more time to prepare, granted; Young, Murkowski to do 'double whammy' on energy bill; researchers study economics of permit ownership, loss; Ruby Marine purchases Inland Barge Service as barge season begins; AK: Young 'Bio Blitzers' explore and examine the Arctic environment; 49 Voices: Bret Connor of Anchorage

Young, Murkowski to do ‘double whammy’ on energy bill

Alaska Congressman Don Young will have a say in drafting the final version of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s energy modernization bill. That’s because the U.S. House passed its own energy bill this week, to match the Murkowski bill already passed in the Senate. House leaders then picked Young to serve on the conference committee that will negotiate a compromise between the two bills. Download Audio

In stalemated Legislature, ‘Musk Ox’ may hold the key

The Legislature is on Day 126 of what was supposed to be a 90 day session -- and many Alaskans are wondering, what’s taking so long? Download Audio

Attorneys in Sockeye fire case ask for more time to prepare, granted

Attorneys for the two defendants in the Sockeye fire case have asked for more time from the court to prepare a case for trial. Download Audio

Researchers study economics of permit ownership, loss

An economics research project is looking at what happened to the Bristol Bay salmon fishing permits initially issued to watershed residents. Download Audio

AK: Young ‘Bio Blitzers’ explore and examine the Arctic environment

Last week a group of scientists traveled to a small village in the Arctic to find as many different species as they could. It was happening all over the country in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service. But it had special meaning in Anaktuvuk Pass, where the local Inupiaq people live a subsistence lifestyle inside of a national park. Download Audio

Music in Alaska

On this week's Alaska Edition, host, Zachariah Hughes sits down with three reporters to talk all about music in Alaska. What's new? What's happening across the state? And what's changing?

Fire managers urge caution heading into Memorial Day weekend

Alaskans will be headed outdoors to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend - the unofficial start of summer for many, but fire managers are reminding state residents that the risk of wildfire is extremely high and they are urging caution. Download Audio

49 Voices: Bret Connor of Anchorage

This week, we're hearing from Bret Connor in Anchorage. Connor designs and sells his own line of clothing called Hulin Alaskan Design. Download Audio

Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, May 26, 2016

Insurance Director tells lawmakers individual market could collapse; House bill streamlines children in state custody; bill with $1B for icebreaker advances to Senate; 'spicy' ocean levels could spell trouble for marine mammal hunting; Department of Fish and Game seeks to prevent closing of caribou hunting to outsiders; brown bears draw hundreds to Alaska Peninsula for spendy spring hunt; man charged after using stolen front loader to rob liquor store; Barrow experiences earliest snowmelt on record; Tanana River erosion closes trail, threatens cabins at Big Delta State Historical Park; Seattle's KPLU meets $7M fundraising goal, avoiding sale Download Audio

Insurance Director tells lawmakers individual market could collapse

Alaska’s individual health insurance market could collapse as soon as next year, unless the legislature acts. Download Audio

House bill streamlines children in state custody

The first bill to come out of the Legislative special session may be one that streamlines handling of children in state custody. Download Audio

Seattle’s KPLU meets $7M fundraising goal, avoiding sale

In the wake of a controversial sale announcement, 17,000 donors pooled funds to buy KPLU's licence from Pacific Lutheran University. Download Audio

‘Spicy’ ocean levels could spell trouble for marine mammal hunting

The Arctic Ocean is getting spicier. A new study published in the Journal of Physical Oceanography suggests that rising temperatures in the far north could result in warmer, saltier water, or what’s know as spicier water. This could make marine mammal hunting off Alaska’s coast more dangerous. Download Audio

Longtime Unalaska preschool teacher retires

After 26 years, it’s the end of an era for Unalaska’s preschool. Teacher Susan Carlisle is retiring today.

Former UAF shooter prepares for his 4th Olympics

Former University of Alaska Fairbanks shooter and 2004 Olympic champion Matt Emmons is in top form heading toward his 4th Olympics this summer in Rio.

Barrow experiences earliest snowmelt on record

Snow in the northern most town in the nation is melting earlier than ever before on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Observatory in Barrow reported a snowmelt staring on May 13. That’s 10 days earlier than the previous record set in 2002. NOAA has been recording snowmelt from its Barrow Observatory for over 70 years. Download Audio

Ruby Marine purchases Inland Barge Service as barge season begins

As another barge season in the Interior gets into full swing, there is one less Nenana-based company offering services. Download Audio

Department of Fish and Game seeks to prevent closing of caribou hunting to outsiders

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has asked the Federal Subsistence Board to repeal its controversial decision to close caribou hunting in the Northwest Arctic to all non-local hunters. Download Audio

Bill with $1B for icebreaker advances to Senate

The Arctic is one step closer to having a new U.S. icebreaker. The full Senate Appropriations committee this morning passed a bill that includes $1 billion for a heavy duty polar ship. The panel also approved millions in Defense and Coast Guard spending likely to go to Alaska, and to Kodiak in particular. Download Audio

Man charged after using stolen front loader to rob liquor store

A man was charged with DUI, theft and criminal mischief among other charges after he ran a front loader into an Anchorage Brown Jug liquor store in order to rob it at around 3 in the morning on Thursday. Download Audio

Tanana River erosion closes trail, threatens cabins at Big Delta State Historical Park

Alaska State Parks officials have closed a section of trail in Big Delta State Historical Park near Delta Junction, because the Tanana River been cutting sharply into its southern bank where the trail is located. The extreme erosion now threatens a couple of historical cabins within the park. State and local officials are working on a plan to shore up the bank – and to come up with a way to pay for it. Download Audio

How the suburbs killed a salmon creek and science informs its restoration

Federally funded environmental science on a geologically doomed creek in Juneau could inform fish-saving restoration on other impaired water bodies.

UA Coop Extension Services in Sitka and Anchorage set for closure

State budget cuts are hitting home. The Anchorage and Sitka offices of the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service are slated for closure by the end of October. UAF spokesperson Marmion Grimes said the closures reflect severe reductions in state funding.

Alaska Airlines: Virgin merger will improve efficiency, freshen brand

An Alaska Airlines executive gave some details during Wednesday’s Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce lunch about the company’s recently announced merger with Virgin America.

Man charged in fatal South Anchorage shooting

One man is dead and another in custody after a fatal shooting in South Anchorage on Wednesday.

Brown bears draw hundreds to Alaska Peninsula for spendy spring hunt

For hunters like Wayne Hott, this $15,000-$25,000 trip is the hunt -- and the trophy -- of a lifetime. Download Audio

$200,000 in state funds spent on PR for beer festival

The small craft brewing industry is thriving, but state support for the burgeoning alcohol sector doesn't sit well with everyone. Download Audio

Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alaska corrections officer faces federal drug charges; U.S. Senate passes bill to use $1 billion from Navy budget for polar icebreaker; Walker ally on gas line board resigns to run for state Senate; former ASD Superintendent to lead Minneapolis Public Schools; attorneys grow impatient in Sockeye Fire trial; $200,000 in state funds spent on PR for beer festival; historic agreement gives Kuskokwim tribes say in fish management; pay boost passed for Anchorage fire and police employees; Downtown Anchorage park to see major safety renovations; after bike impales daughter, mother sends public thank you to good Samaritans Download Audio

U.S. Senate bill includes $1B for icebreaker

A U.S. Senate panel has passed a bill that includes $1 billion to build a new polar icebreaker. The subcommittee on Defense Appropriations put the money in the Navy's budget. It’s far from a done deal, though. Download Audio

Downtown Anchorage park to see major safety renovations

In order to make a downtown Anchorage park safer, officials will destroy a decades-old fountain. It's one of several measures Mayor Ethan Berkowitz introduced during an outdoor press conference in Town Square Park on Wednesday. Download Audio

Walker ally on gas line board resigns to run for state Senate

Former Fairbanks borough mayor Luke Hopkins announced his resignation from the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. He is expected to challenge North Pole Republican John Coghill. Download Audio

Historic agreement gives Kuskokwim tribes say in fish management

The Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission signed a historic memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agreement is the first formalization of co-management between the Alaska tribes along the Kuskokwim River and the federal government. Download Audio

After bike impales daughter, mother sends public thank you to good samaritans

In rural Alaska access to emergency medical care relies on many factors like distance, weather, and time of day. For one 10-year-old girl in Eek, emergency care also relied on one pilot’s good will after the child's traumatic bike accident. KYUK talked with the girl’s mother and the pilot who helped them out. Download Audio

Alaska corrections officer faces federal drug charges

A Goose Creek prison guard has been arrested in connection with an alleged conspiracy to distribute drugs in the correctional facility. The corrections officer faces federal charges. Download Audio

State educators adapt to new Every Student Succeeds Act

The state education department is seeking public input on a new plan to meet Alaska's unique education challenges. Under the new federal law, Every Student Succeeds Act, the state must design its own requirements to meet the standards under the new federal law.

Attorneys grow impatient in Sockeye Fire trial

It is almost one year since the Sockeye fire in Willow devastated over 7,000 acres of Southcentral Alaska and torched 55 homes. Download Audio