Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Feb. 12, 2016

FAA break-up bill clears U.S. House committee; organizations call for ban of heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters; KPC graduate takes first job with BlueCrest; Anchorage, Willow will host Iditarod starts despite low snow; Sass first to leave Dawson in Yukon Quest; humane society addresses uproar over Coco’s last day; AK: Leveraging your leopard: the biz behind Alaska's only zoo; 49 Voices: Laurie Fernandes of Anchorage. Download Audio

FAA break-up bill clears U.S. House committee

A bill to privatize the nation’s air traffic controllers cleared the Transportation Committee in the U.S. House last night. Rep. Don Young says he amended it to protect Essential Air Service and Alaska's air taxis. Download Audio

Solutions sought for lack of detox beds in South central Alaska

The director of the Ernie Turner Center says they need more beds to help people detox. AFACT is hosting a community meeting to discuss solutions.

Organizations call for ban of heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters

A group of non-governmental organizations recently sent a letter to the state department calling for a ban on heavy fuel oil, or HFO, in Arctic waters. HFO is tough to cleanup, but the widespread use of HFO throughout the Arctic makes the ban an especially hard sell. Download Audio

Petersburg inmate caught by police

Petersburg Police have apprehended an inmate who escaped from the Petersburg jail Friday morning. Police chief Kelly Swihart says officers arrested 22-year-old Jacob Sturgeon of Petersburg just before 4 p.m. on Friday in a shed behind a home on Lumber Street near downtown Petersburg.

KPC graduate takes first job with BlueCrest

BlueCrest Energy pledged to hire four Kenai Peninsula College graduates to work at their drilling site near Anchor Point. The company made good on its promise. One of BlueCrest’s local hires says the job is the next step in what he hopes will be a promising career. Download Audio

Anchorage, Willow will host Iditarod starts despite low snow

Organizers have decided that a lack of snow in the Anchorage area won't force a route change for this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The start of the race will be staged as usual in Willow, about 50 miles north of Anchorage. Download Audio

Sass first to leave Dawson in Yukon Quest

It was warm and misty on the Yukon River as Brent Sass left Dawson City with fourteen dogs just after midnight. Snowdrifts, ice melt and gold mines are just a few things mushers have to look out for in the second half of the Yukon Quest.The warm weather has caused some of the glaciated hillsides to melt onto the trail. Download Audio

Humane society addresses uproar over Coco’s last day

Gastineau Humane Society called the dog aggressive and not a viable candidate for adoption. The Juneau couple wishes they’d been notified before the dog was put down. Download Audio

Leverage your leopard: the biz behind Alaska’s only zoo

If you've ever wanted to feed a snow leopard, a moose, or a pack of wolves, this year you've got a chance. Albeit, for a tidy sum. It's part of the special programming that helps keep cultural institutions in Alaska afloat during the long, lean winter months. Download Audio

Search on for escaped inmate in Petersburg

Petersburg police are searching for an inmate who escaped from the Petersburg jail Friday morning. Police reported the escape of 22-year-old Jacob Sturgeon of Petersburg just before 11 a.m. on Friday. He reportedly removed his shirt and shoes while running past the borough’s public works shop on South Second Street. Sturgeon was described as 5 foot nine inches, 180 pounds with brown hair.

WISH on probation, but questions arise

Ketchikan’s Women in Safe Homes (WISH) has been on probation since last fall after a site visit by the state Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault found the emergency shelter out of compliance with various regulations. WISH officials, though, say there was no warning from the state council that there were any problems. In fact, just a few months prior, the shelter had received notice of compliance, praising the program for following regulations.

49 Voices: Laurie Fernandes of Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Laurie Fernandes. Laurie moved to Anchorage with her husband and children last June from Houston, TX. "People do a lot outside in Houston, but I think we just felt it was a great opportunity with work to come up and a great opportunity for the family to see a different side of life and explore and have so many different experiences." Download Audio

How safe is Alaska’s drinking water?

How safe is your drinking water? Most communities can be confident that their supply is fine, but Flint Michigan showed the nation that bad things can happen. APRN: Tuesday, 2/16 at 10:00am

Legislative Council seeks advice on downtown Anchorage office

The Legislative Council is seeking advice from an independent finance expert on what to do about the controversial lease on the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.

Quintillion plans to deliver fiber optic cable, high-speed internet by early 2017

After delays last year, Quintillion Networks has an update on the fiber optic cable project that will bring high-speed internet to western Alaska.

Small commercial fishing boats need life rafts this month

Fishermen in Southeast Alaska are learning about new safety requirements for life rafts that take effect later this month. The changes are included in past Coast Guard re-authorization bills and will mean smaller fishing boats will have to have a life raft to go three miles offshore.

“Hero dog” dies after battle with cancer

Buddy, the “hero dog” that led an Alaska State Trooper to a structure fire in the spring of 2010 has died after a battle with cancer.

The push to hire locally in AK

The number of nonresident workers in Alaska surpassed the number of residential workers in 2014. What's causing this statistic and what can be done to encourage local hiring within the state? This week's Alaska Edition tackles these questions and looks at the legality of policies aiming to increase the number of Alaskan workers. Listen Now:

ConocoPhillips looks west, to the National Petroleum Reserve

Despite oil prices hovering around $30 a barrel, ConocoPhillips is plowing ahead with projects in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. The company invited Alaska journalists on a tour this week of CD5, its newest drill site -- the first to produce oil from the NPRA and, the company hopes, the gateway to more development. Download Audio

Fainting aside, Air Force says F-35 is OK

President Obama’s 2017 Air Force budget would slow the pace of buying F-35s. That’s the new fighter jet slated for Eielson Air Force Base. But top Air Force officials still speak highly of the plan to station them at the Fairbanks base. Never mind that one general lost consciousness when discussing the F-35's budget. Download Audio

Scientists find prevalence of algal toxins in the Arctic

For the first time, scientists have documented the prevalence of two biotoxins in Alaska’s marine mammal population above the Arctic Circle. That’s according to a new study out Thursday in the Journal Harmful Algae. But it’s not clear if algal toxins have always existed in the Arctic, because scientist never looked before now. Download Audio

Gara proposes tax on S-corporations

Anchorage Democratic Representative Les Gara wants to make sure that these cuts don’t fall too heavily on working-class and low-income people. Gara has instead proposed a bill that would apply a 6 percent tax on the owners of businesses that aren’t currently taxed by the state. These businesses are called S-corporations and their owners report the business income as personal income. Download Audio

Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016

Obama slows pace of F35s; scientists find prevalence of algal toxins in the Arctic; Gara: don't let budget cuts fall too heavily on working class, poor; ConocoPhillips plows ahead in NPR-A; agreement expected soon on railroad right of way; Mt. Edgecumbe proud of tradition; Sass running strong in Yukon Quest. Download Audio

Agreement expected soon between state and Ma-Su Borough on railroad right of way

An agreement between the state and the Matanuska Susitna Borough is soon to be finalized regarding state land the Borough wants for a railroad right of way. The Borough had purchased several agricultural parcels from the state in the Point MacKenzie area for a right of way for the rail spur between Port MacKenzie and Houston. But agricultural covenants on the land didn't allow industrial use. Download Audio

Breakwater project funded in Port Lions

Port Lions just obtained federal funding for a breakwater construction that will help ease the wear and tear on its harbor. The project will be completed through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which works on the construction and maintenance of water resources and other forms of infrastructure. Bruce Sexauer is the chief of the civil works branch at the Alaska District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and says additional breakwater is necessary to provide complete protection for Port Lion’s harbor.

“Hero dog” dies after battle with cancer

Buddy, the “hero dog” that led an Alaska State Trooper to a structure fire in the spring of 2010 has died after a battle with cancer.

Future of heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters challenged

A group of nongovernmental organizations recently sent a letter to the US Department of State calling for a ban on heavy fuel oil, or HFO, in Arctic waters. HFO is hard to cleanup, but the widespread use of HFO throughout the Arctic makes the ban an especially hard sell. In the Arctic, HFO is used in both big and small ways. It fuels large cargo ships and helps heatand power homes in Canada and Russia. It’s banned in Antarctic waters and in northern Europe,partly due to its dirty emissions. It’s also hard to clean up.

Sass leads Yukon Quest mushers into Dawson

The top Yukon Quest teams are in Dawson City, Yukon, settled in for a mandatory 36-hour layover at the race’s halfway point. Brent Sass was first into Dawson yesterday. Download Audio

Shotgun shooting leaves man wounded in Anchor Point

Alaska State Troopers are investigating a shooting on the Kenai Peninsula that left a man wounded.

Low snow causes havoc again with Iditarod

Another low snow year in Alaska is playing havoc with the world's most famous sled dog race, at least for the start.

Assault at Wildwood Correctional Center leaves Dillingham man hospitalized

A fight between inmates at the Wildwood Correctional Facility in Kenai has left a Dillingham man hospitalized in Anchorage. KDLG News has learned that Vaughn Clark, who was sentenced last December to four years in jail on drug dealing charges, was one of two involved and was medevaced with serious injuries Tuesday night.

Kodiak police focusing on better training following Pletnikoff incident

The Kodiak Police Department is working to improve its staff’s sensitivity towards people with special needs. That includes new approaches to identifying members of the community affected by autism.

Bon Voyage, Susitna

Mat Su's unused ferry is heading South.

Budget defers 5 jets, but Air Force general ‘excited’ for F-35s in Alaska

President Obama’s 2017 Air Force budget would slow the pace of buying F-35s, the new fighter jet slated for Eielson Air Force Base. But the Air Force chief of staff still speaks highly of the plan to keep them at the Fairbanks base.

AK court system planning more budget cuts

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers says the court system has taken steps to cut costs. In the annual State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the legislatureon Wednesday, he said the courts plan on more cuts. Download Audio

Sen. Olson joins majority caucus

The Senate’s already large majority grew even bigger today. Senator Donny Olson joined the majority caucus. The move by the Golovin Democrat means that sixteen of the twenty senators are in the majority. Olson says he’s honored to join the majority and will lend a strong voice for rural Alaskans. Download Audio

Presidential race heads to Alaska in March

Alaska’s major parties will pick their candidates on different days. The Republicans will choose theirs on March 1st, also known as Super Tuesday. That’s because it’s the day that the largest number of delegates will be picked this year. Download Audio

Young: FAA privatization bill harms Alaska air travel

A U.S. House bill would turn air traffic controllers into employees of a non-profit corporation. Surprisingly, the air traffic controllers’ union supports it. Alaska Congressman Don Young says the bill would also undermine Essential Air Service. Download Audio

Rep. Nageak’s nephew killed in police shooting

There was an officer involved in a fatal shooting in Barrow early Wednesday morning. According to the North Slope Borough Mayor’s office, the incident happened around 4:00 a.m. A North Slope Borough Police Officer was responding to a call for assistance when the shooting took place. The Mayor’s office identified the victim as Vincent Nageak III, the nephew of State Representative Ben Nageak (D-Barrow).Download Audio

Sitka settles with tasered student

Sitka has settled out of court with a high school student who was tasered in the city’s jail in 2014. Franklin Hoogendorn will be paid $350,000 by Sitka’s insurance carrier. Download Audio

Pletnikoff family takes city to court

The Pletnikoff family on Tuesday filed suit in Kodiak Superior Court against the city, the police department and two of the three officers involved. Download Audio

Salard sentenced to 20 years in prison

Former Wrangell doctor Greg Salard was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for receipt and distribution of child pornography. Salard, 54, will also have a lifetime of supervised release after prison and a $25,000 fine. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Juneau. Download Audio

The nitty-gritty rules that will shape Anchorage’s cannabis industry

Assembly members in Anchorage have passed a bundle of rules that will shape the business landscape for the state’s largest commercial cannabis market in the months ahead. Download Audio

Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, Feb. 10 2016

State courts planning more cuts; Olson joins senate majority; Presidential race turns to AK in March; House bill shifts FAA workers to non-profit; Pletnikoff family takes city to court; Wrangell doctor sentenced on porn charges; pot groups getting on same regs page; Sass first to Dawson City; turning ideas about race into art. Download Audio

Turning ideas about racial equity into art

Anchorage graffiti artist Bisco transformed ideas about racial equity into art during a two-day summit.

Report: Trees in Kodiak borough parcel likely to die

An assessment into the damage from the August 2015 Twin Creeks fire on land owned by the Kodiak Island Borough has determined that many of the area's trees will likely die.

Ahtna announces purchase of sand, gravel, asphalt company

An Alaska Native regional corporation says it has acquired a sand and gravel company in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Sass leads Yukon Quest mushers into Dawson

Brent Sass covered the 150-mile distance from Eagle to Dawson in two runs. He said his team was feeling better in Eagle after starting the race with some stomach issues.

Dozens turnout to testify against Homer pot prohibition ordinance

It was standing room only at the start of Monday evening’s Homer City Council meeting where dozens of people showed up to testify about an ordinance that would ban all commercial cannabis activity in Homer. Most who testified were against the ordinance introduced by Homer City Council Members Heath Smith and Gus Van Dyke.