Alaska News

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

Impending crime bill looms as Legislature moves to temporary building

The Legislature didn’t do much work Friday, as lawmakers moved into their temporary digs in the Bob Ray Center while the Capitol is under construction. When House members return on Monday, they’ll debate whether to overhaul the state’s criminal sentencing laws. Supporters say the legislation will lower the risk of offenders returning to crime, but others are concerned that the bill goes too far in reducing penalties. 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.

Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2016

Walker, industry leader have separate concerns on oil, gas bill; Republicans converge on Fairbanks, with eyes for Cleveland; report indicates plane flew low before fatal Birchwood crash; ice jam raises water levels in Eagle; new bill would replace misdemeanor charges for underage drinking with fine; Yup'ik Alaskan one of 10 to receive national award for justice advocacy; Fish and Wildlife consider ban on predator hunting in refuge lands; biologists project lower harvests of pink salmon this season Download Audio

Republicans converge on Fairbanks, with eyes for Cleveland

If Donald Trump doesn’t have the presidential nomination in the bag by July, the Republican National Convention could be the most exciting in decades. Twenty-eight Alaskans get to participate, and this week Alaska Republicans will choose who gets to go to Cleveland. Download Audio

Walker, industry leader have separate concerns on oil, gas bill

The types of oil and gas companies that would benefit from state tax credits would change, under a bill the House Rules Committee unveiled Tuesday. Governor Bill Walker says he’s concerned about these changes. The bill also received a cool reception from industry. But it may be the best chance to resolve one of the thorniest issues facing the state. Download Audio

Yup’ik Alaskan one of 10 to receive national award for justice advocacy

Only 10 people from across the country are getting an award on April 27, 2016 for their work to get a second chance for people with a criminal record. One of them is a Yup’ik Alaskan. Download Audio

Fish and Wildlife consider ban on predator hunting in refuge lands

The National Park Service implemented a series of changes at the beginning of this year which ban various types of predator hunting on Park Service land. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering similar changes for refuge lands across Alaska. Download Audio

Ice jam raises water levels in Eagle

An ice jam on the Yukon River has raised water levels at Eagle. A few low lying areas of the river side community were reported flooded Wednesday morning from the jam about 9 miles downstream. National Weather Service hydrologist Ed Plumb said conditions are not conducive to serious flooding. Download Audio

Biologists project lower harvests of pink salmon this season

Federal fishery biologists expect only 30-million pink salmon, or humpies, will be harvested in Southeast Alaska 2016. That’s well short of 2015's disappointing harvest of 34 million fish and 2013’s record catch of 95-million pinks. Download Audio

Report indicates plane flew low before fatal Birchwood crash

A plane that crashed near Anchorage killing all four aboard on April 20 was engaged in aerial photography over Birchwood at the time of the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board Wednesday released the first of three reports on the incident. Download Audio

New bill would replace misdemeanor charges for underage drinking with fine

Underage kids caught drinking alcohol won’t rack up a permanent charge on their record under a bill that passed the legislature last week. Download Audio

$488M budget easily clears Anchorage Assembly

The total price-tag on Anchorage's 2016 operating budget is about $488 million, up slightly, with uncertainties lingering from extended legislative session.

Domestic violence case raises questions over Iditarod rules

In a year with a controversial new personal conduct rule, 24-year-old musher with a conviction and open assault charge was allowed to compete.

Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2016

Latest oil and gas tax credit aimed at gaining majority; musher assault case raises questions over Iditarod handling; Togiak herring season starts out rough; hydropower brought to Bristol Bay village of Igiugig; early breakup occurs along Yukon River; new assistant Sitka DA serves in stride; Sitka cruises to bring passengers to shore; Yupik Spelling Bee helps spread Yupik literacy; commercial fishing to be opened for Stikine River kings Download Audio

Early breakup occurs along Yukon River

Ice is going out early along the Yukon River. Flooding has so far not been an issue. Download Audio

Hydropower brought to Bristol Bay village of Igiugig

An effort to bring renewable energy to western Alaska was recognized Tuesday by the federal government. The Ocean Renewable Power Company was named the 2016 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters for its ability to bring hydropower to the Bristol Bay village of Igiugig. Download Audio

Togiak herring season starts out rough

The Togiak herring fishery is having a tough season. First the herring showed up and started spawning earlier than ever before, then the winds and weather proved uncooperative. KDLG's Dave Bendinger has more on the ongoing effort to harvest roughly 29,000 tons in the state's largest herring fishery: Download Audio

Latest oil and gas tax credit aimed at gaining majority

Lawmakers are continuing work in Juneau. The House Rules Committee on Tuesday unveiled the latest attempt to rewrite tax credits for the oil and gas industry. The bill would save the state more money over the next three years than a previous version. But the savings are much less than what Governor Bill Walker proposed. Download Audio

Yupik Spelling Bee helps spread Yupik literacy

Young Alaska Natives are spreading Yup’ik literacy. Six students from across the state competed in the fifth annual Yup’ik Spelling Bee for Beginners in Anchorage over the weekend. The contest is open to third through eighth grade and run by volunteers. It’s a lot of work. And with responsibility concentrated to a few individuals, the future of the event is in question. Download Audio

New assistant Sitka DA serves in stride

Christopher Orman is the new assistant district attorney for Sitka, Petersburg, and Kake. He replaced Jean Seaton in February, who held the position since 2009. Originally from Southern California, Orman had a winding road to get into law, but he says he’s ultimately happy to be in field serving the community. Download Audio

Sitka cruises to bring passengers to shore

The majority of cruise ships making stops in Sitka this summer will be coming in to dock. Download Audio

Alaska News Nightly: Monday, Apr. 25, 2016

Alaska Republican donors go to court over increasing campaign contribution limits; Senate president aims to finish session in Juneau; Seward Highway crash leaves two dead near Girdwood; Dillingham wins first overall and sportsmanship at state NYO; Bristol Bay Native Corporation plans to acquire Katmailand; deadly bat disease spreading; residents asked to help survey the flying mammals; Calista campaigning to reduce quorum requirements before descendants enroll; Wasilla pilot avoids injury after plane loses power; The Ecology of Breast Cancer: Researching the risks for breast cancer Download Audio

Two Rivers man dies in weekend four-wheeler rollover

A Two Rivers man died in a weekend crash of an all-terrain vehicle. Download Audio

Senate president aims to finish session in Juneau

The Legislature didn’t take any actions Monday as it began the second week after the scheduled end of the session. But Senate President Kevin Meyer said he’d like to see the Legislature complete its work soon. Download Audio