Alaska News Nightly: August 28, 2009

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Feds Lift Medicaid Moratorium
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau and Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
The Federal government has lifted its moratorium on the state’s authority to accept applications for four Medicaid Waiver Programs that give at-home and community-based services for people who would otherwise be confined to Assisted Living or nursing homes.

Dealers Waiting for Clunker Cash
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Cash for Clunkers may be over but car dealers nationwide are still waiting for their checks from the federal stimulus program. They’re also waiting to scrap several hundred-thousand vehicles, but that can’t happen until they know for sure each vehicle has been accepted by the government.

Ft. Richardson Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
The Associated Press
The U.S. Department of Defense says a Fort Richardson Soldier has been killed in Afghanistan. Army Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss was shot Wednesday while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack.

Appeals Court Backs 2007 MMS Lease Sale in Beaufort
The Associated Press
A federal appeals court says a 2007 Beaufort Sea lease sale by the Minerals Management Service was conducted properly. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed a lower court decision that said the agency did not violate federal environmental laws.

Shortened Session Drawing Criticism
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The 90-day limit on legislative sessions is getting heavy criticism in the state House – both from members and staff. A survey this month showed a majority of those polled think the reduced time does not reduce legislative costs, it cuts down on information, input and personal access for constituents, it allows for less scrutiny to bills, and it provides the governor and special interest groups an advantage.

More Fishing Restrictions Announced for Yukon
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Subsistence fishers on the lower Yukon River are now up against a new set of fishing restrictions. Earlier in the season, fishing for kings and summer chum was restricted, now another species is off limits for most days of the week.

Construction Starting on New Surgical Clinic
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Construction work is beginning on a new surgery clinic in Fairbanks.  The privately developed facility will provide outpatient services.  Surgery Center of Fairbanks founder, Dr. Mark Wade says the clinic will fill a void in the Fairbanks area health care market.

School on Little Diomede Draws Creative Transportation Route
Laureli Kinneen, KNOM – Nome
Teachers and staff for the Little Diomede School normally start their year with a flight to the Bering Sea island. This year they had to find a different way to reach the village that hugs the International Dateline.

“Harley Iditarod” Picks Homer as Finish Line
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
Organizers of a 7,000-mile cross-country motorcycle race being billed as the “Iditarod of Harley Davidsons” are hoping to use Homer as a finish line. They plan to start in Key West, Florida on June 20th of next year and wind up at the end of the road around the Fourth of July.