Alaska News Nightly: March 16, 2012

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio

House Approves $9.5 Billion Budget

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Finance Co-Chair Bill Thomas said the plan will require oil prices to average about $100 a barrel next year to avoid deficit spending.

Legislature Working To Develop Arctic Policy Commission

Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska

The state legislature is making progress toward establishing an Arctic policy commission. At a hearing of the House Finance Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Reggie Joule explained that even though Alaska is the country’s only Arctic state, it’s often left out of conversations about federal policy concerning the region. He thinks that having a body responsible for developing an Arctic strategy would give the state more credibility with regulators in Washington.

House Agrees Standards Needed For Shipping, Oil Pollution Preparedness

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The House today agreed with the Senate’s request that the Arctic Council Task Force consider Alaska’s interests in establishing standards for shipping and oil pollution preparedness for Arctic waters.

Work Set To Resume On Tanana River Bridge

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Work is about to resume on the biggest construction project in the Interior. What will be the state’s longest bridge is being built by the Alaska Railroad across the Tanana River near Salcha.

Deep Snow Could Mean Trouble For Moose Populations

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

This winter’s deep snow is likely to mean fewer moose in a part of the state where moose populations were already in trouble.

Increased Wildfire Frequency Threatening Black Spruce Forest Survival

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Increased wild fire frequency threatens the survival of northern black spruce forests. That’s the finding of recently published research from the Yukon Territory. That’s the finding of recently published research from the Yukon Territory.

Debate Over Prop Five Heats Up

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The debate around Proposition Five in Anchorage is starting to heat up. The proposition- on the April municipal ballot- would provide legal protections against discrimination to gay, lesbian and transgender people. Last month, the anti-prop five group ‘Protect Your Rights’ launched a website called On the website, the organizer of that group, and the head of the Alaska Family Council, Jim Minnery, quoted openly gay Anchorage Daily News Columnist, Julia O’Malley, to make the point that the kind of discrimination that prop five would prevent does not exist in in Anchorage.

AK: Love Of The Race

Anne Hillman, APRN Contributor

Every year Alaska hosts two nearly 1,000 mile sled dog races within weeks of each other — the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. Though similar in length, racing each one is a very different experience. APRN field reporter Anne Hillman caught up with two mushers who ran both races this year soon after they crossed the Iditarod finish line in Nome.

300 Villages: Unalakleet

And now it’s time for our weekly trip around the state for 300 villages. This week, we’re visiting Unalakleet where the excitement of the Iditarod has just wrapped up. That was Jilleen Johnson who runs Cool Beans coffee shop in Unalakleet.