Alaska News Nightly: April 23, 2012

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Resource Committee Members Take ‘Show Me’ Approach To Oil Tax Cuts

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Anchorage

Lawmakers in the State House of Representatives appear cautious, but open to Governor Parnell’s new oil tax plan. The bill is now being heard in the Resources Committee where members – through their economic consultants – are taking a “show me” approach to cutting taxes.

Tribal Organizations Await Results Of Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Case

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Tribal organizations in Alaska and across the country are anxiously waiting for a decision in a case just argued before the U.S. Supreme court.

Salazar v. Ramah Navajo seeks to overturn a lower court ruling that found in favor of tribes when the BIA didn’t fully fund law enforcement contracts. Seventy-five tribal groups in Alaska and 260 tribes in other states are waiting for the decision. The case will also impact contract funding disputes for the Indian Health Service.

Lloyd Miller is one of the attorneys representing tribes in the matter. He says when 12 regional BIA offices with varying degrees of competency are working through appropriation shortfalls for tribal contracts, some tribes get underpaid and others get overpaid. He says the key to the case is a decision that’s more than a century old.

Air Force General’s Promotion On Hold Until More Questions Answered About Possible F-16 Move

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Alaska Senator Mark Begich put a hold on the promotion of an Air Force General last week, citing frustration with a lack of answers about the proposed move of the F-16 fighter squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The Senator says he’ll keep the hold on the nomination process for Lt. Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle until the Air Force provides specific answers about the impact of the move on civilian personnel and the effect on the Fairbanks community.

Sen. Begich sent letters to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee requesting an analysis of potential cost savings to the military.

The Air Force plans to present a finalized plan for the move by May 31.

Election Commission Digs Into Ballot Mess

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The Election Commission for the Municipality of Anchorage is holding a final public meeting this evening to interview voters. They’re talking to people who are concerned about their ‘question’ ballot being counted or who were unable to vote in the April 3rd Municipal Election due to ballot shortages. The Commission began interviewing voters Saturday at the Loussac Library.

‘Occupy Fairbanks’ Protesters Pack Up Camp

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

After nearly seven months camped at a downtown park, Occupy Fairbanks has taken down its tents.  The move follows a notice from the Fairbanks North Star Borough last week threatening legal action if the group refused to clear out of the park, where overnight camping is not allowed.  Occupy Fairbanks member William White says the group anticipated having to call it quits.

White says Occupy Fairbanks knew groups had the park reserved for events this spring and summer.  He says they were prepared to share the venue.

Despite the decision to move out of Veteran’s Park, White says Occupy Fairbanks isn’t giving up, and will continue without a downtown encampment.

Occupy Fairbanks plans to participate in a national general strike planned for may first.

Flood Advisory In Effect For Salcha Area

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

There is a flood advisory in effect on the Tanana River until 11 p.m. this evening for the Salcha area, southeast of Fairbanks. National Weather Service Hydrologist Ed Plumb says an advisory isn’t uncommon this time of year.

Plumb says flooding is posing problems at the construction site of the new Tanana River Railroad Bridge.  That project includes a new levy which may alleviate problems with flooding in the future.

Plumb says that the ice on the Tanana was slightly thinner than normal this winter, but that doesn’t necessarily prevent ice jams and flooding.  He adds that the riverbank near Salcha has been eroded over the years, making the area more susceptible to flooding.

Museum Of The North New Home To Seal Stone

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Museum of the North in Fairbanks is now home to a rare stone that’s made its way back to the state of Alaska decades after it was taken from Shemya Island in the Aleutian chain.  The stone is covered in petroglyphs, but, lots of research hasn’t uncovered their secrets.

Alaska Folk Festival Honors Musicians Buddy Tabor, Barb Kalen

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Alaska lost two well-known and much-loved acoustic musicians during the past year. Juneau’s Buddy Tabor and Skagway’s Barb Kalen sang, strummed and put together musical events during their many years in the region.

Both were celebrated at the Alaska Folk Festival, a seven-day series of concerts held this month in the Capital City.