Alaska News Nightly: June 26, 2012

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS.

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State Pays Large Settlement for Patient Privacy Breach

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The State of Alaska has agreed to pay $1.7 million to the federal government for a 2009 security breach of patient data. A federal investigation following the breach found inferior security measures in place at Alaska’s Division of Health and Human Services. The settlement, under the patient privacy law know as the HIPAA act, is the second largest in history and the first against a state agency.

Air Force Will Not Take Action on the F-16 Relocation

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Alaska Senator Mark Begich received a letter today from Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz stating that the Air force will not take action on the proposal to relocate the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson.

Begich Will Visit Bethel to Discuss Poor Salmon Runs

Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage

Senator Mark Begich will travel to Bethel to see the damages stemming from the poor Chinook salmon run in Western Alaska.  Begich has expressed concern and will host a round table discussion next week to get information from community leaders and fishery managers.

Antique Wreckage and Bone Fragments Found in Downed Aircraft

Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage

A team of specialists have completed an investigation into a downed aircraft found earlier this month on the Colony Glacier in the Matanuska Valley. The team recovered materials, such as life support equipment from the “antique” wreckage and some bone fragments (osseous remains), from the glacier. Capt. Jamie Dobson, is a public affairs officer for the JPAC , says it is not known how long the lab work will take before positive identification is made.

Department of Interior Announces Arctic Lease Schedule

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington D.C.

The U.S. Department of Interior will release its five year leasing plan for off-shore drilling later this week. And Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar says it’s “highly likely” Shell will receive permits to launch exploratory wells on the leases it already holds this summer.

Cook Inlet Holds Promise for Tidal Energy

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

Powerful tides and currents have long made Cook Inlet a hotspot for studying tidal energy. A new project recently launched in the inlet might bring the promise of tidal energy a few steps closer to reality.

Discussions on the Alaska Coastal Management Program Begins

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

A series of ten public hearings on Ballot Measure 2 will be held around the state in July, starting next Monday in Soldotna and ending July 26th in Juneau. The citizen’s initiative would restore the Alaska Coastal Management Program, which state lawmakers failed to reauthorize during the 2011 regular and special sessions. The federal Coastal Zone Management Act allows states that adopt an approved coastal management program to have greater input into development decisions along their coastlines. It also streamlines the regulatory processes of various local, state, and federal agencies.

Bear Creek Fire Slows Down

Ellen Lockyer , APRN – Anchorage

The wildfire burning off the Parks Highway near Anderson is slowing down as clouds move across the area. The Bear Creek Fire has burned 8,200 acres about 13 miles southwest of Anderson, an area where there are subdivisions and structures. The response ramped up yesterday with more crews, bulldozers, and a type one management team. The Bear Creek Fire is the combination of wildfires started by lightning Saturday, that burned together.

Obesity Among School Children Decreases in Anchorage

Wendi Jonassen, APRN – Anchorage

The obesity epidemic among young people in America has been garnering national attention for the last decade. Experts blame sugary sodas and unhealthy snacks in schools, coupled with a decrease in exercise programs. And Alaska isn’t immune to those problems. More than three out of ten kids in the Anchorage school district are overweight. But for the first time in over a decade, that number is declining.

Veteran Finding Peace in Fly Fishing, Fly-tying

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

For many soldiers, the transition from military life to civilian life can be a challenging one. That change is often amplified by injuries sustained in combat — both physical and emotional. Even though the memories of those traumatic events will always be there…some soldiers are able to find solace in rehabilitation programs like Project Healing Waters.