Alaska News Nightly: February 27, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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Shell Suspending 2013 Drilling Season

Stephanie Joyce, KUCB – Unalaska

With both of Shell Oil’s Arctic drill rigs headed to drydock for repairs, the company says it’s suspending its 2013 drilling season.

NOAA Tracking North Pacific Storms

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

This month has been a busy one for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s winter storms reconnaissance project. The agency tracks developing winter storms in the North Pacific with an airplane equipped to eject data gathering instruments into the atmosphere. That data is quickly fed into weather models to help refine the forecasts for potentially damaging storms that will hit Alaska and the Lower 48.

Redistricting Board Awaiting U.S. Supreme Court Decision

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Alaska’s Redistricting Board is awaiting the outcome of a United State Supreme Court case that could remove some federal restrictions from state redistricting plans. Wednesday, the nation’s highest court heard arguments over whether states with a history of discrimination need to get Department of Justice approval for state voting maps. Although the federal Supreme Court case was brought by an Alabama county, it has implications for Alaska.  The state of Alaska filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs, while the Alaska Federation of Natives filed a brief in support of the federal government.

Senate Committee Considering Bill Defining ‘Medically Necessary’ Abortions

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Alaska’s Medicaid program pays for a few hundred abortions each year, and some state lawmakers think that number is too high. At a hearing today, the Senate judiciary committee considered a bill that provides a strict definition of the term “medically necessary.” They consulted with a trio of doctors affiliated with the anti-abortion movement on where the line should be drawn and outraged many democrats in the process.

Yakutat Seeking Wave Power

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Most rural Alaska communities use diesel generators to create electrical power. But fuel is expensive, so they’re trying out alternatives.

Yakutat, on the eastern Gulf of Alaska, wants wave power. A project in the works for several years just won a key permit. But it still faces substantial barriers.

15 To Be Inducted Into Alaska Women’s Hall Of Fame

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Thursday evening, 15 women will be inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Anchorage. The recognition of women’s contributions to the state started in 2008 during the 50th anniversary of statehood.

Bikers Break Previous Iditarod Trail Invitational Record

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Bikers obliterated a previous course record in this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational.  The first riders pedaled across the finish line Wednesday morning to complete the 350 mile race between Knik and McGrath.  Four of the race’s top five finishers this year are all cyclists from Alaska.