Alaska News Nightly: May 29, 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.

Download Audio

Ice Jam Slowly Breaking Up Near Galena

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage & Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The ice jam that is causing devastating flooding in the Yukon River community of Galena is slowly starting to break up. National Weather Service Hydrologist Ed Plumb says he first saw signs it was crumbling late this morning. He says this afternoon, large pieces were starting to break off the front of the ice jam.

Coast Guard Helicopter Crash Survivor Denied Promotion

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

The sole survivor of a Coast Guard helicopter crash has been denied promotion, possibly ending his military career.

Lieutenant Lance Leone was one of four people aboard an Air Station Sitka helicopter when it crashed off the coast of Washington state in 2010. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano signed an order last week removing him from the list of officers scheduled for promotion.

2 Tanana Officials Indicted On Federal Wire Fraud, Theft Charges

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Two Tanana city officials have been charged with taking federal property for personal gain.  Tanana City manager Alfred R. “Bear” Ketzler and city expediter Alfred McQuestion Fabian have been indicted on federal wire fraud and theft charges.

UAA Fires Athletic Director Steve Cobb

The Associated Press

The longtime athletic director of the University of Alaska Anchorage has been fired.

Steve Cobb was fired by the university Wednesday. The action follows tumultuous weeks and questions over the handling by Cobb, and the university, of a 2011 incident in which former hockey coach Dave Shyiak struck a player with his stick during a practice.

Shyiak was fired in March after eight seasons without a winning record.

Cobb received “no confidence” votes from the UAA Hockey Alumni Association and the Alaska State Hockey Association. Both groups said Cobb was out of touch with the hockey community.

Until an interim is named, Cobb will be replaced Tim McDiffett, the school’s senior associate athletic director.

State Ordered To Refund Federal Money

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

The U.S. Forest Service says states like Alaska that participate in the Secure Rural Schools program owe the federal government money. Local governments throughout the state use the money to pay for schools and all sorts of rural development projects.

Officials with the Forest Service say budget cuts are forcing them to ask for the payments back.

Civilian Department of Defense Workers Begin Receiving Furlough Notices

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Civilian workers at Alaska’s military installations are being formally notified that they’ll be required to take up to 11 days off work, unpaid, by Oct. 1, to comply with federal budget cuts mandated through the “sequester” process.

Alaska Lawmakers Pushing Back Against Federal Royalty Cuts

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Alaska is joining 10 other states in opposing cuts to federal royalty payments. When resources are extracted from federal lands, states are usually entitled to 50 percent of the royalties. But because of sequestration, their portion is being reduced by 5 percent.

Former Marine Speaks About Military Toxins, Potential Health Risks

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A former Marine Corps Master Sergeant is in Alaska visiting communities to talk about military toxins and the potential health risks of those exposed. Jerry Ensminger spent 25 years in the Marines, but a local television news story about drinking water contamination that became a super fund site at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina changed his life.

UAF Considers Adding Roller Ski Loop

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is considering another addition to its growing array of outdoor recreational facilities: a roller ski loop.