Alaska News Nightly: October 10, 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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Special Counsel To Investigate Mining Raids

The Associated Press

Governor Sean Parnell has announced a special counsel to investigate raids by federal and state authorities in the Fortymile River area.

Parnell’s office says Anchorage attorney Brent Cole will be asked to determine whether any laws were violated and if different actions could have been taken. A report is due within 90 days.

Parnell’s spokeswoman says the cost of the investigation won’t exceed $50,000.

Parnell has said federal enforcement officers were armed while looking for federal Clean Water Act violations during the raid and an investigator with the state Department of Environmental Conservation joined the agents.

The director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal investigation division has said meetings with miners were cordial and disputed any suggestion that state agency involvement came at the last minute.

Salvage Efforts Continue For Sunken Tender In Haines

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

A salvage operation and clean-up efforts are still underway in Haines, where a 78-foot tender sank last weekend in the boat harbor.

Impacts Of The Shutdown On The Tongass

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

The U.S. Forest Service employs about 400 people in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

And most of them are on furlough, awaiting a call from the federal government that they’ll soon be back to work.

With the partial U.S. government shutdown in its second week, KTOO’S Rosemarie Alexander takes a look at the impact on the Tongass.

Fairbanks Natural Gas Founder Running Another LNG Company

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The man who started Fairbanks Natural Gas and now runs another gas company, is poised to build a North Slope LNG processing plant that could supply trucked in gas to Fairbanks.

Public Weighs In On Plan For Northern Access To U-Med District

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

The city of Anchorage is hoping to build a road through green space in the city’s university area. It would provide additional access to one of the busiest business districts in Anchorage. But neighborhood councils in the area are strongly opposed to the new road. And public feedback at a town hall meeting on Tuesday was overwhelmingly negative.

Revamped GED Test Coming In January

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

The General Education Development test, better known as the GED, is the standard high school equivalency exam. This January, the test will be updated –made more rigorous according to the test developers. But with the update comes a deadline: those currently working toward a GED need to finish before Dec. 31 or they’ll have to start over next year.

Sitka’s Water Main’s Fixed, But Who Pays For Repairs?

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Sitka’s water system is back in business.

Local officials feared the coastal community would run out of water this morning after the main line broke.

A contractor rebuilding Sitka’s Sawmill Creek Road damaged the line yesterday afternoon while blasting rock. Water began flowing through the pipe again this morning after repairs were completed.

Health Insurance Access Worries Commercial Fishing Industry

Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg

Options for health insurance coverage can be pretty limited in Alaska for small businesses and the self-employed. That includes commercial fishermen, who make up a major segment of the economy. Some in the industry say the cost and lack of access to comprehensive health insurance is a barrier to new fishermen and an ongoing concern for those already in the business.

Beloved Tree Comes Down In Fairbanks

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A landmark tree in Fairbanks is gone. The 75-foot-tall white spruce that stood in front of the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge farm house was cut down Monday. The tree was dying from stress cracks and a beetle infestation and needed to come down. But, it won’t be forgotten.