Alaska News Nightly: November 14, 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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Obama’s ACA ‘Fix’ Will Be Tricky To Implement In Alaska

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

President Obama said today insurers can continue offering the plans they intended to cancel as part of the Affordable Care Act. The announcement is a response to outcry over the President’s “if you like your plan you can keep it” promise, which turned out to be untrue for millions of Americans. Now, state insurance regulators and insurance companies have to figure out if they can make Obama’s new plan work.

Storms Continue Dealing Damage In Western Alaska

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

Western Alaska has been wracked by storms the last few days. The first round occurred Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Before clean-up efforts were even finished in some of the worst-hit communities, strong winds and coastal flooding did more damage last night.

Bad Weather Closes Fairbanks Schools

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Schools were closed in Fairbanks for a second day on Thursday due to stormy weather. Driving conditions are slick, and more than 13,000 households were without power this morning. Golden Valley Electric Association had the number down to a few thousand by mid-day, but expected it will take until Friday morning to restore power to some remote neighborhoods.

Large Projects Aim To Reduce Railbelt Energy Costs

Anne Hillman, APRN Contributor

The state is currently putting money toward five different large-scale projects aimed at reducing energy costs on the Railbelt. Some, like subsidizing Cook Inlet gas production, impact energy costs now and in the near term. Other projects, like the proposed LNG pipeline wouldn’t affect prices for at least a decade. The question is—should the state be supporting all of the projects?

Livestock Owners Cope With Hay Shortage

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

State agriculture officials are advising Alaska livestock owners how to cope with the high cost of feeding their animals. Feed prices have risen sharply following last summer’s draught that hurt the interior hay and straw crop.

New Report Investigates Alaska’s Suicide Rates

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A new report from the Alaska Division of Public Health, found suicide rates are higher in more northern regions of the state. Erik Woelber is a graduate student intern with the epidemiology section. Woelber says the study breaks communities into three categories by size and road access and looks at factors that may have contributed to the suicide rate. Woelber says the fact that suicide rates increase at higher latitudes merits more research.

JBER Paratroopers Prep For Wide Variety Of Missions

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

Paratroopers of the 425 Brigade at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson have to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice to take on missions ranging from parachuting into a combat zone to providing humanitarian relief for natural disaster victims.

Solders To Begin UAV Training

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Paratroopers from the same brigade – the 425th Brigade special Troops Battalion on JBER – will also be testing out some drones while they’re in Anchorage.

The drones, or unmanned aerial systems, are non-lethal aircraft.

They have a 14-foot wingspan and are about the size of a really small one-passenger plane.

They’re operated remotely from the ground by the paratroopers.

Officials say the drones could be flying over JBER as soon as Friday.

The aircraft will remain over the base at all times, mostly in restricted airspace.

It’s the first time drone training has been approved for JBER in Anchorage.

Washington DC Gets Lesson In Tlingit History

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

It was Tlingit weekend at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. recently. Storytellers, artists and dancers from Alaska and Canada performed in the museum’s massive atrium. The museum, a stone’s throw from the U.S. Capitol, is a branch of the Smithsonian, but it’s unlike the others.