Alaska News Nightly: December 31, 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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Two Brothers Sentenced for Drug, Tax Fraud

The Associated Press

Two brothers from the Dominican Republic have been sentenced for a drug and tax fraud conspiracy that authorities say could have exceeded $25 million. The U.S. attorney’s office says Joel Santana-Pierna was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Anchorage to nearly 12 years and Abel Santana-Pierna got 72 months.

Alaska Waters to Brace for More Shipping

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

Canada’s energy board gave conditional approval earlier this month to the Northern Gateway Pipeline project, which would run through British Columbia and would send hundreds of more crude oil supertankers along high-traffic shipping lanes in Alaska waters. That means the Aleutian Islands will have to prepare for a higher risk of spills and accidents.

Part II: Lt. General Russell Handy Interview On Arctic Strategy

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

When Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released the Pentagon’s Arctic Strategy document last month, he said rapid change in the Arctic is leading to predictions of a 10-fold increase in vessel traffic for the Northern Sea Route in the coming year. The Alaskan commander for the state’s military, Lt. General Russell Handy is tasked with coordinating and overseeing the implementation of the Arctic Strategy plan. In part two of our interview with General Handy, he says funding has not yet been determined, partially because of uncertainty over how quickly arctic climate conditions are changing.

State Encouraging More to Get Flu Shots

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

An effort to coax more Alaskans into getting a flu shot has prompted the State Division of Public Health to continue its fee waiver for flu vaccines. Free vaccines will be available at all state public health centers in Alaska for certain Alaskans.

Sobering Center Provides Nearly 2,000 Bed Nights A Year

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

The Sobering Center is now in its fourth winter of operation. It provides a safe place for intoxicated people to sleep off a bad night of drinking. Since it opened, the center has expanded its hours and built relationships with the people it serves.

The Big Stories of 2013

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

The year that’s about to end had more than its share of drama. As we turn the page on another year of news, APRN’s Steve Heimel has a look back at some of the highlights, with his list of the top ten news stories of 2013.

Data Being Collect on Nushagak Bay

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

For the last six years the Bristol Bay Environmental Science Lab has been collecting data about Nushagak Bay. There is a lot that is known about the bay but there are still holes in the data.

Firework Displays Banned in Anchorage

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

There are places in Alaska where you can blow off fireworks on New Year’s Eve, but not within the city limits of Anchorage. The municipality will sponsor a fireworks display in the downtown area. City residents will face a citation and fine if they light their own fire crackers and bottle rockets.