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Alaska News Nightly: January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014 - 5:01 pm

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 alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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Begich Pushing To Restore Veteran Benefits

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Veterans and military members in Alaska and around the country have been outraged at Congress since December, when lawmakers passed a budget that would trim their retirement benefits, starting in 2015. All three members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation voted for that budget, even though they oppose the military pension decrease. Senator Mark Begich today stood with a group of veterans before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and pledged to restore the nearly $6 billion decrease.

USDA Under Secretary Patrice Kunesh Visits Bethel Region

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Rural Alaska’s infrastructure is young. Many homes still use honey buckets. A lot of the funding to build the infrastructure comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA funds water and sewer projects, as well as housing, energy, and communications projects and even ones that support growing local food.

Drug Court Could Offer Jail Alternative

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A Fairbanks substance abuse counselor is pushing for the state to consider an alternative to jail for drug offenders. The effort is in response to a steady stream of young heroin addicts, some of whom end up in jail.

Temperature Records Fall Across Alaska

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Temperature records fell across the state yesterday. With highs in the 40s, 50s and 60s, much of the state is experiencing weather that feels more like May or June than January.

Warm Winter Brings Open Water To Y-K Delta

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

Warm temperatures have depleted Alaska’s snowpack and melted river ice.  And residents of the Yukon Kuskokwim delta have noticed more open water in recent weeks.

Biofuel Could Help Lessen Rural Energy Costs

Anne Hillman, APRN – Anchorage

The community of Tok hosts a thick, growing forest of spruce trees, and a thinning, shrinking population of people and businesses. Like elsewhere in rural Alaska, high-energy costs and a lack of jobs are causing people to leave. But the trees may be the solution to bringing people back.

NIOSH Tacking Fishing Industry Injuries

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

For more than 20 years, NIOSH has been working to prevent accidental deaths in the fishing industry. Now, these safety experts are tackling injuries – the kind fishermen are used to getting every season.

Board Of Fish Ponders Low Salmon Run Solutions

Johanna Eurich, APRN Contributor

The Alaska Board of Fish will begin deliberations on the Cook Inlet fisheries in Anchorage next week. One of the more difficult issues before the board is the declining King salmon runs and demands by sports fishing interests to shut down the commercial catch of reds to let every precious king into the Kenai River system.

You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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