Alaska News Nightly: February 17, 2014

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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Iditarod to Start in Willow, Not Fairbanks

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The Iditarod Sled Dog race will start from Willow as planned. The Iditarod Trail Committee has been weighing moving the race start to Fairbanks in the last week because of low snow and icy conditions on the 65 miles of trail between Willow and Skwentna.

Measure Would Increase Public Seats On Judicial Council

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

A group of Republican state senators want to change the makeup of a commission tasked with vetting judges for the governor. But some critics worry the change could shift the balance of the judicial system itself.

AFN Asks For Help in Voting-Rights Campaign

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Alaska’s largest Native organization is challenging a Southeast group to lead the regional campaign to regain federal voting-rights protections.

Alaska Supporting Same Sex Marriage Bans

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Recent court challenges to bans on same sex marriage have in several cases, resulted in judges striking down the laws, such as last week in Virginia. Alaska has a constitutional amendment that bans same sex marriage and state attorneys have filed support briefs for states fighting to preserve their own constitutional bans.

Woman Claims Killing Dozens, Some in Alaska

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A woman accused of murdering a man in Pennsylvania says she killed dozens of others in four states, including Alaska. The case, involves allegations of serial killing and Satanism.

VPSO Firearms Bill Moves Ahead

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

A legislative proposal creating a path for qualified Village Public Safety Officers to carry firearms has cleared another hurdle. SB 98 was passed on Thursday by the Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee. But some serious concerns were raised about the proposal.

Not All Happy With Fish Board Decisions

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The state’s fisheries board wrapped up two weeks of meetings on Upper Cook Inlet commercial and sports fisheries late last week. And the dust is settling around the various user groups that have a stake in the fisheries.

Legislation Would Reinstate Medevac Membership Programs

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

Airlift Northwest could bring back its popular membership program under legislation introduced in the Alaska House and Senate.The state’s Division of Insurance last November told the company to discontinue its AirCare membership, because it no longer met the letter of Alaska law.

New Geese Habitat Emerging on North Slope

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

The US Geological Survey says melting Beaufort sea ice is creating new habitat for geese on the North Slope and that new habitat could have implications for conservation inside the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.