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Alaska News Nightly: February 27, 2014

February 27, 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 alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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Bill Restricting Medicaid Payments For Abortions Passes Committee Review

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

A bill that puts restrictions on Medicaid payments for abortions passed its final committee of review in the State Legislature on Thursday. It advanced without any money for family planning services.

Magnuson-Stevens Act Up For Reauthorization

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

The Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 1976 law that governs fishing in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and other federal waters, is up for reauthorization in Congress. In past revisions, sectors of the Alaska industry squared off against each other. This time, the industry is mostly united in praising the law. But, Alaska’s non-commercial fishermen say their needs aren’t getting enough attention.

3 OK After Vessel Sinks Near Valdez

Tony Gorman, KCHU – Valdez

Three men are okay after their vessel sank near Valdez while participating in an oil spill response drill.  The Coast Guard Sector Anchorage Command Center received a report Wednesday night that the landing craft Belltech 5 was taking on water and sinking near Valdez Arm.

4 Snowmachiners Rescued By Alaska Air National Guard

Phillip Manning, KTNA – Talkeetna

On Tuesday afternoon, four snowmachiners were rescued by the Alaska Air National Guard in the Talkeetna Mountains.

Turning The Tide Against Marine Debris

Brianna Gibbs, KMXT – Kodiak

It’s been about three years since the tsunami in Japan washed away entire towns, sending thousands of tons of debris out to sea. Less than eight months after the tsunami, items started showing up in Alaska and have continued to do so in the months and years since. It will still be a few months before clean up crews take to Kodiak’s beaches, but the planning process for those clean ups is already well under way.

Cost Overruns Add Up To A Bigger Bill For Blue Lake Dam

Rachel Waldholz, KCAW – Sitka

Sitka’s Blue Lake dam expansion project will cost about $3.6 million more than expected. The total project – not including new backup diesel generators – was originally estimated to cost about $142 million. Utility director Chris Brewton told the Sitka Assembly on Tuesday night the cost is now $145 million.

Fairbanks Polaris Building’s Owner Optimistic About Renovation

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The owner of the Polaris building is optimistic about financing renovation of the long vacant downtown Fairbanks high rise. Anchorage developer  Marc Marlow reported to the Fairbanks city council Monday that he planned to file a federal loan guarantee application with the Bureau of Indian affairs this week.

Bristol Bay Forever Initiative Survives Challenge in Court

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

The Bristol Bay Forever Initiative, which seeks to add a layer of legislative approval to any future hard rock mining within the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve, has survived a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. Backers expect the initiative to still be on the primary ballot this August.

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