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Alaska News Nightly: April 3, 2014

April 3, 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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USCG Releases Kulluk Report

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

The Coast Guard has released the results of an investigation into the grounding of Shell’s Kulluk drill rig at the end of their troubled Arctic drilling season.

Rep. Young Presses Interior Secretary On Izembek Road

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell already rejected a plan to build a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to link King Cove to the all-weather airport at Cold Bay. All three members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation are trying to get her to change her mind. Today, it was Congressman Don Young’s turn to press the case.

NMFS Clears Commercial Fishing In Sea Lion Habitat

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

After a research review, the National Marine Fisheries Service is prepared to loosen controversial limits on fishing in the western Aleutian Islands.

As Education Bill Nears Vote, Lawmakers Brace For Funding Fight

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Friday, state representatives will vote on a sprawling education bill that deals with everything from school budgets to teacher tenure to the establishment of charter schools. Some lawmakers, like Anchorage Democrat Chris Tuck, are already preparing for a marathon session.

Some of the biggest fights are expected to center around the education funding formula.

Gov. Parnell Calls Proposal To Deal With Teacher Retirement System ‘Immoral’

The Associated Press

How to address the teacher retirement debt is another friction point for lawmakers.

Governor Sean Parnell says a House Finance Committee proposal to deal with the teachers’ retirement system is “immoral” and shifts the debt obligation to future generations.

KABATA Legislation Passes Senate Finance Committee

Phillip Manning, KTNA – Talkeetna

The plan to construct a toll bridge across Knik Arm advanced yesterday, when the Senate Finance committee voted in favor of sending it to the floor for consideration.

Fish & Game Cancelling Staffed Program At Bristol Bay Walrus Islands Sanctuary

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

Back in 1960, seven uninhabited Bristol Bay islands south of Togiak were incorporated into the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary. As the name suggests, the sanctuary protects one of the largest terrestrial haulout sites of Pacific walruses in North America.

The Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Division decided last week that it will terminate its Round Island Program, which staffs the sanctuary to monitor the marine mammals and host visitors.

Homer Man Shoots, Kills Self With Trooper’s Pistol

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

Alaska State Troopers say a Homer man fatally shot himself after he grabbed a trooper’s gun during a struggle following a domestic violence call.

Wife Of Missing Mt. Marathon Racer Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The wife of a man who went missing during the 2012 Mt. Marathon race is suing the Seward Chamber of Commerce. The wrongful death suit is asking for a judgment of $5 million.

Aleutians East Scrambles For Cheaper Link To Akutan Airport

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

Yesterday, we reported that Akutan residents are pleased with their new airport taxi — a helicopter that came online in February. The Aleutians East Borough is already running out of money to pay for it. Today, in the second part of our series on the struggle to connect Akutan to its airport, the borough settles on a permanent solution. It’s one they rejected a decade ago.

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