Alaska News Nightly: May 12, 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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Group Challenging Alaska’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Alaska was the first state in the country to add a ban on same-sex marriage to its Constitution. Now, five gay couples are trying to strike that ban down.

Pacific Walruses Removed From Unusual Mortality Event In North Pacific

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

Pacific walruses have been removed from the unusual mortality event declared in the North Pacific for several marine mammal species.

Panel Discussion Addresses Effects Of British Columbia Mines

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Over the weekend, the Western Mining Action Network held a panel discussion in Anchorage on the development of large scale mines in British Columbia that could impact the Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers. All are prolific salmon producers for Alaska.

Chris Zimmer is the Alaska Rivers without Borders campaign director. He says there are a number of mines proposed for BC and two of the most concerning are the Tulsequah Chief mine and the much larger Kerr Suphurets Mitchell or KSM prospect which is half the size of the Pebble mine proposal and 50 times larger than Tulsequah.

Concerns Raised Over Alaska’s Lack Of Standing To Address Canadian Mining

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Robert Sanderson is first vice president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes and was at the mining conference. He also is concerned that Alaskans don’t have legal standing to address Canadian mining.

Study Finds No Discernable Impact From Tulsequah Chief Mine Discharge On Fish

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Chieftan Metals Corporation, based in Toronto, is the owner of the Tulsequah Chief Mine. Company President and CEO Victor Wypryski was traveling and could not be reached for comment today, but a recent posting on the company’s website highlights the results of a February water quality study.

Conducted at the request of the British Columbia ministry of the environment, the study tested four sites on the Tulsequah River, near the confluence of the Taku River near the mine site. Chinook, Coho, sockeye salmon and dolly varden were tested. Researchers reportedly found no discernable impact in fish tissue samples from historic mining discharge.

Banking Error Delays State Payroll

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

About 15,000 State of Alaska employees will wait another day for their paychecks, due to a banking glitch.

Juneau Birders Photograph Rare Long-Billed Curlew

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

A Juneau couple has likely made the first verified sighting of a Long-billed Curlew in Alaska. North America’s largest shorebird, rarely seen in this part of the country, may become the next entry on the Checklist of Alaska Birds.

Mt. View Community Spruces Up For Spring

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Things look a little different in Mountain View. The community in north Anchorage just finished their 25th annual community-wide clean-up. This year they were joined by other city residents to improve a local park as well.

Motorcycle Collisions Claim 5 Lives This Year In Southcentral

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A string of motorcycle collisions have taken five lives in the Southcentral area during the past several weeks.

And on a narrow highway shoulder near Palmer last week,  riders lined up for an impromptu memorial service at the site of an accident on May 3 that claimed the lives of  three members of the Harley Owners Group Alaska Chapter. They placed flowers and flags at the site.

Blind Climber To Attempt Denali Ascent

Ashley Gross, KPLU – Seattle

Next month, Seattle-area mountain climber Bruce Stobie is going to attempt to get to the top of Denali. That alone is impressive, but Stobie faces an additional challenge. He’s blind.