Alaska News Nightly: June 24, 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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Shipping Safety Advocate Criticizes Arctic Preparedness Plans

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

As the summer arctic shipping season gets underway, a member of a group that formed after the Selendang Ayu ran aground a decade ago, is calling for more rescue tugs, monitoring and risk management measures in the Bering Strait and Unimak Pass.

New Placer Mining Permits Proposed

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Interior miners aren’t happy with changes proposed to federal permits for small scale placer operations that impact water resources, including wetlands. Dozens attended an Army Corps of Engineers public meeting in Fairbanks last week on the proposals.

Groups Ask Seek Endangered Species Protection For Yellow Cedar Trees

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg

Conservation groups are asking for endangered species protection for yellow cedar trees in Alaska. The trees have been dying off in portions of Southeast over the past century.  Scientists say it’s likely due to a warming climate and lack of snow cover for vulnerable roots.

Lobbying Efforts Galvanize Unalaska Hospital Project

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

Tribal and federal officials say the plan to build a regional hospital in Unalaska is closer than ever to reality.

Should E-Cigarette Vapors Be Treated Like Tobacco Smoke?

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau

The Juneau Assembly is considering a ban on e-cigarette vapors in nearly all indoor public spaces.

The local chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence led the push at an Assembly Committee meeting Monday. A council representative argued that the new tobacco alternative is being marketed to youths and misrepresented as harmless.

In First Drift Opening Near Bethel, Managers Balance Chinook Conservation With Opportunity

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

After months of planning and studying the numbers, state and federal managers okayed the first six-inch-drift gillnet opening today on the most densely populated stretch of the Kuskokwim river. The fishing will be aimed at chum and sockeye salmon, but managers are moving cautiously to make sure enough king salmon make it to spawning grounds.

Anchorage Celebrates World Refugee Day

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Anchorage residents gathered at Mountain View Lions Park on Friday to celebrate World Refugee Day. The day honors people who have fled their home country, often because of war or ethnic persecution. About 120 refugees are resettled in Anchorage every year as part of a national program.