Alaska News Nightly: November 17, 2014

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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Begich Concedes Senate Race to Sullivan

The Associated Press

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has conceded the Alaska Senate race to Republican Dan Sullivan.  Begich called Sullivan to congratulate him Monday. He said he urged Sullivan “to adopt a bipartisan resolve in the Senate.”

After Parnell Concession, Walker Transition Formally Begins

Alexandra Guiterrez, APRN – Juneau

With the governor’s race called in favor of unaffiliated candidate Bill Walker and conceded over the weekend, the transition process is formally underway.

Marijuana Entrepreneurs Face Special Business Burdens

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washingon, DC

Alaskans who hope to operate marijuana businesses will have to defy U.S. drug law, of course. But they’ll also face other federal rules they’re likely to find severely inconvenient and perhaps crippling to their enterprise.

Lights Back on in Tuluksak

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

After a week without power, the lights in Tuluksak came back on Friday evening. Some families lost hundreds of pounds of meat and fish due to the extended outage during unseasonably warm weather.  The community of more than 400 located upriver from Bethel lost power earlier this month.

Scientists Report Steep Decline in Number of Polar Bears

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey are reporting a steep decline in the number of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea. In a study published Monday, they show the population dropped 40 percent in the first ten years of this century. Between 2004 and 2007 – out of 80 cubs the researchers observed – researchers only know of two that survived.

Virus Could be Killing Pacific Starfish

Monica Gokey, KSKA-Anchorage

A mysterious illness causing mass die-offs of Pacific starfish has baffled scientists since the epidemic first started in the summer of 2013. But scientists now think they may be one step closer to an answer. A new study points to a virus as the likely cause of dwindling sea star numbers from Mexico to Alaska.

Military Training Becoming More Difficult in Alaska

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Army’s highest-ranking soldier in Alaska says the military trains here so it can operate in the Arctic, which he calls one of the world’s most difficult environments. Major General Mike Shields says it’s becoming more complex with climate change.

State OKs Wishbone Hill Coal Permits

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The federal Office of Surface Mining is criticizing a state agency’s handling of permit extensions and renewals for the Wishbone Hill coal project near Palmer. The office is upholding a decision by the Department of Natural Resources to renew project permits for the operator, Usibelli Coal. But the federal agency says the state erred in never officially terminating the permits due to inaction by an earlier owner.