Alaska News Nightly: December 15, 2014

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Gov. Walker Submits Capital Budget

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

By law, Alaska’s governor is required submit a budget by December 15. Having been in office for only two weeks, Gov. Bill Walker elected to submit his predecessor’s operating budget Monday, without endorsement. But he did make some changes to former Gov. Sean Parnell’s capital budget.

Sullivan Delighted with U.S. Senate Committee Assignments

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

The Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Monday announced their committee assignments for the next two years. Alaska’s Dan Sullivan will come in with the lowest seniority of the 100 senators, primarily because he’s never held elected office before. But it doesn’t seem to have hurt him on the committee score.

Ballot Measure to Combat Corruption Has A Year To Gather 30,000 Signatures

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

While election season may have just ended, there’s already a push to gather signatures for a new ballot measure in 2016.

UA President Announces Retirement Date

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble will step down at the end of the school year. Vice President of University relations, Carla Beam says Gamble announced his plan to retire on June 1st 2015, to UA Regents, during an executive session Friday.

EPA To Use North Pole Air Data

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Fairbanks area continues to struggle with fine particulate pollution from wood smoke and other sources. Wintertime air inversions trap emissions at ground level, dropping air quality below federal Clean Air Act standards. Much of the North Star Borough is classified a federal non-attainment area by the Environmental Protection Agency, based on air quality monitoring in Fairbanks. But, the EPA plans to begin using monitoring data from North Pole, where pollution is typically much worse.

Bethel Winter House Reopens with New Rules

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

After a bumpy start, Bethel Winter House has opened its doors, once again, with new rules. That’s after a newly hired volunteer coordinator quit and organizers shut the homeless shelter down for three nights.

Akeela House Celebrates 40 Years of Successful Sobriety Treatments

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

The Akeela House in Anchorage turned 40 this year. It’s one of Anchorage’s oldest substance use treatment facilities. Now it has programs in communities and prisons across the state.

Friends, Family Mourn Avalanche Victim; Expert Advises Recovery Operation Delay

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Memorial services were held over the weekend for Erik Petersen, the Delta Junction man killed in an avalanche in the Alaska Range.

An avalanche expert who’s surveyed the area of the eastern Alaska Range where the deadly slide came down says the snow pack on mountainsides near Rainbow Ridge remains unstable. That’s delayed efforts to recover Petersen’s body.

Climate Change And Alaska Natives: Health

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Alaskans have heard a lot about the effects climate change has had on land in the state. But new studies suggest it’s also having a big impact on the health of residents.