Alaska News Nightly: December 16, 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 alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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President Obama Makes Bristol Bay Off-Limits For Oil, Gas Development

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

President Obama today extended an executive action that puts Bristol Bay off-limits to oil and gas development.

State Hires Project Lead for Medicaid Expansion

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The department of health and social services has created a new position to help the state work toward the goal of expanding Medicaid.  The job is Medicaid Expansion Project Director and it’s being filled by Chris Ashenbrenner, who spent two decades working for the department and came out of retirement to take on this challenge.

North Slope-Bound Tanker Wrecks, Spills 1,200 Gallons of Diesel, Catches Fire

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

A fuel tanker headed to the North Slope wrecked at a remote spot along the Dalton Highway Sunday, overturning and spilling more than a thousand gallons of diesel. The truck subsequently caught fire and burned.

Anchorage School Board Puts Money into Savings, Rilke Schule Facility

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

The Anchorage School Board decided how to spend their unexpected $24 million fund balance during a lengthy Monday night meeting. Most will be saved to make up for next year’s anticipated deficit. The money was originally budgeted for this year, but the district spent less than planned on salaries because they had difficulty hiring and retaining highly experienced teachers.

Juneau School Board to Decide if Montessori Borealis Should be its Own School

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

Montessori Borealis has been part of the Juneau School District for 20 years as an optional program.

After a couple years of planning, the Montessori Borealis community submitted a proposal last spring to become its own school. The school board will decide tonight.

Troopers Release Names of Missing Kuskokwim Travelers

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

Alaska State Troopers have released the names of the two other travelers that remain missing on the frozen Kuskokwim River.

Alaska Power Company Customers Will See 11 Percent Rate Hike

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

Thousands of rural Alaskans will see their power bills go up after the first of the year. That’s because the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, or RCA, approved an 11 percent rate increase last week for Alaska Power Company customers.

That’s lower than the hike the company asked for. But it’s still more than many residents in Southeast and the Interior say they can afford.

Are Agencies Prepared for Effects of Climate Change?

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

As Alaskans grapple with the effects of a warming planet, they look to federal and state agencies to help with problems that are too big for an individual or even a community to tackle. But it’s not clear if statutes, regulations and agency funding are up to the task.