Alaska News Nightly: December 23, 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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Gov. Walker Signs MOU With Resources Energy, Inc.

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday with Japan-based Resource Energy, Inc. for liquefied natural gas development and export out of Cook Inlet.

Origins Of The Endangered Species Act

Rachel Waldholz, KCAW – Sitka

Humpback whales may be coming off the endangered species list soon — federal officials are expected to announce a decision within the next few weeks.

Regardless of what they decide, one thing is clear: without whales and other marine mammals, there might not even be an endangered species list.

In the first of a series exploring humpback whales and the Endangered Species Act, KCAW reporter Rachel Waldholz and biologist Ellen Chenoweth explain how one of the nation’s most enduring environmental laws emerged from the office of one of its least revered presidents.

Minimum Wage Measure Could Boost Bus Driver Pay

The Associated Press

A decision by voters to increase Alaska’s minimum wage could bring a bump in the minimum that must be paid to the state’s school bus drivers.

‘Arctic Fiber’ Project Delayed into 2016

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

The backers of an ambitious project to build a fiber optic cable between England and Japan beneath Arctic waters has been delayed. The project will bring high-speed internet to remote corners of western Alaska but the arrival of that service has been pushed back until at least 2016.

Juneau Assembly Committee: Scale Back Senior Sales Tax Exemption

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau

A package of sales tax recommendations that could take a chunk out of Juneau’s anticipated seven million dollar budget deficit is headed for a public hearing.

Shop with a Cop highlights family homelessness in Anchorage

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

For the past 15 years, Anchorage police and firefighters have donated money to the Shop with a Cop program. It gives disadvantaged children the chance to buy gifts for themselves and their family members for Christmas. But, it also highlights a problem in Anchorage – families experiencing homelessness.

Juneau Assembly Honors JPD’s “Rock Star”

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

The Juneau Assembly last night honored a city police officer who recently received a statewide award as the top local government employee in Alaska.

Then for good measure, the Assembly recognized the entire Juneau Police Department.

Alice’s Champagne Palace to Open Solstice Weekend

Shady Grove Oliver, KBBI – Homer

The Homer icon, Alice’s Champagne Palace, had its grand opening under new owners on Friday. The classic bar and eatery was packed from opening to closing.