Alaska News Nightly: January 14, 2015

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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In Underground Rooms, Sullivan’s Senate Office Takes Shape

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, like other Republicans in Congress, is on a two-day retreat in Hershey Pennsylvania. Speakers include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Jay Leno. Meanwhile, at his Washington office, APRN’s Liz Ruskin interviewed Sullivan Chief of Staff Joe Balash to get a status report.

UAF Anticipates Cutting Over 200 Jobs

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks anticipates cutting between 200 and 250 jobs this year. That from UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, who in an address to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce yesterday focused on the affect of slumping oil prices on state funding for the university.

About 16,000 Alaskans Sign Up On Healthcare.gov

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The federal government says about 16,000 Alaskans have signed up for health insurance on healthcare.gov.  That’s about 3,000 more than signed up during the initial open enrollment period.

Over 40,000 Earthquakes Detected In 2014

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The Earthquake Information Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks logged more earthquakes in 2014 than in past years, a lot more. 40,000. An increase of about 10,000 from the average of the years before it. Michael West is the state seismologist at the center. He says part of the reason they counted more last year was because of better technology.

How Safe Are Alaska’s Pedestrians?

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Nearly 8 percent of Alaskans walk to work. It’s the highest rate in the nation according to American Community Survey data. The national average is only 2.8 percent.  But the state is also ranked #3 for the rate of pedestrian deaths. Three people have been killed in the past month. So what’s happening in Anchorage to help keep walkers safe?

Anchorage Measure Will Tax Alcohol to Pay For Treatment and Services

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

Anchorage could see a new tax on alcohol. A measure introduced in the Assembly last night will put the matter before voters this April.

New Regulations Unlikely To Change Coal Ash Disposal In Alaska

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued the first ever federal standards for the disposal of coal ash by electric utilities. The toxin containing ash has gotten national attention in recent years due to spills in the Lower 48, but the situation is different in Alaska.

Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race Postponed

Shady Oliver, KBBI – Homer

Wind, heavy rain, and temperatures at times nearing 50 degrees on the Kenai Peninsula mean the Tustumena 200 sled dog race won’t be running February 7th as planned. And race coordinators aren’t even confident it will run at all this year.