Alaska News Nightly: January 15, 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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Board Reverses Suspensions Of Former-Sen. Stevens Prosecutors

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

A review board has reversed the suspensions of two federal attorneys accused of withholding evidence in the prosecution of the late Sen. Ted Stevens. The Merit Systems Protection Board ruled this month that the Justice Department bungled the disciplinary process against the two prosecutors.

Anchorage Democrats Push Bills Combating Sexual Assault, Retaliation in National Guard

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

Two lawmakers introduced a group of bills today designed to fix issues within the Alaska National Guard.

Plunging Oil Prices Cast Doubt on Arctic Drilling

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

As oil prices continue to plummet, some corporations are scaling back on expensive exploration projects — like drilling in Arctic waters. But, one company with a major stake in the region has yet to tip its hand.

Anchorage Tourism Numbers Up, Expected To Continue

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

2014 was a record year for tourism in Southcentral Alaska according to Visit Anchorage. The organization predicts 2015 might be just as good.

Small Businesses Struggle To Comply With Health Insurance Requirement

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Starting this month, businesses in Alaska with more than 100 full time workers have to provide health insurance. Next year, the requirement will affect even smaller businesses. And under the Affordable Care Act “full time” is any employee who works more than 30 hours a week. Senator Lisa Murkowski is co-sponsoring legislation that would change that threshold to 40 hours.

Landbank Lawsuit Aimed at USACE Regs

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

An obscure lawsuit filed by a Matanuska Susitna wetlands mitigation bank could have national implications.  The suit, now in Federal Claims Court,  alleges breach of contract by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and land developers are closely watching the outcome.

Governor Names New Deputy Labor Commissioners

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Gov. Bill Walker has named two new deputy commissioners at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

UAS Closes Bookstore, Prepares For Tight Budget Times

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

The University of Alaska Southeast closed its bookstore in Juneau at the end of last year, because it hadn’t been profitable for years. As the school looks ahead, UAS will need to make more tough decisions about its budget.

Klawock Couple Plans Halftime Wedding

Leila Kheiry, KRBD – Ketchikan

A couple in Klawock has been engaged since 2001, but they couldn’t quite come to agreement about what kind of wedding ceremony to have. They finally settled on a unique venue: Center court at halftime during tomorrow’s home basketball game.