Alaska News Nightly: January 22, 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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Walker Names National Guard Special Investigator

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Gov. Bill Walker has named a retired judge as his special investigator into the Alaska National Guard.

Sen. Sullivan Starts Committee Work

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Sen. Dan Sullivan has been named chairman of a subcommittee. It’s the subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, part of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  Its jurisdiction includes oversight of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and wildlife refuges.

Just this week, the Senate got started with committee work. All four of Dan Sullivan’s committees met Wednesday, with three colliding in a scheduling pile-up that’s typical in Congress.

Bill Streur Hired As Medicaid Budget, Expansion Consultant

Annie Feidt APRN – Anchorage

The Senate Finance Committee approved hiring former health commissioner Bill Streur Thursday, as a consultant on the Medicaid budget and Medicaid expansion. Expanding the program is a priority of Governor Bill Walker. But many Republican lawmakers aren’t in favor of the idea.

Healthcare.gov Navigators See Steady Enrollment As Deadline Approaches

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Nearly 17 thousand Alaskans have signed up for health insurance on healthcare.gov during this open enrollment period. That’s already a substantial increase from last year. And Affordable Care Act navigators expect the next three weeks will be even busier as the February 15th enrollment deadline approaches.

Juneau Hiker Who Freed Trapped Eagle Due In Court Today

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

A Juneau woman who faced a $500 fine and 30 days in jail for hindering lawful trapping had the case against her dismissed today. Kathleeen Adair freed a bald eagle caught in a trap near a hiking trail last month. She sprung other traps nearby and was then cited by wildlife troopers.

Faced With Marijuana Money Puzzle, Legislators Curious About A State-Run Bank

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

When Alaskans voted for an initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana, they approved a system where the drug can be bought and sold by retailers operating in the open. But with federal regulations prohibiting bank deposits of drug money, the marijuana sellers can end up holding large amounts of cash.

Mat-Su Borough Establishes Marijuana Advisory Committee

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The  Matanuska-Susitna Borough passed a resolution  this week establishing a Borough Marijuana Advisory Committee.

Experiment Looks for Slow Earthquakes Under Unalaska

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

Earthquakes are an almost hourly occurrence in the Aleutian Islands. Most are too tiny to feel, and even the bigger ones are usually over in seconds.

But there’s another type of earthquake that runs deeper than those daily events- a slow earthquake. It’s what scientists are now looking for underneath the Aleutians.

Scientists, Fishermen Test Strategies To Reduce Trawl Bycatch

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

Reducing bycatch has been a hot topic in the pollock trawl industry. Scientists are working with the commercial fishermen to find a solution to the problem. And, at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium this week in Anchorage, they say they are making progress.