Alaska News Nightly: February 6, 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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Health Department Says Medicaid Expansion Can Save State Money

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson unveiled two new reports Friday at a press conference in Anchorage she hopes will help make the case for Medicaid expansion. They show Alaska can actually save money by expanding the program, even as the federal match drops below 100 percent. But whether Republican state lawmakers skeptical of expansion will agree with the analysis is an open question.

Report: Mat-Su Behavioral Health Services Inadequate

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A new report released by the Mat-Su Health Foundation indicates that behavioral health services in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are woefully inadequate. The report, the first of three, suggests residents are not accessing care until they are in crisis.

Supreme Court Denies Rachelle Waterman Appeal

Leila Kheiry, KRBD – Ketchikan

More than a decade after the original crime took place, the Alaska Supreme Court denied Rachelle Waterman’s appeal of her conviction in the death of her mother.

State Seeks Delay In Indian Country Expansion

The Associated Press

Governor Bill Walker’s administration is seeking more time to assess the potential impact of expanding Indian Country in Alaska.

Kuskokwim Fishermen Set Sights on Co-Management

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

Efforts to establish tribal co-management of Kuskokwim salmon are slowly progressing. A steering committee is in Bethel to sketch out the future of who regulates the river. Kuskokwim fishermen are eager to be managers, instead of simply advisors.

Cook Inlet LNG Will Require Lead Time

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The state has proposed purchase of Fairbanks Natural Gas as part of a plan to increase the volume of Cook Inlet gas available in the interior. The governor has indicated that could begin as early as next year, but the timeline may stretch out longer.

High Winds, Low Temperatures Cut Through Southeast Alaska

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

A strong and freezing cold wind cut through Haines and Skagway on Thursday and Friday. Gusts reached up to more than 100 miles per hour. And with temperatures in the single digits, the wind chill was at least 20 below.

AK: Climate Change and the Quest

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race starts tomorrow. For more than 30 years, the race course has followed an old Gold Rush era trail that took advantage of the Yukon River. But in recent years some parts of the river haven’t frozen up.  Warm temperatures are starting to impact everything from race logistics to the sled dogs themselves.

300 Villages: Levelock

This week, we’re heading to Levelock on the Kvichak River near Bristol Bay. Chadalin Washington is an administrative assistant in Levelock.