Alaska News Nightly: February 16, 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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Jewell, Governor, Delegation Descend on Northwest Arctic Borough

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN-Juneau
For two days, the Northwest Arctic Borough is suddenly Alaska’s seat of power, with the governor, the lieutenant governor, the congressional delegation, and ten legislators all descending on the region. But the most high-profile visitor is Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior and a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Mushing Great George Attla Dies

Dan Bross, KUAC – Anchorage
Alaska Native dog mushing great George Attla died on Sunday. The sprint champion known as “The Huslia Hustler” died of cancer at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. He was 81.

Republican Lawmakers Express Doubts On Medicaid Expansion

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
House Republicans expressed skepticism over Governor Bill Walker’s plan to expand Medicaid in a hearing Monday morning. The subcommittee hearing of the House Health and Social Services Committee was the first chance for lawmakers to publicly question Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson on the subject.

Judicial Council Proposal Draws Pushback

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A statewide group is fighting a proposed change in Alaska’s judge selection process pushed by a Fairbanks Senator. “Justice Not Politics Alaska” director Heather Arnett says the group is opposed to Republican Pete Kelly’s resolution, which proposes doubling the number of public members appointed by the governor, to the Judicial Council, which selects state judge candidates.

“Stagnant” Anchorage Software Project To Move Forward After Audits

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage
Internal and external audits of the SAP software implementation find poor management, lack of accountability, and problems with scheduling, but conclude it’s too late to start over.

Bill Berry’s Work on Display for First Time

Karen Simmons, KUAC-Fairbanks
Works of a famous Fairbanks artist are on display for the first time. Drawings and paintings by Bill Berry are hanging in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmussen Library. The long-archived works re-surfaced at the request of the late artist’s family.

YK Health Corp Seeks New Center

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel
It’s just in the planning stage, but the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation is working towards a new $250-million health care center. They say the current facility, which serves people from 58 YK Delta communities, needs to be updated and needs more room to keep up with a growing population.

Practitioner of Traditional Medicine Stresses Personal Responsibility

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Ted Mala grew up in a family that covered a broad career spectrum; from medicine people to movie stars. Dr Mala is the son of Alaska Native movie star Ray Mala and before he became the first Alaska Native to attend medical school and return to Alaska to practice, he learned about traditional medicine from relatives in the region of his childhood home in Buckland. He believes deeply in the power of traditional healing, but he also makes a clear distinction between it and shamanism.