Alaska News Nightly: February 18, 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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Murkowski Concludes Obama Aims to Kill Alaska’s Pipeline

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

President Barack Obama has stopped in Alaska to refuel, but he plans to make his first real trip to the state in August. Or so says U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. She let it slip during her annual address to the Alaska Legislature today. The speech was aimed primarily at fighting the administration’s moves to shield parts of the Arctic from oil development.

Crowd Rallies Attention Toward Climate Change

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Sen. Lisa Murkowski barely talked about climate change in her annual speech to the Alaska Legislature Wednesday. And outside the Capitol, a small group rallied to bring attention to climate change and to demand more action on the issue from Murkowski.

Port Officials Call For “Tweaks” to Shell Moorage Plan

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

As Shell tries to chart a course back to the Arctic this summer, the company is looking for space to store its drill rigs in Unalaska.

Army Using Alaska To Prep For Cold Weather Combat

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

The U.S. Army in Alaska held its first ever international conference last week on cold weather combat. Elite specialists in mountaineering, skiing, and Arctic survival came to the Northern Warfare Training Center near Fairbanks to learn new techniques for fighting in terrain that can itself be a weapon against troops. The conference comes as the Army is putting its focus on the Pacific and the Arctic.

Alaska’s Healthcare.gov Enrollment Jumps To Nearly 21K

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Almost 21,000 Alaskans signed up for health insurance on healthcare.gov during the open enrollment period that closed February 15th.

With Budget Changes, Walker Boosts Ferry, Community Jails Funding

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Gov. Bill Walker has sent his final amendments to the capital and operating budget to the Legislature.

Gov. Walker’s New Adviser To Focus On Rural Economy, Local Governments

Jennifer Canfield, KTOO – Juneau

Gov. Bill Walker named his new rural affairs advisor today at the Alaska Federation of Natives winter retreat in Kotzebue. Gerad Godfrey’s full title is Senior Advisor on Rural Business and Intergovernmental Affairs — a title that Godfrey says is meant to communicate that his work will focus on economic development in villages and consulting with tribes.

Anchorage YWCA Works for Gender Pay Equity

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The Anchorage YWCA has taken on the topic of pay inequity for women. Nationally women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, but in Alaska, the rate is 67 cents, placing Alaska at 48th for women’s pay in the nation.

Fairbanks Mountaineer Nearing Seven Summit Feat

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A Fairbanks man is nearing completion of a mountaineering feat. Bill Cole has climbed the highest peaks on 6 of the world’s 7 continents.