Alaska News Nightly: February 24, 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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Sec. Jewell On The Hot Seat In Murkowski’s Committee

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Sen. Lisa Murkowski confronted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell Tuesday at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The subject was the president’s proposed budget for the Interior Department. But Murkowski used the occasion to bash Jewell for recent department decisions blocking oil development on the North Slope.

As Pot Becomes Legal, Alaska Communities Rush For Short-Term Laws

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

As of Tuesday it is no longer a crime to possess or transport up to an ounce of marijuana in the state of Alaska. However, the rule change is still a long way from the fully legal and regulated market that voters passed with Ballot Measure 2. And as state entities work to develop comprehensive new laws on a new commodity, municipalities are rushing to find shorter-term public safety solutions.

Trial Challenging Restrictions For Medicaid-Funded Abortions Continues In Anchorage

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

State attorneys are about to finish questioning witnesses for the defense in a trial that could determine whether or not the state removes some restrictions for Medicaid – funded abortions for low income women.

Diomede Enters More than One Month Without Flights

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

It’s now been a full month since regular helicopter service was halted to the remote Bering Strait community of Little Diomede. The aviation company flying to the island village says a combination of mechanical issues and weather is keeping flights from resuming—and residents say they’re getting by despite just one delivery of mail and cargo in the last month.

Bethel Reacts to Walker Administration’s firing of DA

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

Bethel Community members are reacting to the Walker Administration’s firing of District Attorney, June Stein. While working in the office Sunday, Stein received a letter, delivered from a Deputy Attorney General of her quote “impending release.” The state is not explaining why she’s being fired.

Community Members Want Action From Muni To Get More Detox Facilities

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

People packed the pews at the First Covenant Church in Anchorage on Monday evening to discuss the municipality’s lack of detox facilities. The city of 300,000 people has only 14 detox beds. Before 2000, there were 34.

Bill Changes Alaska Lawmakers’ Per Diem Rules

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

A week after filing a bill that would prohibit legislators from collecting per diem when not in the capital, Rep. Harriet Drummond has pledged to return some of her own daily allowance.

With Troop Cuts Looming, Anchorage Officials Turn Out Crowd

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchroage

Several hundred people turned out last night to show support for the military in Alaska and speak against potential troop reductions.

Southeast Alaska King Salmon Head North In Search Of Cooler Waters

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

Some king salmon reared in Southeast Alaska are traveling farther north as ocean temperatures rise. This news was delivered to the Alaska Board of Fisheries as their spring meeting opened in Sitka Monday afternoon.