Alaska News Nightly: March 4, 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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Alaska House Finance Committee Hearing Public Input On Budget

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

With the state facing a deficit of more than $4 billion, the budget is arguably the most important issue facing the Alaska Legislature this session. The House Finance Committee is now hearing from the public on its cuts, in preparation for any changes it might make to the spending proposal.

Murkowski Seeks Lease Extensions for Shell

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Last summer, Shell asked the government to extend its offshore drilling leases in the Arctic. Today, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski pressed Shell’s case to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a Senate hearing.

Sullivan Jousts with EPA’s McCarthy

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan today engaged the head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, in a testy exchange. Sullivan’s focus was the EPA’s proposed rule for the Clean Water Act. But first the senator extracted some crow from McCarthy for dissing gifts given to her when she visited Alaska last year.

Medicaid Expansion Event Brings Out Lawmakers, Davidson

The Associated Press

Legislators, aides and others heard an alternate viewpoint on Medicaid expansion from a senior fellow with an organization that has referred to the “dangers” expansion poses in states that opt for it.

Budget Cuts Would Eliminate Health Care Commission

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The Alaska Health Care Commission would be eliminated in proposed funding cuts from the House finance committee. The Commission makes policy recommendations to the legislature and the Governor to improve the health of Alaskans and control health care costs.

P/V Stimson Likely to Move From Unalaska to Kodiak

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

The state is once again looking to move the Wildlife Trooper patrol vessel Stimson from Unalaska to Kodiak. And this year, the change seems poised to go through.

Researcher Investigating Alaska’s Sexual Assault Issues

Matt Martin, KDLG – Dillingham

A researcher from University of California Irvine is in Dillingham to hear from sexual assault victims about their experiences. The idea is to figure out the cause of the disproportionately high number of sexual crimes in rural Alaska.

Mayor, Chief Pitch ‘Community Policing’ At South Fairbanks Meeting

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

The City of Fairbanks is rolling out a new approach to law enforcement. The mayor and police chief introduced the Community Policing Program at a public meeting in Fairbanks crime plagued south side Tuesday night.

‘Iditarod Adventures, Tales from Mushers Along the Trail’ Documents Race Stories

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A new book, out just in time for this year’s race, documents stories of the Iditarod. Lew Freedman, a former Anchorage Daily News reporter and author of numerous other books on Iditarod legends, gets people who race or love and support the race, to tell their own stories. The book is called Iditarod Adventures, Tales from Mushers Along the Trail. Freedman starts with Martin Buser. He says he’s had a question he’s wanted to ask Buser since 1991.