Alaska News Nightly: March 9, 2015

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Officer & Senator: Sullivan Cedes Command But Says Roles Jibe

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, DC
Alaska’s Dan Sullivan is one of only two U.S. Senators who are current military reservists. His military service as a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves was one of his strongest selling points as a Senate candidate. But now that he’s a senator, the Marines have removed him from his assignment as a commander, saying it’s incompatible with congressional office.

Senate Republicans Preview Medicaid Reform Bill

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Senator Pete Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, previewed a bill he’s planning to introduce this week to reform the current Medicaid system. At a press conference this morning, he says the bill won’t include a provision to expand Medicaid. A group of Anchorage  religious leaders and lay people are in Juneau to try to convince him and other skeptical lawmakers to change their minds on the issue.

Buser Takes Early Lead in Iditarod

Emily Schwing, APRN Contributor– Fairbanks
Past Iditarod champion Martin Buser took an early lead in this year’s Iditarod. He was the first to and out of Nenana Monday afternoon. He was being trailed by rookie Thomas Waerner, and veterans DeeDee Jonrowe and Aliy Zirkle. But even before the race, mushers confronted some unexpected challenges because they had to travel a day from Anchorage to Fairbanks where the race began this year.

Swanson’s Store Closing in Bethel

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel
OMNI enterprises is shutting down their large Swanson’s Grocery store in Bethel. The store occupies a brand-new building and is the only competitor for the Alaska Commercial store there. As they liquidate their inventory with a half-off sale, customers are swarming the store to take advantage of sales. Many also lament the loss to the community.

Petersburg Seafood Processor Testing Shrimp Market

Angela Denning, KFSK – Petersburg
One of Petersburg’s seafood processors is trying to make a go at shrimp. Tonka Seafoods is starting small to see if the market is there for their limited operation. They should have their answer in a few weeks.

Sikuliaq Commissioned, Ready to Begin Research Trips

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Research Vessel Sikuliaq was officially commissioned Saturday in a ceremony at the boat’s home port in Seward. The commissioning marked the end of decades of efforts to design and build it; and the beginning of its mission to research the Earth’s rapidly changing and increasingly important polar regions.

Voices For Homeless Seeks Solutions To Region-Wide Problem

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage
Treating people who experience homelessness like people could help solve the problem. That was one of the solutions discussed by a group of community members who met on Saturday for the Northern Voices on Homelessness conference in Anchorage.