Alaska News Nightly: March 10, 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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Sen. Sullivan: Letter To Tehran To ‘Enlighten Iranian Leadership’

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is among 47 Republican senators who signed a letter to Iran’s leadership Monday. The letter concerns President Obama’s negotiations for a deal to halt Iran’s nuclear program without involving Congress. The senators warn Iran that the next president could reverse any executive deal between leaders “with the stroke of a pen.”

AFN Asks Walker to Change Position on Adoptions

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage
The Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and a dozen regional Native non-profits are asking Governor Bill Walker to change his position in a case involving the adoption of Alaska Native children. They say the state’s position in the case Tununuk v. the state of Alaska erects barriers between tribal children and tribal homes.

House Finance Reduces Cuts to Pub Broadcasting, University System

The Associated Press
The House Finance Committee has approved restoring much of a proposed $1.7 million cut to public broadcasting and reducing by about $10 million a cut to the University of Alaska system. The committee is considering amendments to the operating budget, with a goal of getting a bill to the House floor this week. Whatever passes the House would go to the Senate.

Fairbanks Looking for Cheaper Fuel Options

Dan Bross, KUAC-Fairbanks
Lower oil prices have eased the high cost of energy in Fairbanks. But concern they won’t last, has the local electric utility looking at other fuel options.

Buser Retakes Iditarod Lead, First to Tanana

Emily Schwing, APRN Contributor
Martin Buser maintained the early lead in this year’s Iditarod. He was the first to Tanana Tuesday afternoon. He was followed by Hugh Neff and Aaron Burmeister. Aliy Zirkle led the field of women and was behind Burmeister.

Iditarod dog teams had been filing in and out of Manley since the middle of Monday night.  Mushers were starting to search for the perfect balance between racing and resting as they made their way down the Iditarod trail.

Allen Permanently Takes Sitka Hospital CEO Job

Emily Kwong, KCAW-Sitka
After six weeks on the job, Rob Allen – the interim CEO of Sitka Community Hospital – has agreed to take on the position permanently. He announced his decision during the hospital board’s last meeting in February and expects to negotiate for a contract soon.

Fast Ferry Engine Damage Could Affect Service

Ed Schoenfeld, Coast Alaska – Juneau
One of the Alaska Marine Highway’s new ferry engines is down. That could affect service in Southeast and Prince William Sound. Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says a gear tooth broke Saturday on one of four engines powering the fast ferry Fairweather. Sunday’s sailing was canceled.

YK Health Corp Launches New Health Campaign

Sophie Evan, KYUK – Bethel
Calricaraq is an ancient Yup’ik holistic way to live a long, healthy, and balanced life. The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation’s Preventative Services Department in Bethel is bringing the system back, that’s meant to guide the “real people” from conception to adulthood. They hope it will help curb alarming suicide rates and tough social issues facing Yup’ik people today.

Transgender Group Forms in Juneau

Lisa Phu, KTOO-Juneau
The transgender community is finding a foothold in the capital city. A support and social group for transgender and gender-questioning people had its first meeting last month with about 20 participants. It follows a trend happening elsewhere in the state.