Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, August 11, 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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Feds Move to Protect Polar Bear Habitat

Associated Press

The federal government wants to push ahead with its plan to designate a huge swath of the Arctic as critical habitat for endangered polar bears over the wishes of the state of Alaska and trade associations.

M/V Challenger and barge overturned in Nushagak near Kokwok

Dave Bedinger, KDLG – Dillingham

A 45-foot vessel and barge overturned and sunk in the Nushagak River Sunday. The tug and barge, operated by Anchorage-based Ridge Contracting, was hauling scrap cars from the village of New Stuyahok downriver to Dillingham.

Visa-Free Travel to Russia Reinstated for Eligible Alaska Natives

Emily Russell, KNOM – Nome

Visa-free travel for Alaska Natives with ties across the Bering Strait has been reinstated after being banned for more than three years.

AG Rejects Cook Inlet Gas Facility Sale, Calls for Revision

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards has rejected the proposed sale of a Cook Inlet natural gas processing facility that’s targeted for expansion to produce more gas for Fairbanks.

Juneau Assembly Relaxes Child Care Facility Restrictions

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau

Attendance was thin at Monday’s Juneau Assembly meeting, but at least one parent and one prospective child care provider in the audience were elated.

Why SEARHC Thinks Paying for 8 Weeks of Parental Leave Will Save Money

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

A Southeast health provider has adopted what may be the most progressive parental leave policy in Alaska. At least two experts say they don’t know of another employer in the state with a comparable benefit.

New York-Based Investors Buy Majority Stake in Ravn

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

New York investors are now majority owners of the Ravn Air group, which mostly serves rural Alaska.

Hull Crack Forces Ferry Aurora Out of Service Early for Repairs

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The ferry Aurora is out of service a week earlier than expected. A small crack was found last week in its hull. The Coast Guard ordered repairs be made before it resumes passenger service on its Prince William Sound route.

Southeast Tourism Economy Hinged on Cruise Ship Travel

Emily Files, KHNS – Haines

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development released a report this week that puts tourism’s impact on Southeast Alaska into numbers. The report calls Southeast the ‘epicenter’ of cruise ship traffic in the state – and that’s the main driver of the visitor industry.

Alaska Greats ‘Portugal. The Man’ To Rock AK State Fair

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Dave Waldron, APRN – Anchorage

Getting an internationally successful rock band to play in Alaska is tough, but when the Alaska State Fair gets underway later this month, one of the performing groups will be playing for a home town crowd.