Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016

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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Moda exits Alaska’s individual health insurance market

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Moda Health says it’s pulling out of the individual market in the state. The company is one only two insurers who sell individual health insurance plans in Alaska.

Railbelt communities consider a business model overhaul

Rachel Waldholz, APRN – Anchorage

Utilities from Homer to Fairbanks are in discussions to overhaul how electricity is generated and transported throughout the region.

Scientists say murre die-off comparable to Exxon Valdez spill

Johanna Eurich, APRN Contributor

The number of dead common murres showing up on Alaska’s beaches is growing, and the scale of the die-off is now on par with the grounding of the 1989 Exxon Valdez in Price William Sound when 22,000 birds were collected.

APD investigates 2 unusual deaths at Point Woronzof

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

Two suspicious deaths in Anchorage have local police puzzled. APD was investigating a body found at the city’s Point Woronzoff early Thursday morning when they found a second person nearby, critically wounded. The second person found has since died in an Anchorage hospital.

Corrections nominee pledges to stop incarcerating the intoxicated

Andrew Kitchenman, APRN – Juneau

Last year, Dean Williams found many problems with the state Department of Corrections that contributed to the deaths of dozens in Alaska’s prisons and jails.
Now he will be in position to do something about it. Gov. Bill Walker on Thursday nominated Williams to be corrections commissioner.

Police, public health officials unite to combat Spice

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

Officials are gathering in Anchorage for a two-day conference on synthetic cannabinoids. According to new figures from the city’s Fire Department, first responders report spice-related emergencies remain steady at about 10 percent.

Homeless count sheds new light on Alaska needs

Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO – Juneau

Alaska now has a more localized way of looking at homelessness data. Instead of gathering information that reflects the state as a whole, some municipalities can see their own data that gets reported to the feds. That could mean more funding for housing in some communities.

Special election announced to recall North Slope mayor

Associated Press

North Slope officials have called for a special election to recall Mayor Charlotte Brower after residents successfully gathered enough signatures on a petition.

Cyrano’s theater honored with Governor’s award

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities takes place tonight in the capital city. Awards will be given to outstanding Alaskans for their work in advancing art and humanities. One of tonight’s recipients is Cyrano’s theater company in Anchorage. The small theater will receive the Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities. Sandy Harper, the long time owner of Cyrano’s will accept the award in Juneau this evening.

Middle Way restauranteur branches into pizza 

Wesley Early, APRN – Anchorage

Saturday was the grand opening of Hearth Artisan Pizzas in Anchorage, a pizzeria owned by Jon Campabello. Campabello is also the owner of the Middle Way Café, located right next door.