Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Jan. 29, 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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LNG project faces “economic headwinds”

Rachel Waldholz, APRN – Anchorage
As if lawmakers don’t have enough on their plates trying to close a $3.5 billion budget hole,  this week brought a reminder that the state is also trying to advance a natural gas mega project. That would be Alaska LNG, the effort to build a massive gas line from the North Slope to Cook Inlet.

Legislature considers easing use of anti-opioid drug

Andrew Kitchenman, APRN – Juneau
Thirty-three Alaskans died from heroin overdoses last year, a dramatic increase from just five years ago, when only four people died. Another 54 Alaskans died of prescription pain-reliever overdoses in 2015. Some of those deaths may have been prevented through the use of an opioid antidote, which can rapidly reverse overdoses.  There is a legislative effort to make it easier for overdose victims to get the life-saving drug Naloxone. Some doctors feel comfortable prescribing Naloxone. Others are wary of facing lawsuits related to drug overdoses.

State reassures Moda health members

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The state division of insurance is working to reassure Moda health members today. The health insurer announced yesterday it’s pulling out of the individual market in Alaska and Oregon. That’s after both states put the company under supervision, citing the company’s financial condition.

As U.S. buys more guns  one state agency has more money than it can handle

Liz Ruskin, APRN
Amid all the budget gloom, one branch of state government actually has more money than it can use. It’s the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation. The division is largely funded by a federal tax on the sale of guns and ammunition, and sales nationwide are booming. But this fall, the Wildlife Conservation Division may have to give back a portion of its bounty.

Two homicide victims identified by APD

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage Police have released the names of the two victims found early Thursday morning on a beach near a local park.  They are  19-year-old Selina Annette Mullenax and 20-year-old Foreignne Aubert-Morissette.

Words with friends: Anchorage clerks arrange Assembly election

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage voters will elect five of the city’s 11 Assembly members this April. Filing for those races opened today. City officials have devised an ingenious ritual to keep elections as fair and impartial as possible.

Eva Saulitis to be honored Friday in Homer

Daysha Eaton, KBBI – Homer
The community of Homer is mourning the death of a beloved writer, scientist and teacher. Eva Saulitis died January 16th of cancer. Homer Council on the Arts will award Saulitis a lifetime achievement award, posthumously, on Friday. The Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College will hold a memorial reading in the evening.

AK: Artist finishes portrait of Juneau’s grittiest 

Scott Burton, APRN Contributor
As 2015 came to a close, Juneau artist MK MacNaughton finished a art project that portrayed 52 of her fellow community members—or, a portrait a week for a year. MacNaughton picked her subjects not for how they look, but for what they do, where they do it, and how hard they work at it.

49 Voices: Altharia Fields-Roberts of Anchorage

Wesley Early, APRN – Anchorage
This week we’re hearing from Altharia Fields-Roberts an unemployed cook from Anchorage. Altharia moved to Anchorage from Detroit 31 years ago and found that the less busy Anchorage was more to her liking.