Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 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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Army officials say they’d like to keep airborne unit at JBER

Liz Ruskin, APRN-Washington
Top Army officials Wednesday morning gave their clearest statements yet that they might cancel or postpone plans to shrink the 425th Brigade Combat Team.

Law-makers sign $35,000 contract for LIO analysis

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA-Anchorage
The Legislature has approved a contract for a global consulting firm to examine whether lawmakers should move offices out of the controversial Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.

House subcommittee start cutting the budget

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO/APRN-Juneau
Legislators are looking to cut the state budget deeper than Governor Bill Walker’s proposal to reduce spending by one hundred million dollars.But some lawmakers – especially those from rural areas — are raising concerns about where the cuts will fall.

Public assistance to drop for 5,348 low-income seniors

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA-Anchorage
Thousands of low-income seniors will see a drop in their state benefits starting March first. In a letter sent last week, Alaskans over 65 living at or below the poverty line were notified that many would see a reduction in cash assistance paid every month to help with fuel, food, and medication costs.

Ferry sale on hold, for now

Ellen Lockyer, KSAK-Anchorage
The Matanuska Susitna Borough’s unused ferry “Susitna” is approaching Seattle on the end of a tugboat’s tow rope.

Murkowski, Jewell joust over King Cove road

Liz Ruskin, APRN-Washington, DC
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski chairs the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. On Tuesday she used that platform to grill Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on a number of issues in – or not in – the president’s budget, including this.

Aleknagik man in custody for stabbing wife

Daved Bendinger, KDLG-Dillingham
An Aleknagik man is in custody today on attempted murder and assault charges. Troopers say 51-year old Robin Chythlook stabbed his wife multiple times and pointed a hunting rifle at the unarmed Village Public Safety Officer Tuesday night.

Calista announces record dividend

Charles Enoch, KYUK-Bethel
Calista corporation recently announced their spring dividend for 2016 is a record $5.6 million dollars.

Biologists meeting with Savoonga and Gambell walrus hunters

Emily Schwing, KNOM-Nome
A team of biologists left for Saint Lawrence Island on Wednesday to consult with local walrus hunters in Savoonga and Gambell.

Walker proposes fishery tax increase

Molly Dischner, KDLG-Dillingham
To help fill the state’s budget gap, Alaska Governor Bill Walker has asked legislators to consider a variety of tax increases – including raising fisheries taxes by one percent.

UAF makes efforts to combat failures in sexual assault cases

Robert Hannon, KUAC-Fairbanks
It’s been more than four months since the University of Alaska Fairbanks announced it failed to follow its own procedures in disciplining students accused of sexual assault.  At the time an independent review of the UA system was ordered. UAF says it now has transparent procedures and software in place to prevent similar lapses, but the review is delayed.