Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Mar. 4, 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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Alaska Senate weighing a bill to overhaul Medicaid

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

The Senate Finance Committee has been weighing a wide-ranging bill to overhaul Medicaid in Alaska. One provision is aimed at curbing the abuse of opioid drugs.

Angoon mayor unsatisfied with state response to tainted subsistence seal

Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO – Juneau

Hawk Inlet is healthy according to state officials. That’s the message Angoon received about three weeks after concerns were raised about high levels of mercury found in a subsistence seal. But Angoon’s mayor doesn’t feel comforted by the report.

4-H Western Region Leaders Forum in danger of being shutdown in Alaska

Robert Hannon, KUAC – Fairbanks

Hundreds of youth and adults are in Fairbanks as part of 4-H Western Region Leaders Forum. While the gathering represents a decade’s long tradition, some local leaders question how much longer it will exist in Alaska.

Coast Guard rescues two British explorers near Seward Peninsula

Emily Russell, KNOM – Nome

Two British explorers were rescued from the icy waters of Bering Strait yesterday afternoon. Neil Laughton and James Bingham left the village of Wales on the western edge of the Seward Peninsula on Wednesday.

Iditarod trail coverage to begin this weekend

Emily Schwing and  Zachariah Hughes, KNOM and KSKA – Anchorage

The 44th annual Iditarod trail sled dog race gets underway on Sunday, although the festive ceremonial start in Anchorage happens tomorrow. This is one of the largest fields in the race’s history at 85 mushers signed up to start. KNOM News Director Emily Schwing and Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes will be reporting from the trail. Before they take off, let’s find out who they’re keeping an eye on and what to watch out for along the trail.

AK: Community fights back against Seldovia land buyouts

Quinton Chandler, KBBI – Homer

Over the last eight years, a California man has snatched up dozens of parcels of land in the small community of Seldovia, on Kachemak Bay. His work on that property has dragged him into legal disputes with the city of Seldovia and some of his neighbors.

49 Voices: Dennis Ricker of the Mat-Su

Wesley Early, APRN – Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Mat Su Valley resident Dennis Ricker. Ricker came to Alaska from Colorado in 1978 and was a wildland firefighter until he retired.