Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Mar. 11, 2016

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Sass and Zirkle lead Iditarod down Yukon River

Emily Schwing, KNOM,  – Iditarod Trail

Aliy Zirkle was the first musher to reach the Yukon River checkpoint of Galena Friday morning. She arrived at 10:46 with 14 dogs. Brent Sass was next into the checkpoint but swiftly moved through without stopping with his 15 dogs. Mitch Seavey pulled into Galena by 2:45.

Native leaders urge Senators to give fair hearing to Obama’s Supreme Court nominee

Daysha Eaton, KBBI – Homer

Alaska Native leaders held a press call Thursday urging Alaska’s senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, to give a fair hearing and a timely vote to President Barack Obama’s forthcoming Supreme Court nomination. The seat was left vacant when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.

Walker requires state agencies to improve efficiency

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

Governor Bill Walker is seeking to streamline state agencies responsible for financing economic development, housing, and renewable energy. He signed an administrative order Thursday requiring the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Energy Authority, and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to find opportunities to become more efficient or consolidate.

PFD voter initiative gets on ballot

Brielle Schaeffer, KCAW – Sitka

A proposal to streamline voter registration with permanent fund dividend applications has secured a spot on Alaska’s ballot this summer.

Protection of bodies of water to be delegated by legislature

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

The state legislature may soon take a clear line of authority over designating Tier 3 or Outstanding Natural Resources Waters in Alaska, which is the highest level of protection for bodies of waters in the US. [Both the Koktuli and the Bristol Bay Watershed as a whole have been nominated in the past.] Governor Bill Walker says the consequences Tier 3 status are too far-reaching for a state agency to have control over.

Aging Southeast: Older residents impact region’s economy

Emily Files, KHNS – Haines

As senior populations grow throughout Southeast Alaska, what kind of impact do they have on the economy? According to experts, it’s a good one. A state report on Alaska’s aging population said seniors contributed an estimated $2.4 billion to the economy in 2014. That comes mostly from retirement income, health-care spending and wages. As part of CoastAlaska’s Aging Southeast series, KHNS’s Emily Files takes a look at the senior economy from Haines.

AK: Transitioning from addictions of youth to sober adulthood

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

A year ago, we first heard from a young couple who were trying to overcome their addictions to methamphetamines. Their strategy was to move away from Anchorage and try to start over in Wasilla because being around friends who were still using made it much too hard. They ended up back in Anchorage when they lost their housing, but despite their challenges, the couple is still sober. And now, they’ve entered a new chapter.

49 Voices: Bulou Croker of Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Buluo Croker in Anchorage. Croker is originally from Fiji and moved up here from American Samoa.