Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage
afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8443 | About Annie
The major oil companies in Alaska testified last night to the state House Resources Committee about the latest version of Governor Sean Parnell’s oil tax reform legislation. The bill passed the Senate last week. It represents a major tax break for the oil companies. The state estimates it will cost Alaska $6 billion in tax revenue over the next five years.
A large landslide has transformed a mountainside near the Matanuska Glacier. Locals noticed the landslide in mid-February. It left a black streak of rock and debris on the unnamed mountain at least a mile long. One expert says it’s impossible to pinpoint what caused this particular landslide, but they are becoming more common in northern climates.
The Alaska Railroad is cutting more than 50 jobs in an effort to trim the corporation’s costs as federal grants and revenue decline sharply.
Delegates in Thailand are scheduled to decide Thursday whether to increase protections for polar bears under an international treaty that regulates trade of endangered species. The United States is proposing to upgrade the polar bear listing to the highest level of protections under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Speices, or CITES. If it passes, it will ban international commercial trade of polar bear fur and other parts. Bruce Woods is a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska.
Two speakers at an Anchorage Chamber of Commerce forum on Monday made the case for accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid in the state. They also asked chamber members to speak out on the issue.
Thirteen rookies will hit the trail this weekend for the 1000 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. They are an international bunch, hailing from Norway, Russia and even Brazil. Eight call Alaska home, including musher Christine Roalofs who keeps 22 dogs in a barn in her backyard in east Anchorage. Roalofs is a pediatric dentist who fell in love with the idea of racing the Iditarod when she moved to Alaska more than a decade ago.
This month has been a busy one for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s winter storms reconnaissance project. The agency tracks developing winter storms in the North Pacific with an airplane equipped to eject data gathering instruments into the atmosphere. That data is quickly fed into weather models to help refine the forecasts for potentially damaging storms that will hit Alaska and the Lower 48.
It’s been an incredible 24 hours for nordic skiers Kikkan Randall, from Anchorage and her Minnesota teammate Jessie Diggins. The pair made history in Italy Sunday, Feb. 24, winning the first World Championship gold medal in cross country skiing for the U.S. They dominated the skate sprint event from the beginning, but had to recover from a mishap late in the race.
The State Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of a food borne illness linked to raw milk. Officials have confirmed four cases of Campylobacter infection in people who drank raw milk on the Kenai Peninsula. The illness causes diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
In the latest setback to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans for this summer, the company says it’s sending both of its drilling rigs to Asia for dry dock repairs. The company says the Noble Discoverer needs an engine overhaul and the Kulluk needs major repairs to its internal electrical systems and hull after running aground near Kodiak on New Year’s Eve. Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith says the Kulluk was damaged inside when seawater came through open hatches, and that the hull was “compromised” in some areas.
Lonnie Dupre says cold weather is his forte. And it’s a good thing too. The mountaineer has spent the last three winters trying to become the first person to summit Denali solo in December and January. He’s failed all three times and encountered harsh storms, temperatures well below zero and death defying ice along the way. But the Minnesota explorer – who now spends part of the year in Homer, says he’s still optimistic the climb can be done.
Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood says the tram will be running Saturday afternoon for the first time in six weeks. One of the tram cars was severely damaged New Years Eve, when a wind gust blew it into the tram tower. The tram car was impaled in the incident, and the five people aboard, including the tram operator had to be evacuated on ropes by ski patrol. One guest suffered a minor head injury.
Kikkan Randall won the world cup skate sprint near Sochi, Russia today, on the same course that will serve as the Olympic venue next year. The Alaska Pacific University skier won all three heats.
Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska’s beaches. It’s debris from the devastating Japanese tsunami in the spring of 2011. One of the hardest hit beaches is on Montague Island at the entrance to Prince William Sound. APRN’s Annie Feidt visited the beach with a marine debris expert and has this story.
A new report shows Alaska would see a big economic boost if the state decides to accept federal dollars to expand the Medicaid program. But Governor Parnell has expressed serious reservations about the expansion.
Governor Sean Parnell has appointed Judge Joel Bolger to the Alaska Supreme Court. He currently serves on the Alaska Court of appeals. He will replace Justice Walter “Bud” Carpeneti, who announced his retirement last year.
Tsunami debris from Japan is fouling shorelines all along the west coast of the United States. It’s also providing a unique research opportunity for scientists studying invasive species. At the Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage this week, Oregon State University associate professor Jessica Miller gave an update on her research work on the two massive docks that washed up in Oregon and Washington last year.
A group of health reform advocates went through heroic efforts to meet the deadline for applying for an innovative program under the Affordable Care Act. They were hoping to start what’s called a health cooperative in Alaska- an organization that would offer an alternative to buying insurance from the major carriers. But a day after the application was submitted, the fiscal cliff deal in Washington erased all new funding for the program.
Even though the legislative session doesn’t start until tomorrow, lots of behind the scenes work is underway at the state capitol. APRN’s Annie Feidt wandered the halls today looking for activity and has this story.
The Tram at Alyeska Ski resort won’t be running again for at least another month. One of the tram cars was damaged in an accident on New Year’s Eve when a wind gust blew it into the tram tower. One guest suffered a minor injury in the incident.