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Liz Ruskin, APRN

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

Begich Bill Would Shush Political Calls

After losing an election that was the most expensive — and some say annoying — in state history, outgoing Sen. Mark Begich has proposed a bill that would curtail political calls to voters’ homes.

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November 20, 2014

Senate Committee Holds Hearing On High Violence Levels In American Indian, Alaska Native Communities

The trauma American Indian and Alaska Native children experience due to the high levels of violence in their communities was the subject of a hearing today in the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Both Alaska senators pressed for solutions, in law and federal dollars.

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November 19, 2014

What’s Next For Sen. Mark Begich?

Sen. Mark Begich finally conceded that he lost the election this week, but for now, until Jan. 3, he’s still a U.S. senator, and he’s back in Washington.

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November 19, 2014

American Indian, Alaska Native Children Suffering High Rates Of PTSD

American Indian and Alaska Native children see so much violence in their homes and communities that they suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at triple the rate of the general population, akin to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s one of the starting points of a new federal task force report on indigenous children and their exposure to violence.

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November 18, 2014
Marijuana Entrepreneurs Face Special Business Burdens

Marijuana Entrepreneurs Face Special Business Burdens

Alaskans who hope to operate marijuana businesses will have to defy U.S. drug law, of course. But they’ll also face other federal rules they’re likely to find severely inconvenient and perhaps crippling to their enterprise.

November 17, 2014

Murkowski Questions Differing National Guard Investigation Results

Two different Pentagon agencies investigated the Alaska National Guard for allegedly mishandling sexual assault complaints. They came to opposite conclusions, and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wants to know why.

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November 14, 2014

Where Did That $57 Million Go?

More than $57 million was spent on Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, which comes to about $230 per vote cast, and the campaigns aren’t done reporting their spending totals. If you’re looking for where it went, start with where a lot of it came from: Out of state. Then look at your TV.

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November 13, 2014

With Persistent Lead, Sullivan Heads to Washington

With more votes counted in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, Republican Dan Sullivan still leads Democrat Mark Begich by about 8,000 votes. While Begich hasn’t conceded, the former attorney general seem to be claiming his victory. A spokesman says he’s flying to Washington today.

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November 12, 2014

Lawsuit Claims Chukchi Rules Fail to Protect Walrus

A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit today against the Fish and Wildlife Service, saying its rule allowing the oil industry to disturb or harm Pacific walrus in the Chukchi Sea violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

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November 10, 2014
Sullivan Leads Begich by 8,000 votes

Sullivan Leads Begich by 8,000 votes

Alaska appears to have followed the national trend and elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate. But Democratic Sen. Mark Begich isn’t conceding just yet.

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November 5, 2014
Knowns and Unknowns Among Uncounted Ballots

Knowns and Unknowns Among Uncounted Ballots

With a few candidates up and down the ballot unsure whether they won or lost, a lot of Alaskans are looking to the thousands of ballots that remain uncounted. Division of Elections chief Gail Fenumiai says it’s unclear exactly how many ballots are outstanding.

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November 5, 2014
Begich, Sullivan Rally Voters, Each His Own Way

Begich, Sullivan Rally Voters, Each His Own Way

In the final days before the U.S. Senate election, candidates Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan are making their final pitches, aiming to rally their supporters to the polls. Sullivan got help from two national figures representing polar opposites of the GOP: Mitt Romney, an establishment Republican, and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party hero.

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November 3, 2014

Letter Shaming Alaska Voters Cribbed From Study Proving Its Value

Letters from an unknown group calling itself the Alaska State Voter Project are appearing in Alaska mailboxes. They list the voting history of the addressee – along with that of other community members. Many recipients are outraged, saying the letters are an attempt to shame them into voting. A political scientist says the letters are nearly identical to ones he used in a 2006 experiment.

October 28, 2014

Massive Ground Game Underway in Senate Race

Between the candidate campaigns and Outside groups, nearly $52 million has been spent to try to influence your vote in the U.S. Senate race. Much of that is spent on advertising, for Sen. Mark Begich or Republican challenger Dan Sullivan. But in the end, every race is decided by who actually turns out to vote, so there’s a ground game underway.

October 27, 2014

Young Apologizes for Suicide Remarks; Is Warmly Received at AFN

Alaska Congressman Don Young angered many of his constituents this week with remarks about suicide at Wasilla High that he later acknowledged were insensitive. Today, he used his annual speech at the Alaska Federation of Natives to apologize.

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October 24, 2014

U.S. Senate Candidates Spar Over Resource Development

U.S. Senate candidates Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan sparred Thursday over who can better move Washington to bring more resource development to Alaska. The Anchorage debate was sponsored by the Resource Development Council and associations representing the state’s oil and gas, mining and logging industries.

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October 23, 2014

Alaska Public Media, ADN Reach Agreement With State Over Public Records Request

Alaska Public Media and the Alaska Dispatch News have reached an agreement with the state of Alaska in their lawsuit to obtain records related to the Alaska National Guard scandal.

October 23, 2014

Congressman Young Doubles Down On Remarks About Suicide

On Monday, Congressman Don Young offended teens at Wasilla High with statements some took to be blaming family and friends for a student’s recent suicide. In a written statement, a spokesman said Young should have been more sensitive. But Tuesday, Young doubled down on his remarks about suicide.

October 23, 2014

Wasilla Principal Says Congressman Young Offended Grieving School

The principal of Wasilla High School says Congressman Don Young offended her students at a school assembly yesterday. Young, known for brash talk throughout his four decades in office, spoke to students about suicide and gay marriage in a manner Principal Amy Spargo describes as hurtful.

October 22, 2014
With Millions Pumped into U.S. Senate Race, Voters Near Their Limit

With Millions Pumped into U.S. Senate Race, Voters Near Their Limit

About $46 million has been spent so far to convince Alaskans to either vote for Sen. Mark Begich or challenger Dan Sullivan. One clear effect: Voter annoyance is rampant.

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October 20, 2014