Alaska News Nightly: July 18, 2012

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS.

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Gov. Parnell Letting Federal Government Run Health Insurance Exchange

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Governor Sean Parnell has decided to let the Federal government run Alaska’s Health Insurance Exchange. The exchange is required under the Affordable Care Act. It’s an online marketplace that will give consumers an easy way to buy pre-approved insurance plans. Parnell says setting up a state- run exchange would be too costly.

Native Leaders Seek Federal Help In Dealing With Climate Change

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Alaska Native leaders are in Washington, D.C. They’re advocating for federal help to deal with the effects of climate change.

Blessing Ceremony Held For Gastineau Remains

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

The Douglas Indian Association Tuesday held a blessing ceremony at Gastineau Community School for human remains found during a renovation project.

Search For Tsunami Debris Moves North

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

NOAA scientists are combing Alaska beaches again in their search for marine debris from the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan.

Anchorage Shootings Topic of Town Hall Meeting

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

A town hall meeting to discuss recent police shootings in Anchorage is set for Thursday. Officials, including the Police Chief and the Mayor, plan to attend. Community organizers say it is step in the right direction.

Organizers say the town hall meeting is meant to promote communication between the Anchorage Police Department and the communities impacted by the recent shootings. The meeting is being coordinated by the Anchorage Community Police Relations Task Force. Reverend Dr. William Greene is the chair of that group.

“We got five people that will speak from the Polynesian community. Then we’ll have a word of prayer. Then I’ll introduce the Mayor and the Police Chief for his remarks. Then we’ll get into the discussion,” Greene said.

June 9, an Anchorage Police Officer shot and killed Shane Tasi, a Samoan man who was brandishing a stick in the Mountain View Neighborhood, saying the stick was a deadly weapon. An investigation by a branch of the Attorney General’s office cleared the officer involved of any criminal charges. A toxicology report released Tuesday by the Anchorage Police shows the presence of alcohol, marijuana and synthetic cannibinoids, such as K2 or Spice. In addition, Police say Tasi’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. The shooting sent shock waves through the community. Miriama Aumavae is with the newly formed Polynesian Community Center. She will speak at the meeting.

“What I hope you know to come out of this meeting is answers from the Anchorage Police Department and government officials on protocols and policies. You know we want it to pretty much have concerned citizens and you know the community to come and you know have a voice and really seek answers for themselves from government officials. And  you know the other goal was to start the healing process, you know like a starting point,” Aumavae said.

Aumavae says the toxicology report released Tuesday just reaffirms her belief that Anchorage Police Department protocols need to be reviewed, especially for dealing with people under the under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Anchorage Police spokesman Lieutenant David Parker says the synthetic drugs Tasi was using may explain why he was acting out of character. The town hall meeting on the shootings is set for Thursday at  the Loussac Library Assembly Chambers conference room from 5:30 to 7:30.

Famous Carver Amos Wallace’s Documents Headed For Public Archive

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

A Juneau photographer has donated a large collection of his father’s work to a Southeast Alaska cultural group. The archive documents the career of Amos Wallace, a nationally known Tlingit carver.

It will be used to teach a new generation of artists about traditional – and more recent – techniques.

ASPCA Looking For New Location

Wendi Jonassen, APRN – Anchorage

The Alaska Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is looking for a new building. The only no-kill shelter in Anchorage closed its adoption center six weeks ago following a gas leak. The leak was one of many problems that ultimately convinced the SPCA board of directors to abandon the rickety old building.

Sitka Camp Delivers Science To Young Learners

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

A series of camps are taking place this summer at the Sitka Sound Science Center. They cover water, marine life, the forest and even flight – all parts of daily life in Southeast Alaska.

The idea is to reinforce what the students have already learned in school and maybe even prepare them for the upcoming year. And to have fun, too.

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