Alaska News Nightly: August 21, 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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Anchorage Faces $30 Million Budget Gap

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage & The Associated Press

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan says the city is facing a $30 million budget gap.

Speaking to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Monday Sullivan says that is the amount needed if the city expects to have the same size of government next year.

The mayor says more than half of the $30 million is due to increased labor costs. The mayor says the city also expects to pay $4.5 million more this year into the police and fire pension fund.

Sullivan says there will be major expense cuts. He says it is hard to say at this point what could occur as far as city layoffs.

The administration is expected to present its 2013 financial plan to city assembly members by Oct. 1. The city operating budget for 2012 is $454.6 million.

Congress Considering Reversing Earmark Ban

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

There is political chatter in Washington, D.C. that Congress may alter its self-imposed ban on earmarks in January. Earmarks are the local pet projects of lawmakers that the federal government pays for. It’s unlikely that lawmakers will revert back to the large allocations seen in the earlier part of this century.

More Rain In Forecast For Northwest Alaska

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

National weather service forecasters say more rain is on the way to Northwest Alaska.  Downpours there over the past week have led to flooding in Kivalina, Ambler and other communities, despite a short break in the weather on Monday.

State Challenges Federal Voting Rights Act

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

State attorneys filed a challenge to the federal Voting Rights Act in district court in Washington, DC on Tuesday, according to Gail Fenumiai, the state division of elections director.

The suit stems from legal action in June, when some Alaska Native groups sued the division of elections for going forward with election plans before the federal government had given the go-ahead to Alaska's 2012 redistricting plan.

Senator Davis Campaigns To Keep Her Seat

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

In next Tuesday's primary, Senator Bettye Davis faces a challenger. Davis is best known for her support of the Denali Kidcare Program, a state program that provides health insurance for children. She has served East Anchorage for more than a decade. Now she's being challenged in senate district M by fellow democrat and former state representative Harry Crawford, who is campaigning hard. But Davis says she won't give up her seat without a fight.

Air Force Receives Directives To Remove Cold War-Era Towers

Laureli Kinneen, KNOM – Nome

Thirty one White Alice stations were developed in Alaska during the Cold War. The Anvil Mountain Towers north of Nome are the only White Alice towers still standing in the State of Alaska. And just last week – the Air Force received directives from the native corporation that will take ownership of the land to remove the towers. Those towers – to some – represent a portion of not just Nome’s history – but the world’s.

Jack Shay Sentenced To 35 Years, 17 Served

Leila Kheiry, KRBD – Ketchikan

Longtime Ketchikan resident and former public official Jack Shay was sentenced Monday for multiple counts of possessing child pornography.

Fairbanks Entrepreneur Continues With Wind Farm Plans

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

A year and a half after Golden Valley Electric Association turned down his proposal to sell GVEA up to 24 megawatts of power, Fairbanks entrepreneur Mike Craft is pushing ahead on construction of a second big wind generator at his wind farm near Delta Junction. Craft says he intends to continue selling the utility 1 megawatt and use the rest of the electricity for a big greenhouse he plans to build next summer.