Alaska News Nightly: February 28, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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Parnell Says No To Federal Money For Medicaid Expansion For Now

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Eight Republican governors to date, have decided to split with their party and accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion in their state. Thursday, Governor Sean Parnell announced that he won’t be joining them – at least for now.

King Cove Residents Push Salazar On Izembek Road

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Residents from King Cove met with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar this morning in Washington D.C. They say they’re cautiously optimistic the outgoing secretary will allow a land transfer to permit a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

Governor’s Oil Tax Proposal Progressing Through Senate

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Gov. Sean Parnell’s oil tax proposal is steadily making its way through the Senate.

His bill advanced out of the Senate resources committee on Wednesday, with a few changes. Instead of setting the base tax rate at 25 percent, it bumps it to 35. It offset that by increasing a tax break for oil produced from new areas, and gives oil companies a $5 per barrel credit. It gets rid of a mechanism that would raise taxes on oil companies when profits are high. Parnell described the changes as a positive step forward.

The new version of the oil tax bill impact on the state’s revenue is similar to Parnell’s original version. According to the bill’s fiscal note, it would cut taxes on oil companies by up to $900 million over the next year. Parnell’s would cut taxes by roughly the same amount.

Union Workers Testify Against Ordinance

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Hundreds of union workers turned out to testify before the Anchorage Assembly on Wednesday night, against an ordinance that would limit unions.

Officials Discuss Lack Of Affordable Senior Housing

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Alaska has one of the fastest growing senior citizen populations in the country, yet affordable housing for seniors is at a minimum.  In December, a group of state and community leaders got together in Anchorage to discuss options for providing senior housing to meet growing demand. The Alaska Senior Housing Summit has outlined the challenges ahead and the strategies needed to overcome them.

Huslia Program Gets Kids Mushing

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Junior North American sled dog championships are underway in North Pole.  Among young mushers competing is a group of middle and high school students who flew in with their dogs from an interior village to race.

Fundraiser Puts Juneau’s Empty Chair Project Near Goal

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

A proposed monument in Juneau to Japanese Americans interned during World War II got a big boost last weekend. The Gastineau Channel Historical Society donated $5,000 to the Empty Chair Project, and a fundraising concert raised nearly $2,000.

Organizers have been collecting funds for about a year and need about $6,000 more to meet their $40,000 goal.