Alaska News Nightly: April 18, 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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Vaccinations To Stifle Rise In Whooping Cough

Annie Brice, KCAW – Sitka

An infant in Western Alaska died of whooping cough last month. It’s the first recorded death from the disease in the state since 2002. The infant was younger than two months, the age when whooping cough vaccinations start. The bacterial infection, which is also known as pertussis is extremely contagious and the number of cases in Alaska started increasing dramatically late last year.

Bethel Court Hears Closing Arguments Of Subsistence Fishermen

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Closing arguments were heard today in a Bethel courtroom in the trial of 22 subsistence fishermen accused of fishing for king salmon during closures. The trial began on Monday and included testimony from expert witnesses on both sides.

Not All Legislators Agree On Session Length

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Ever since voters decided to shorten the legislative session to 90 days, there’s been an expectation that lawmakers will call special sessions to add more time to the clock. This year, they didn’t. It was only the second time that’s happened since the initiative passed. But even though legislators met the deadline this year, not all of them are convinced it’s a good system.

Researcher Looks At Climate Change Effects On Alaska’s Snow Regime

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Climate change could significantly change the amount of snow that hits the ground and sticks throughout the state.

Sitka Man Gives Medal To Fellow Boston Marathoner

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

An impulse of sympathy by a Sitka couple in Boston has gone viral on the Internet as a symbol of people pulling together in the face of violent tragedy.  Monday after the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, police stopped the race. Those who could not finish didn’t know if their families waiting at the finish were okay.

Laura Wellington was one such runner.  She was sitting in tears when a woman put a space blanket around her and a man who had finished the race gave her his medal.  Later she reached out through Facebook, and was soon in touch with Brent Cunningham of Sitka, who had finished the race, and his wife Karin.

‘Beyond the Bear’ Recounts Horrific Mauling

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A new book out this month tells the incredible story of bear attack survivor Dan Bigley. In “Beyond the Bear” Bigley and co-author Debra McKinney recount the horrific mauling 10 years ago near the Russian River, which blinded Dan and changed his life forever.

Dan and a friend were fishing on the Russian River. Returning to their car at the parking lot, they encountered an angry brown bear, who huffed at them, hair raised on end. Dan says they slowly backed away and decided to take a longer way back to their car.