Alaska News Nightly: September 9, 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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Schools Struggle With Heating Bills, But No Takers For Loan Program

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Every year, the state spends $100 million on school districts’ utility bills. Back in 2010, the legislature established a loan program to help bring those costs down. The loans were supposed to cover energy upgrades to public buildings, and they would be paid back with the money saved on heating fuel. But even though rising energy costs continue to be a problem for districts, APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports that schools haven’t used the funds as a fix.

Ongoing Fixes Delay Arrival Of UAF’s New Arctic Research Ship

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Next month marks a year since the launch of the National Science Foundation’s new Arctic research vessel Sikuliaq. The 261-foot ice class ship, to be operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, remains at dock at a shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.

Extent Of Tribal Court Authority Questioned In Minto Trial

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

The state has intervened in a case on the side of a man convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault of the mother of his children. At issue is the authority of a tribal court over a non-tribal member and tribal court procedures.

Interior Tourism Officials Expect Average Summer Numbers

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The interior is coming off what’s likely to be a flat tourism season. Official numbers are not in yet, but Fairbanks Convention and visitors Bureau president and CEO Deb Hickock doesn’t expect anything surprising.

Holland America Halts Dawson City Bus Tours

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

As the summer tourism season wraps up, Interior operators are already looking to next year – and worrying how they’ll deal with a move by a major industry player.

Plan To Merge Mat-Su Emergency Call Centers Draws Criticism From Law Enforcement

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Two emergency dispatch centers in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are one too many, according to findings of a study released to the Borough Assembly at its last meeting. A plan to consolidate Palmer’s and Wasilla’s  911 emergency call centers is gaining favor in the Borough, although critics say the merger will only hamper state law enforcement capabilities.

Low Enrollment Pushes Juneau, North Pole Football Teams To Southeast Conference

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears and North Pole Patriots football teams are playing in the medium schools football division this year. The two used to compete against Alaska’s largest high schools. Now they’re part of the small Southeast Conference.

Alaska Tribes Celebrate Heritage On Homer Beach

Peter Sheppard, KBBI – Homer

Every two years, a special ceremony is held on the beach in Homer to celebrate the heritage of Alaska tribes living in the region. KBBI’s Peter Sheppard attended this year, as the final installment of our series looking at culture in Alaska.