Alaska News Nightly: October 1, 2013

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Federal Government Shuts Down

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Much of the federal government is now shutdown because of Congress’s failure to pass a funding bill.

Huge sections of the government – the costliest ones, like Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits and war-fighting efforts – remain open.

But the shutdown could have big impacts in Alaska, the state with the third highest percentage of federal employees.

As APRN’s Peter Granitz reports, it’s unclear how long it will last.

Alaska’s Federal Workers Speak Out On Shutdown

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

This morning, hundreds of workers trickled out of Juneau’s federal office carrying boxes of personal items, plants, and even pet fish – basically, any personal items they might want during their furlough. They won’t be allowed back to their desk until Congress agrees to fund the federal government. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez caught up with some of these workers today and brings us their voices on dealing with the shutdown.

Health Insurance Marketplace Launches In Alaska

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Alaska’s federally run health insurance marketplace officially launched on Oct. 1 as a part of the Affordable Care Act. Starting Jan. 1, most people in the country will be required to have insurance and the Marketplace will allow them to shop for insurance and qualify for subsidies to help pay for it. Large amounts of website traffic and other glitches have made it impossible to sign up for insurance on the site so far today. But community advocates for the law are urging patience.

Why Are Old Apartment Complexes Burning Down In Anchorage?

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

A 38-unit apartment complex burned down in the Anchorage neighborhood of Mountain View last month, leaving dozens of people homeless. So far this year, there have been 20 fire calls to multi-family dwellings where the fire spread beyond the room where it started and at least five of them did major damage. All the fires burned older buildings that don’t have to meet modern fire code standards.

Marine Weather Forecasts Remain Available

Shady Grove Oliver, KSTK – Wrangell

Many Alaskans live their lives by the weather. But how will the government shutdown affect the organizations that provide weather information to the state?

Can A College Freshman Force State Action On Climate Change?

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau

In Barrow at the top of the world, receding sea ice is reshaping life. University of Alaska Fairbanks freshman Nelson Kanuk thinks the state is obligated to combat atmospheric climate change. He argues the atmosphere is a public trust to be preserved for future generations, like clean water or navigable waterways.

Kanuk sued the state last year when he was a senior at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. The lower court dismissed the case, but on Thursday the Alaska Supreme Court is taking it up on appeal. The court will hear oral arguments in Kanuk v. the Alaska Department of Natural Resources at Barrow High School.

Cruise Season Short Of Million-Passenger Mark

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

This year’s Alaska cruise-ship season has ended. Close to a million passengers sailed through Southeast this summer, with many traveling on to points north and west.