Alaska News Nightly: December 5, 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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Robin Gattis Sentenced To 16 Years For Drug Conspiracy

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Molly, bath salts – the names refer to the designer drug, methylone. Thursday, methylone dealer Robin Gattis was handed down a 16 year sentence in federal court in Anchorage in what is apparently the first case in the country involving a death from the drug.

Cuts, Savings Withdrawals To Cover Alaska’s Budget Shortfall

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The state was already looking at deficit spending even before Wednesday’s revenue forecast came out, but now Alaska is facing a $2 billion budget shortfall. Lawmakers plan to cover that gap with a mix of cuts and savings withdrawals.

Arctic Fibre Reveals Alaska Broadband Plans

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

In another sign of how climate change is transforming the Arctic, a Toronto-based company is planning to lay a fiber-optic cable through Canada’s Northwest Passage.  The aim is to build a better broadband link between London and Tokyo, but the company says it will also deliver high-speed internet to the Arctic Slope and Western Alaska.

BOEM Reviews Lease Sale Comments

Anne Hillman, APRN – Anchorage

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management received comments this week on the proposed 2016 lease sale for the Chukchi Sea. Unlike lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, new Arctic lease sales are targeted – certain areas may not be up for auction. This new approach, which was laid out in 2012, got mixed reactions from both industry and conservation groups.

Court Backs Park Service In Water Rights Case

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A court decision has re-affirmed National Park Service authority to regulate state owned rivers flowing through federal lands. The ruling is in a case that spurred public outcry about park service law enforcement.

Indian Law and Order Commission Report Criticizes Alaska

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Wednesday, three members of the Indian Law and Order Commission spoke at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Providers’ Conference to describe the findings of their report to Congress and the President, a report that singles out Alaska for criticism.

Savoonga Lands 55-Foot Bowhead Whale

Anna Rose MacArthur, KNOM – Nome

Half the community of Savoonga flocked to the beach Tuesday to help haul a 55-foot bowhead whale ashore. The meat is especially welcome in the village because of an economic crisis after a record low walrus harvest this fall.

Former Legislator, Teacher, Homesteader Niilo Koponen Dies

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Fairbanks educator and former state legislator Niilo Koponen passed away Tuesday of natural causes, according to the family’s website.