Alaska News Nightly: December 10, 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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Preliminary Report Reveals Few Details In St. Mary’s Crash

The Associated Press

An Alaska commuter plane in which four people died last month had changed course from one small Alaska village to another because of deteriorating weather.

Juneau Highway Gunfight Followed Friday’s Drug-Related Shooting

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau

Officials and court records have revealed new arrests and information in Friday’s shooting and bogus kidnapping in Juneau, now tying it to drugs and an early morning highway gunfight that no one had reported to police. The case involves heroin, which has become extremely profitable in the capitol city in the last few years.

Funerary Polar Bear Skulls May Be Returned To St. Lawrence Island

Anna Rose MacArthur, KNOM – Nome

For more than 80 years, hundreds of polar bear skulls from St. Lawrence Island have been sitting in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Now, under NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the artifacts may be returning to the tribe that buried them.

Savoonga Harvests Second Whale

Anna MacArthur, KNOM – Nome

Amid an economic disaster and food shortage, Savoonga, a community on Saint Lawrence Island, harvested a 57-foot bowhead whale on Friday, the second whale for the community last week.

State Weighs Options For Highway To Bypass Wasilla

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The state Department of Transportation is considering  a highway project that would route the Parks Highway around Wasilla, instead of through it.  The small Matanuska – Susitna Borough community has long been at the center of Parks Highway congestion, since vehicles have to pass through traffic signals at local intersections while traveling through the city.

Hovercraft To Be Replaced With Helicopter At Akutan Airport

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

For more than a year, getting in and out of Akutan has meant taking a hovercraft. The vessel ferries passengers to and from the island’s airport. But high costs and inconsistent service have sent the Aleutians East Borough looking for a better solution. Now, they think they’ve found one.

Putting The ‘State’ In Alaska State Museum

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

The Alaska State Museum in Juneau is getting a lot of help from other Alaska museums ahead of its move to a new facility in 2016. As the staff works to pack up the more than 32,000 artifacts in its collection, museum professionals from around the state are lending a hand, and learning what it takes to safely store and transport priceless historical objects.

Fairbanks Green Energy Advocate Pushes For Alternative Funding Model

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A Fairbanks green technology advocate is trying to muster interest in an alternative model for financing energy and other projects. Fairbanks resident Robert Shields runs the local non-profit Alliance for Reason and Knowledge.

Crews Testing New Road Ice Breaker

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Alaska Department of Transportation has a new tool in the war on icy roads.

XtraTuf Says Its Boots Are Better

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

Popular footwear brand XtraTuf is on a mission to prove to their disappointed loyal customers that the iconic boots are not just “Sort-of-Tough.”

Two years ago, parent-company Honeywell transferred production of XtraTuf from Illinois, to a factory in China, and the product that rolled off the line was nowhere near what Alaskans had come to expect. XtraTuf says the quality is back and they want to replace any pairs purchased that didn’t hold up, no questions asked.