Alaska News Nightly: March 12, 2014

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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Without Necessary Votes, Senate Leadership Pulls Controversial Education Amendment

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Over the past two legislative sessions, conservative lawmakers have prioritized an amendment that would allow public money to be spent at private schools. Wednesday was supposed to be the grand showdown, where the State Senate would take a vote on it. The measure did not even make it to the floor. The bill was pulled because it did not have enough support to pass.

Arctic is Top Priority for Homeland Security – But One of Many

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Senator Lisa Murkowski today pressed the Secretary of Homeland Security to make the Arctic a priority for the Administration, particularly for the Coast Guard.

Program Helping Medical Professionals In Under-Served Communities Pay Back Student Loans Comes Under Fire

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

A State House committee has eliminated funding for a state program that helps medical professionals repay their student loans if they serve poor or rural patients.  It’s called the SHARP-II program and clinics say it’s an essential tool to convince physicians and other medical professionals to care for patients in under-served communities.

Low Income Sitkans Fall Through Medicaid ‘Donut Hole’

Rachel Waldholz, KCAW – Sitka

The Affordable Care Act is a big law with plenty of ripple effects, but at its heart is a pretty simple premise: Americans who lack health insurance should be able to go online and pick a plan, and if their income falls beneath a certain threshold, then the federal government will cover part of the cost.

That is, unless you live in Alaska, or one of the other states that has opted out of the federal Medicaid expansion. Then, you can actually make too little money to qualify for help.

This is what some are calling the “Medicaid donut hole.” And falling into the donut hole can be a frustrating experience.

Fairbanks Resolution Endorses Fukushima Radiation Monitoring

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Fairbanks city council passed a resolution Monday in support of state, federal and international monitoring for radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

Reactors at the facility were damaged during the major earthquake in Japan three years ago this week, and there’s concern about continued long range radiation.  Fairbanks borough assembly member John Davies testified in support of the resolution.

He said he has no evidence that there’s currently a problem with radiation impacts in Alaska, but that monitoring is warranted.

YK Delta Halibut Quotas Halved

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

The statewide halibut and black cod season opened last Saturday. When YK Delta fishermen participate in the Community Development Quota allocations this summer, they will see their halibut quota cut nearly in half.

Alaska Senate Committee Supports Native American Veterans Memorial

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

The Alaska Legislature could join the chorus of voices calling for an American Indian Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. An Alaska Senate committee on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting the project.

Shakespeare Is Alive In The Capitol City, 24 Hours A Day

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

If he were alive today, William Shakespeare would be 450 years old in April. In honor of the event, the capitol city is celebrating with its first Bard-A-Thon, 24 hours of Shakespeare readings for eight consecutive days. The non-stop Shakespeare kicked off on Saturday.

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