Alaska News Nightly: April 14, 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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Inmate Found Dead At Eagle River Women’s Jail

The Associated Press

A 24-year-old inmate at a women’s prison has been found dead in her cell.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigations Major Crimes Unit announced today that the inmate was found dead last Thursday in her cell at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River.

Correctional officers found Amanda Kernak unresponsive during a routine security check at 1:35 a.m.

Authorities say no foul play is suspected, and the State Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says Alaska State Troopers are investigating Kernak’s death.

Legislature Passes Bill Limiting Medicaid Payments For Abortion

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The Legislature has narrowly passed a bill putting limits on state Medicaid payments for abortion.

House Passes Minimum Wage Bill, As Initiative Sponsors Cry Foul

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

As initiative sponsors cried dirty tricks, the House narrowly passed a minimum wage bill that has the potential to knock their proposition off the ballot. The night only got more tense when the Speaker of the House fired back on the floor.

NTSB Advances Investigation Into Fatal Training Flight Crash

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

The National Transportation Safety Board has finished its on-scene investigation into the crash that killed two Hageland Aviation pilots last week.

John Luther Adams Wins Pulitzer For ‘Become Ocean’

The Associated PRess

Former Fairbanks resident John Luther Adams has won a Pulitzer Prize for his composition “Become Ocean”

Adams’ work has long been inspired by the natural world he’s experienced, and the Pulitzer committee was attracted to the real-world feel of “Become Ocean,” which was informed by the waters off the coast of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

The committee said the composition is a “haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.” The piece was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, which debuted the work in June.

How Many People Have Signed Up Insurance Under Obamacare?

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the law itself, the answer is exceedingly complicated. The administration is tracking the number of plans purchased on and on the state exchanges. But the federal government isn’t counting the number of people buying plans directly from insurance carriers.

Museum Experts Sift Through The Arctic’s Largest Butterfly Collection

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

It will be a few months before butterflies flit through the air in Interior Alaska, but the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks was recently filled with them. The museum is working to catalogue the second-largest collection of Arctic butterflies and moths in the world. It’s the largest private collection of its kind.  Eventually most of the specimens will be passed on to the Smithsonian.

HB23 Would Allow Public Financing Of KABATA

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

With a 16-4 vote on Saturday, the state Senate approved House Bill 23, allowing public financing of the Knik Arm Crossing. The approval moves the $892 million project forward by updating the project’s financial model. The bill allows funding for the bridge to come from three public entities:  one third from bonds, one third from National Highway System funds, and the final third from federal loans.

YK Delta Residents Speak On Possible King Salmon Fishery Closure

Charles Enoch, KYUK – Bethel

Facing the possibility of a total closure of the King salmon fishery this summer and new dip-net openings, people from the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta are speaking up on all sides of the issue.

Jeff King Wins Kobuk 440

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Jeff King is the winner in this year’s Kobuk 440.  King crossed the finish line at 12:12 am Sunday morning, followed by Tony Browning and Hugh Neff.