Alaska News Nightly: April 16, 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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House Speaker Adds Agrium to Refinery Assistance Bill

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Governor Sean Parnell’s $150 million bill to subsidize Alaska’s oil refineries grew to $200-million today, when House Speaker Mike Chenault expanded it to include the Agrium fertilizer plant in Nikiski.

House Finance Committee Considers UAF Power Plant Project

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

At $245 million, the biggest item in the capital budget before the Legislature is a power plant for the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The project is now before the House Finance Committee for review, and lawmakers are less surprised by the price tag than how the funding package works in the first place.

USDA Files Complaint Against UAF

The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accused the University of Alaska Fairbanks of possible Animal Welfare Act violations in the starvation deaths of 12 musk oxen at its large-animal research station.

USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said today an administrative judge will decide whether the university will face fines an animal rights group hopes total $10,000 for each animal.

University spokeswoman Marmian Grimes says the school is working on a response to the complaint.

The USDA says the university failed to provide adequate veterinary care, identify that the musk oxen were losing weight or enlist veterinary treatment. The animals died or were euthanized in 2010 and 2011.

The complaint filed in late March follows a request by the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now to investigate the school.

Bill Arming VPSOs Goes To Governor’s Desk

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

Village Public Safety Officers will soon be able to carry fire arms if Governor Sean Parnell signs a measure approved this morning in the Senate.

State House Approves Alaska Native Language Bill

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

The Alaska House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would symbolically recognize 20 Alaska Native languages as official state languages. House Bill 216 passed on a 38-0 vote.

With less than a week to go in this year’s legislative session, the Senate State Affairs Committee will hear the bill tomorrow.

Leary Vies For Miss Indian World Crown

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

Bethel resident Megan Leary is heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico later this month to vie for the title of Miss Indian World. The former Miss Cama-I is preparing and raising money for her trip.

Origami Peace Peacock Finds Home In The State Capitol

Lisa Phu,  KTOO – Juneau

Middle East exchange student Haytham Mohanna and Juneau’s Thunder Mountain High School Art Club presented an origami peacock of peace to the Alaska State Legislature on Monday. The peacock is made of more than 2,000 pieces of folded paper.

Wrangell Hospital Renovations Don’t Preclude New Facility

Shady Grove Oliver, KSTK – Wrangell

Like many hospitals in Southeast Alaska, Wrangell Medical Center is starting to look its age. A brand new hospital is still the long-term plan, but for now, the building is getting a much-needed makeover.

Alaska Trails Conference Kicks Off Next Week

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

With all its public lands and scenic values, it’s no surprise that Alaska has an advocacy organization for trails – for walking, skiing, bicycling, off-road vehicle riding and trekking.  Called “Alaska Trails,” the group has statewide conferences every couple of years, and the next one starts April 24th at Alaska Pacific University.

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