Alaska News Nightly: May 5, 2014

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Oil Producers Get Break On Alaska Property Taxes

The Associated Press

Public documents show Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration worked out a deal with Alaska’s major oil producers that allows the companies to withhold tens of millions of dollars in property taxes.

Alaska GOP Aims To Block Party Coups

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The Alaska Republican Party has taken measures to prevent a takeover by libertarian and Tea Party activists. The new rules say a person has to be registered as a Republican for at least four years before seeking a top leadership position, and they require all candidates for the party’s statewide offices to be vetted by a special committee before they can run. The rules were adopted on Saturday, at the Alaska Republican Party’s biannual convention.

Alaska Villages Find Success With Wind-Diesel Energy Combination

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

It’s hard to use wind as a main power source because it fluctuates. But four small Alaskan villages have succeeded in creating an innovative wind-diesel system that works even in harsh, variable weather conditions.

‘Second Shake’ Rattles Noatak, Northwest Brooks Range

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

Just two weeks after the strongest earthquake in the region in more than 30 years, residents of Noatak and others near the far western edge of the Brooks Range felt another series of powerful quakes over the weekend.

Warm, Dry Weather Prompts Southeast Alaska Fire Warning

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

A fire warning issued last week for northern Southeast Alaska has been expanded to the whole region.

Breakup Underway Along Yukon River

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Breakup along the Yukon River is underway. Warm temperatures over the weekend and low water levels mean river ice is rotting in place before it has a chance to jam up.

State Hurrying To Update Rural Infrastructure Before Federal Dollars Diminish

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

Federal money for rural infrastructure is drying up, and state agencies are overhauling projects while they still can. With Alaska’s brief construction season about to begin, state officials are hurrying to bring airfields, roads, and other Bush infrastructure up to standard before funds get scarce.

Burst Water Pipe Likely Cause For Skagway Ferry Dock Sinking

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

State transportation officials agree that a burst water pipe likely caused the Skagway ferry dock to sink last month. Repairs continue in hopes of getting the dock operational and returning ferry service to the Southeast community within the next week.

The state is making repairs and some modifications to the dock now that it’s floating again.

Department of Transportation spokesperson Jeremy Woodrow says it’s not yet known how much the salvage and repairs from the sinking will cost the state.

Woodrow says the state is hoping to resume ferry service to Skagway on May 11. A final decision on that timeline will be made later this week, he said.

Alaska Airlines Center Adds New Dining Option

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

With around four months left until it’s slated to open, the University of Alaska Anchorage is tweaking the design of its new sports complex. The university has decided to add a new restaurant in an effort to draw in the surrounding community.

Juneau Considers Solutions To Housing Shortage

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

City officials are hoping to address Juneau’s longstanding housing shortage by opening more public land to development.

The Juneau Planning Commission recently recommended about 150 acres of city-owned land on Pederson Hill be rezoned to allow a residential neighborhood to be built. The idea is to copy the early 20th century-style subdivisions of downtown Juneau and Douglas. But not everybody is happy about the proposal.