Alaska News Nightly: May 20, 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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Wildfire Continues To Burn On Central Kenai Peninsula

Shaylon Cochran, KDLL – Kenai

A 7,000 acre wildfire continues to burn on the central Kenai Peninsula. So far, no evacuations have been ordered, and no property damage has been reported.

Tyonek Fire Draws Response From State Firefighters

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Another fire near the Alaska Native village of Tyonek is drawing a full response from state firefighters. The blaze erupted late Monday afternoon at the village airport, which is across the Chuitna River from Tyonek. But heavy winds in the area pushed the fire across the river in several spots by evening, forcing an evacuation of the village.

USFW Wants to Regulate Oil & Gas on Refuges; Young

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

About 200 national wildlife refuges have oil and gas development. Among them: the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the only refuge in Alaska with active petroleum extraction. The agency that manages refuges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wants rules to regulate that activity. Alaska Congressman Don Young doesn’t like the idea and he wasn’t quiet about it at a Congressional hearing today.

Fired Oil Tax Assessor To Run For State House

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

In January, Governor Sean Parnell removed Marty McGee from a board that deals with the oil producers’ tax bill. Now, McGee wants to take on oil tax policy again – but as a state legislator.

Seismologist Delivers Cautionary Notes

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

If you have lived in Southcentral Alaska for a year or more, you are almost certain to have felt an earthquake. But a damaging quake is something else again. Experts tell us a quake as powerful as the Great Alaska Earthquake of fifty years ago isn’t likely any time soon, but it doesn’t take a Magnitude Nine to do big damage.

Ammo Shortages Still Hampering Rural Subsistence Hunters

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

With the return of marine mammals and migratory birds to the Bering Straits region, subsistence hunters are still struggling to find certain kinds of ammunition.

New Equipment Means New Opportunities For Polar Bear Treatment

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

As companies look to expand oil and gas exploration in Alaska, many worry about the possibility of a spill and how wildlife – including polar bears – would be cared for. New equipment has given the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the capability to treat polar bears on the scene, which, until now, hasn’t been a possibility.

Former Sitka Principal Found Not Guilty On All Counts

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

Joe Robidou has been found not guilty on all counts. A Sitka jury of seven women and five men delivered its verdict in favor of the former school administrator accused of sexual assault Monday evening.

ASD Passes Amended Budget, Adds Back In Teacher Positions

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

The Anchorage School Board voted to increase the 2014-2015 school budget by $26.5 million on Monday night. With the additional money the district will be able to hire back 86 of the teachers they thought they would lose, but not all of them. And there are more cuts to come in the next few years.

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