Alaska News Nightly: May 22, 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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Shifting Power In Alaska’s Legislature

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

When the Bipartisan Coalition lost control of the State Senate in 2012, it was a given that its Democratic members would see a big drop in the number of bills they got through. But that loss of clout also affected Democrats in the House. With the Legislature adjourned and a pile of bills awaiting the governor’s signature, APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez looks at how power shifted in this Legislature.

Senate Panel Approves Labeling for GM Salmon

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

A U.S. Senate panel today moved to require labeling for genetically modified salmon, if it’s approved for sale in this country. The labeling mandate is now part of an Agriculture appropriations bill pending in the Senate.

Funny River Fire Consumes Nearly 50k Acres

Shaylon Cochran, KDLL – Kenai

The Funny River fire that has been burning on the Kenai Peninsula since Monday has grown to nearly 50,000 acres.

Tyonek Fire Grows To 1,800 Acres

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

On the western side of Cook Inlet, the Tyonek Fire has grown to more than 1,800 acres.

Wildfire Smoke Cloaks Anchorage

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A thick haze of smoke covered Anchorage and much of the Matanuska Susitna Borough Thursday morning.

Rep. Young Pushing Land Bill for Port Clarence Site

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

Representative Don Young has introduced a bill that would help clear the way for a deepwater port outside of Nome.

Congress Passes Water Bill with Alaska Amendments

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Congress has passed a $12 billion water resources bill that may help Alaska gain a deepwater Arctic port, although it doesn’t actually fund one.

Money, Drugs Missing From Barrow Police Station Evidence Locker

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

Money and drugs went missing from the evidence room at the police station in Barrow last year—and now the North Slope Borough is launching an investigation into what happened.

UAF Expecting Over $12 Million Budget Deficit

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A University of Alaska Fairbanks committee is recommending cuts to close an expected 12 to 14 million dollar FY 15 budget deficit. The Planning and Budget Committee was charged with developing options to address rising costs and decreased state funding.

New President At Premera Alaska Will Be Based In Seattle

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska has a new president. Jim Grazko is replacing Jeff Davis, who held the job for 17 years and is retiring at the end of June. Premera Alaska is the largest health insurer in the state, serving more than 100,000 customers.

Bethel Elders Home Certified

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

The Y-K Delta’s first skilled nursing facility is open and just received the federal certification necessary for payment from for Medicare and Medicaid. The certification comes just as the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, which runs the Elders Home, faces an 11.7-million-dollar budget shortfall.