Alaska New Nightly: June 11, 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.

Download Audio

Former Haines Police Officer Hired As Security Officer For The Alaska Marine Highway

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

A former Haines Police officer with a questionable work history was recently hired by the state for a high level security position. But the state is not releasing much information about the hiring process or what it knew about his past.

Missile Defense Budget Shows Continued Alaska Role

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

The ground-based missile defense system, which includes interceptors at Fort Greeley, failed at target practice over the Pacific last year. Now the Pentagon is asking Congress for money to overhaul the system. The budget request shows Alaska is likely to remain central to missile defense as the system matures.

Air Force Confirms Delay In HAARP Demolition

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The U.S. Air Force is expected to slow down the demolition slated for Gakona’s HAARP facility.  Wednesday, Air Force Research Lab public affairs representative Charles Gulick, emailed APRN saying, “Air Force Leadership is currently considering the option of deferring the dismantling for up to 10 months to allow time for a potential transfer to another entity.”

UAF has conducted research programs at the HAARP for years.

State Defends Decision To Certify Citizens Initiative Slowing Pebble Mine

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The health of the Bristol Bay watershed and its salmon fishery is an issue of statewide importance: That’s the position the State of Alaska took Wednesday when defending its decision to certify a citizen’s initiative that would add another obstacle to the development of Pebble Mine.

Alaska Judicial Council Recommends All But 1 Judge For Retention

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Alaska Judicial Council has released its recommendations for retention of state District and Superior court judges. The judges will come up for vote on the November ballot. Suzanne DiPietro, executive director of the Council, says 13 of 14 state judges have been given the thumbs up. But one judge, William Estelle, who sits on the bench in Palmer, has not gained Judicial Council approval.

Report Says 12,000 Alaskans Without Reliable Access To Health Care

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

When Governor Sean Parnell decided to reject federal Medicaid expansion last fall, he asked for a study detailing the safety net services available to low income Alaskans. That report is out this week and it shows 12,000 Alaskans have no reliable access to health care, particularly specialty care.

Source of Shishmaref Sheen Remains Unknown, Locals Work to Absorb Substance

Anna Rose MacArthur, KNOM – Nome

Despite precarious ice conditions, local responders in Shishmaref are working to absorb the oily sheen discovered off the island’s north coast last week. The source of the substance remains unknown.

Before The Pipeline: John Davies

Molly Rettig, APRN Contributor

John Davies came to Alaska in 1967 to study geophysics and climb mountains. Twenty-five years later he was making laws in the Legislature. Along the way he’s faced floods, volcanic eruptions, and a battle over state income taxes, learning a lot about the tectonic plates and the people who have shaped Alaska. Molly Rettig talked to John Davies for this series about life in Fairbanks before the pipeline boom.

All Nations Children’s Dance Group Fosters Cultural Identity

Scott Burton, KTOO – Juneau

Celebration begins Wednesday evening with the Grand Entrance procession to Centennial Hall in Juneau. The four-day cultural event of Southeast Alaska Natives includes 50 dance groups. Among them is All Nations Children’s Dance Group of Juneau. The group formed in 1995 and has about 80 members.