Alaska News Nightly: November 25, 2014

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Anti-Begich Ad in Voter Guide Prompts Bill to Ban Parties From Booklet

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

The state Division of Elections took some heat this year for publishing an attack ad against Sen. Mark Begich within the pages of the official voter guide. Now, Rep. Les Gara, an Anchorage Democrat, wants to ban partisan ads in the guide, a booklet that’s mailed to every voting household.

Lobbyist: State budget shortfall will affect Juneau

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

The City and Borough of Juneau’s lobbyist for state issues says Alaska’s budget woes may lead to conversations during the upcoming legislative session about tapping the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Kevin Jardell also says it’s likely to mean fewer state-funded capital projects for communities, though he thinks Gov.-elect Bill Walker will be favorable to local governments.

Ketchikan Assembly Responds to Education Lawsuit Ruling

Leila Khiery, KRBD – Ketchikan

A Superior Court Judge has ruled in favor of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough in its lawsuit against the State of Alaska over the state’s education funding mandate. The Borough Assembly talked about Friday’s ruling during this week’s regular meeting, and Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst calls it a “big win” for Ketchikan.

NMFS Expands Fishing Near Steller Sea Lion Habitat

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

The National Marine Fisheries Service will re-open fishing grounds in the Western Aleutian Islands that have been closed for years to protect a population of Steller sea lions.

Sitka herring forecast lowest in a decade

Rachel Waldholz, KCAW – Sitka

Sitka’s commercial herring fleet should expect to catch significantly fewer fish this spring.

Calista Shareholders Reconsider Enrolling Descendants

Charles Enoch, KYUK – Bethel

Representatives from Calista Corporation met at the Cultural Center in Bethel earlier this month with shareholders and descendants, to discuss the details of an upcoming vote on whether to issue shares to “afterborns,” those born after December 1971 when newly formed Alaska Native Corporations enrolled their shareholders.

ANSEP tripling enrollment in middle school program

Sarah Yu, KTOO – Juneau

The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program is tripling enrollment in its Middle School Academies, after receiving a $6 million state grant.

The program hopes to get middle school students—especially Alaska Natives—interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Nome Churches, Nonprofits Keep Sales Tax Exemption

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

Nome’s nonprofits and churches will continue to be spared from paying local sales tax after last night’s City Council meeting saw proposals to strip the exemptions die without a vote.

Orphaned Bear Cub Finds Temporary Home At Alaska Zoo

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

An orphaned bear cub from the Eagle area is at the Alaska Zoo. The young black bear will be kept at the facility in Anchorage, while a search is conducted for a permanent home.

When missing person isn’t found, Juneau SEADOGS search for happy ending

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

At least once a week, 10 handlers and their dogs muck through the mountains, muskegs and forests on and off the beaten paths of Juneau in search of volunteer hiders. It’s practice for the SEADOGS, or Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search. Local authorities call on the volunteer group several times a year to help out when people go missing.