Alaska News Nightly: June 15, 2015

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Sockeye Fire Closes Parks Highway Again
APRN Staff

Fire officials are keeping an eye on the north end of the fire as the wind shifts, but don’t have confirmation it’s growing on that side yet. The Parks Highway has been closed for two hours between miles 66 and 80 due to fire activity.

Sockeye Fire Continues To Burn; Walker Declares Disaster
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Sockeye Fire near Willow is now the state’s number one fire-fighting priority. Governor Bill Walker personally viewed the burned area by air Monday, while forestry officials are bringing in help from the Lower 48 and British Columbia. Meanwhile, about 50 people in a Houston shelter are waiting to find out if they can go home again.

Card Street Fire Doubles In Size On Kenai Peninsula
Shaylon Cochran, KDLL – Kenai

State fire managers are calling the Card Street Fire in Sterling on the Kenai Peninsula “very concerning.” It is now 150 acres and has consumed at least six structures. It has doubled in size in just a few hours. The evacuation area has been expanded North and South of the Kenai river to include 200 homes.

Special Report Into National Guard Calls For More Accountability
Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

A new inquiry into the Alaska National Guard reaches many of the same conclusions as last year’s federal investigation into the force. It finds that sexual assault and harassment claims were mishandled, and calls for increased accountability and transparency to prevent future abuses.

Crowd-Sourcing Alaska’s Fiscal Future
Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Most models show all of the state’s reserves will be used up by 2021, if not sooner. The solution? You decide. The governor is crowd-sourcing possible answers through an interactive budget model that turns the problem into a game.

Legislature’s Per Diem Expenses Approach $200k
Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Some rank-and-file members collected per diem while the Legislature was meeting in near their districts. Sen. Lesil McGuire collected more than $7,300, and Sen. Cathy Giessel received $5,000.

Miners Bid Farewell To West Beach
Francesca Fenzi, KNOM – Nome

Today marks the final deadline to vacate one of Nome’s more infamous housing projects.

Tradition, Fellowship and Season’s First Fish
Hannah Colton, KDLG – Dillingham

Celebrating the first salmon of the season is a long and important tradition in Bristol Bay. Last Thursday, we turned Hannah Colton around on her way to work because we heard some boys had caught theirs on the beach and were going to take one to an elder. She followed along, and brought this report.