Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015

Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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BLM approves drilling permit in Alaska petroleum reserve

Associated Press

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved a drilling permit that it says will open the way for the first oil and gas production from federal land in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

A quick and handy guide to the enigmatic Alaska LNG project

Rachel Waldholz, APRN – Anchorage

As we speak, state lawmakers are packing their bags and preparing to head to Juneau for their third special session of the year. This session is focused on one thing: the Alaska LNG project.

Spice-related hospitalizations spike, but not enough to deter use

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Hospitalizations from Spice usage are spiking again. The Anchorage Fire Department has transported about 20 people per day for the past week.  Most calls come from the area between 3rd and Karluk and Town Square Park. People say they know the drug is dangerous, but some of them choose to keep using it anyway.

Ex-FBI agent faults Fairbanks police interrogation tactics

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A former FBI agent says Fairbanks police violated fundamental investigative protocol following the 1997 murder of John Hartman.

Drones vie for role in wildfire fight

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, D.C.

This year was a near-record fire season for Alaska and the entire Western U.S. In the Lower 48, aircraft fighting fires were repeatedly grounded when gawkers flying their own drones were spotted in the skies. They’re a danger when they intrude on the airspace, but unmanned aircraft can also be an asset in firefighting.

The weatherman at the end of the western world

John Ryan, KUCB – Unalaska

Twice a day, like clockwork, balloons are released from hundreds of locations around the world at the same time. Before they burst in the upper atmosphere, they help weather forecasters pinpoint what’s going on overhead. A forecaster on St. Paul Island sometimes has to fight windstorms to launch his balloons into the sky.

Sitka rolls out welcome wagon for Russian diplomat

Emily Kwong, KCAW – Sitka

A band of Russian performers, with their sights set on Sitka, are reportedly still in Moscow awaiting visas. As the mystery of their travel plans deepens, one Russian did make it to the Alaska Day festivities this past weekend.