Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016

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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New earthquake warning system unveiled

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today announced the start of an Earthquake Early Warning system called Shake Alert. It’s in beta testing now, but Jewell says soon West Coast residents will be able to participate in a prototype that will send alerts to their cell phones a few seconds to a few minutes before a big quake strikes. The warnings won’t cover Alaska.

Marijuana laws missing key language

Emily Kwong, KCAW-Sitka
Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott signed the state marijuana regulations into law last month and the state will begin accepting license applications on February 24th. But there’s a wrench in the works: the original bill fails to properly authorize background checks.

BP announces another round of layoffs, but not in Alaska

Rachel Waldholz, APRN-Anchorage
BP announced another round of layoffs Tuesday [Feb. 2], as plunging oil prices take a toll on the major producers. But a spokesperson says this round of cuts will not affect Alaska.

45 days later, a proposal with few details on LIO building

Zach Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage
Tuesday was the deadline set by the Legislative Council for figuring out what to do with the controversial lease of the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.

Insurer proposes fix to Alaska’s troubled health insurance market

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Premera Alaska is the only individual health insurer left in the state.  Moda Health withdrew from the market last week.

Walker names Kenai’s Ruffner to fish board

Molly Dischner, KDLG – Dillingham
Governor Bill Walker announced five nominations to the state board of Fish and Game on Tuesday. On the list again this year for a Fish Board seat is Robert Ruffner of Kenai, who would replace Fritz Johnson, a commercial fisherman from Dillingham. If confirmed, it will be the first time the Fish Board would not have a member from Bristol Bay.

Officials investigating Wasilla shooting deaths

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Law enforcement officials are investigating two shooting deaths near Wasilla.  The victims are identified as Renee Millard, age 40, and 10-year old Dean Millard. Alaska State Troopers were alerted to the sound of gunfire at a rural residence in the Meadow Lakes area sometime after 8 Monday morning.

Record low snow totals for Fairbanks recorded in December, January

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks has been exceptionally dry over the last two months. A total of just 1.9 inches of snow fell at the airport in December and January, besting Fairbanks previous low mark for the two months set in the winter of 1952-53. National Weather Service lead meteorologist Christopher Cox attributed the snow drought to El Nino driven high pressure.

Yukon Quest begins Saturday with new start location

Molly Rettig, KUAC – Fairbanks
The 2016 Yukon Quest gets underway in Fairbanks this Saturday, with 23 teams running a thousand miles to Whitehorse. Dog teams will be traversing a trail rooted in history.