Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, Feb. 10 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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AK court system planning more budget cuts

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO/APRN-Juneau
Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers says the court system has taken steps to cut costs. In the annual State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the legislature on Wednesday, he said the courts plan on more cuts.

Sen. Olson joins majority caucus

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO/APRN-Juneau
The Senate’s already large majority grew even bigger today.Senator Donny Olson joined the majority caucus. The move by the Golovin Democrat means that sixteen of the twenty senators are in the majority.

Presidential races turn to Alaska in March

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO/APRN-Juneau
As presidential primary season plays out across the country, you may be wondering when Alaskans have their say. The answer is next month. But Republicans and Democrats in the state use different procedures for choosing delegates.The Democrats will gather in groups, like in the recent Iowa caucus. For Republicans, it’s a more traditional ballot.

Young: FAA privatization bill harms Alaska air travel

Liz Ruskin, APRN-Washington, DC
A U.S. House committee is considering a bill that would make the nation’s air traffic controllers employees of a non-profit corporation, and shift financial responsibility for safe air travel away from taxpayers. Alaska Congressman Don Young, a Republican, argued against it this morning, but the air traffic controllers’ union supports the bill.

Rep. Nageak’s nephew killed in police shooting

Emily Russell and Laura Kraegel, KNOM-Nome
There was a fatal shooting in Barrow early Wednesday morning. According to the North Slope Borough Mayor’s office, the incident happened at 4:00 a.m. A North Slope Borough Police Officer was responding to a call for assistance when the shooting took place. The Mayor’s office identified the victim as Vincent Nageak III, the nephew of State Representative Ben Nageak (D-Barrow.)

Sitka settles with tasered student

Robert Woolsey, KCAW-Sitka
Sitka has settled out of court with a high school student who was tasered in the city’s jail in 2014. Franklin Hoogendorn will be paid $350,000 by Sitka’s insurance carrier.

Pletnikoff family takes city to court

Jay Barrett, KMXT-Kodiak
It’s been almost five months since three Kodiak police officers pinned an autistic man to the ground and pepper-sprayed him at point-blank range. Nick Pletnikoff was not charged with any crime, after the incident, but the Kodiak Police Department hired a police consultant from Soldotna to investigate the actions of its officers. The report, released last week, found the officers acted appropriately. Others disagree, including the Pletnikoff family, who filed suit in Kodiak Superior Court on Tuesday against the city, the police department and two of the three officers involved.

Former Wrangell doctor sentenced for distributing child porn

Katarina Sostaric, KSTK-Wrangell
Former Wrangell doctor Greg Salard was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for receipt and distribution of child pornography.

Pot groups getting on the same page of rules

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA-Anchorage
If you feel like you’ve been hearing about new marijuana rules a lot lately–you’re right. With the state and local governments fast approaching the start of the application process on February 24th, communities and potential cannabis businesses need to be on the same page about all kinds nitty-gritty rules–everything from how much an application costs to how far a pot shop can be from a school.

Sass first to Dawson City in Yukon Quest

Molly Rettig, KUAC-Fairbanks
Yukon Quest Defending Champion Brent Sass was the first musher to reach the race’s halfway point at Dawson City Yukon today.

Turning ideas about racial equity into art

Anne Hillman, KSKA-Anchorage
Last week the First Alaskans Institute held a summit on racial equity. Speakers focused on topics like internalized oppression, unconscious bias, and finding healthy ways to talk about race. Off to the side of the stage, a man shook cans of spray paint and turned the ideas into art.