Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Feb. 19, 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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Critics say Murkowski waffles on nomination

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington D.C.
Critics of Sen. Lisa Murkowski are seizing on what they see as a flip-flop in her position on whether Barack Obama should be the president who chooses the next justice of the Supreme Court.

House Speaker questions administration’s analysis of oil and gas tax changes

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau
As Alaska’s Legislature digs through Governor Bill Walker’s budget proposal, a prime focus is the overhaul Walker put forward for oil and gas taxes. By reducing tax credits and increasing minimum production taxes, Walker aims to shave 500 million dollars off the state’s budget shortfall.

Anchorage School Board passes preliminary $768M budget

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage
The Anchorage School Board passed a $768 million budget that cuts more than 50 positions, but it could still change depending on funding from the Legislature.

Alaska House renames committee room after late Gruenberg

Associated Press
With his family watching from the gallery, the Alaska House of Representatives approved naming the Capitol’s House Judiciary Committee room after the late state Rep. Max Gruenberg. The Anchorage Democrat died Sunday at age 72. He served on the committee throughout his longtime tenure.

How to salvage a huge tugboat without spilling 9,500 gallons of fuel and oil

Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
Imagine a small, but very busy high school science fair, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it was like at the Coast Guard’s open house on Tuesday to explain the imminent salvage of the wrecked tug Challenger. The neglected 96-foot World War II era vessel sank last September in Gastineau Channel just across from the Juneau Yacht Club.

Elder rescues two young lost relatives on snowmachine

Hannah Colton, KDLG – Dillingham
After two young men went off-course on a snowmachine trip from Chevak to Scammon Bay this week, it was an unlikely responder who came to their rescue.

Anchorage to tie record winter with 36 straight days of no snow

Wesley Early, APRN – Anchorage
Anchorage is on its way to tying an almost 50-year-old weather record. Since January 15th , there has been no measurable snowfall in the city.

AK: High levels of mercury spell hazards for subsistence in Southeast village

Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO – Juneau
Earlier this month, Angoon’s mayor asked for help after discovering high levels of mercury in subsistence seal. With only one grocery store in town, the small Southeast village is dependent on what’s in the water. And according to a tissue sample test, that might include contaminants from a nearby mine.

49 Voices: Ryan Kennedy of Anchorage

Wesley Early, APRN – Anchorage
This week, we’re hearing from Ryan Kennedy, an unemployed carpenter who lives in Anchorage.