Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016

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Local corporation sues City of Utqiagvik to halt name-change

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Just one day ahead of the official name change, a local corporation filed a temporary restraining order to halt the measure’s implementation, alleging a flawed process and fiscal risk.

Alaska leaders seek to avoid fight over oil taxes

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

Alaska’s leaders are getting ready for tough negotiations over how the state will deal with its multi-billion dollar budget hole. How much the oil and gas industry should help fill that hole will be an especially controversial question for the legislature this session.

State helps ease multi-million dollar Bluecrest loan 

Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau

A state corporation has agreed to change the terms of a multi million dollar loan to a Cook Inlet oil company because of those vetoed oil tax credits from last year. Texas-based BlueCrest asked for the loan modification to help the company deal with construction delays and the loss of millions in delayed payments from the state.

Anchorage Police Department adds officers

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The Anchorage Police Department is moving closer to a years-long goal of boosting the size of its force. On Dec. 1, 26 new officers will graduate from the department’s second police academy of the year. And in a few weeks, 31 additional officers will enter a third academy

Police investigate gun threat at Chugiak High School

Ellen Lockyer, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Anchorage school district officials say they have investigated a threat of gun violence at Chugiak High School, although they do not think the threat is credible. ASD spokesperson Heidi Embley said a graffiti message scrawled on a school wall made the threat that there would be a shooting at the school on Friday.

Obama administration announces BLM overhaul

Associated Press

The Obama administration announced Thursday an overhaul to an often-cumbersome process that dictates oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities on lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

State picks Data Recognition Corporation for new student assessments

Josh Edge, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development on Thursday announced the new vendor for statewide student assessments, to replace the problem-plagued Alaska Measures of Progress test.

Alaska prepares public housing smoking ban

Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – Bethel

A new federal rule will ban smoking in public housing nationwide. The notice was released Wednesday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and will take effect in 18 months. But Alaska is looking to do that a lot sooner.

Moose Creek residents advised on ground water contaminants

Robert Hannon, KUAC – Fairbanks

Eielson Airforce Base is updating residents around Moose Creek about perfluorinated compounds or PFCs in ground water. In 2015 testing revealed contamination from firefighting foam and it is still wrestling with solutions.

Alaska officials look to increase recognition of hate crimes

Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

FBI statistics show the number of hate crimes is on the rise nationally, but only 8 were reported in Alaska last year. Local officials say that’s not necessarily because they aren’t happening — they just don’t know about them. A recent class taught community members how to remedy that — by recognizing and reporting hate crimes.

Author discusses book on World War II importance of Kuril Islands

Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Positioned South of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, and North of Japan, the little known Kuril Islands played a pivotal role in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  Alaska Public Media’s Lori Townsend  spoke with historian  John H. Cloe about his book “Mission to the Kurils” detailing the Islands’ significance to American airmen during that war, and about their continued role in global politics.