Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016

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Missing Fairbanks octogenarian found dead

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A missing Fairbanks man has been found dead. Alaska State Troopers say the body of 89 year old Robert “Andy” O’Grady was discovered in his truck off the Elliot Highway north of Fairbanks, on Monday night.

Eric Jewkes to become new Fairbanks police chief

Robert Hannon, KUAC – Fairbanks

Fairbanks will get a new police chief next week. Last night the Fairbanks City Council unanimously endorsed Mayor Jim Matherly’s recommendation for Deputy Chief Eric Jewkes to become the city’s top cop. But, the council also vote down any immediate resolution to an ongoing police contract dispute.

Trump transition team adds Alaskan as tribal liaison

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington

An Alaskan has officially joined President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. The Trump team has selected former state senator Jerry Ward as its liaison to the 500-plus federally recognized tribes. D.C.

Alaska Airlines gets US approval to buy Virgin America

Associated Press

Alaska Airlines has won government approval to buy rival Virgin America after agreeing to reduce its flight-selling partnership with American Airlines.

3 people injured in west midtown Anchorage shooting

Associated Press

A man was rushed to an Anchorage hospital last night in critical condition after a shooting.

Department of Environmental Conservation to update oil spill rules

Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau

Alaska’s petroleum-based economy means there are many opportunities for toxic petroleum-based spills. At least 80 percent of the contaminated sites that the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation deals with, have petroleum products in them. Now, the Department is making moves to update the decades-old protocols it uses when petrochemicals leak into the soil and water.

Alaska Mental Heath Trust looks to Icy Cape sands for resources

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is advancing plans to mine Gulf of Alaska beach sands about 75 miles northwest of Yakutat.

Mysterious sea lion decline persists in western Alaska

Zoe Sobel, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau

The farther west you go, the worse it looks for Alaska’s Steller sea lions. At the end of the Aleutian chain, the population is dropping about 7 percent a year.

Juneau under winter storm warning

Quinton Chandler, KTOO – Juneau

Juneau is under a winter storm warning and forecasters are expecting one of the city’s heaviest snowfalls in years.

Sitka bears still awake looking for trash

Emily Russell, KCAW – Sitka

Bears continue to wander through neighborhoods and knock over trash cans near downtown Sitka. That’s despite fresh snow, temperatures dropping below freezing, and now the use of rubber bullets. Multiple calls to the police came in Sunday evening reporting a bear in the Indian River neighborhood.

Mysterious beak deformities may be caused by virus

Shahla Farzan, KBBI – Homer

It’s been almost 20 years since large numbers of birds with unusually long beaks first appeared in Alaska. The birds, whose beaks grow at twice the normal rate, often die from starvation because they can’t feed themselves. Researchers now believe a virus may be causing the beak deformities.

Plugging in could be cheaper for Juneau’s electric vehicle owners in 2017

Elizabeth Jenkins, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau

The city’s privately-owned electric utility is trying to expand a program, aimed at shifting when those drivers juice their cars.

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