Alaska News Nightly: Friday Jan. 6, 2017

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Anchorage man in custody for Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting

Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The FBI said an Anchorage man opened fire at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida airport this morning. The Broward County Sheriff’s office said 26-year-old Esteban Santiago killed five people and wounded eight others.

Anchorage weighs sales tax option

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Officials in Anchorage are weighing a potential sales tax to deal with state’s on-going fiscal challenges. The two percent tax is forecast to bring $90-$150 million in new revenues to the city and is intended to, in part, offset property taxes

Mental Health Trust investments in legal “ambiguity”

Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board met on Thursday to discuss the legality of its investment policy. The board’s decisions to independently invest $39 million of the Trust’s principal funds in real estate have recently been called into question, and the Trust will undergo a special legislative audit.

Newtok asks: Can the U.S. deal with slow-motion climate disasters?

Rachel Waldholz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

The village of Newtok has requested a federal disaster declaration from President Barack Obama to address ongoing erosion and thawing permafrost. It’s one of the first tests of whether the nation’s disaster relief laws can be used to deal with the slow-moving impacts of climate change.

Miners dislike BLM’s ‘balanced’ plan for Eastern Interior

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington D.C.

You could consider it a zoning decision of landscape proportions: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management completed a planning document for Alaska’s Eastern Interior. The plan governs land use on 6.7 million acres managed by the BLM. They are spread across 30 million acres, from the Canadian border to Livengood, and just skirts the city of Fairbanks. The most contentious part of the plan is the Fortymile Mining District, which includes the towns of Eagle and Chicken.

Study documents tree species’ decline due to climate warming

Associated Press

A study documenting mortality of yellow cedar trees in Alaska and British Columbia concludes the future is gloomy for the species valued for its commercial and cultural uses.

Wind gusts forecast up to 80 mph into the Juneau weekend

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau

The National Weather Service has Juneau under a high wind warning, with gusts expected up to 80 mph through Sunday afternoon.

Orthodox Christmas in Sitka

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

January 6, 2017 is Christmas Eve in Orthodox Christian parishes across Alaska. Orthodox faithful will go from house to house on foot, in cars or on snow machines, singing carols and sharing food behind a shiny, spinning pinwheel which represents the Star of Bethlehem.

AK: Garrison Keillor’s Sitka pen pal

Emily Kwong, KCAW – Sitka

With a new year often comes the resolution to be well. Do good work. Keep in touch. Sound familiar? That’s the famous outro to the daily “Writer’s Almanac,” hosted by legendary writer and radio host Garrison Keillor. He visited Alaska last year on a cruise and made a pit stop in Sitka to visit a pen pal. Because it turns out, when it comes to resolutions, Keillor is good on his word.

49 Voices: Jack Bennett of Homer

Shahla Farzan, KBBI – Homer

This week we’re hearing from Jack Bennett from Homer. Bennett is an industrial hemp advocate looking to establish more hemp homes throughout rural Alaska.