Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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Senate passes bill drawing from Permanent Fund

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would draw money from the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for the state government’s budget. The bill also would limit Permanent Fund dividends, as well as overall amount the state can spend.

State hopes environmental monitoring will clear up unknowns about Cook Inlet gas leak

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

State regulators have given preliminary approval to Hilcorp’s plan to monitor the environmental impacts of the gas leak in Cook Inlet.

Soldier charged in fatal shooting at Fairbanks bar

Associated Press

Two people have been arrested on charges stemming from a Fairbanks bar shooting that left one man dead and another seriously injured.

Prosecutors: death decision months away in airport shooting

Associated Press

Federal prosecutors say a decision is months away on seeking the death penalty for the suspect in a Florida airport shooting rampage.

Warm air, sea-surface temperatures in February limited Arctic sea-ice growth

Tim Ellis, KAUC – Fairbanks

It’s been a relatively cool and snowy winter here in the Interior, compared with the past couple of winters. But climate experts say the Arctic has been warmer than average. They say that’s why it appears this year’s maximum Arctic sea-ice cover, measured near the end of winter, is likely to set another record for the smallest maximum on record.

Assembly member challenges borough’s invocation policy

Associated Press

A Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member is challenging a clause in a legal nonprofit’s contract in order to defend the borough in an ongoing lawsuit over the assembly’s invocation policy.

Ask a Climatologist: The sun is back and so is winter melt

Annie Feidt, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

March has brought sun to much of the state. But not a lot of warm temperatures. That weather combination prompted a listener to email to ask why some ice and snow is disappearing, even though it’s well below freezing outside.

Steller Watch lets anyone with internet access play wildlife biologist

Zoe Sobel, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Unalaska

In an effort to figure out what’s behind the mysterious decline of Steller sea lions, scientists are trying out crowdsourcing for the first time. The project is called Steller Watch. The idea is to convince the public to comb through pictures looking for sea lions.

ADF&G warns long winter is making moose irritable

Avery Lill, KDLG – Dillingham

As moose cope with the rigors of winter, Alaska Department of Fish and Game warns that the animals are more likely to be aggressive.

Sled dogs help pull tourists’ car from snow in Fairbanks

Associated Press

A group of tourists got an extra Alaska experience when a dogsled team helped pull their car out of snow in Fairbanks.

Top ten mushers finish in Nome

Zachariah Hughes and Ben Matheson, Alaska Public Media and KNOM

The top ten teams have arrived in Nome, filling out the upper ranks of the 2017 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

Mitch Seavey leads Iditarod to Nome – and says he’s not done yet

Ben Matheson, KNOM – Nome

Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey won the 2017 race in record time Tuesday afternoon. The Seward musher’s team ran a blistering pace from Fairbanks along winding rivers, tundra and sea ice to Nome. But the veteran musher is looking forward to achieving new levels of dog team performance in the peak of his career.