Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, July 5, 2018

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With Permanent Fund draw, higher oil prices bring Alaska closer to balanced budget

Higher oil prices coupled with the legislature’s decision to tap into the Permanent Fund’s earnings to pay the bills mean the state is suddenly a lot closer to a balanced budget.

Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau

Three dead gray whales wash up in Kodiak

Three whales washing up in such a short span of time in the same area is concerning, said Mandy Migura, Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding coordinator with NOAA.

Daysha Eaton, KMXT – Kodiak

Chignik fishermen stuck ashore as sockeye run fails

There is really only one thing to talk about in Chignik Bay these days: Where are the sockeye?

Mitch Borden, KMXT – Chignik Bay

Review shows dramatic shift in Army Corps of Engineers permitting

The analysis by E&E News, a Washington D.C.-based news organization that covers energy and environment issues, showed that the corps allowed the destruction of thousands of acres of wetlands without requiring offsets for that development as it had in the past.

Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Alaska cannabis taxes reach new high

The state Department of Revenue reported collecting nearly $1.2 million in May. It is the fourth time this year that state tax collections topped $1 million.

The Associated Press

Spruce beetles reach ‘outbreak’ levels

Over the last two years, an outbreak concentrated in southcentral Alaska’s Susitna River drainage and northwest Kenai Peninsula has affected more than 500,000 acres of forest.

Erin McKinstry, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Caught in immigration mess, U.S.-born Tsimshian teacher fights to stay in ancestral territory

When the homelands of indigenous groups straddle the border between the U.S. and Canada, traveling back-and-forth becomes an immigration issue. You would think the countries have similar policies, but it isn’t that easy.

Tripp Crouse, KTOO – Juneau

Anchorage Botanical Garden celebrates 25th anniversary

Alaska isn’t exactly known for tropical orchids. But that hasn’t stopped Anchorage’s Botanical Garden from raising them. It’s one of many unique projects that the non-profit has undertaken since opening its doors a quarter of a century ago.

Erin McKinstry, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage