Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Feb. 8, 2019

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State privatizes API management with no-bid contract

Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The State of Alaska is privatizing the management of Alaska’s only psychiatric hospital via a no-bid contract with Wellpath Recovery Solutions, an international corporation that manages state mental facilities and prison health care programs.

Hearing concludes regarding French’s fate at head of state oil and gas commission

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

Governor Dunleavy is seeking to oust a former Democratic state senator from his job leading a state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry.

Don’t count on oil to bail out Alaska’s budget soon, says unpublished state tax memo

Nathaniel Herz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska is a hot area for oil development right now. But don’t count on new production there to bail out the state budget any time soon. That’s the takeaway from a previously unpublished, two-month-old analysis drafted by former independent Gov. Bill Walker’s administration.

Y-K Delta tribes appeal Donlin state permits

Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Bethel

Thirteen tribes are appealing two key state permits for the proposed Donlin gold mine. Environmental group Earthjustice filed the appeal on their behalf.

Alaska’s latest climate policy is still offline. So these students made a delivery to the governor.

Elizabeth Jenkins, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau

Shortly after Gov. Michael Dunleavy was sworn into office, the website with the state’s latest plan to address climate change went down. It was created with months of planning by a team appointed by former Gov. Bill Walker.

Quest frontrunners approach Circle

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A pack of four dog teams are running out in front in the Yukon Quest. Defending and 3-time Yukon Quest champion Allen Moore led 2015 champ Brent Sass, 4-time Quest winner Hans Gatt and veteran Michelle Phillips – in that order at last check. The teams are heading toward Circle, 350 miles from the finish in Fairbanks.

With spring whaling around the corner, sinew thread makers are hard at work

Ravenna Koenig, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Fairbanks

“Everything just falls into place,” says Nancy Leavitt of the hard work involved in sinew thread making. “The problems, the stress, the thoughts you have. Most of them just disappear.”

AK: New housing for Skagway tourist season employees may be taking lodging from tourists

Claire Stremple, KHNS – Haines

Skagway’s tourist economy is growing through the state economic downturn. But housing its employees is a decades-long struggle. This year a local businessman is converting hotel rooms to employee housing. But his solution creates another problem—a lodging shortage for tourists.

AK: Bruce Schindler of Skagway

Abbey Collins, KHNS – Haines

In May 2018, we spoke with Bruce Schindler. Schindler moved to Alaska in the 90s and is a mammoth ivory carver.