Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019

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After a month of deadlock, Bryce Edgmon selected as state House speaker

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

The Alaska House has a new speaker and can officially begin its work.

Among Dunleavy’s proposed DOC cuts, sending 500 prisoners out of state

Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget for the Department of Corrections cuts $19 million from this year’s budget. About $12.8 million of the estimated savings will come from a plan to send 500 inmates to private prisons outside of Alaska.

Dunleavy floats deep cuts, privatization of ferry system

Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget director Donna Arduin says the administration is looking at privatization options for the state-run ferry system. That’s on top of a proposed budget that would cut 75 percent of the struggling ferry system’s budget.

Findings released regarding governor’s bid to fire state oil and gas watchdog chair

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

Today, the state released a report on whether Governor Dunleavy has grounds to remove the head of a state oil and gas watchdog agency.

Rep. Young sponsors bill to bring back deported vets

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

The “Repatriate Our Patriots” bill would allow honorably discharged veterans to return to the U.S. as permanent residents and apply for citizenship.

Marijuana Control Board nominee draws fire from industry

Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Alaskans working in the state’s marijuana industry flooded a Senate hearing with criticism of a nominee who has a history of taking anti-cannabis positions.

Storms erode Bering Sea ice pack; caution is urged

Davis Hovey, KNOM – Nome

Winter storms currently buffeting the Bering Sea have caused sea ice coverage to be reduced by almost 25% since late January. Ice cover is variable throughout the region, and extra caution and vigilance are urged for residents considering going out on the sea ice.

Calista shareholders voice dissent over Donlin Mine in letter to board

Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Bethel

More than 130 female Calista shareholders signed a letter sent to the Calista Native Corporation protesting the proposed Donlin gold mine.

U.S. Air Force ‘barren lands’ survival course teaches how to stay alive in Arctic wilderness

Ravenna Koenig, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Fairbanks

Survival course trainees are exposed to subzero temperatures and winds that gust up to 30-plus miles an hour. “They don’t go back inside after they come out here and begin the training,” said instructor Sgt. Garrett Wright.

2019 World Ice Art Championships kick off in Fairbanks

Robyne, KUAC – Fairbanks

The World Ice Art Championships open today in Fairbanks at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds. It’s a new venue for the long running ice sculpture event, which took last year off to reorganize and raise money.