Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, May 23, 2019

Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @AKPublicNews

More than a week into special session, lawmakers still divided on budget

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

The Legislature is more than a week into a special session to resolve differences over the budget and other issues. The House agreed to changes to a major crime bill, and the Senate is set to consider these changes next week. But progress has been slow on permanent fund dividends. That leaves the budget unsettled. And it raises the possibility of a state government shutdown on July 1st.

If you’ve reported a sexual assault to Alaska State Troopers, a UAA researcher wants to hear from you

Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – Bethel

Alaska has one of the nation’s highest rates of sexual assault, and the state wants to improve how it responds to people who report these crimes to state troopers. A researcher leading a study on the topic is asking for help.

Major planned North Slope oil project gets key federal permit

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

Papua New Guinea-based Oil Search today announced it received a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for its Pikka development, planned west of Prudhoe Bay.

Warm weather causes flooding in village of Allakaket

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Koyokuk River village of Allakaket is dealing with high water. A flood warning is in effect for the village, as warm weather rapidly melts heavy snow from surrounding mountains.

More Russian bombers and fighter jets intercepted near Alaska

Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM – Nome

On Tuesday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or “NORAD,” intercepted – for the second day this week – Russian fighter jets and bombers entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.

As gray whales die along the West Coast, Alaska scientists look for answers beneath blubber

Nathaniel Herz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

As gray whales make their annual migration to their Arctic feeding grounds, they’re starting to wash up dead on Alaska’s shores. This comes after dozens of gray whales showed up dead earlier this year in Mexico and California.

Under a new pilot program, several Anchorage elementary schools will have longer lunch and recess next fall

Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

This fall, several Anchorage elementary schools will have longer lunches and recesses. It’s part of a pilot program that the school district is rolling out in an effort to better meet students’ needs for good nutrition and exercise.

Fukushima radiation is present in Bering Sea, researchers say — but no cause for concern

Davis Hovey, KNOM – Nome

Very small amounts of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant incident eight years ago in Japan have arrived in the Bering Sea. State epidemiologists say the levels are extremely low and do not present a health concern.