Alaska News

Huggins: Late Saturday Target To Finish Work

APRN Alaska News - 4 hours 42 min ago

Senate President Charlie Huggins says lawmakers are aiming to complete their work by Saturday night.

Sunday is the scheduled end of the 90-day session, but that’s Easter. Legislative leaders have said they’d like to complete their work before then, if possible.

There are several major pieces in play, including the budgets and bills dealing with education, the state’s unfunded pension obligation and setting the state’s participation rate in a major liquefied natural gas project.

Also pending is a bill to raise Alaska’s minimum wage. The House narrowly passed such legislation Sunday, amid questions of lawmakers’ motives. Voters are scheduled to vote on a similar measure later this year.

Huggins says the bill would need to have the votes to reach the Senate floor. He said that could be a challenge.

Categories: Alaska News

Saint Marys Man Dead In ATV Accident

APRN Alaska News - 4 hours 49 min ago

A Saint Marys man has died in a one-vehicle crash involving an all-terrain vehicle.

Alaska State Troopers say in a web posting that 27-year-old Joe Bryan Joe died at the scene of the accident, near the confluence of the Andreafsky and Yukon rivers.

Troopers were notified of the death about 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Joe’s next-of-kin have been notified, and the body will be sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.

A passenger on the ATV received minor injuries, and was treated at a local clinic.

Troopers say alcohol and poor weather are believed to have played a role in the accident.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: April 15, 2014

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:55

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

Download Audio

Legislature Passes Bill On AGDC Appointment

The Associated Press

The Alaska Legislature has passed a measure allowing out-of-state residents to serve on the board of a corporation that could play a key role in a major liquefied natural gas pipeline project.

The Senate’s 13-7 vote helps clear the way for Richard Rabinow, a former pipeline company executive from Texas, to serve on the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Governor Sean Parnell appointed Rabinow last September and has defended the appointment as falling within his discretion under the constitution. Rabinow faces confirmation Thursday.

Supporters of the bill, including House Speaker Mike Chenault, have said it was an oversight to not explicitly allow for out-of-state residents to serve on the board. They say they want the best people possible to serve.

Opponents say Alaskans should make policy decisions for Alaskans.

Legislature Considers $150m to Help Refineries

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

The Flint Hills refinery in North Pole plans to cease operation this spring, and the Parnell Administration warns Petro Star’s refinery in North Pole might be next. A bill crafted by the Administration would prop up Alaska’s three remaining oil refineries with $150 million in state funds. But, even some legislators who are helping advance the bill say they’re uncomfortable with the loose terms of the giveaway.

Nikiski LNG Plant May Reopen Soon

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

The ConocoPhillips LNG plant in Nikiski may be re-opening soon, thanks to a boost from the federal government. The Department of Energy announced Monday that it has approved a request from the company to resume LNG exports to Japan.

Yukon Fishermen Prepare For Summer Of Conservation

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

Fishers on the Kuskokwim River are expecting unprecedented restrictions to bring more king salmon to spawning grounds.  On the Yukon River, fisherman can expect a similar set of restrictions.

Some Southeast Chinook Runs Expected To Be Strong

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg

King Salmon are expected to be plentiful in parts of Southeast Alaska this summer.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game this month announced a king salmon harvest quota allowed under the Pacific Salmon Treaty and based on the forecasts of Chinook returning to rivers and streams on the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada.

MEA Official Accuses Anchorage Assembly Of Misusing City Funds

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A Matanuska Electric Association official charges that the Anchorage Municipal Assembly is spending city funds on private interests.  Joe Griffith, MEA’s executive director, has contacted Anchorage officials  with concerns that city money is being spent on one Assemblyman’s legal fight against a power station upgrade.

Haines Residents Pursue Railroad Link

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

Some residents in Haines are pursing the dream of a railroad that may one day link the community to Interior Alaska, Yukon mines and to a future port facility. The state and other stakeholders aren’t dismissing the idea outright.

Group Uses National Water Dance To Raise Compassion

Johanna Eurich, APRN Contributor

A small group of people gathered Saturday in Anchorage to use art to make change. The National Water Dance was an effort to use the art of human movement to generate compassion for the nation’s streams, lakes and oceans.

Categories: Alaska News

With Permitting Bill Dead, Some Provisions May Be Resurrected

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:48

Earlier this month, lawmakers announced they were killing House Bill 77, saying that emotions had become so inflamed over the permitting bill that it was best left alone. But now, some of its less controversial provisions might be coming back in a different form.

Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash does not undersell the heartburn that HB77 caused. He’ll even refer to it as “toxic,” and jokes about it being “tightly bound” in a casket.
So, when asked what parts of the bill he wants to come back this session, he’s very clear.

“We had all kinds things that caught a lot of heat and light from the public: general permits, appeals, water provisions, temporary water uses, reservations. None of that is what we’re talking about.”

The Parnell administration is currently working with Rep. Cathy Muñoz, a Juneau Republican, to revive language provisions dealing with land exchanges and leases. The idea is to attach it to Senate Bill 106, which already deals with the selling of state land.

Balash says he asked the sponsor of that bill, Sen. Kevin Meyer, if that could work without hijacking the legislation. Meyer was friendly to the idea of SB109 being used as a vehicle.

“This is hitchhiking. He pulled over. Said get in,” says Balash. “We’re good.”

The pressing argument for reviving the land exchange language is to allow property swaps in places like Ketchikan, Anchor Point, and Juneau.

Rep. Cathy Muñoz says the Juneau land swap in question has dragged out for more than a decade under existing statute.

“The trail that accesses Point Bridget State Park is on private land. So there’s a great interest on the part of the State and also on the part of Echo Ranch in having an equal value trade so the State can have access to the park, and Echo Ranch will have access to their facility.”

Balash says there was language in HB77 that would have let that deal go through. He says before the administration began real work to bring back those provisions, they went back to see if those sections of the bill had ruffled any feathers.

“We’ve not gotten negative testimony on it. There were never any amendments offered to undo or take out these provisions,” says Balash. “So, no zombies here.”

Because of the sensitive nature of the bill, the administration has been going around to lawmakers’ offices to see if they’re comfortable with the idea.

Sen. Peter Micciche, a Soldotna Republican, was among those who got briefed on the matter. Micciche had a number of reservations with the original bill, and he worked with the administration to try to rewrite it in a way that better balanced the interests of conservation and development.

Micciche says he agrees with Balash that some parts of the bill that should pass, and that he’s open to what the administration’s proposing on land exchanges. But he’s not willing to touch anything that generated negative public testimony.

“If they try to go into some of the other sections, then it’s too late,” says Micciche. “It’s too late to talk about those things this year.”

For his part, Balash says the administration is willing to drop the issue if there’s any push-back.

“If it were to become controversial, it’s not worth taking any heat over,” says Balash.

The exact changes that are being considered have not become public. Balash says they could come in the form of a bill rewrite sometime this week, or as an amendment to the land sale bill.

Categories: Alaska News

Legislature Passes Bill On AGDC Appointment

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:41

The Alaska Legislature has passed a measure allowing out-of-state residents to serve on the board of a corporation that could play a key role in a major liquefied natural gas pipeline project.

Download Audio

The Senate’s 13-7 vote helps clear the way for Richard Rabinow, a former pipeline company executive from Texas, to serve on the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Governor Sean Parnell appointed Rabinow last September and has defended the appointment as falling within his discretion under the constitution. Rabinow faces confirmation Thursday.

Supporters of the bill, including House Speaker Mike Chenault, have said it was an oversight to not explicitly allow for out-of-state residents to serve on the board. They say they want the best people possible to serve.

Opponents say Alaskans should make policy decisions for Alaskans.

Categories: Alaska News

Legislature Considers $150m to Help Refineries

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:40

The Flint Hills refinery in North Pole plans to cease operation this spring, and the Parnell Administration warns Petro Star’s refinery in North Pole might be next. A bill crafted by the Administration would prop up Alaska’s three remaining oil refineries with $150 million in state funds. Even some legislators who are helping advance the bill say they’re uncomfortable with it.

Download Audio

But Fairbanks Republican Representative Steve Thompson says he worries it’s not enough money. He says Fairbanks needs Petro Star’s Interior refinery, especially if it hopes to attract the new F-35 fighter units to Eielson Air Force Base.

“No jet fuel? Goodbye. F16s (will) move. That means Eielson is going to close. 1500 civilian jobs. We’re going to have empty houses in Fairbanks. The economy is going to tank further,” he said at a House Finance hearing Monday.

State Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash says the high price of North Slope crude makes it hard for in-state refineries to compete with fuel imported from Outside. The Administration originally proposed $300 million in refinery assistance, primarily to help Petro Star, which faces higher costs for crude delivery now that its neighbor, Flint Hills, won’t be contributing.

Anchorage Democratic Representative Les Gara says he wants the refinery to stay open, too, but he calls the bill pending in the House now “insane policy.”

“It’s a bailout, it’s a giveaway, it’s poorly crafted,” Gara says. “It costs the state $150 million over five years, and it gives $50 million to Tesoro who doesn’t even want the money. At a time when we can’t afford our schools we need to come up with smarter solutions than just giving money to companies.”

The bill would allow an Alaska refinery to collect $10 million a year from the state for five years. That would mean $20 million a year for Petro Star, which has refineries in North Pole and Valdez, and $10 million a year for Tesoro’s operation in Kenai. The companies would get the money in the form of tax credits, or in cash if the company doesn’t owe state taxes. The refineries would have to do is show they spent $25 million a year on infrastructure. Gara says the definition is wide open, to include buying or altering any tangible property. And, says Gara, there are no limits on what the refinery can do with its state money. Companies can “keep the money in profits, give the money to their executives, give the money to their share holders,” Gara says “There are no sideboards.”

He proposed offering the refineries low-interest loans instead, but his amendment failed 8-3 in the House Finance Committee Monday. Rep. Tammie Wilson, a North Pole Republican, says Petro Star is too close to the edge for loans.

“Where they’re at right now, they may not be here in five years,” she said. “They’re not going to get a loan for something in which the company might not be able to make it. We have to do something now to make them healthy.”

Petro Star is owned by Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. ASRC Senior Vice President Tara Sweeney, at the Capitol to press for the bill, says she’s doing what she can not to close the refinery.

“The refining industry in Alaska is not healthy. We’re down here working to ensure that it is, and the tools are there that are necessary to keep us afloat,” she says.

“If it does close, the state says it would lose millions of dollars a year in revenues.  But lawmakers who question the refinery assistance bill point out Petro Star hasn’t opened its books for them. Republican Rep Alan Austerman of Kodiak says he’s troubled by the lack of information they’ve received from the state, too.

“We’re just going based upon, a company come(s) to the state of Alaska saying that ‘we’re going to go out of business if you don’t give us some money,’” Austerman says.

Fairbanks Democrat David Guttenberg says the bill was dropped on them in the last days of the session with no meaningful analysis. He’d like not to vote for it but he says they’re in a bind.

“Here we are faced with this, you know, this is what we have. Is it the best thing? I don’t think so. Is it the only thing? Yeah,” Guttenberg says.

The bill cleared the House Finance Committee Tuesday. Sponsors hope to get it through both the House and Senate before the Legislature adjourns this weekend.

Categories: Alaska News

Nikiski LNG Plant May Reopen Soon

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:39

The ConocoPhillips LNG plant in Nikiski may be re-opening soon, thanks to a boost from the federal government. The Department of Energy announced Monday that it has approved a request from the company to resume LNG exports to Japan.

Download Audio

Categories: Alaska News

Yukon Fishermen Prepare For Summer Of Conservation

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:38

Fishers on the Kuskokwim River are expecting unprecedented restrictions to bring more king salmon to spawning grounds. On the Yukon River, fisherman can expect a similar set of restrictions.

Download Audio

Twenty years ago, king salmon runs on the Yukon averaged 300,000 fish. In 2013, biologists counted just 76,000 fish.

Stephanie Schmidt is the Yukon River Research Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

“I think with this run size, we’re going to have trouble reaching our escapement goals even if there is no harvest on the Yukon river,” Schmidt said.

The forecast this year is for between 64,000-121,000 kings. Managers don’t expect to have any directed king openings. Still, some kings could be accidentally caught in gillnets intended for other salmon species or whitefish.

Schmidt says fishers will likely not be able to use gillnets unless many more kings than expected come into the river. Using non-traditional gear is the subject of current discussions between managers and fishermen.

“The the idea is can we provide opportunity to fisherman for subsistence fishing in a way that would allow them to catch those other species, especially the abundant summer chum salmon or the fall chum salmon that come in and are supposed to have a good run this year. Are there way* that they can target those species and not harm king salmon?” Schmidt said.

One gear type is dipnets, which allow for the live release of kings. Fisherman may also be using beach seines, and fish wheels with a live chute. There’s no firm fishing schedule set, but subsistence fishing will close according to law when the first pulse of king salmon enter the river. As breakup approaches, Schmidt says conversations with Yukon residents have been positive.

“Fisherman on the Yukon recognize the issue, they recognize that we’re in a situation where we need to conserve, and we need to get more king salmon on the spawning grounds if we’re going to give this run any chance of recovering,” Schmidt said.

On the commercial side, The Board of Fish tweaked the rules for commercial summer chum fisherman. Non-circular dipnets can be as large as 6 feet by 3 feet. The board did not pass a proposal from the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development association to allow for purse seines during times of king salmon conservation.

Categories: Alaska News

Some Southeast Chinook Runs Expected To Be Strong

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:37

King Salmon are expected to be plentiful in parts of Southeast Alaska this summer.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game this month announced a king salmon harvest quota allowed under the Pacific Salmon Treaty and based on the forecasts of Chinook returning to rivers and streams on the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada.

Download Audio

Categories: Alaska News

MEA Official Accuses Anchorage Assembly Of Misusing City Funds

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:36

A Matanuska Electric Association official charges that the Anchorage Municipal Assembly is spending city funds on private interests.

Joe Griffith, MEA’s executive director, has contacted Anchorage officials with concerns that city money is being spent on one Assemblyman’s legal fight against a power station upgrade.

Download Audio

In a letter to Anchorage Municipal Assembly chair Ernie Hall, MEA executive director Joe Griffith says that one Assembly member, Eagle River’s Bill Starr, is planning to spend city funds to fight MEA’s appeal of a Muni Planning and Zoning Commission decision. Griffith says this is clearly a misuse of public funds.

“The Assembly has had no role whatsoever in this process,” Griffith said. “Now they, so far, have not had to weigh in on it, so therefore, they have no formal position.”

“And yet they have chosen to fund the attorneys that are fighting MEA’s request of a review of the process that refused us the right to upgrade a substation.”

Griffith adds, that, by law, MEA must maintain it’s facilities to keep up with power demands.

The city’s planning and zoning commission had earlier denied a bid by MEA for a conditional use permit for the upgrade of the power company’s Justine Parks substation in Eagle River. Now MEA is appealing the commission’s decision to the Board of Adjustment.

According to Griffith’s letter, Starr has tapped the law firm of Ashburn and Mason to help him in opposing the power station upgrade.

Starr would not agree to a recorded interview. He says there’s no impropriety, because the city maintains legal counsel for Assembly members. He says the “Board of Adjustment process is complicated” and that he wants good legal advice on how the Board operates.

Starr says MEA wants to build the substation in a residential neighborhood, and that “the residents have a right to complain.”

Categories: Alaska News

Haines Residents Pursue Railroad Link

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:35

Some residents in Haines are pursing the dream of a railroad that may one day link the community to Interior Alaska, Yukon mines and to a future port facility. The state and other stakeholders aren’t dismissing the idea outright.

Download Audio

Categories: Alaska News

Group Uses National Water Dance To Raise Compassion

APRN Alaska News - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:28

A small group of people gathered Saturday in Anchorage to use art to make change. The National Water Dance was an effort to use the art of human movement to generate compassion for the nation’s streams, lakes and oceans.

Download Audio

Categories: Alaska News

Inmate Found Dead At Eagle River Women’s Jail

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:36

A 24-year-old inmate at a women’s prison has been found dead in her cell.

Download Audio

The Alaska Bureau of Investigations Major Crimes Unit announced today that the inmate was found dead last Thursday in her cell at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River.

Correctional officers found Amanda Kernak unresponsive during a routine security check at 1:35 a.m.

Authorities say no foul play is suspected, and the State Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says Alaska State Troopers are investigating Kernak’s death.

Categories: Alaska News

John Luther Adams Wins Pulitzer For ‘Become Ocean’

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:36

Former Fairbanks resident John Luther Adams has won a Pulitzer Prize for his composition “Become Ocean.”

Download Audio

Adams’ work has long been inspired by the natural world he’s experienced, and the Pulitzer committee was attracted to the real-world feel of “Become Ocean,” which was informed by the waters off the coast of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

The committee said the composition is a “haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.” The piece was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, which debuted the work in June.

Categories: Alaska News

The 7.5 Million Obamacare Number Only Part Of The Story

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:36

Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the law itself, the answer is exceedingly complicated. The administration is tracking the number of plans purchased on healthcare.gov and on the state exchanges. But the federal government isn’t counting the number of people buying plans directly from insurance carriers.

Download Audio

When insurance broker Joshua Weinstein wanted to sign someone up for health insurance this year, he asked one key question – would they qualify for a federal subsidy? If the client didn’t, he steered them away from healthcare.gov:

“If you can avoid that whole level of bureaucracy and get a good plan, not necessarily at a good price, but at the same price and they’re not subsidy eligible, we’re going off the marketplace,” Weinstein said.

One of those clients is Oliver Korshin, a doctor who lives in Anchorage. Weinstein and Korshin worked together to enroll Korshin’s wife Rachel in a new health plan. They didn’t qualify for a subsidy so they went directly to Premera Alaska, says Korshin.

“The actual enrolling wasn’t difficult at all,” Korshin said.

Weinstein, their broker, estimates about 15 percent of his clients are signing up for insurance outside the exchanges. He says enrolling directly is easier because insurers don’t have to deal with the financial information required on healthcare.gov.

“It’s basically gathering demographic information, name, address, phone number, social security number, which plan do you want, sign up for how you want to pay your bill, monthly via statement or auto-draft and sign and off you go,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein does counsel people who are close to qualifying for a subsidy, to sign up on healthcare.gov, in case their income fluctuates during the year.

Alaska’s two main insurers report 1/5th of their customers bought plans directly from them. But these customers aren’t being counted by the Obama administration.

“That’s the big mystery,” Larry Levitt, an insurance expert with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said.

Levitt says there’s a lot of focus on the 7.5 million people who signed up through the 14 state exchanges or healthcare.gov. But he says the off-exchange number is just as essential to gauge how well the law is working:

“Oh I think it’s quite important,” Levitt said. “I think it’s probably the case that there are more people insured in the individual market off the exchange than on the exchange right now.”

In fact, a new survey from the RAND Corporation estimates 7.8 million people nationwide bought health insurance this year directly from a carrier.

Categories: Alaska News

HB23 Would Allow Public Financing Of KABATA

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:36

With a 16-4 vote on Saturday, the state Senate approved House Bill 23, allowing public financing of the Knik Arm Crossing. The approval moves the $892 million project forward by updating the project’s financial model. The bill allows funding for the bridge to come from three public entities: one third from bonds, one third from National Highway System funds, and the final third from federal loans.

Download Audio

Categories: Alaska News

Museum Experts Sift Through The Arctic’s Second Largest Butterfly Collection

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:36

This collection of Lepidoptera will be catalogued at the Museum of the North before most of it gets transferred to the Smithsonian. (Photo by Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks)

It will be a few months before butterflies flit through the air in Interior Alaska, but the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks was recently filled with them.

The museum is working to catalogue the second-largest collection of Arctic butterflies and moths in the world. It’s the largest private collection of its kind. Eventually most of the specimens will be passed on to the Smithsonian.

Download Audio

Derek Sikes shows off parts of one of the world’s largets butterfly collections. (Photo by Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks)

The faint scent of moth balls hangs in the air in a back hallway at the Museum of the North.  In fact the smell was so strong a few weeks ago, some employees left work early. Halfway down the hall, there’s a small, locked lab.

“So, we’re in a small room packed, every surface and most of the floor space is covered with the drawers of Kenelm Philip’s butterfly collection,” Derek Sikes, the Curator of Insects at the Museum, said.

He usually works on arthropods – hard bodied bugs like beetles and spiders, but lately he’s found himself literally surrounded by stacks of wooden boxes filled with more delicate and graceful Lepidoptera, better known as moths and butterflies.

The specimens came from Kenelm Philip, one of the first scientists to start collecting butterflies and moths in the Far North back in the 1960’s.

“Almost nothing was known about butterflies in Alaska,” Sikes said.  “Butterflies are a very high profile group.  They’re like the birds of the insect world. So, imagine coming to Alaska and nobody knowing anything about the birds.”

Butterflies from all over the world are part of Kenelm Philip’s collection. (Photo by Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks)

But Kenelm Philip didn’t just catch butterflies. Sikes calls him a ‘scientific Renaissance Man.’

“In addition to loving classical music, he had his PhD from Yale in radio astronomy,” Sikes said. “He also published on fractals, he published on microscopes, so he was into the mechanics of microscopy and he also wrote a computer program, a mapping program.”

Philip passed away in March, leaving behind one of the largest collections of Arctic Lepidoptera in the world. He kept his specimens in a fire-proof lab he built next to a house filled with microscopes, old computers and piles of field notes, not to mention an endless supply of moth balls – an adventure for someone like Derek Sikes, who was charged with transporting the entire collection to the Museum.

“We were just sifting through piles and piles of papers and we would come across weird surprises, like underneath a pile of papers, there’s a jar of cyanide or a bullet, so it’s an interesting problem to work on,” he said.

There are at least 83,000 butterfly and moth specimens, but Sikes says they haven’t been counted since the 1980’s. “We don’t really know how many he added to the collection since then.  So, there’s more than 83,000.”

Arctic blues are perfectly lined out in one of the drawers Kenelm Philip put together. (Photo by Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks)

The diverse array of Arctic butterflies and moths are joined by more exotic specimens from faraway places like Ethiopia and the Philippines. There are some specimens that haven’t been lined up and pinned under glass.  But those that are, are nearly perfect. “You can see here, the arrangement of these drawers is artistic.” Sikes pulls out a drawer filled with rows of small, iridescent blue butterflies.

“These are blues, a delicate group of the smallest bodied butterflies,” he said, describing the insects inside. “Of course the blues have this very metallic and gorgeous color.”

Their heads and antennae are aligned perfectly.  Their wings are spread wide.  Underneath a glass cover, they float permanently over little squares of paper, covered in fine handwriting.  Each tag notes where and when the butterfly was collected. Some come from Murphy Dome north of Fairbanks. Others come from Philip’s favorite spot on Eagle Summit, 120 miles away. There’s also a row from Inuvik in Canada’s Northwest Territory.

“He would align species by their color patterns and geographically so that if there was a change from a northern, to southern part of the range, you’d be able to detect it in the specimens.”

This collection holds answers about differences in geography and sex.  A collection that spans as many years may also answer questions about the effects of climate change over time.  Sikes says there is plenty that may come from the collection.

“I’m sure there’s treasures we have yet to uncover,” Sikes said.

Before he passed away, Kenelm Philip negotiated to transfer 90 percent of his collection to the Smithsonian Institution.  The Museum of the North will house the rest.  Sikes and colleagues will work through the summer to catalogue and photograph everything with funding assistance from the National Park Service and the National Science Foundation.

Categories: Alaska News

YK Delta Residents Speak On Possible King Salmon Fishery Closure

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:36

Facing the possibility of a total closure of the King salmon fishery this summer and new dip-net openings, people from the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta are speaking up on all sides of the issue.

Download Audio

Categories: Alaska News

Jeff King Wins Kobuk 440

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:36

Jeff King is the winner in this year’s Kobuk 440. King crossed the finish line at 12:12 am Sunday morning, followed by Tony Browning and Hugh Neff.

Download Audio

Jeff King arrives at the finish line of the Kobuk 400. (Kobuk 440 Photo)

Seventeen mushers left Kotzebue on Thursday at 12:30 in the afternoon, taking a trail to Norvik, Selawik, Ambler, Shungnak and then turning around at Kobuk to head back.

K440 board President Liz Moore says the trail conditions were generally good, although there was low or no snow in some areas and icy conditions caused some sleds to tip over when the wind picked up. She says there were 8 rookie teams this year.

“This year a lot of the rookies that came out are trying to get mileage to qualify for the Iditarod race,” Moore said. “A lot of those qualifying races earlier in the season were canceled due to lack of snow.”

The Kobuk440 is the final Iditarod qualifying race of the season.

The race course is completely off the road system.

Categories: Alaska News

Alaska News Nightly: April 14, 2014

APRN Alaska News - Mon, 2014-04-14 18:01

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

Download Audio

Inmate Found Dead At Eagle River Women’s Jail

The Associated Press

A 24-year-old inmate at a women’s prison has been found dead in her cell.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigations Major Crimes Unit announced today that the inmate was found dead last Thursday in her cell at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River.

Correctional officers found Amanda Kernak unresponsive during a routine security check at 1:35 a.m.

Authorities say no foul play is suspected, and the State Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says Alaska State Troopers are investigating Kernak’s death.

Legislature Passes Bill Limiting Medicaid Payments For Abortion

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The Legislature has narrowly passed a bill putting limits on state Medicaid payments for abortion.

House Passes Minimum Wage Bill, As Initiative Sponsors Cry Foul

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

As initiative sponsors cried dirty tricks, the House narrowly passed a minimum wage bill that has the potential to knock their proposition off the ballot. The night only got more tense when the Speaker of the House fired back on the floor.

NTSB Advances Investigation Into Fatal Training Flight Crash

Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel

The National Transportation Safety Board has finished its on-scene investigation into the crash that killed two Hageland Aviation pilots last week.

John Luther Adams Wins Pulitzer For ‘Become Ocean’

The Associated PRess

Former Fairbanks resident John Luther Adams has won a Pulitzer Prize for his composition “Become Ocean”

Adams’ work has long been inspired by the natural world he’s experienced, and the Pulitzer committee was attracted to the real-world feel of “Become Ocean,” which was informed by the waters off the coast of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

The committee said the composition is a “haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.” The piece was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, which debuted the work in June.

How Many People Have Signed Up Insurance Under Obamacare?

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the law itself, the answer is exceedingly complicated. The administration is tracking the number of plans purchased on healthcare.gov and on the state exchanges. But the federal government isn’t counting the number of people buying plans directly from insurance carriers.

Museum Experts Sift Through The Arctic’s Largest Butterfly Collection

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

It will be a few months before butterflies flit through the air in Interior Alaska, but the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks was recently filled with them. The museum is working to catalogue the second-largest collection of Arctic butterflies and moths in the world. It’s the largest private collection of its kind.  Eventually most of the specimens will be passed on to the Smithsonian.

HB23 Would Allow Public Financing Of KABATA

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

With a 16-4 vote on Saturday, the state Senate approved House Bill 23, allowing public financing of the Knik Arm Crossing. The approval moves the $892 million project forward by updating the project’s financial model. The bill allows funding for the bridge to come from three public entities:  one third from bonds, one third from National Highway System funds, and the final third from federal loans.

YK Delta Residents Speak On Possible King Salmon Fishery Closure

Charles Enoch, KYUK – Bethel

Facing the possibility of a total closure of the King salmon fishery this summer and new dip-net openings, people from the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta are speaking up on all sides of the issue.

Jeff King Wins Kobuk 440

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Jeff King is the winner in this year’s Kobuk 440.  King crossed the finish line at 12:12 am Sunday morning, followed by Tony Browning and Hugh Neff.

Categories: Alaska News

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of brodcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life. Renew here or visit KBBI by April 21 to enter to win one round-trip airfare with Era between Homer and Anchorage. Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

ON THE AIR

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4