Individual news 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 @aprn.Download AudioInmate Found Dead At Eagle River Women’s JailThe Associated PressA 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 – JuneauThe 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 – JuneauAs 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 – BethelThe 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 PRessFormer 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 – AnchorageWant 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 CollectionEmily Schwing, KUAC – FairbanksIt 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 KABATAEllen Lockyer, KSKA – AnchorageWith 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 ClosureCharles Enoch, KYUK – BethelFacing 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 440Lori Townsend, APRN – AnchorageJeff 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.
Police are investigating a woman for drunken driving after she crashed her SUV into the Sitka’s downtown postal substation Tuesday night.In addition to crushing the storefront, the SUV hit a parked car, a street sign, and ran over the mailbox. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)Sitka police lieutenant Lance Ewers says that the woman was leaving the Moose Lodge a little after 9 PM in an SUV, when the vehicle crossed the street, jumped the curb, and ran head-on into the post office.“She ran smack-dab into it, and somehow managed to hit another parked vehicle, and a sign. And also, in trying to leave the area, ran over the outside mailbox. Just all kinds of things. So thankfully — thankfully — no one was hurt.”Substation manager Ed Conway says the damage will not interfere with postal operations. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)The driver, however, reportedly sustained injuries and was transported to Sitka Community Hospital for treatment. Ewers says police executed a search warrant to obtain a sample of her blood. It will be sent to the state crime lab. He calls the case “very solvable.”“The facts that were developed at the scene of the crime are leading us in the direction that she was under the influence of alcohol.”There is no cost estimate for the incident. Ewers says the woman’s Izuzu sustained major front-end damage. Contractors were already busy at the post office Wednesday morning, where the left side of the store front had been crushed. Substation manager Ed Conway says it likely would be very expensive to replace the custom windows, but he does not yet have a figure. He adds that the damage would not affect post office operations, and that it would be business-as-usual until repairs were complete.
A flood advisory in in effect for the south fork of the Kuskokwim River near Nikolai until 12:45 p.m. Thursday, July 7, 2016. (Image via Google Maps)The flood advisory along the Kuskokwim River near Nikolai has been extended through early Thursday afternoon.The National Weather Service says several inches of rain in the Alaska Range earlier this week has caused the south fork of the Kuskokwim to rise over the bank at Nikolai.The river is expected to gradually fall throughout the day Thursday.The Weather Service says flooding of low lying areas around Nikolai is occurring, and some debris is floating down the river.The Flood advisory expires at 12:45 p.m. Thursday.
The Anchorage Assembly chambers at the Z. J. Loussac Public Library in Anchorage. (Staff photo)Citing the concerns among his constituents an Anchorage Assembly member knelt during the pledge of allegiance during a Tuesday meeting.Listen Now Downtown assembly member Patrick Flynn represents Fairview and Mountainview, two of the most diverse census tracts in the country.As the pledge began, Flynn kept his hand over his chest and recited the words, but took to one knee.In a brief interview afterwards, he said the gesture was “out of respect for those who’ve expressed concern that we don’t always live up to our ideals.”“I’m mindful and respectful of that, particularly since I represent a lot of that population,” Flynn added, referring to minority communities in his district.Political protests surrounding the pledge have been a contentious topic the last few weeks, both at the national level among professional athletes, as well as closer to home, with several football player’s from Anchorage’s West High recently taking a knee ahead of a game.Flynn said it was likely a one-time demonstration for him.The gesture went largely unnoticed at the time, with Assembly Chair Elvi Gray-Jackson saying later on that she thought Flynn simply fell.But Amy Demobski, who represents the conservative Eagle River district, said towards the meeting’s end she was bothered by what had taken place.“As a veteran, as someone who supports law enforcement, as someone who looks at the Pledge of Allegiance as something that honors the sacrifices made from men and women who’ve died defending our country I find it disrespectful. As an assembly member I find it disrespectful, this is a formal procedure,” she said during comments.Demboski asked the assembly’s leadership to counsel members against similar displays, citing it as a violation of formal protocols for the body.But others, including both active-duty and retired service-members, disagreed with that level of condemnation.A mild counter-protest to the kneel came from Flynn’s conservative colleague from South Anchorage, Bill Evans, himself an Army veteran.Evans sits next to Flynn on the dais, and heard through social media that his colleague was considering making a statement. He went out of his way during opening remarks to mention that he’d pinned his jump wings from airborne training to his lapel. But Evans was matter-of-fact that respects anyone’s right to symbolic protest.“I just thought if we were going to open it up to comments with symbols I wanted to do the same thing,” Evans said during a brief interview.“It’s great Patrick (Flynn) has the right to express whatever concern he’s trying to express, and I just want to make it clear that other people view it somewhat differently, and have equally valid concerns.”
If your plans called for watching the election returns at the Egan Center in Anchorage, think again. (File photo)If your habit on election night was to roll down to the Egan Center and watch the returns projected onto the wall, forget about it. The Alaska Division of Elections has discontinued Election Central, due to budget constraints. But you don’t have to weep or cheer at home alone. In Anchorage, at least, people have options.Listen Now Across America, we are sorting ourselves into silos. More and more Republicans and Democrats associate with their own kind. So it goes, too, with election night in Anchorage, now that there’s no state-sponsored neutral zone.The Republican Party plans its shindig at the Top of the World, at the Hilton Hotel on Third Avenue. The Democrats will be partying three blocks away, at Williwaw, at Sixth and F Street.The Trump-Pence campaign will be right across the street, at Flattop Pizza. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s people will be at the 49th State Brewing Company, and challenger Joe Miller’s folks are gathering in the conference room at Davis Constructors. Senate candidate Margaret Stock, in keeping with her independent billing, plans to shuttle between the Republicans at the Hilton and the Democrats at the Willawaw.If you want nonpartisan, one option is the Bear Tooth Theatrepub, on Spenard Road. General Manager Stephanie Johnson says with the Egan Center dark on election night, they sensed a void.“The more we thought about it, the more we thought that we might be able to be a reallyPhoto by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOOnice inviting neutral place for people all over the community,” she said.The Bear Tooth is inviting campaigns and their supporters, politicos and the politically curious to mingle over beer. Word to the wise: the event announcement says “Courteous behavior is expected.” Johnson says she doesn’t foresee any trouble.“I would put it on the same level of our concern when we host the Superbowl,” she said. “We know that people have deep-rooted passions and feelings about who wins. But in the end we’re all in it together.”If this election doesn’t drive you to drink, it might prod you to prayer.“This election season has been kind of rough on all of us, and so we’re doing something to counteract that,” said Rev. Rachel Simpson of Unity of Anchorage, issuing an invite on YouTube to her church, on East 68th Street. On Election Day, Unity is holding a non-partisan prayer vigil.“On the hour, every hour, our prayers will be led by different faith leaders from the area,” Simpson said.To maintain neutrality, Simpson says no political content will be permitted, beyond the “I voted” sticker. The vigil is planned for the entire time polls are open in Alaska, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Brent Sass, placed second in the Kuskokwim 300, has withdrawn his team from the 2017 Idiatrod. (Photo: Katie Basile / KYUK)Just days after a surprising scratch on the Yukon Quest trail, Eureka musher Brent Sass withdrew his team from the 2017 Iditarod.Listen nowThe race’s Trail Committee made the announcement early Saturday morning. No other information was provided.The news comes after Sass took himself out of this year’s Quest toward the end of the race while running in the lead. According to a lengthy note posted to Facebook after the incident, Sass wrote that two of his dogs collapsed on the trail, prompting him to request help on his spot tracker. Vets examined the dogs and determined both were in stable health. Though officials gave Sass the chance to continue with the race, he wrote that he felt “too shook up,” and scratched.In the weeks since, editorial writers and online commentator’s have clashed over whether Sass did the right thing, or is at fault for pushing his dogs too hard. In the 2016 Iditarod, Sass dropped from third place to 20th when his team refused to leave the White Mountain checkpoint, prompting a long rest.This year’s Iditarod has 72 mushers signed up to race.
Photo by Liz RuskinIf President Trump’s tax agenda goes into effect, taxes for people of all income groups would go down next year, on average. But only a few Alaskans would get the big tax breaks.Listen nowAccording to a preliminary analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, most of the total tax benefit in 2027 would go to the top 1 percent — people making more than $730,000 a year. On average, they would save more than $100,000 a year in taxes in 2018, the report says. But you won’t find many of the nation’s 1-percenters in the Far North.Economist Mouhcine Guettabi at the University of Alaska said the state has a fairly equal distribution of income, compared to other places.“We only have about 15,000 returns or so every year that have more than $200,000 in them,” Guettabi said.That’s fewer than 5 percent of Alaska taxpayers claiming income of more than $200,000, according to IRS data. And, at the other end of the scale, Guettabi said Alaska’s poor aren’t all that poor, thanks in part to the Permanent Fund dividend.“That means there’s a lot of people in the middle,” Guettabi said. “And so if indeed a lot of the changes are going to negatively impact middle class Americans, then that means that there’s a larger percentage of Alaskans that are going to feel it.”The Tax Policy Center said most households in the income range of $50,000 to $150,000 would see their taxes stay the same or drop modestly, though about one in three would see an increase.The White House and Republican leaders in Congress unveiled their tax proposal last week. Some vital information wasn’t included, like the income levels for the tax brackets. The Tax Policy Center said it filled in some of the gaps with information from previous Republican proposals. Critics charge the think-tank’s report is based on faulty assumptions.One thing the Republican proposal would explicitly do is eliminate deductions, such as municipal real estate taxes. Some 70,000 Alaskan property owners use that deduction to lower their federal tax bill.Frank Sammartino, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said eliminating that deduction would have some effect in Alaska.“Although the percentage claiming the deduction, and the average deduction that people claim, is much lower than in most states,” Sammartino said.The vast majority of Alaskans don’t itemize. They take the standard deduction, which the Republican plan would double.Republicans in Congress are expected to spend the next several weeks working on their budget proposal, to set the stage for their tax legislation.But the tax plan is already having one effect in Alaska: It undercuts one of the selling points for Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed payroll tax. If Congress passes the Republican tax plan, a statewide levy like the one Walker wants would no longer be an IRS deductible.
Sealaska’s corporate headquarters are in this Juneau building. Nearly 23,000 shareholders will receive their fall dividends mid-November. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Southeast Alaska’s regional Native corporation will distribute close to $11 million to its shareholders Nov. 17.Juneau-headquartered Sealaska announced the distribution Oct. 27.Payments will range from $596 to $186 for those with 100 shares. The amount depends on the class of shareholder and other factors.Sealaska has 22,950 shareholders living in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.Operational income will make up $1 per share of the payments. That includes revenues from recently purchased fish processing plants, as well as timber and gravel operations, plus government contracting.Officials said the amount demonstrates progress in developing its corporate businesses.“We expect the operations dividend payment to nearly double due to continued growth in net income and cash flow. This will be the first increase in an operations dividend over the last five years,” board Chairman Joe Nelson said in a press release.Sealaska’s Permanent Fund investment account makes up 86 cents per share.The largest source, at $4.10 per share, is a pool of natural resource earnings from all 12 regional Native corporations.Shareholders who are also members of an urban Native corporation, such as Juneau’s Goldbelt, will get the full dividend of $596 for those with 100 shares. That includes the resource pool earnings.Those who are also members of village Native corporations, such as Kake Tribal, receive $133 for those with 100 shares. They do not include the resource pool earnings. Those go to the village corporation.Recently enrolled shareholders’ dependents also receive the smaller payments.
BEIJING: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, now on a visit to China, has described Dhaka’s ties with India and engagements with New Delhi as “organic”, saying it was “beyond a few billions of dollars of trade”. Hasina, who addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in the northern Chinese port city of Dalian on Tuesday, said she always believed that despite differences in size and capacity compared to India, Bangladesh can only secure its peace and security Also Read – EAM Jaishankar calls on European Parliament President David Sassoli Advertise With Us “It is just organic. We have shaded blood together for our (Bangladesh’s) independence,” Hasina said on Bangladesh-India relations. It was also “beyond a few billions of dollars of trade,” she said. On the other hand, Bangladesh’s relationship with China was good as well as “China is our partner in mega projects and economic advancements,” Hasina was quoted as saying by the official Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS). Also Read – This is why Denmark, Sweden and Germany are considering a meat tax Advertise With Us “Our ties with Japan are historic, not just as the largest ODA partner,” she said adding, “Russia, another partner who stood by us during our liberation war, is now helping us in our energy security area”. Asked how she maintains friendship with both India and China at the WEF meeting, Hasina said her government has tried to be balanced and objective in its foreign relations. Advertise With Us “In the past 10 years of our government, I have tried to position Bangladesh in a balanced and objective manner with all our friends globally to optimise our economic and development aspirations,” she said in response to the question. She added that her government always made it clear to all that Bangladesh does not harbour any military ambition as “it is against our values and ethos”. Hasina, who has reached Beijing for official talks with the Chinese leadership, said that when she first assumed office as the premier in 1996, her government resolved a most challenging issue of sharing Ganges river water with India. “We amicably delimited our maritime boundary with Myanmar and India. And now, Bangladesh and India are joining hands to uniquely develop our trans-boundary river navigation,” she told the WEF meeting. “We are for a rule-based system. Yes, geo-politics will always be a part of life. But we have to carefully appreciate and balance issues (as) we cannot trade off long-term interests for short-term gains,” she said. Hasina pointed out that a cooperative yet competitive environment among all countries could be the “insurance of their shared prosperity”. Her address was followed by a question-answer session, when replying to a query about China’s growing forays in Bangladesh and implementing several mega projects in the country. She said Bangladesh was not worried about the “debt trap” as the mega deals with China were appropriately negotiated. “Many people talk about the ‘debt trap’. I have a simple answer. As long as these mega projects are in our people’s interest, has the right pay off and negotiated rightly, we must not be worried,” she said as many in Bangladesh are concerned after Sri Lanka’s ratio of foreign debt to GDP rose significantly as the island nation implemented several Chinese infrastructure projects. China is involved in some Bangladesh’s mega infrastructure projects while “our external debt is around 14.3 per cent of GDP (which) clearly is a sign of a healthy economy,” she was quoted as saying by the BSS. “During the past term of my government (2014-18), we engaged and deepened our ties with India-China-Japan-US-Europe-Russia seamlessly,” Hasina said. As a fast-growing economy, Bangladesh needs each of our friends for diverse purposes not certainly at the expenses of another. “Each of our friends has distinct competence and interest as well. As long as our relationships are based on mutual trust and respect, we all gain for our peoples,” she said. Hasina predicted that in 10 years from now, Bangladesh is likely to become 25th largest economy globally and whatever gaps or limitations that we have, we are ready to correct those. So, we are for ‘open regionalism'”.
Members of families with a gross annual income of below Rs 8 lakh will be eligible to avail benefits of reservation on a preferential basis in civil posts and services in West Bengal, according to a state government notification. People, who are not covered under reservation schemes for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes, will get 10 per cent reservation in direct recruitment in civil posts and services of the state government, and also admissions to educational institutions in the state, it said. Also Read – Dehydrated elephant being given treatment Advertise With Us “Gross annual family income should be below of Rs 8 lakh and the income shall also include the income from all sources — salary, agriculture, business, profession etc for the final year prior to the year of application,” the notification said Gross annual income is one of the criteria to avail the reservation, it said. The notification was issued on July 9, six days after the Mamata Banerjee government announced 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the general category. Also Read – CBI carrying out surprise checks at 150 government departments Advertise With Us The decision of the West Bengal government came six months after the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre approved a similar proposal. The notification stated that a person whose family does not own or possess five acres of agricultural land and above, or own a residential flat of 1,000 sqft and above, would be able to apply for the reservation. Advertise With Us Those who do not possess a residential plot of 100 square yards and above in notified municipalities, would be eligible for the 10 per cent reservation, it said. Besides, those who do not own a residential plot of 200 square yards and above in areas other than notified municipalities, would also be eligible. “The property held by a family in different locations would be clubbed together for determining Economically Weaker Section (EWS) status”, it stated. The notification also stated that the benefit of the reservation under the EWS would be availed upon production of an income and asset certificate issued by a district magistrate, additional district magistrate, sub-divisional officer or the DWO for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation areas.