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Alaska and Yukon Headlines

Passionate believers in Native heritage prod legislators to recognize languages

Mon, 2014-04-21 05:19
Passionate believers in Native heritage prod legislators to recognize languages The Alaska Legislature gave official recognition to 20 Native languages. It's a symbolic gesture, lawmakers say, but it won approval shortly after 3 a.m. Monday in no small part because dozens of Native people who are passionate about their languages spent all day and most of the night in the hallways and galleries.April 21, 2014

Lawmakers approve refinery subsidy plan, excluding Agrium

Mon, 2014-04-21 04:55
Lawmakers approve refinery subsidy plan, excluding Agrium The Alaska Senate approved five-year subsidy plans for the Petro Star refineries and the Tesoro refinery at about 2:30 a.m. today. Critics said the companies had not made their case for the subsidy, which would increase the state deficit by up to $150 million over five years. The House adjourned at 4 a.m. without taking up the amended Senate version.April 21, 2014

Legislature sends $9.1 billion operating budget to Parnell

Mon, 2014-04-21 04:43
Legislature sends $9.1 billion operating budget to Parnell Lawmakers approved a $9.1 billion budget Sunday, which includes $5.8 billion in state funds, $2 billion in federal funds and $1.3 billion in other funds. Alaska lawmakers praised themselves for finishing about $50 million below their budget targets.April 21, 2014

I Am A Cupcake Warrior

Mon, 2014-04-21 00:19

After winning Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” Kastle Sorensen and her “Kastle’s Kreations” food truck have turned Alaska’s cupcake scene upside down.

Video and Story:
Slavik Boyechko

Music:
Starship Amazing

As session approaches end, Alaska Legislature signs off on gas pipeline plan

Sun, 2014-04-20 23:42
As session approaches end, Alaska Legislature signs off on gas pipeline plan The Parnell administration got what it wanted from the Legislature Sunday on its gas pipeline plan -- approval of a negotiating process aimed at developing contracts to perform the work necessary to decide if a pipeline will be built.April 20, 2014

Historic Alaska newsreels spotlight Last Frontier during territorial days

Sun, 2014-04-20 22:32
Historic Alaska newsreels spotlight Last Frontier during territorial days Newly-released historic footage of Alaska during its territorial days includes a 1932 silent film of grizzly bears frolicking in salmon streams, Mount Spurr erupting in 1953, and military training in the "lonely land" of the Last Frontier.April 20, 2014

How Barrow and Atqasuk could aid the search for life beyond our solar system

Sun, 2014-04-20 19:39
How Barrow and Atqasuk could aid the search for life beyond our solar system The two North Slope villages have little radio activity, making them ideal for the observations made by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.April 20, 2014

Growing like cobwebs in Alaskans' thawing yards, 'snow mold' can be nuisance

Sun, 2014-04-20 19:38
Growing like cobwebs in Alaskans' thawing yards, 'snow mold' can be nuisance Ever noticed that gray fungus that appears when the snow has melted but the temperatures remain cool around the Last Frontier? Well, that's snow mold, and it's harmless to humans, but a scourge for golf courses.April 20, 2014

The Arctic from space: A clear pattern of warming, thaw and melt

Sun, 2014-04-20 19:38
The Arctic from space: A clear pattern of warming, thaw and melt Temperature trends show the Arctic warmed about 1 degree per decade, on average, between 1981 and 2012. Compare that to the global per-decade average of 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the same period, according to NASA.April 20, 2014

Kenai Peninsula wolves prove resilient in face of harsh history

Sun, 2014-04-20 19:38
Kenai Peninsula wolves prove resilient in face of harsh history A history of wolves on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula reveals trials and tribulations -- both human-created and otherwise -- for the animals, including poisoning, hunting, trapping and disease.April 20, 2014

Legislature's plan to pay down retirement debt sets state up for big costs down the road

Sun, 2014-04-20 15:40
Legislature's plan to pay down retirement debt sets state up for big costs down the road The Alaska Legislature on Sunday passed a funding package to put $3 billion toward Alaska teachers' and public employees' retirement systems, but will cost the state an additional $2.7 billion in the years ahead, according to an analysis of the plan.April 20, 2014

Large herring run predicted for Togiak fishery

Sun, 2014-04-20 12:25
Large herring run predicted for Togiak fishery But with the potential for a well-supplied market, there is some concern about the prices taking a hit from the higher numbers of fish forecast in 2014.April 20, 2014

Legislators put $25,000 into draft budget to 'influence' initiative elections

Sun, 2014-04-20 11:39
Legislators put $25,000 into draft budget to 'influence' initiative elections One small item revealed in the Alaska capital budget late Saturday could lead to a big debate: putting $25,000 in the state budget for "information that may influence the outcome of an election on initiatives" this year.April 20, 2014

Alaska Senate passes $3 billion retirement funding package

Sun, 2014-04-20 08:51
Alaska Senate passes $3 billion retirement funding package On the second-to-last day of the 2014 legislative session, the Senate unanimously passed a big cash infusion to help pay down retirement debt for teachers and public employees.April 20, 2014

By pumping millions more into Alaska schools, lawmakers dodge some critics

Sat, 2014-04-19 23:36
By pumping millions more into Alaska schools, lawmakers dodge some critics Reversing course from a proposal made Friday, the committee said that funding for additional programs -- including benefits for home-schooled children, charter schools and residential schools -- would be on top of an extra $100 million going to schools this year.April 19, 2014

Legislature poised to approve Parnell gas line plan on Sunday

Sat, 2014-04-19 23:28
Legislature poised to approve Parnell gas line plan on Sunday The Legislature is expected on Sunday to approve a complex gas pipeline bill that would trigger new negotiations with the oil companies on a project to tap into a vast North Slope resource and help sustain the Alaska economy for decades — if things go according to plan.April 19, 2014

Former South High quarterback Lujan signs with Division I South Dakota State

Sat, 2014-04-19 20:26
Former South High quarterback Lujan signs with Division I South Dakota State When freshman quarterback Zach Lujan of Anchorage arrived at Chabot College in California he was fourth on the depth chartApril 19, 2014

Senate Passes Bill Transferring $3 Billion To Retirement System

Sat, 2014-04-19 19:56

After wrestling with how to approach the state’s massive unfunded liability for months, the Alaska Senate unanimously agreed to put $3 billion toward the public employee pension system just hours after their plan was released.

The retirement bill was introduced by Gov. Sean Parnell last week, with the objective of shoring up the retirement trusts funds because the state’s unfunded liability is $12 billion. The House passed the legislation with no changes, but the Senate made two major modifications

Sen. Pete Kelly speaks on the Alaska Senate floor, March 24, 2014. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

While Parnell’s bill originally put $2 billion toward the public employee retirement system and $1 billion toward the teacher retirement system, the Senate version swaps those numbers because the teacher system is facing a proportionally larger funding gap.

The Senate also adopted a pension payment plan that involves smaller annual contributions in early years, with those contributions stretched out over a longer period of time. Parnell had proposed putting $500 million toward the retirement system each year for the next two decades. The Senate instead elected to go with funding plan that’s more responsive to how many state retirees are collecting benefits at any point in time. Under the Senate plan, the Legislature is expected to appropriate $350 million to the retirement fund next year, with those payments growing some each year as more retirees begin collecting benefits.

Senate Finance Co-Chair Pete Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, said the pension plan should allow investment bond raters to experience a “sigh of relief” and help the state maintain a high credit rating. The bill also earned praise from Democrats, who have previously attempted to increase payments in to the retirement system.

The bill passed 20-0.

In a release, Gov. Sean Parnell offered support for the Senate’s version of the bill. The bill will now be sent back to the House for concurrence.

Tribe seeks return of artifacts taken from abandoned Alaska village

Sat, 2014-04-19 18:32
Tribe seeks return of artifacts taken from abandoned Alaska village A prominent Southeast Alaska cultural leader says a Yale University museum that has held onto a pair of Tlingit carvings taken from Cape Fox more than a century ago should voluntarily return the items instead of waiting for tribal officials to make a formal request.April 19, 2014

'Hidden Warbirds' takes readers on hunt for aircraft around Alaska and the world

Sat, 2014-04-19 18:32
'Hidden Warbirds' takes readers on hunt for aircraft around Alaska and the world With so many military wrecks scattered across Alaska, author Nicolas Veronico's close look at hunting and recovering warbirds around the world is a real eye-opener. April 19, 2014

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