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Taunt Or Miscalculation? Iran's Provocative Pick For U.N. Envoy

NPR News - Sat, 2014-04-05 01:45

Iran reportedly nominated a diplomat with ties to the 1979 takeover of the U.S Embassy in Tehran. It's the latest sign of how hard it will be for the U.S. and Iran to overcome decades of mistrust.

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Feds Hope $5 Billion Settlement A Lesson For Polluters

NPR News - Sat, 2014-04-05 01:40

The Justice Department wants the settlement with mining company Kerr-McGee to send a powerful message: corporations can't shirk their responsibility to clean up the toxic legacies of their operations.

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The Power of Poop: A Whale Story

NPR News - Sat, 2014-04-05 01:39

Whales are famous for spouts and blowholes. Turns out there's another whale opening that's just as important, but I'm too polite to mention it.

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The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story

NPR News - Sat, 2014-04-05 01:39

Whales are famous for spouts and blowholes. Turns out there's another whale opening that's just as important, but I'm too polite to mention it.

» E-Mail This

We've Never Stopped Thinking About Kurt Cobain

NPR News - Sat, 2014-04-05 01:03

Twenty years after his death, Nirvana's music — and tributes to and fights over it — remains a steady presence. Here's a taste.

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Defying Taliban Threats, Afghans Vote For Next Leader

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-04 22:33

No major violence has been reported since polls opened Saturday, in elections that may result in the nation's first democratic transfer of power.

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Positively un-Alaskan ban on Cook Inlet setnetters must not go before voters

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 20:16
Positively un-Alaskan ban on Cook Inlet setnetters must not go before voters OPINION: A small group of urban-based, privileged individuals  are seeking to destroy a critical foundation of our local economy in favor of their own interests. They are willing to destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of Alaska setnetters like myself.April 4, 2014

Alaska's struggling education system can ill-afford to spend money on private schools

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 19:24
Alaska's struggling education system can ill-afford to spend money on private schools OPINION: Instead of chasing amendments to Alaska's constitution, let’s focus on the educational investments that experts agree are critical -- adequate state funding, early learning, and making sure students are ready to learn.April 4, 2014

Minimum wage bill has ballot initiative supporters on edge

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 19:24
Minimum wage bill has ballot initiative supporters on edge The Alaska House of Representatives introduced a bill mirroring a ballot initiative that would increase the minimum wage by $2 in the coming years, and that has supporters concerned.April 4, 2014

Not sure of your vote in Alaska governor's race? Pick a team

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 19:07
Not sure of your vote in Alaska governor's race? Pick a team OPINION: If you vote for the candidate and not the party, choosing can be hard. But picking a leader isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems when you start with the team.April 4, 2014

Alaska families look to creative solutions for finding -- or sharing -- breast milk

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 19:04
Alaska families look to creative solutions for finding -- or sharing -- breast milk As the Blood Bank of Alaska looks to create a breast milk bank, families are working outside the box to secure breast milk for their infants if they can't provide it through normal means.April 4, 2014

With Education Vote Postponed, Parent Group Rallies For More School Funding

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 18:17

Mary Hakala of Juneau, a member of the Great Alaska Schools coalition, speaks during a rally on the Capitol steps, April 4, 2014.(Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

The Alaska State House has delayed its vote on an omnibus education bill to Monday, giving lawmakers more time to wrestle with questions over teacher retirement policy and treatment of rural schools. But even though debate on the bill was delayed, that did not stop a crowd of parents from gathering on the Capitol steps to rally for more education funding.

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For the past week, there have been a lot of parents running around the State Capitol letting their legislators know they want more money put into education. They’ve united under the name “Great Alaska Schools,” and they describe themselves as a coalition of 1,500 families that support the public system.

On Friday, they stopped going door-to-door and went out into the street instead. They had one message: “B-S-A! Raise today!”

Cat Coward is a physical therapist, a jazz singer, and a mom to an 8th grade student at Romig Middle School in Anchorage. She flew down for the Juneau rally, because she has seen changes in the quality of education at Romig as the budget has been strained.

“They’re losing counselors there. Class sizes are increasing,” says Coward.

Coward says the proposals that have gotten traction in the Legislature don’t do enough to offset the cuts she’s seeing. The bill that the House is considering bumps the base student allocation — or the amount of money schools get per kid — by $300 spread out over the next three years.

Coward believes they should double that. She says that kind of increase to the base student allocation amounts to a little more than one percent of the overall budget.

“Our kids who are in school right now will never get another chance for this. This is it, this is the only time to fund these kids,” says Coward. “You know, we can put money at other capital projects or other things later, but we can never invest in these children ever again.”>>

To illustrate their point, Great Alaska Schools brought plenty of pie to their rally, to symbolize that they just want a larger cut of the fiscal one. There was blueberry, apple, you name it. And when the rally was over, Coward and other participants dropped off slices to their legislators in hopes that it would sweeten them up before Monday.

Third suspect arraigned in murder of Anchorage teenager

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 18:07
Third suspect arraigned in murder of Anchorage teenager Karlie West, 21, allegedly drove the getaway vehicle in the murder of a 15-year-old Anchorage girl who died in the early morning of April 1. West was arraigned Friday as the victim's family looked on. April 4, 2014

Committee amends gas line bill to allow non-resident board members

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 18:05
Committee amends gas line bill to allow non-resident board members Republican leaders in the House are trying on two fronts to amend state law to allow a Texas consultant with four decades of industry experience to serve on the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board. A separate bill and an amendment to Gov. Sean Parnell's gas line legislation have the same goal.April 4, 2014

Spring Drive Update!

Southeast Alaska News - Fri, 2014-04-04 17:51

What a fantastic day of community participation and financial support so far. 350 people have donated over $61,000 to Raven Radio so far with a bit more to raise before we reach our Spring Drive goal.   We appreciate all the support, but if you have not donated yet this Spring it’s not too late.  Please call 907-747-5877 or click the donate button.  Thank you!

Minimum Wage Bill Introduced Amid Sponsor Outcry

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 17:32

A bill that could supplant the minimum wage initiative has popped up in the Legislature.

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The House Rules Committee introduced the bill on Friday, and it’s modeled after a citizens’ initiative that’s slated to appear on the August primary ballot. It would raise the minimum wage up from $7.75 to $9.75 over the course of two years, and it would peg the minimum wage to inflation. If the bill is enacted into law, it would make the citizens’ initiative moot and remove the question off the ballot.

Initiative organizers strongly oppose any effort to pre-empt their initiative out of concern the Legislature might try to water it down. When a different minimum wage initiative was introduced in 2002, the Legislature passed a similar bill to keep it from getting on the ballot. A year later, lawmakers came back and stripped the inflation component.

Ed Flanagan, an initiative sponsor and former labor commissioner, says he’s worried the same tactic could be used again.

“It’s not like we didn’t see it coming, but I guess you still hope that people will have some sense of — I don’t know what you call it — shame or anything else such a bold-faced attempt to circumvent the will of the people,” says Flanagan.

If a new minimum wage law is enacted through the ballot, legislators may not touch it for two years.

House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt has said that conversation around a minimum wage bill has not been politically motivated, and instead has focused on public approval of raising the minimum wage. Recently, the House Majority Caucus released a poll by Dittman Research showing that 69 percent people they surveyed supported increasing the minimum wage.

The bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

Deal Reached For Susitna-Watana Dam Land Access

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 17:31

A land access dispute that threatened to delay progress on the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project has been resolved, though the agreement has come later than expected.

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Friday afternoon, the Alaska Energy Authority issued a press release stating that a “complex” land access permit had been reached between AEA, six Cook Inlet village corporations, and Cook Inlet Region, Inc to allow access to Alaska Native-owned land that is in the study area for the proposed megaproject.

Over the past two years, discussions over land access have been ongoing, and were occasionally complicated by allegations of trespassing by contractors hired by AEA. Details of the deal were not immediately available.

The agreement could have an impact on funding for the Susitna-Watana project this year.

Governor Sean Parnell has asked the Alaska Legislature for a $32.7 million budget supplement for the current fiscal year.

Alaska Shield Exercise Testing Military’s Emergency Readiness

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 17:30

The SSGT Robert T. Kuroda is docked at the Port of Anchorage. It’s the largest boat in the Army and sailed from Hawaii to be part of simulation exercises meant to test the readiness of the military to respond to a disaster situation where the port is rendered inoperable.  (Jolene Almendarez/APRN)

More than 550 military personnel from around the country are gathered at the Port of Anchorage this week for an Alaska Shield exercise, meant to test the readiness of the military to provide emergency support to areas impacted by natural or human-caused disasters.

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Senate Ratifies Treaties to Stop Fish Piracy

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 17:29

The U.S. Senate yesterday ratified two international treaties that Alaska’s senators say will help crack down on illegal international fishing. One is an agreement to restrict ships from using ports if they engage in what’s known as IUU fishing. Sen. Mark Begich says the practice robs legitimate fishermen of some $23 billion a year.

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“I know lots of times we talk about illegal, unreported, unregulated,” Begich said on the Senate floor yesterday. ” I like to simply call it pirate fishing. These are people who steal our fish out of our waters and then try to sell it back to us.”

He and other advocates of the treaty say it will also help deter human trafficking. The Port State Measures treaty takes effect after 25 countries ratify it. That’s how many initially signed the treaty, but only the U.S., the European Union and nine smaller countries that have gone all the way to ratification or full approval. Russia has signed and not ratified. China is on neither list.

A second treaty would create an international organization to regulate fishing in international waters of the North Pacific to protect fish habitat. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said it’s “critically important” to the sustainability and management of the resource.

“We’re trying to play be the rules,” she said. “We expect others to be doing the same.”

The treaties were approved by voice vote. Murkowski says they’re the first treaties ratified by the Senate since 2010

State, Feds Wrestle Over Navigable Water Control

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Fri, 2014-04-04 17:28

The State of Alaska is continuing to fight the federal government over control of navigable waters in two cases involving Interior rivers.

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The Alaska Department of Law has filed a friend of the court briefing in support of Central resident Jim Wilde’s latest appeal.

Wilde is contesting the National Park Service’s authority to enforce regulations on the state owned Yukon River, inside the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve.

State Senior Assistant Attorney General Anne Nelson says the state has tracked the case from its start in 2010.

“The state’s position is that the Park Service doesn’t have the authority to regulate navigable waters within National Parks as if they were a part of the National Park,” Nelson said. “And so we’ve filed these amicus briefs to keep that issue in front of the court.”

In December a federal judge upheld Jim Wilde’s conviction of misdemeanor offences for resisting National Park Service rangers, who pulled him over for a boat safety inspection in September 2010. Wilde’s appeal is one of two challenging the federal agency, that the state of Alaska is involved in.

Federal judges have repeatedly rejected the state’s arguments in both cases, and this week the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Alaska’s appeal concerning similar issues in the Katie John subsistence case. The state’s Nelson says the case frames the Wilde and Sturgeon appeals under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

“What it means is that we are continuing to work with the status quo, which is the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that certain navigable waters are considered public lands under ANILCA because the federal government has a reserved water right in them for purposes of administering ANILCA’s rural subsistence priority,” Nelson said.

She says the state’s focus in the Wilde and Sturgeon cases is on challenging the extent of Park Service authority over navigable waters inside parks. The state just filed its brief in the Wilde case. Briefs are due in the Sturgeon case by the end of the month.

Both appeals are before the federal 9th circuit court.

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