KNBA 90.3

5/13/15 - Legislators make no progress on budget

May 12, 2015

Lawmakers met Tuesday just to keep the clock going but have made no progress on the reasons for the special session: the budget, Medicaid expansion, and a sexual abuse prevention law. Legislators are at an impasse over the budget. A two thirds majority is needed to get into savings, giving Democratic minority caucus members some clout. They say the budget must include Medicaid expansion and more money for education. Republican majority members say budget increases are the last thing they want. 

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By Ben Matheson, KYUK

The path to unified management of Kuskokwim salmon stocks is uncharted, but along the way, the newly established Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fisheries Commission wants  involvement at each step. That begins with tribal consultation in preparations for another summer of sacrifice. The commission’s inaugural meeting wrapped up Wednesday in Bethel.

by Ben Matheson, KYUK

Federal staff will again manage king salmon on the lower Kuskokwim River after requests from tribes. Earlier this year, a handful of tribal governments asked the federal subsistence board to implement federal management. The Federal Subsistence Board deferred last month, but at a Friday meeting of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working group, US Fish and Wildlife Service leaders announced a plan for federal management.

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

Over the past four days, we have brought you stories that go out into the field for an in-depth look at Alaska's rural sanitation situation - a series we call "Kick the Bucket."  We have seen how the lack of modern sanitation is linked to disease as people strain the limits of their clean water supply. And we have looked at the implications of decreasing funding and looming maintenance expenses in villages with a limited cash economy.   Today we’ll wrap up the series by trying to look into the future.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water Program

What if you didn’t have piped water and sewer, and the government wasn’t picking up the tab to get you some? How would you find a low-cost system that you could keep running through the winter? In this segment of “Kick the Bucket,” find out how experts are looking for answers to rural sanitation issues in Alaska.

Villagers and people in the water and sewer business can name dozens of ways systems have failed due to parts that shattered in the cold, say, or components that had to be flown in from Europe and installed by a Lower 48 specialist.

Joaqlin Estus

News Director Joaqlin Estus is producing a series of stories about rural sanitation in Alaska. Check back to see photos and interviews in coming days. 

Tune in at 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. the week of April 27, 2015 for the 5-part series on rural sanitation in Alaska. 

Americans for Prosperity, a Virginia-based, Koch brothers-funded organization, says Anchorage needs a conservative mayor

By Zachariah Hughes, APRN

Major conservative political groups are stepping into the Anchorage mayor's race. The May runoff  between Amy Demboski and Ethan Berkowitz is drawing increasing attention from state and national organizations hoping to influence local politics.

Senators on the Finance Committee Thursday questioned Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials, asking just how bad would it be to turn down federal dollars for construction of water and sewer systems.

DEC Administration Director Tom Cherian told legislators the $64 million capital budget DEC submitted is its lowest in ten years. The lion’s share of DEC’s capital budget, $55.5 million, would go to water and sewer projects. Of that, 71% is federal dollars. The state’s share would be a $9 million dollar match.

The Trustees for Alaska are going back to court to fight a federal okay for coal mining at Wishbone Hill in Palmer.  Trustee attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in Anchorage yesterday ( Wednesday) on behalf of the Castle Mountain Coalition (CMC) and other groups opposed to coal mining in the area.  Vicki Clark, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, says they’re concerned about a new coal mine going in under a permit that was issued decades ago.

Tununak v state of Alaska is "potentially explosive"

Yesterday, the state Department of Law asked the Alaska Supreme Court for more time in a case tribes say will show whether Governor Bill Walker is serious about campaign pledges to work cooperatively with tribes, and determine how the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, will be implemented in Alaska.

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