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The FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

NPR News - 58 min 49 sec ago

If the agency has its way, it will ban sales to minors and keep e-cigarettes out of vending machines. People also would be warned that the nicotine vapor the devices emit is addictive.

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Extractive frontiers -- The Arctic and Central Asia

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 2 hours 17 min ago
Extractive frontiers -- The Arctic and Central Asia They are located on different parts of the planet, but the Arctic and Central Asia have similarities. Both are considered new and exciting territory for oil development; both are fraught with challenges for developers.   April 23, 2014

What’s in a name? The Japanese-built, Chinese-chartered icebreaker: MV Nunavik

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 2 hours 31 min ago
What’s in a name? The Japanese-built, Chinese-chartered icebreaker: MV Nunavik The MV Nunavik, the new icebreaker about to be put into service in Canada, is a product of Asian investment and interest in the Arctic. April 23, 2014

Proposal: Use assault rifles in Sweden’s wild-boar hunt

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 2 hours 33 min ago
Proposal: Use assault rifles in Sweden’s wild-boar hunt The population of wild board has exploded since the 1990s, and now about 200,000 of them are roaming the Nordic nation.April 23, 2014

Report Not Anticipating Near-Term Arctic Increase In Commercial Shipping

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 13 min ago

Despite reports of a boom in Arctic ship traffic, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office concludes commercial industries aren’t planning to boost shipping through the Bering Strait or elsewhere in the U.S. Arctic over the next decade.

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While some federal policymakers say now is the time to start building infrastructure to take advantage of shrinking sea ice, the GAO says deep-water ports, mapping and other infrastructure improvements will only go so far in attracting more ships.

For the container ship companies, one problem is that Arctic routes would be seasonal, while that industry needs steady year-round schedules. And the cruise industry says mainstream cruise lines aren’t drawn to the Arctic because, according to the GAO report, the 10-day journey is too long, the scenery unvarying and interesting ports too scarce.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski issued a statement disagreeing with the main message in the report, saying she believes Arctic maritime activity is on the rise and the U.S. needs to think long-term.

Legislature Passes Bill With Aid For State Refineries

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 13 min ago

The legislature has passed a bill containing aid for in state oil refineries.

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The package, which includes state income tax credits and other provisions, was forwarded by Governor Sean Parnell as a means to ensure Alaska retains its refining industry as cheaper Lower 48 oil makes shipping fuel into the state an option.

HB287 also includes a provision that would allow state oil lease holders, who sell crude to an Alaska refiner, to use the agreed to contract price for calculating state royalty payments, a change aimed at making selling oil to Alaska refiners more attractive. The incentives in HB287 would be in effect for five years, and could provide up to $20 million annually to an individual in-state refiner.

In an announcement about the bill’s passage, Governor Parnell says healthy in state refineries support a strong military presence in Alaska and jobs. Critics of the bill characterize it as an industry bail out.

YK Delta VPSOs Prepare For Firearms

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 13 min ago

When Governor Sean Parnell signs House Bill 199, approved earlier this month by the Alaska Senate, Village Public Safety Officers can legally carry firearms. The Yukon Kuskokwim region has the largest number of VPSO’s in the state.

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Survey Finds Mat-Su Residents Want To Maintain Rural Profile

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 13 min ago

A survey sponsored by the Nature Conservancy indicates that Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents want to maintain a rural profile a quarter of a century from now. The Institute of Social and Economic Research collected the data used in the survey. The results were released last week.

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Fairbanks Hatchery Opening Doors To Public

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 13 min ago

The Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks will open its doors to the public during this weekend’s Outdoors Show. Public outreach and education are part of the $46 million state hatchery’s mission, and a visitor’s center is required by its borough land lease. The hatchery has been operating for more than 2 years but the visitor’s center hasn’t opened.

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Moviegoers Get Glimpse Of Katmai Grizzlies In Disney’s ‘Bears’

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 14 min ago

Moviegoers across the country got an up-close look at the wild Grizzly bears of Katmai National Park over the weekend. After a two-year shoot at Hallo Bay Bear Camp, Disney’s wilderness feature “Bears” opened Friday.

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Anchorage foster parent arrested for sexual abuse of child in his care

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 36 min ago
Anchorage foster parent arrested for sexual abuse of child in his care Steven L. Pyle, 48, was charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor Wednesday. The girl was a foster child in his care.April 23, 2014

Mining prospects favorable for POW

Southeast Alaska News - 3 hours 38 min ago

Representatives from the mining industry, regulatory agencies and local businesses touted the economic benefits of mining to Southeast Alaska during a Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon today (Wednesday, April 23). Two Prince of Wales Island projects were the focus of the discussion – the Niblack copper, gold, silver and zinc prospect; and the Bokan-Dotson Ridge rare earth elements project.
Graham Neale of Heatherdale Resources is project manager for Niblack. Neale says Southeast Alaska is ideal for mine development.
“There’s a workforce that’s already ready. They want to go to work. A lot of the trades that already exist or existed in the past are easily transferrable to the mining industry. A lot of the service and support businesses that support industrial development and responsible mineral development already exist.”
Neale says Alaska ranks number one in the world for mineral potential according to a study done by the Fraser Institute, an independent research and educational organization based in Canada.
Deantha Crockett, Executive Director of the Alaska Miners Association says the need for minerals, especially rare earth elements, is only increasing.
“We’re all going to keep using our devices. We’re all going to keep driving our cars. So why is it important to mine? And then why is it important to do it here? We have an incredible permitting process. It’s very important it’s stringent, it’s rigorous, and it should be.”
Crockett shared results from an economic study on mining in Alaska completed by the McDowell Group.
“We have an average wage of $100,000 within our industry. That’s twice the state average income for any other industry. The local revenues that you’ll see in here are really staggering facts. It’s a really good way to tell what’s working, and what we need to keep doing.”
She says the Alaska Miners Association will do what it can to further development in Alaska. The AMA is an umbrella organization for the mining industry in the state. Crockett says a major role of AMA is to advocate for the industry and to speak to lawmakers about mining issues.
Representatives from Ucore (YOO-core), developer of the Bokan-Dotson project, are in Juneau speaking with legislators and were unable to attend the luncheon.
Several in attendance spoke in favor of Senate Bill 99. Amendments to the bill would give the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) the ability to issue bonds for the Niblack and Bokan mining projects.
Heatherdale CEO Patrick Smith says even if SB99 is approved, it does not provide the mining industry any guarantees, but does allow AEIDA to provide funding more quickly.

“When we get to the point in time when we’re putting the financing package together – and these are large capital investments – it gives them the ability to go through their process, go to their board of directors and make and investment in the Niblack project. If it meets their due diligence.”
Smith says the prospects are excellent for Niblack.
“Few projects around the globe are as advanced as Niblack is that have the potential to be in production in a reasonable period of time. If you check the boxes for ‘being in Alaska,’ the regulatory environment, the legal environment, the fact that we have so much community support for this project. You just go down and look at all the positive attributes of this project, and you can see why several companies are looking very seriously at joining with us in a joint venture.”
Smith says Heatherdale Resources will work aggressively to move the Niblack project forward.
Local business owners and regulators also spoke during the well-attended presentation. Many were heading to Prince of Wales Island for a Mining Symposium in Craig. The symposium runs through Friday (April 25th).

Alaska News Nightly: April 23, 2014

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 3 hours 58 min ago

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.

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What Needs To Be Done To Respond To An Arctic Oil Spill?

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Today the National Research Council released a report on what needs to be done in order to respond to oil spills in Arctic waters. Environmental groups were quick to counter that so much needs to be done, it would be better to not drill at all.

Report Not Anticipating Near-Term Arctic Increase In Commercial Shipping

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Despite reports of a boom in Arctic ship traffic, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office concludes commercial industries aren’t planning to boost shipping through the Bering Strait or elsewhere in the U.S. Arctic over the next decade.

While some federal policymakers say now is the time to start building infrastructure to take advantage of shrinking sea ice, the GAO says deep-water ports, mapping and other infrastructure improvements will only go so far in attracting more ships.

For the container ship companies, one problem is that Arctic routes would be seasonal, while that industry needs steady year-round schedules. And the cruise industry says mainstream cruise lines aren’t drawn to the Arctic because, according to the GAO report, the 10-day journey is too long, the scenery unvarying and interesting ports too scarce.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski issued a statement disagreeing with the main message in the report, saying she believes Arctic maritime activity is on the rise and the U.S. needs to think long-term.

No End In Sight For Alaska Lawmakers

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

It’s day 93 of the 90-day legislative session, and there’s still not an end in sight. A deal has not yet been made on Gov. Sean Parnell’s education bill. The committee tasked with brokering a compromise has not met at all today, after a series of delays.

All this has resulted in canceled plans, canceled plane tickets, and a lot of frustration in the Capitol. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez talked with people still working there to see how they feel about the hold-up.

Legislature Passes Bill With Aid For State Refineries

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The legislature has passed a bill containing aid for in state oil refineries.

The package, which includes state income tax credits and other provisions, was forwarded by Governor Sean Parnell as a means to ensure Alaska retains its refining industry as cheaper Lower 48 oil makes shipping fuel into the state an option.

HB287 also includes a provision that would allow state oil lease holders, who sell crude to an Alaska refiner, to use the agreed to contract price for calculating state royalty payments, a change aimed at making selling oil to Alaska refiners more attractive. The incentives in HB287 would be in effect for five years, and could provide up to $20 million annually to an individual in-state refiner.

In an announcement about the bill’s passage, Governor Parnell says healthy in state refineries support a strong military presence in Alaska and jobs. Critics of the bill characterize it as an industry bail out.

YK Delta VPSOs Prepare For Firearms

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

When Governor Sean Parnell signs House Bill 199, approved earlier this month by the Alaska Senate, Village Public Safety Officers can legally carry firearms. The Yukon Kuskokwim region has the largest number of VPSO’s in the state.

Survey Finds Mat-Su Residents Want To Maintain Rural Profile

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A survey sponsored by the Nature Conservancy indicates that Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents want to maintain a rural profile a quarter of a century from now. The Institute of Social and Economic Research collected the data used in the survey.  The results were released last week.

Fairbanks Hatchery Opening Doors To Public

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks will open its doors to the public during this weekend’s Outdoors Show.  Public outreach and education are part of the $46 million state hatchery’s mission, and a visitor’s center is required by its borough land lease. The hatchery has been operating for more than 2 years but the visitor’s center hasn’t opened.

Moviegoers Get Glimpse Of Katmai Grizzlies In Disney’s ‘Bears’

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

Moviegoers across the country got an up-close look at the wild Grizzly bears of Katmai National Park over the weekend. After a two-year shoot at Hallo Bay Bear Camp, Disney’s wilderness feature “Bears” opened Friday.

Watch: Young Baseball Fan Learns About The Pain Of Defeat

NPR News - 4 hours 9 min ago

The Cubs blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning against the Diamondbacks, teaching a boy a hard lesson on losing.

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Ukraine standoff: For some, Russia’s tactics hark back to Soviet practices

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 4 hours 29 min ago
Ukraine standoff: For some, Russia’s tactics hark back to Soviet practicesRussia and intelligence experts say the Ukraine conflict – more subterfuge than overt action in its tactics – is aimed at nothing less than reestablishing Russian grandeur and power.April 23, 2014

Kotzebue man allegedly shoots 4 of his mother's dogs

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 5 hours 4 min ago
Kotzebue man allegedly shoots 4 of his mother's dogs Carl Henry Jr. allegedly shot his mother's dogs earlier this month after she called him a drunk.April 23, 2014

Stedman Elementary to start new math curriculum

Southeast Alaska News - 5 hours 10 min ago

Math is difficult to learn for some students. To help make it easier and to meet state standards, the Rae C. Stedman Elementary School in Petersburg will be approaching the subject in a new way starting this fall. The Petersburg School Board, in its last meeting, approved a new math curriculum.

The new curriculum is called “Go Math K-5” and it’s been a long road leading up to it.

When first grade teacher, Michelle Brock, approached the school board about it, she brought along a large bag that caught there attention.

“This bag is about a tenth of all the different math stuff we’ve looked at,” Brock said. “I mean really, because we have all this different kind of materials.”

Teachers were introduced to new state standards last year and Brock said it was intimidating.

“And you look at it and it’s just like, ‘this is overwhelming, I have no idea’,” Brock said. “And we’re educated people and know how to teach math and there’s a lot of things in there that you just have to sit down and go through step by step.”

Erica Kludt-Painter is the Elementary school principal said, “It’s a huge process, teachers have spent a lot of time working on it.”

Kludt-Painter said they are looking at changing how they teach math in order to meet the new state standards, standards that she called “intense”.

“They pounded it into us as administrators and also just to work with our staffs on that as far as kind of the different way that we’re approaching mathematics instruction,” Kludt-Painter said.

Kludt-Painter says the “Go Math” curriculum is closely aligned to the state standards and should make meeting them easier. She said they’ve summarized the standards for each grade level into documents that are each about 7 to 8 pages long but she told the board to not be fooled by that.

“There are literally hundreds of hours that have gone into that document,” Kludt-Painter said.

The biggest difference with “Go Math” is in the instruction.

Fourth grade math teacher, Dan Sullivan, told the board that the material is about the same. He said it’s the WAY they would teach it that would change.

“In my grade it hasn’t particularly added, it’s more like taking things away, but more depth on the things that we do teach…move a little bit slower,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan gave this example of how the fourth graders would approach math differently.

“Making sense of problems and persevering in solving them,” Sullivan said. “And so a really big picture with kids and really focusing in on understanding what the constructs of these problems are.”

Another new “Go-Math” approach is called “mistake analysis”.

“I think it’s pushing it to say celebrating mistakes but mistakes aren’t bad things, we make mistakes when we learn,” Sullivan said. “I tell my kids constantly, ‘if you don’t make a mistake, you already knew this and I’m not teaching you anything, you already understand this concept, so mistakes are good things, we learn from our mistakes’.”

Another change that the new program could lead to is assessing students more often, such as taking smaller weekly tests instead of larger ones once a month.

The school board voted 4-0 in favor of the “Go Math” curriculum.

Gorman: Managing ‘conflicting expectations’ in Sitka

Southeast Alaska News - 5 hours 40 min ago

Mark Gorman said that in the recent past Sitka had been financed like someone “with a rich uncle,” but the community’s proactive approach to the future was noteworthy. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)


6 months into his tenure as municipal administrator, Mark Gorman says Sitka is going to become more self-reliant — through a combination of increasing local revenues and exploiting economic opportunities.

Gorman spoke to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce Wednesday afternoon (4-23-13).

He reassured the overflow crowd of business owners and others that Sitka was up to the challenges of the new retail economy. He put up a slide of a Sears store closing its doors in the lower 48.

In my walks around town there is great anxiety in the local business community. How do we compete with the internet? With the big box stores? What we are facing in Sitka is being faced by main street America. This is happening everywhere. And in talking to merchants and businesses that are doing well, there are some common issues that I see there. They are providing a product or a service that when you need it, you need it now. They have a high level of convenience. They have a high level of service. And price seems to be less of a factor. And they have a niche. There is something special about what they’re providing. I heard yesterday on Raven Radio — it was very interesting — a promo for Murray Pacific. And they’re promoting their business with 1-hour docking service if you come into Murray Pacific. And I thought, My goodness, that’s pretty innovative. How many stores offer 1-hour docking if you go in? Very much a niche market, but very creative.

Gorman discussed the nuts and bolts of city hall. He contradicted the popular notion that city staffing is expanding out of control. He said growth in the labor pool has been about 1-percent a year for the last seven years.

Gorman was concerned about revenues, which have been stagnant in Sitka for the last 4 budget years. He said that bulk water sales remain a bright prospect for Sitka — but on an unknown timetable. He discussed the unrealistic expectations Sitkans may have about the community’s relatively low tax rates, as more and more of the burden of paying for services shifts to local taxpayers.

But Gorman also pointed out opportunities for efficiency. He said no one has ever come into his office and complained about garbage pickup, which is handled by a private contractor, and has had stable pricing. Gorman said the city could identify more areas of public-private partnership.

My belief is that as we move forward as a community and start to address issues of sustainable revenue streams and services, we’re going to have to have a much closer discussion on what public-private partnerships look like in Sitka. And I have to point out that this conversation’s going to be a little threatening to people. It’s going to be a little uncomfortable as we explore the possibility of Are there things that the private sector can do more effectively, more efficiently than we as city government. As we move forward we need to ask three questions: Should CBS (City and Borough of Sitka) continue providing the service? Could the private sector provide equal or better service? And if yes, could it do so at a lower price?

Gorman discussed his commitment to Sitka, as a full-time resident for 22 years. He dropped in observations about some of the good things happening in the community, and remained upbeat throughout his presentation. He pointed to Sitka’s Fish to Schools Program, which has become a statewide leader, and called Sitka “The Silicon Valley of Seafood.” He held up a bottle of Leaf Vodka, made with water from Blue Lake.

“Combine this with some of our locally-produced salt,” Gorman said, “and we can have Sitka Margaritas.”

Reports: FCC Poised For Changes To Net Neutrality Policy

NPR News - 6 hours 11 min ago

According to reports, the FCC is set to approve a system in which Internet service providers offer a faster pipe to American homes to content companies willing to pay for it.

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Minimum upset price for lots set at $395,000

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - 6 hours 41 min ago
In deciding to sell two Ogilvie Street lots, the city has essentially taken from one to sell to another, says Sally Wright of the Escarpment Parks Society.

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