Alaska News Nightly: October 2, 2013

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 and on Twitter @aprn.

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F-16s Will Remain At Eielson Air Force Base

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Air Force’s proposal to relocate a squadron of F-16s from Eielson Air Force Base south to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson has been scrapped. Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation received the news midday Wednesday.

New F-35 Fighter Jets May Be Based At Eielson

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Air Force’s decision to retain an F-16 squadron at Eielson F-16 could bode well for it basing a squadron of the new F-35 fighter jet.  Eielson is one of two bases in the Pacific region under consideration for getting the new stealth aircraft.

State’s National Parks Close Due To Shutdown

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The shutdown of much of the federal government has closed National Parks. In Interior and Northern Alaska, that means just a few staff remaining on to carry out essential work.

High Web Traffic Cripples Federal Health Insurance Marketplaces

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

A day after the launch of Alaska’s health insurance marketplace, it’s still impossible to sign up for plans on the website. The federal government says higher than expected web traffic has hampered all of the federally run marketplace sites, like the one in Alaska. They are working to add more server capacity to address the problem.

Municipal Elections Held Across State

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer, Shady Grove Oliver, KSTK – Wrangell & The Associated Press

Municipalities across the state held elections Tuesday.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough defeated a 5 percent alcohol tax. The Mat-Su Assembly in mid-July proposed the tax on alcohol sales in bars, restaurants and liquor stores. Assembly members estimated it could have brought in $1 million annually.

A measure to lower the sales tax in the Wrangell was also soundly defeated yesterday, by about 75 percent of voters.

The measure would have dropped sales tax from 7 percent to 5.5 percent. If it had passed, the city would have faced a shortage of about $500,000, which is used for services such as police and public schools.

And Homer retailers will apparently again be allowed to use plastic bags. The City’s ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags went into effect January 1st but nine months later, the ban appears to be history. As KBBI’s Aaron Selbig reports, Homer residents voted to repeal the ban in yesterday’s municipal election.

Agricultural Conference Addresses Arctic Food Issues

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Researchers from circumpolar countries are meeting in Girdwood this week for an agricultural conference sponsored in part by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. Food policy and food safety are increasingly urgent issues in Arctic nations, and many of those represented at the conference have come up with innovative programs to encourage local production and distribution.

Circle Still Recovering From Spring Floods

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Circle has made progress rebuilding after this past spring’s break up flood. Yukon River water and ice damaged homes, other buildings and roads in May. The state reports that sink holes have been filled. Village corporation president Charles John says the clinic is being operated out of trailers brought in this summer, and he’s one of three who’ve had new homes put up.

Solace International Helping Syrian Refugees

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

An Alaska based non-profit that does international aid work is running a school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Nate York is Executive Director of Solace International. He founded the small organization after the September 11th attacks and started building girls schools in Afghanistan. Now the non-profit works on a wide range of small projects in South and Central America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

York says as he watched the civil war in Syria evolve he decided Solace could make a difference.

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