Alaska News Nightly: June 23, 2014

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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Tsunami Warning In Effect From Attu to Nikolski

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

A powerful underwater earthquake in the Western Aleutians triggered tsunami alerts for parts of the Aleutian Islands Monday afternoon.

Medicare Will Penalize Alaska Hospitals For Patient Safety

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The four largest hospitals in Alaska are facing Medicare payment penalties for the quality of their care. Providence, Alaska Regional, Alaska Native Medical Center and Fairbanks Memorial are all in the bottom 25% nationally for the number of infections and serious complications patients get in their hospitals, according to data analyzed by Kaiser Health News. The penalties are part of a focus on quality care that’s included in the Affordable Care Act.

Initiative Challenging Pebble Development Remains On Ballot

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Anchorage

An initiative that would add another roadblock to the Pebble Mine project will appear on the ballot this fall, now that a legal challenge against it has failed.

Does The State Do Enough To Serve Alaska Native Language Speakers?

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Anchorage

A federal trial has kicked off to determine whether the State of Alaska does enough to serve voters who speak Native languages.

Gov. Parnell Signs Bill To Finance KABATA

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Governor Sean Parnell on Friday signed a bill to finance a $900 million bridge across Knik Arm, from Anchorage to Point McKenzie. Bridge proponents originally wanted to fund the project entirely with federal earmarks. But then Congress banned earmarks, in part due to public outrage over this bridge and another in Ketchikan, both derided nationally as “bridges to nowhere.” The new Knik bridge plan is contingent on low-interest loans from the federal government.

Low Unemployment Limits Anchorage’s Business Growth

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Anchorage’s unemployment rate for May is 4.9 percent, one of the lowest rates in the state. Though that may seem like a good thing, it’s actually a barrier for growth in the state’s largest city. Businesses are having trouble finding reliable workers.

Legislation Transfers $3 Billion From State Savings To Public Employee Pension Systems

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Surrounded by dozens of public employees in the atrium of Juneau’s State Office Building, Gov. Sean Parnell today signed legislation transferring $3 billion from state savings into Alaska’s public employee pension systems.

A Mountaineering Season for the Record Books

Monica Gokey, KSKA – Anchorage

This year’s mountaineering season has been one for the record books. Earlier this month, a new speed record was set on Denali. And a team of skiers knocked out back-to-back ascents of the three tallest mountains in the Alaska Range.

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