Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016

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VA contractor adds staff to better handle appointment scheduling

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

Veterans in Alaska will soon have more help making medical appointments and navigating healthcare. The third-party contractor handling the bulk of appointments for veterans across the state is adding personnel to better handle problems that have arisen in the last year-and-a-half.

BP announces lay-offs in wake of low oil prices

Associated Press

BP is cutting some 4,000 jobs in exploration and production over the next two years amid sharp drops in the price of crude. The company says some of those job losses will be in Alaska, but didn’t give specifics.

Pre-filed bill aims to nix controversial school AMP test

Hannah Colton, KDLG – Dillingham

Representative Jim Colver, a Republican of Palmer has pre-filed a bill that would do away with the one-year-old Alaska Measures of Progress exam.

Auditors review state Dept. of Ed policies

Hannah Colton, KDLG – Dillingham

Auditors hired by the state will visit Dillingham City School District this week to ask local teachers and administrators how the Alaska Department of Education is doing.

For 2nd consecutive year, Iditarod eyes Fairbanks start

Associated Press

The head of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will meet with Fairbanks officials next week to discuss possibly starting the 1,000-mile race in that city because of poor snow conditions in southcentral Alaska.

Mat-Su grant targets parents in bolstering family well-being

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Something as simple as a family meal can go a long way in the fight against drug addiction.

Sitka Library settles in at new digs

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

It’s official: the contractor handed off the keys to the newly-renovated Sitka Public Library, this week and the Sitka Library Commission moved right in.

Pre-filed bill would allow discrimination in performing marriage

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

State Rep. Dave Talerico, a Republican from Healy has pre-filed a bill that would  allow those authorized to perform marriages to turn away couples.

Alaska Native Medical Center to host state’s first Ronald McDonald House

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Alaska’s first “Ronald McDonald House” is opening next year at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. The facility will provide temporary housing at little or no cost for pregnant women and families with children receiving care.

A century of bird data informs modern surveying on Kenai

Jenny Neyman, KDLL – Kenai

Though it had no airline flights, highways or cruise ships 100 years ago, the Kenai Peninsula still drew visitors, both of the human and feathered varieties. And those early surveys are an early data set for modern day birders on the Kenai.

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