Alaska News Nightly: Monday, Apr. 4, 2016

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Criminal justice bill amended to reduce benefits to sex offenders

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

Senators have amended a bill that would overhaul Alaska’s criminal justice
system, taking steps that make it more difficult for those convicted of sex crimes
from benefiting from the bill’s provisions.

Senate Finance Committee pulls various bills from hearing

Hannah Colton, KDLG – Dillingham

Late last month, the Senate Finance Committee introduced bills to cut back
the Community Revenue Sharing grant program, and up the amount schools and
municipalities pay towards employee’s pensions.

Alaska Air buys Virgin America, and may keep a hint of its bling

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington D.C.

Alaska Airlines announced this morning it’s buying Virgin America in a deal
worth $2.6 billion. It will turn Alaska into the fifth largest U.S. carrier. It’s too
early to say how it might affect service for traveling Alaskans. But if any of the Virgin brand makes it onto Alaska’s jets, passengers can expect a flashier ride.

Retired EPA ecologist Phil North speaks out

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingaham

Retired EPA ecologist Phil North resurfaced in the US last month for
deposition in a lawsuit filed by the Pebble Mine.  Pebble alleges EPA broke Federal
Advisory Committee Act rules when it developed the Bristol Bay watershed assessment, and says North was at the center of the effort. Since retiring, North and his family have been
traveling in New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia, sort of “leaving the past behind,”
he says.

Eielson chosen to base the F-35

Associated Press

Today, the decision on where to base the F35 was made official.
Eielson Air Force Base has been picked for the Air Force’s first
operational overseas F- 35A Lightning IIs.

Avalanche fatality at Summit Lake

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A North Pole woman was killed in an avalanche near Summit Lake over the
weekend. The fatality comes as thousands of Alaskans head
to the area for the Arctic Man event.

State calls off student testing

Emily Kwong, KCAW- Sitka

The state of Alaska has canceled standardized testing inschools this year.
Upwards of 70,000 students were scheduled to take Alaska Measures of Progress, or AMP assessments across a five-week window, but in a press release issued on Friday, the Department of Education called the whole thing off. The reason? Ongoing problems connecting to an online server – in Kansas.

Seawolves fall to Lubbock Christian in NCAA Division II championship game

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team fell 78 to 73 to
Lubbock Christian in the NCAA Division II National Championship Game in Indianapolis

Juneau seawater heat pump more than a pipe dream?

Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO – Juneau

The Alaska House recently passed a bill that could make it easier for one
hydro project to get off the ground. If the Juneau Hydropower plant gets built, the
company wants to bring sustainable heat to some residents from an abundant source.

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