Alaska News Nightly: Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2016

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Budget talks are quiet as Walker projects optimism

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

Progress on the state government budget has slowed to a crawl this week. But Governor Bill Walker remains hopeful the Legislature can reach an agreement on an oil and gas tax bill that’s at the center of budget talks.

Bill seeks to rein in state employees’ wages until oil prices rise

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

State workers wouldn’t see pay hikes based on experience until oil prices rise sharply, under a bill introduced Monday in the House.

Crucial cargo point only ‘marginally adequate’ say officials

Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage

An enormous share of Alaska’s food, fuel, and supplies come into the state through just a single access point: the Port of Anchorage. Even small communities in distant parts of the state rely on the steady flow of goods over the port’s docks. In the first part of a series on the port, Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes takes a look behind those numbers.

One injured in Haines bear mauling

Jillian Rogers, KHNS – Haines

A Fairbanks man and University of Alaska assistant professor was airlifted to an Anchorage hospital from Haines on Monday afternoon after being mauled by a bear nine miles west of town.

Wildfire season getting an early start

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The season’s first wildfires are getting attention.  The Alaska Interagency Coordination reports a 25-acre blaze in the Palmer being worked by 13 firefighters, with smaller blazes in the MatSu, on the Kenai, and in the Fairbanks area, drawing responses or being monitored in recent days.

Changing what it means to be a foster parent

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Foster kids who don’t feel like they belong act out. The solution? Foster parents are working harder to make kids into family.

Senate authorizes funding for FAA air carrier services to Diomede

Emily Russell, KNOM – Nome

For decades, Diomede has scrambled to fund reliable air carrier service. Today, the small island community got one step closer to a long-term solution for passenger travel and mail delivery. The US Senate voted to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration with a new amendment that would guarantee federal funding for the island of Diomede.

Fourth whale harvested by North Slope Borough this year

Associated Press

Subsistence hunters in Alaska’s North Slope Borough have harvested a 41-foot bowhead whale, marking the fourth animal that has been captured during the borough’s spring whale hunt.

Audit: Skagway misspent CPV taxes on playground equipment

Emily Files, KHNS – Haines

Alaska charges cruise ships that stay three or more days in state waters a $34.50 tax per traveler. It’s called the Commercial Passenger Vessel Tax. The tax brings in millions of dollars each year, much of which the state distributes to cruise ship port communities. An audit of the CPV program found some towns need to tighten standards for how they spend the money. And, it alleged that Skagway misspent some CPV funds on school playground equipment.

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