Alaska News Nightly: Monday, June 13, 2016

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VA relieves contractor of role in appointments

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will return to using its own employees to make appointments for Alaska veterans who need services outside the VA system.

Permanent Fund bill faces test in House Finance Committee

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

The bill that would cut Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividend checks in half this fall faces a tough legislative test this week. While the Senate passed its version of the bill, Senate Bill 128, the House version, House Bill 245, may not make it through the House Finance Committee. Lawmakers from both ends of the political spectrum are raising concerns with the measure.

New federal rule could prevent litigation over Native children in state custody

Jennifer Canfield, KTOO – Juneau

Under new federal guidance, it will be easier for potential Alaska Native and Native American parents to adopt Native children in state custody.

LGBTQ community grieves while celebrating Pride

Quinton Chandler, KTOO – Juneau

Members of Juneau’s LGBTQ community celebrated the beginning of Pride week with a picnic at a local park. The festive mood was darkened by collective mourning for victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday. At least 50 people were killed.

Big Lake throws block party in remembrance of Miller’s Reach fire

Ellen Lockyer, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

A block party in Big Lake on Saturday drew happy crowds, but there was an underlying somber theme to the event.  The day was dedicated to those firefighters, and community residents, who faced the “Big One”.. the Miller’s Reach blaze of twenty years ago.

State and defense attorneys argue over Sockeye wildfire trial date

Ellen Lockyer, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Sockeye wildfire, which drove Willow residents from their homes and claimed 55 residences.

Juneau charges ahead with electric vehicles

Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO – Juneau

With its limited road system, Southeast doesn’t seem like a paradise for car lovers. But it might be the perfect spot for Travis McCain.

Youth tell US Attorney General: Alaska needs help

Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with a group of Alaska Native youth on Friday who were very direct: Alaska has problems with the public safety systems.

 

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