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Official shares ideas for marijuana regulations in Alaska

Jan 27, 2015 -- 12:30pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The head of the board currently in charge of writing regulations for the legalized use of recreational pot in Alaska says rules on edibles, advertising and extraction methods should be part of the conversation. Cindy Franklin is executive director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control board. She presented ideas for new regulations during a Tuesday Senate committee hearing, primarily centered around public safety concerns and keeping marijuana away from minors. Voters in November approved an issue under which recreational marijuana becomes legal Feb. 24. The state then has nine months to write regulations. Sen. Lesil McGuire has said she plans to introduce a bill creating a marijuana control board to develop regulations. Representatives from several state departments and the Alaska Mental Health Trust also participated in the hearing.

Alaska ferry system to close bars on ships to save money

Jan 27, 2015 -- 12:15pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The state ferry system plans to close the bars on the six ships that have them. The Alaska Marine Highway System estimates this will save the state more than $750,000 a year. The rollout is expected to begin later this winter, with the change seen as the vessels are returned to service following their annual overhauls. System spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says travelers will still be able to buy and drink alcohol in the cafeterias of those ships during meal hours. He says the bar areas will be closed off but the lounge space will be available for travelers. The move is the latest by the ferry system to reduce costs. It previously closed gift shops on ships and Woodrow says it also has taken steps aimed at reducing fuel costs. 

Cold snap envelops interior Alaska communities

Jan 27, 2015 -- 12:00pm
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Mild winter temperatures have disappeared and been replaced with bone-chilling cold in Fairbanks and other interior Alaska communities. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports residents woke up Monday to temperatures in the 40s below zero. That's not unusual for a Fairbanks winter but it's the coldest stretch this season. Fairbanks public schools cut back on scheduled activities after temperatures by noon had failed to climb above 42 below zero. Granite Creek near Delta Junction recorded 55 degrees below zero. Coldfoot, a truck stop 180 miles north of Fairbanks, reached minus 53. National Weather Service forecaster Lindsay Tardif-Huber says frigid temperatures likely will stick around for a day or two and slowly increase.
 

Obama floats offering first-ever drilling lease in Atlantic

Jan 27, 2015 -- 11:45am
- WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is proposing to open up drilling off a broad swath of the Atlantic Coast for the first time, even as it restricts drilling off Alaska. The plan, unveiled Tuesday, envisions auctioning areas off Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia to oil companies come 2021. That means it would not come to fruition until years after President Barack Obama left office. The proposal also would place parts of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in Alaska off-limits to drilling in 2017-2022, citing their important to Alaska natives and sensitive environmental resources. Obama in early 2010 announced his intention to allow drilling 50 miles off the coast of Virginia, only to scrap it after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  

School bus struck in Anchorage collision

Jan 27, 2015 -- 11:30am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Police say a school bus was struck in a three-vehicle collision in Anchorage. Channel-2 News reports that no injuries were reported in the Monday afternoon crash near East 5th Avenue and Muldoon Road. Anchorage School District spokeswoman Patti Layou says eight students were aboard the bus at the time of the crash. Layou says two vehicles initially collided and then a pickup truck involved in the crash slid onto the school bus.

State wants to ensure feds honor Medicaid expansion promise

Jan 27, 2015 -- 11:15am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - State health commissioner Valerie Davidson says Alaska's participation in Medicaid expansion would be made contingent upon the federal government paying at least 90 percent of the cost. She said the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have negotiated that provision with other states. The federal government is expected to cover the full cost of expansion in states opting for it through 2016. The federal contribution would decline after that, reaching 90 percent by 2020, where it's supposed to stay. But some have questioned whether the government will honor that commitment. The issue is expected to be part of budget talks in the legislature, as Gov. Bill Walker has made expanding Medicaid a priority. Davidson told a House committee the administration plans to release an updated report on expansion soon. 
 
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