Alaska News Nightly: Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

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Tax bill still up for debate, but no sign of dropping ANWR drilling in sight

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington D.C.

In Washington, U.S. senators are still debating a bill to cut taxes and repeal the mandate that everyone have health insurance. The bill would also open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Sullivan defends tax cuts, disputes cost

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington D.C.

Sen. Dan Sullivan ardently defended the GOP tax cuts to reporters. Citing his faith in the growth potential of the U.S. economy, Sullivan said the bill won’t add as much to the national debt as analysts say. But a new congressional report puts the net cost at $1 trillion.

U.S., Russia and others agree to ban fishing in the Arctic Ocean

Emily Russell, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Ten nations, including the U.S. and Russia, have agreed to ban commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean for at least sixteen years.

Premera pays state $25M to offset high health insurance rates

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – JuneAU

The payment will offset nearly half the $55 million cost of the Alaska Reinsurance Program.

Educational partnership mixes math with Native design

Adelyn Baxter, KTOO – Juneau

A program mixing Alaska Native art with high school math is part of Sealaska Heritage Institute’s latest efforts to promote culture and foster the next generation of Native artists.

Hatchery association reduces release numbers in Tutka Bay

Aaron Bolton, KBBI – Homer

The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association walked back a contentious plan to move most of a hatchery operation further into Kachemak Bay State Park on Saturday.

Meshik Processing Center aims to be operational for the 2018 salmon season

Avery Lill, KDLG – Dillingham

Port Heiden anticipates its tribally-owned processing center will handle up to 10,000 pounds of salmon per day from May to September, providing local fishermen an opportunity to fish shoulder seasons closer to home.

AK: Talking Trash: Composting startup tackles Juneau’s green waste

Jacob Resneck, KTOO – Juneau

A small Juneau start-up is proving that household composting works. Lisa Daugherty of Juneau Composts! is already receiving accolades for her subscription-based service that’s keeping tons of green waste out of the landfill.

49 Voices: Don Allen on the MV Columbia

Vikram Patel, KSKA Contributor – Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Don Allen aboard the ferry, the MV Columbia. Allen has been the officers board and room steward there for 14 years.