Latest Alaska news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. AKDT

Latest Alaska news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. AKDT
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 3:23 AM AKDT
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1 person dies, 2 rescued after boat capsizes near Homer

HOMER, Alaska (AP) — Officials say one person died and two others were rescued after their boat capsized near Homer. Harbor officials say a 14-foot skiff carrying three people overturned near Gull Island in the mouth of a bay popular for salmon dipnetting. Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins says tide currents and winds can make traveling in the area dangerous. The Homer News reports that boats in the area responded to the scene. Lt. Ryan Browning of the Homer Police Department confirmed the one man who was taken to a hospital later died.


Kenai Peninsula Fair canceled due to coronavirus concerns

KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Kenai Peninsula Fair scheduled for Aug. 14-16 has been canceled due to safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, its board of directors announced on Facebook. The Peninsula Clarion reported Monday that the annual fair in Ninilchik, about 187 miles away from Anchorage, will resume in 2021. While the board voted unanimously to cancel the fair this year, the rodeo that traditionally happens in conjunction operates independently and is scheduled to continue. The board’s president, Jim Stearns, stressed that a major consideration was an outbreak in Seward, where cases have doubled in the last month.


RavnAir Group begins selling planes as part of auction

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska aviation companies bought dozens of planes sold at auction by RavnAir Group, three months after the regional carrier filed for federal bankruptcy protection. Alaska's Energy Desk reports the company, at auction Tuesday, sold planes to Grant Aviation, Yute Commuter Service, Wright Air Service and ACE Air Cargo. The auction was expected to continue Wednesday with the company’s largest planes and operating certificates. A federal bankruptcy judge still must approve the winning bids. RavnAir Group, in seeking bankruptcy protection, cited a steep drop in bookings and revenue associated with the coronavirus pandemic.


Alaska city approves draft of wide-ranging equal rights law

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska city council has approved a draft ordinance to protect equal rights for residents covering a range of personal, cultural and social circumstances. The Ketchikan Daily News reported the first reading of an equal rights ordinance that passed last Thursday would prohibit discrimination based on factors including ethnicity, national origin, religion and marital status. The ordinance would also protect citizens from discrimination stemming from disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Ketchikan Mayor Bob Sivertsen says the ordinance could be amended and updated as new information arises. The proposal is scheduled for a second reading July 16.


Coronavirus tests in Alaska village do not find new cases

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Alaska health officials say all residents in a small community who submitted to coronavirus testing have shown negative results, although not everyone agreed to testing. The results come less than a month after the village’s first case emerged. KYUK-AM reported the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. found there were no new cases of the virus in the tests conducted in Napaskiak. A Napaskiak resident tested positive for COVID-19 on June 15, while a second person tested positive soon after. The corporation conducted additional tests from June 26 to July 1 and announced Monday that all of those test results were negative.


Judge halts virus relief funding for Alaska Native firms

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has put the brakes on federal coronavirus relief funding for Alaska Native corporations for now. The decision Tuesday stems from lawsuits that several tribes filed against the Treasury Department seeking to keep the corporations from getting a share of $8 billion set aside for tribes. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., ruled against the tribes late last month. But he says he wrestled with the decision, and it deserves a closer look before a higher court. He granted a request from the tribal plaintiffs to halt funding for the corporations while his decision is appealed. He has given the tribes until July 14 to challenge it.