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10/16/14 - Gay marriage in Alaska temporarily halted

Repeal of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage now goes to U.S. Supreme Court

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a temporary halt to gay marriages in Alaska. The federal appeals court in San Francisco issued the stay late Wednesday, giving the state of Alaska until Friday to get a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. Otherwise the federal court action dissolves at 11 a.m. Friday, when gay marriages in Alaska will be allowed to go forward.

Governor Parnell denies slow response to reports of Alaska National Guard wrongdoing 

An investigation into fraud in the Alaska National Guard is underway. Three investigators from the National Guard Bureau are looking into allegations of embezzlement and misuse of funds. They will issue their findings in a draft report in December. The investigation follows an earlier report that documented instances where money was siphoned from family programs, and government equipment was misused for personal gain. The report also concluded there was a crisis of confidence in Guard leadership, and that reports of sexual assault were mishandled.

The group Alaska Women for Political Action held a press conference Wednesday afternoon calling for the firing of two top National Guard leaders:  Brig. Gen. Mike Bridges and Gen. Catherine Jorgensen, along with Parnell Chief of Staff Mike Nizich.

An hour later, Gov. Parnell issued a video statement on his official Vimeo account saying, "To have the critics say I would know about something that's gone on in the National Guard and not done something for four  years - that is just not true. It's not who I am, and Alaskans know it."

Since the Bureau's report issued last month, whistle-blowers have come forward to express disappointment with the Governor's response to allegations. E-mails and meeting notes from chaplains in the Guard show they alerted the Governor's Office to problems with Guard leadership beginning in 2010. Parnell says he or his staff followed command protocol on every allegation, and that Guard leadership told him matters were being handled appropriately.

Calista to meet with shareholders on whether to issue shares to more people

As KYUK's Ben Matheson reports, the for-profit Alaska Native corporation Calista begins touring the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta region this week to educate shareholders about the impacts of issuing shares to descendants of the original shareholders. 

Shares originally were issued to enrolled tribal members alive when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was signed in Dec. 1971. As it is now, the only way for descendants born after that date to acquire shares is to inherit them or to receive them as a gift from a family member.

Calista staff will outline how the change will impact governance of the corporation, and the size of shareholder dividends. Calista is not taking a stand on the matter, but will share information with shareholders as they visit Y-K villages. Sealaska and Doyon Native corporations have already issued shares to so-called "after-borns," and Calista staff will describe their experiences. Calista shareholders will vote on the matter in 2015.

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