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6/10/15 House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on one part of state budget

House and Senate budget negotiators yesterday reached agreement on one part of the state budget before them. They agreed to fully fund the per-student funding formula for the coming year. Other items before the conference committee, including whether to honor cost-of-living increases in negotiated union contracts, remain unresolved. Funding for the pay increases has been a sticking point in budget talks.

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Study launched on refinery solvent contaminating North Pole drinking water

At the state’s request, a federal agency last month launched a two-year study on the effects of long-term exposure to an industrial solvent found in drinking water in and around North Pole. The National Toxicology Program is conducting the study of sulfolane at the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s request. DEC is working with Flint Hills Resources Alaska, which owns the North Pole Refinery, on cleanup of the refinery property.  Until the study’s done, Flint Hills is supplying drinking water to some 15-hundred people.

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Alaska U.S. Congressman Don Young weds

Alaska Congressman Don Young tied the knot yesterday, on his 82nd birthday. Young married 76-year-old Anne Walton, a flight nurse from Fairbanks, in a small civil ceremony at the chapel of the U.S. Capitol. Both bride and groom are parents and grandparents who were widowed, he in 2009, she in 2001.  They’d been engaged for about a year. The bride will keep her last name.

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Medicaid changes put seniors at risk of losing their only source of funding for housing, care

Earlier this week we heard from seniors who are in danger of losing access to the state’s Medicaid Waiver Program. The program pays the cost of their housing and nursing care. The state says to qualify for the C waiver applicants must meet Nursing Home Level of Care. There is disagreement over what that means and some say the department is denying services to people who have no recourse. As KBBI’s Quinton Chandler reports, the state plans to introduce two new waiver options to bridge the gap.