Federal bill introduced to fund Erin’s Law

first_imgCrime & Courts | Education | Government | Health | Sexual Abuse & Domestic Violence | State GovernmentFederal bill introduced to fund Erin’s LawJuly 3, 2015 by Jennifer Canfield, KTOO Share:Erin Merryn, a victim of sexual abuse as a child, campaigns across the country advocating for a law that would require schools to implement sexual abuse prevention education. (Photo by Skip Gray/KTOO)Three U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would fund the implementation of Erin’s Law in states where it’s been adopted.The bill would amend the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Act of 1965 and define standards sexual abuse awareness and prevention programs must meet to qualify for funding.The bill requires the program’s curriculum “be based upon an assessment of objective data” in order to improve student safety and health, and to strengthen parent and community engagement. The program must also consider input from teachers, principals, school leaders and parents.Programs funded by the grant would be required to undergo a periodic third-party evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the program. Schools would be required to use the results of the evaluation to improve their program.The final clause in the bill prohibits the federal government from mandating, directing or controlling the programs developed by local schools.The Alaska Legislature passed a version of Erin’s Law — the Alaska Safe Children’s Act — last month during a special session. The bill was first introduced during the 2014 session by Rep. Geran Tarr of Anchorage. The bill died in committee, but was reintroduced in 2015 by Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate.After a thorough reworking and much controversy, the legislature passed the bill introduced by Rep. Charisse Millett, a Republican from Anchorage, during a special session in June.U.S. Senate Bill 1665 was released just as Congress was breaking for the Fourth of July. Spokespersons for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young all said the lawmakers were looking forward to reviewing the bill.Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, are sponsoring the bill.Share this story:last_img read more

Caribou emigrate from Adak; feds struggle to stop the spread

first_imgAleutians | Environment | Government | Subsistence | WildlifeCaribou emigrate from Adak; feds struggle to stop the spreadJuly 6, 2015 by Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB Share:Caribou on Adak in 1985. (Credit: USFWS)Every summer, a team of federal exterminators set up shop in the southwest corner of the state. Their job is to root out non-native animals that might disturb the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge.In addition to the usual rats and foxes, the refuge managers decided to target a new pest this season.It’s no mystery how caribou wound up on Adak Island. They were imported in the late 1950s so Navy personnel would have something to hunt.Nowadays, the Navy is gone and the island is a prime spot for big game hunters. But not enough of them, says Steve Ebbert.He’s a wildlife biologist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. As he stands on the deck of their research vessel, sailing less than a half mile from the rocky shores of Adak, Ebbert says the caribou herd is now seven times its former size. And it’s starting to spread.Ebbert points to a gently sloping beach just across the way on Kagalaska Island.It’s not clear when the caribou started to swim across the channel to Kagalaska. But Ebbert thinks he knows why. The island is still covered in thick, white lichen — the same plant that used to grow naturally on Adak.If the caribou are willing to travel for food, Ebbert says they probably won’t stop at Kagalaska when there even more islands to graze on nearby — all federally protected, refuge land.After an environmental assessment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided the best way to prevent that outcome was to organize a hunt on Kagalaska.The team bagged nine male caribou. But Sen. Lisa Murkowski isn’t impressed with their haul.The hunt cost $58,000, plus another $13,000 to butcher and salvage the meat. That part was specifically requested by Murkowski and other officials. But going forward, the senator wants to see a different approach.The Senate Appropriations committee recently (on June 18) approved a new rule that would keep the refuge from using federal money to sponsor more caribou hunts at Kagalaska.A similar ban would apply to two other islands, where wild cows have escaped from old ranches. Murkowski and her colleagues also suggest a $2 million cut in funding the Fish and Wildlife Service but a million-dollar bump for the refuge system’s budget. The entire package has been sent to the full Senate for consideration.Elaine Smiloff has lived and hunted on Adak Island for years. She had her own doubts about trying to control the spread of caribou.But Smiloff also says that this year, it got harder for local hunters to track down caribou in their own backyard. Without a boat — which most residents don’t have — their options seemed to shrink.Usually, Kagalaska wouldn’t be one of them.That’s one reason why Smiloff jumped at the chance to help federal hunters move huge slabs of meat off that island. More than a half-ton was distributed to local families.Smiloff would be glad to help get more. But wildlife managers haven’t decided if they’ll try to conduct another hunt before the Senate takes action on the proposal to shut it down.For now, the Alaska Maritime refuge is more focused on finding out if the first big control effort was a success.They may have a chance to investigate in August, when refuge staff are scheduled to sail past Kagalaska aboard their research vessel.Eventually, Steve Ebbert says he wants to find a method for tracking the number of caribou that reach the island. First, he’d have to mark them — with paintballs, or by branding.But then again:“You’re capturing the animals, drugging the animals in the case of branding, and marking them permanently — and just releasing them? It doesn’t seem as efficient. If you can shoot them with a dart, you can shoot them with a rifle,” Ebbert says.The biologist says he wouldn’t call that hunting — more like counting. By elimination.Share this story:last_img read more

Sled dog killed, another injured in muskox goring outside Nome

first_imgOutdoors | Western | WildlifeSled dog killed, another injured in muskox goring outside NomeAugust 16, 2015 by Matthew F. Smith, KNOM Share:A bull muskox. (Photo by Tim Bowman/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)A grimly familiar sight to Nome dog owners returned with the fatal goring of a local musher’s dog by a bull muskox Wednesday.Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Bill Dunker said Nome police called his office Wednesday afternoon to report two dogs were injured—one fatally—in the attack before the bull muskox was killed in what Dunker calls a clear case of “defense of life or property.”“Everything appears to be a justifiable DLP,” Dunker said.The dogs belonged to musher Rolland Trowbridge, who ran the Kuskokwim 300 earlier this year. He also ran the Yukon Quest in February—withdrawing near the race’s midpoint. Daughter Janelle Trowbridge also ran dogs from the family kennel in her 2014 Junior Iditarod run.Trowbridge declined to comment on the incident.Dunker said it’s the first fatal clash between muskox, and Nome residents and their animals, so far this summer. That’s a far cry from the multiple gorings and dog fatalities seen last year, including a DLP kill of a muskox harassing a dog and a similar DLP kill in the community of Wales.“This summer has been much better with regard to conflicts with muskox,” Dunker said. “We’re still having them on occasion, but certainly last year was kind of the ‘perfect storm’ of muskox conflicts in the Nome area. It’s certainly been the case that this year has been much less active with regard to muskox conflicts.”But just what makes up that “perfect storm” isn’t fully understood. Dunker said “anecdotal” observations on brown bear predation may have pushed muskox into the Nome area last year. But so far this summer, that’s not the case.“We haven’t made those same observations this year,” he said, “so we can’t say one way or the other that it was brown bear predation that was the smoking gun that ultimately drives them into the Nome area.”Dunker said Fish and Game’s muskox mitigation is ongoing. Failed attempts last year included everything from rubber bullets to bear decoys and the spraying of bear urine. This year he said ADF&G is trying an experimental electric fence installed at the Nome airport. Biologists are still waiting to see if the fence is effective.“But to be honest,” Dunker said, “we haven’t had a muskox bump into the fence yet. So we’re still investigating its effectiveness.”As for the DLP kill, salvage requirements include surrendering the meat from the animal, but in this case, the meat will stay local: it’s been donated to the Nome Covenant Church. The animal’s hide and the skull were salvaged and turned over to the department.Pastor Harvey Fiskeaux with the Covenant Church said the muskox in currently hanging in a church member’s shed, and a group from the church will be processing the meat tomorrow and putting it into the church’s freezer.Fiskeaux said they’ll be serving muskox roasts and stew at their Friday soup kitchens beginning in September.Share this story:last_img read more

Alaska lawmakers spare public radio but propose cutting public TV funding

first_imgArts & Culture | Juneau | Politics | State GovernmentAlaska lawmakers spare public radio but propose cutting public TV fundingApril 15, 2016 by Nathaniel Herz, ADN Share:Darryl Tseu runs a camera as part of Gavel Alaska coverage of the Alaska Legislature. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)Public radio appears to have largely escaped the Alaska Legislature’s budget-cutting ax this year, but a House-Senate conference committee Friday proposed to eliminate the state’s $600,000 annual operating grant program for public television.“This total elimination of funding for television came out of the blue,” Bill Legere, the general manager for Juneau’s KTOO station, said in a phone interview Friday.He said the cut would hurt the state’s four public television stations — in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau and Bethel — “pretty dramatically.”The proposed cut came at a Friday afternoon meeting of the conference committee, which is controlled by members of the Republican-led majorities in the House and Senate. The reduction isn’t final, and minority Democrats could push for public broadcasting money in budget negotiations, but the proposal makes the cut less likely to be reversed.The committee also decided Friday to preserve about $2 million in operating grant funding for public radio, rather than cut the money outright as the Senate’s budget had proposed.The $2 million, which was the figure budgeted by the House, is still a substantial reduction from $2.8 million last year, but stations have been preparing for the smaller cut, Legere said.“I think people made the case on radio that it was very important to rural Alaska,” Sen. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, said in an interview after the meeting. He added: “TV, not so much.”For KTOO, the TV cut represents about $175,000 from its $1 million budget, and would probably eliminate programming from the national Public Broadcasting Service, like “Sesame Street” and “NewsHour,” Legere said.It would also reduce the budget for “Gavel Alaska,” KTOO’s public affairs program that covers the Legislature. And it would cut money for a fiber connection between Juneau and Anchorage that KTOO uses to get its signal to stations around the state, Legere said.Devin Kelly contributed to this story.Editor’s note: This story has been republished with permission from the Alaska Dispatch News. Share this story:last_img read more

Air taxi brings South Naknek students to school, slowing village’s decline

first_imgEducation | SouthwestAir taxi brings South Naknek students to school, slowing village’s declineMay 31, 2016 by Hannah Colton, KDLG Share:Peter Geffe and Amy Angasan deplane on their way to school on a breezy May morning. (Photo by Hannah Colton/KDLG)For decades, the Bristol Bay Borough School District has relied on a unique form of pupil transportation; a daily air charter brings students in the village of South Naknek to the north side of the river to attend school in Naknek.According to the state Department of Education and Early Development, it’s the only daily air taxi to school in the state of Alaska, and it could well be the only one in the nation.When school lets out 3:30 p.m., Peter Gaffe and Amy Angasan climb into a 15-passenger van. Both brother and sister put in their earphones for the one-mile drive from the school to the small gravel landing strip that is the Naknek airport.Now teenagers, Peter and Amy moved to South Naknek from Anchorage when they were in elementary school and have been flying to school ever since. Though the twice-daily flight seemed fun at first, Peter says the novelty wore off pretty fast.“As time moved on it got a little more boring,” he says. “And nowadays it’s just something I do.Amy says she enjoys getting to see her two hometowns from the air every day – especially in the spring when everything greens up.Operated by King Air, it’s a short flight; the plane will touch down on the south side in less than five minutes. And besides being fast, the air taxi is the most reliable and safest way to get across the Naknek River.Twenty-foot tidal fluctuations make it impossible to launch a boat at the same time day after day, and the river doesn’t freeze consistently enough to drive vehicles across in the winter. An effort to build a bridge between the two communities never got enough support or funding.Of course, there are times when Peter and Amy can’t fly back across the river after school. Sometimes they get weathered out by fog or wind, or they have to miss the flight to stay for sports practice.“I have to stay over here most of the time during basketball,” says Peter.When they have to stay at school, Peter and Amy sleep at a friend’s house, or at their Aunt Nola Angasan’s place — a big, cheerfully noisy house in Naknek.Nola Angasan with her adopted granddaughter, “Little” Nola. (Photo by Hannah Colton/KDLG)Nola and her husband have hosted South Naknek students for the last 30 years. Between her own four kids, foster children, adopted grandkids and a popular day care business, Nola has always had a full house.“I really liked it, too,” says Nola. “You know, kids these days always seem to want to be somewhere else or take off. With my kids I never had to worry, they always wanted to be home because there was always someone here for them to play with or something to do.”Nola’s husband Steven grew up in South Naknek. He and his siblings took the air taxi to school in the 70s.“Can I ask you what that was like back then?”“Like nothing! Like riding a bike! It was everyday life.”Back then, South Naknek still had an elementary school for grades K-5. Still, Steven says there were enough middle and high school students to fill four plane loads every day.But then, just over a decade ago, the primary school closed too. South Naknek has been shrinking ever since.It’s a familiar story around Bristol Bay – communities like Portage Creek, Ivanof Bay, and Clarks Point have lost their schools in recent years to low enrollment.“For some it’s an instant decline,” says Steven Angasan. “After the school, then the mail planes quit coming, then everybody moves out to bring their kids to school. There (are) a few villages in this region that’ve shut down over the years.”Recently, the Trident Seafoods plant in South Naknek closed, taking with it a few more jobs and facilities. But the village is still hanging on, with 30-50 residents at any given time.I ask Steven if he thinks the air taxi is keeping some families around who would otherwise have to move to put their kids in school.“Yeah, probably,” he said. “Probably.”The daily air service is funded by a grant from the state Department of Education and Early Development. Each district gets a different amount per student – it’s a number set years ago based on factors including fuel costs, how much road there is, vehicle maintenance and local wages. The number for each district has grown at times, with inflation and legislative action.At nearly $3,000 per student, the Bristol Bay Borough School District has the highest per-student transportation allocation in the state, by a margin of hundreds of dollars. For comparison, the Anchorage School District gets about a sixth of that per student.It’s a figure that may cause some to cringe in a time when the state is grappling with a massive budget shortfall.But what’s important, says Superintendent Bill Hill, is that all the students in the Borough have access to school.“Students do have a right to an education in the state of Alaska,” says Hill. “This service provides South Naknek students the education that every student deserves. So we appreciate the fact that this can happen.”Peter Geffe and Amy Angasan are the last school-age kids in Naknek right now. After Peter graduates next spring, Amy might be doing the river hop alone in her senior year.But South Naknek isn’t a ghost town yet. There are still families who come and go, from Anchorage or Naknek or elsewhere, and as long as there’s state funding, the Superintendent says the air taxi will always be an option.Share this story:last_img read more

Corrections Commissioner to visit Haines: “We don’t think he’s coming to give us good news”

first_imgCrime & Courts | Economy | Local Government | Politics | Public Safety | Southeast | State GovernmentCorrections Commissioner to visit Haines: “We don’t think he’s coming to give us good news”October 30, 2016 by Emily Files, KHNS Share:Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (at podium) and Dean Williams (right), January 28, 2016. Williams was appointed commissioner of the Department of Corrections. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)The Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner will be in Haines next week.  Dean Williams is traveling to far-flung corners of the state in preparation for more budget cuts. He is visiting all 15 towns that are part of the DOC Community Jails Program.The Community Jails Program supports towns from Haines to Dillingham to Kotzebue. Each one has a jail facility that is funded by DOC. The funding ranges from about a million dollars for the North Slope Borough to about $100,000 for Cordova. Haines received about $216,000 this fiscal year.That’s down from a couple years ago. In FY 2016, Haines lost more than $170,000 in Community Jails support. The local police department is so reliant on that funding that the cut prompted the borough to freeze hiring for a fifth police officer position. Police Chief Heath Scott says the money helps keep the department’s four officers and five dispatchers employed.“We get right now a fair chunk of money from DOC to cover our dispatchers,” Scott said. “They act as DOC employees and dispatchers in our budget.”Scott worries that the in-person visit from Commissioner Williams is a signal of more reductions to come.“We don’t think he’s coming here to give us good news,” Scott said.DOC Spokesman Corey Allen-Young explains why Williams is visiting the towns involved in the Community Jails Program:“Because of the cuts, you know we have to cut even further. So we’re just looking at options,” Allen-Young said. “Nothing is really set in stone but in order to fully get an understanding and make a decision that’s wise and efficient and maintains safety you have to go to these places and see what’s being done in these communities.”Allen-Young says ‘everything is on the table’ when it comes to the next round of budget cuts. He says the department isn’t just looking at the rural jails, but its major facilities. For example, the Palmer Correctional Center was recently shut down.Allen-Young says the commissioner will also talk to community leaders about changes on the way from SB 91. The criminal justice reform bill passed the state legislature earlier this year.SB 91 requires DOC to establish a pretrial services program to work with defendants awaiting resolution of their cases. The goal is to reduce the number of people held in prison for non-violent crimes.“They’re trying to limit the amount of people that are actually in the correctional system,” Allen-Young said. “So because of that, you’ll be put into pretrial services. I’m being very generic here because it’s still being worked out. But as part of that, that would have to fall somewhat on the community working the Department of Corrections moving forward to make sure the criminal justice process is followed. ”Allen-Young says the commissioner wants to talk with local leaders about how SB 91 will impact their communities. The pretrial services program is required to be in place by the beginning of 2018.Commissioner Williams will be in Haines on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Before that, he was making the rounds to Craig, Ketchikan, Petersburg and Cordova.Share this story:last_img read more

Researchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil Spills

first_imgEnergy & Mining | Environment | Nation & World | NPR News | OceansResearchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil SpillsMarch 24, 2017 by Debbie Elliot, NPR Share:On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water.The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is “very simple,” says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top.“The coils collect the heat from the flame and they transmit it through the copper blanket,” Rangwala explains.The goal is to make a hotter, faster and more complete burn that leaves less pollution.Cleaning oil from water is a challenge, especially on the open sea. That was dramatically evident seven years ago, when a massive oil spill during the BP disaster polluted the Gulf of Mexico.Responders typically use three cleanup methods in an oil spill: skimmers and oil booms to soak it up, dispersants to break it up, and fire to burn it up. That’s called in-situ, or in-place, burning.The federal government is backing research on the Flame Refluxer, which supporters hope will provide an effective and ecologically sound alternative.For the test — at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Joint Maritime Test Facility on Little Sand Island in Mobile Bay — workers place the blanket inside a ring-shaped floating protective barrier, or fire boom, in a concrete pool. Oil is pumped from a nearby tank, and a long torch-like lighter sets it afire.Before long, the fire is roaring with flames up to 12 feet high.Rangwala monitors by video in a nearby research shed. “It’s looking very good,” he observes.Engineers are tracking the fire’s heat and the emissions that are being captured by a strategically placed windsock downwind of the test burn.The device potentially could reduce air pollution, as well as the layer of tar that remains after oil burns and sinks to the ocean floor, threatening marine life.Rangwala says the copper blanket was designed to capture any remaining residue, but they’re finding that the tar is burning off as well.He says the test indicates a hotter, quicker, cleaner burn.“Currently it’s about three times faster than baseline,” he says. “And the smoke is also grayish in color, compared to black.”The gray smoke, with less soot, is one of the things that Karen Stone is looking for.“The lighter it is, the cleaner it is,” says Stone, an oil spill response engineer with the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.The agency has invested $1.5 million to develop the Flame Refluxer, and is also paying for other new technology.It’s an effort to be better prepared to respond, after the 2010 BP disaster in the Gulf revealed some major gaps. For example, the country didn’t have enough fire boom on hand and had to scramble to borrow supply from other countries.“Once you have a spill, it really gets the attention,” says Stone. “We realize, wow, we really need to advance it and make it better, improve it, for when it happens again.”Stone says the technology that is working in the Gulf environment also shows promise for responding to oil spills in the Arctic. But it is likely 5 to 10 years from being used in an actual disaster.The next step is finding the best way to deploy and test it in open water.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Share this story:last_img read more

Commission discusses how citizen complaints against Haines police should be dealt with

first_imgLocal Government | Public Safety | SoutheastCommission discusses how citizen complaints against Haines police should be dealt withMay 11, 2017 by Abbey Collins, KHNS-Haines Share:Haines Borough Police Department. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)A Haines Assembly member made public several critical accounts of the police department last month.The action motivated the union representing the officers to file a grievance against the borough.At its most recent meeting, the public safety commission continued the conversation of how complaints against the police should be dealt with.Audio Playerhttp://khns.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/11ComplaintswINTRO.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“There’s very recent history with this,” said commission chair Jim Stanford. “I knew what was happening with the complaints. People … weren’t satisfied with what was going on. As a result, this wound up in the Assembly’s packets. I see the process as being really flawed. Somewhere it broke down.”Stanford is referring to an Assembly meeting in April, when Assembly member Tom Morphet publicly presented four accounts of negative interactions with police, which included the officer’s names.Police chief Heath Scott condemned Morphet’s accounts and the union representing the police officers filed a grievance with the borough.“It wasn’t my intent when I disclosed those complaints to the borough to seek any action against those officers, but to raise this question of how the police encounter the public and to have a public discussion,” Morphet said.The complaints Morphet brought forward weren’t the only police interactions at issue in the meeting.A couple residents talked about their experiences with police.Ray Staska didn’t want to get into the details of his situation, but spoke up generally about his discontent with the department.“I don’t want it to be exposed in the public. But I am damn pissed off at one officer’s procedures in this town,” Staska said. “I’ve been here over 30 years. And if it happens again, I won’t just go to the chief, I’ll go waste my money on an attorney.”Dean Lari recently had a drug charges against him dismissed because of issues with the police investigation.“We need some kind of accountability,” Lari said. “When police officers investigate themselves obviously they’re going to find themselves doing nothing wrong.”Scott said there is a procedure to deal with complaints against the department.“There is an appropriate way to bring these complaints into the police department without eroding the public’s sense of trust in us,” Scott said.Scott is the one that investigates the majority of complaints.When someone has a grievance, they fill out a form and give it to the police dispatcher or himself. Then, he takes into account all statements provided in the complaints. He also has to consider the officer’s rights as negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement with the union. Then there’s departmental policy and borough policy to consider.Someone can take it to the borough manager if they don’t feel comfortable going to the police with their complaint, Scott said.“Most of the time, nine times out of 10, the public is not going to see the outcome,” he said. “I give that complaint to the borough manager. It is considered a personnel action. Unless it is criminal.”Despite some clear public discontent with how complaints are handled, Scott said it is essential to follow the procedures in place.Share this story:last_img read more

Memorial potluck for friends of Clarissa Rizal scheduled for Saturday

U.S.-led coalition shoots down Syrian military jet west of Raqqa, Pentagon says

first_imgFederal Government | Military | Nation & World | NPR News | PoliticsU.S.-led coalition shoots down Syrian military jet west of Raqqa, Pentagon saysJune 18, 2017 by Emma Bowman, NPR News Share:The U.S. military says it shot down a Syrian Air Force jet that dropped bombs near U.S.-backed forces in the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked a Syrian Democratic Forces-controlled town West of Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital the rebel fighters were trying to take back. The bombings wounded “a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.”Two hours later, the U.S. Military said it shot down the Syrian warplane, acting “in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces.”Following the pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition called its Russian counterparts “to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing,” according to the statement.“The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon added. “The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat. ”But Sunday’s event signals the mounting conflict in the region, as the U.S. tries to defeat the Islamic State in the eastern part of the country, as NPR’s Tom Bowman reports:“I don’t recall this before, where you have U.S. forces shooting down a Syrian aircraft. But what we are seeing is more pro-Syrian regime forces moving into areas where you have American advisors, where you have Syrian rebels.They are moving increasingly east, we have already seen a couple of skirmishes between US forces and Shi’a militias backed by Iran south of here. On a couple of occasions, the U.S. had to use drones and warplanes to attack these Shi’a militias to attack an American training area for Syrian rebels.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Share this story:last_img read more