Alaska News Nightly: June 26, 2007

This is the complete story list and audio recording from today’s Alaska News Nightly, as broadcast on APRN stations statewide.

Alaska House passes bill for ‘Alaska Senior Benefits’
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The state House today passed a bill that funds the newly-named Alaska Senior Benefits payment program. An amendment passed to the bill that increased the amount currently paid to eligible seniors.

Caribou Hills fire continues, but containment gaining ground
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The federal government will pick up some of the cost for fighting the fires on the Kenai Peninsula. Meanwhile, cooler, wetter weather on the Kenai Peninsula has allowed firefighters battling the 55,000-acre Caribou Hills fire to make significant progress towards containment.

Murkowski investigates federal efforts to reduce fire fuels and manage fire fighting
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, D.C.
The Caribou Hills fire is one of two large blazes in the nation today in which federal officials are directly involved. It could be the harbinger of more fire suppression activity on the Kenai Peninsula this season. Today, Senator Lisa Murkowski inquired about efforts to reduce beetle-killed spruce trees in the Chugach National Forest and to manage fires once they break out.

Alaska’s ‘Bring the Kids Home’ project gets new leader
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has a new coordinator for the “Bring the Kids Home” project. The program works to bring young people back to Alaska who are in residential psychiatric
treatment facilities outside the state. There are currently 293 young people in lower 48 treatment facilities.

Bristol Bay salmon ecology getting a closer look via bugs and mud
Johanna Eurich, KDLG – Dillingham
Researchers have spent a lot of money and time studying the salmon that migrate in and out of Bristol Bay. But very little is known about other aspects of Bay’s ecology.

Anchorage Schools’ request to move sports date denied
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Alaska School Activities Association board rejected an Anchorage School District request to hold the Region IV Cross Country Championships on a Sunday rather on the originally-scheduled Saturday, September 22nd. The Saturday event conflicts with the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur this year.

Late May hunting expedition bags third largest bear in Alaska records
Brian Pollack, KCAW – Sitka
Alaska’s Fish and Game department began a record of bear kill statistics in 1960. Since that time, about 4,500 bears have entered the books. About three weeks ago one of the largest bears on record was shot and killed in Southeast Alaska. The hunted bear had an estimated weight of 1,000 pounds.