Alaska News Nightly: July 16, 2007

Below is the complete story list and audio from today’s Alaska News Nightly, as broadcast on APRN stations statewide. Individual stories are available in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to our news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS anytime.

Japanese still seeking more than 2,000 WWII dead on Attu
Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
Accompanied by American military and government personnel, a Japanese delegation visited the Aleutian island of Attu late last week. The group was examining graves dug by American troops following one of the most horrific battles of World War II, searching for evidence of the more than 2,000 Japanese soldiers whose bodies remain missing on the island.

Kensington Mine to bring in millions amidst concerns about environmental impacts
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
The nearly-completed Kensington Gold Mine outside Juneau has pumped more than $150 million into the Alaska economy, and could pump a lot more when it opens. That’s according to an economic study funded by mine owner Coeur-Alaska, a division of Coeur. Critics point to environmental risks from mining waste.

Senator Stevens raises $1 million for re-election; may yet be vulnerable
Joel Southern, APRN – Anchorage (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
Senator Ted Stevens’ re-election campaign brought in less during the second quarter of this year than it did in the first. But the campaign says it has passed the million dollar mark since Stevens declared his re-election bid last November. Both Stevens and Representative Don Young may be vulnerable in the next election cycle due to ongoing investigations.

Cruise ship initiative ‘corrected,’ then signed into law
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
A bill correcting what was called a small problem in last year’s cruise ship initiative has now become law. Sponsored by Juneau Senator Kim Elton, the measure was signed by Governor Palin on the Juneau waterfront this afternoon. The initiative, passed by voters, established cruise ship discharge standards and included an exemption for smaller, older ships. But somewhere on the way to becoming law, the initiative lost the small cruise ship exemption. Now it’s back in.

Hidden Falls hatchery observing chum salmon run oddities
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
Dog (chum) salmon returning to southeast hatcheries this summer are behaving oddly. Returns have been low, late and skewed heavily male early in the run. Total return, if early statistics are predictive for the full run, would produce just 1/3 of original estimates.

Sitka seeking state help with Sheldon Jackson College closure
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Sitka’s municipal government has asked the state to help lessen the impact of Sheldon Jackson College’s closure. But so far, the only assistance is employment counseling for those losing their jobs.

wild.jpg‘Into the Wild’ puts McCandless mythology on the big screen
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A movie about the adventures and demise of Christopher McCandless is due out this fall. McCandless hitchhiked to Alaska in 1992 and later that year starved to death along the Stampede road near Healy. Locals familiar with the area and the story are cautiously anticipating the film.

Handcycling race pits athletes against Alaska and personal determination
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
The world’s longest wheelchair and handcycle race is underway with athletes competing from around the world. The Sadler’s Ultra Challenge stretches 267 miles from Fairbanks to Anchorage in seven major stages. The racing started yesterday with a short time-trial in Anchorage, then kicked off in earnest today with one of the race’s toughest stretches: 50 miles from Ester to Nenana.