Alaska News Nightly: August 24, 2007

Scientists tunnel into the Alaskan permafrost and find a motherlode of dinosaur fossils. Plus, a profile of the businessman who bought the state’s jet and also wants to improve the economy in Valdez. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Dinosaur excavations underway on the North Slope
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Scientists have successfully built a tunnel into the abundant fossil dinosaur deposits along the Colville River on the North Slope and are taking out their first samples now.

Larry Reynolds: Valdez’s great white hunter and economic entrepreneur
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
The Palin Administration says it closed the deal to sell the fabled Westwind Two jet for $2.1 million. Valdez resident Larry Reynolds is now the proud owner. The Texan moved to Valdez four years ago. And now he’s known as the man who wants to change the economic landscape in Valdez.

Botanist Raven flies to Alaska to teach local environmental leadership
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A renowned botanist and international environmental leader is visiting Alaska. Peter Raven is the longtime director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, an organization that’s built local conservation programs worldwide. The Garden maintains a diverse live collection and data base of plants. Raven says the research is focused on areas that have suffered dramatic plant and animal extinctions. He’s making a presentation this Saturday in Anchorage at the Loussac Public Library at 3:00 p.m.

Petition filed in Ketchikan to restrict number of jewelry storefronts downtown
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
A citizen’s group has filed a petition to limit the number of jewelry stores in downtown Ketchikan. The group collected nearly 700 signatures in hopes of placing the initiative on October’s ballot.

Sitka school board drops unique high school graduation requirement
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
A hallmark of graduation and a right of passage for Sitka high school seniors is no more. For years, students were required to undertake a challenge or learn something new before they graduated, like weaving a traditional blanket from mountain goat hair or baking a wedding cake. They had to give a presentation about their Senior Project and, up until last year, write a paper.

Profile: Tending navigation bouys in Alaska’s Inside Passage
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Navigation on the coastal waters of Southeast Alaska is challenging even on a good day. Over 50 floating aids, and hundreds more fixed markers guide mariners along Alaska’s Inside Passage. The Coast Guard Cutter Maple is responsible for making sure the buoys are working, regardless of the season or weather.

Field Trip: Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

Anne Hillman, KDLG – Dillingham
The Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is well known for it’s marine mammals, seabirds, and pristine nature. Each summer refuge managers take a group of middle school students to explore Cape Pierce.