Alaska News Nightly: October 17, 2007

Alaska Army National Guard soldiers are returning to the U.S. this week after a long deployment in Kuwait. Meanwhile Congress and scientists confer over global warming effects in the Arctic. Plus we cover the latest crab, wolf and walrus news. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Kohring headed for trial on Monday
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
Former lawmaker Vic Kohring was back in court this morning. It was the final conference between the defense and prosecution before his corruption trial officially gets underway on Monday.

Alaska Guard soldiers back in the U.S.; almost home
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
A welcome home ceremony for Alaska Army National Guard soldiers in the 297th infantry was held this morning at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. The group include 130 soldiers from Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities who have been deployed this past year in Northern Kuwait.

Family ready for soldier’s return
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Martha Cervantes is eagerly waiting to have her youngest brother Floyd Herman Ticket home from his Kuwait deployment. Cervantes says the year-long absence has been hard.

Red king crab fleet finally launching onto Bering Sea
Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
After a few days of Bristol Bay red king crab price negotiations, the Bering Sea crab fleet has been given the green light to go fishing as of this afternoon.

NOAA updates Arctic climate report to reflect wildlife losses and permafrost melting
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a team of scientists today issued an update of the State of the Arctic report they put out last year. And they’re finding that climate change continues to have big effects across the whole region.

U.S. House hears updated science on climate change impacts in the Arctic
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
A U.S .House science subcommittee heard testimony today about the impact climate change is having on polar bears, permafrost, the Greenland ice sheet and other aspects of the Arctic. Dr. Richard Alley, an influential geosciences professor at Penn State, says scientists have a high degree of confidence that fossil fuel use by humans is changing the atmosphere and climate. He says the changes have been relatively small so far, but will be more drastic and costly in the future if nothing is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Walrus Commission sees adaptive population; ponders environmental impacts
Ann Flaherty, KNOM – Nome
Reports of walrus haul-outs along Alaska’s northern coast due to record low Arctic sea ice are viewed by the Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) as a sign of animal adaptation and resiliency. But the EWC wants to learn more about human and environmental impacts from walrus ashore. Part of the commission’s research aims it in the direction of Eastern Russia.

State increasing aerial wolf control permits in parts of Alaska
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The State wants to increase the wolf take in the eastern interior. The Upper Yukon, Tanana region is the largest of five wolf control zones where permitted pilot/gunner teams can shoot wolves from the air or after landing. Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms says the agency will issue additional permits for the region, following what was a poor harvest statewide take last winter.

Native Hawaiians in Anchorage learning from Native Alaskans
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Next week the 2007 Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention meets in Fairbanks. But since Sunday, Anchorage has been hosting AFN’s Hawaiian counterpart.

2007 polar ice retreat documented in remarkable new animation
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
It’s only 45 seconds long, but this movie could keep you on the edge of your seat — if you’re interested in the future of the Arctic.