Alaska News Nightly: January 8, 2008

APOC Executive Director will leave the agency later this year. Plus, the FAA clears the pilot of last summer’s Ketichkan-area crash, and the Forest Service prepares to release a controversial management plan. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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APOC head to leave commission in March
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
The head of Alaska’s public watchdog group says she will leave the agency later this year. Brooke Miles, Executive Director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, or APOC, says March 7th will be her final day on the job.

FAA clears pilot of last summer’s Ketchikan-area crash
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
The federal aviation administration has cleared the pilot of a floatplane that crashed near Ketchikan last August of any violations of F-A-A regulations.

Initiative sponsors fight over signatures

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Supporters of the Clean Elections initiative today accused supporters of another initiative of misrepresenting their issue – and taking signatures they rightly deserve.

Forest Service prepare to release controversial plan

Alec Dickinson, KRBD – Ketchikan
The Forest Service’s much-anticipated revision of the 1997 Tongass Land Management Plan is scheduled for release later this month. But some organizations are already criticizing the new plan.

Rural Challenges series, part 1: Hoonah
Weld Royal, KTOO – Juneau
Hoonah sits on the shores of Icy Strait in the middle of the Tongass National Forest, about 40 air miles west of Juneau. It’s primarily a Tlingit village where the majority of locals once worked in fishing and logging. Now it’s a cruise ship destination and some residents have reinvented themselves as entrepreneurs catering to summer tourists. Still, many struggle in the long winter off season, when unemployment reaches the double digits.

Dillingham investigates alternative energy sources

Anne Hillman, KDLG – Dillingham
As energy prices rise, Dillingham community members are looking for alternative sources of power. Geothermal is one possibility. Dave Bouker, a former general manager and board member of Nushagak Electric, wants to explore geothermal potential west of Dillingham near the Togiak Wildlife Refuge. He says a potential source for energy is the Togiak Tuya

Masons helping to build Petersburg library
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Petersburg’s library project got a major boost last week. The local masonic lodge presented library officials with a 25-thousand dollar check. The donation will go towards the library building construction fund. Library supporters are hopeful it will prompt other major donations to the project.

Two Spirits Gallery – more than just an outlet for native art
Dixie Hutchinson, KNBA – Anchorage
Artists and staff at Two Spirits Gallery in Anchorage are getting used to a bigger space that now includes a carving and painting studio. The larger gallery space is allowing staff to display more artwork and expand their first Friday art walk. Two Spirits Gallery combines recovery and employment services under a social enterprise umbrella at Cook Inlet Tribal Council, the regional non-profit arm of the CIRI corporation.

Thoreau in the Arctic
Earl Finkler, KBRW – Barrow
Its not easy to survive and even thrive during Barrow’s long, cold and dark winter. The sun isn’t due back until January 23rd. For commentator Earl Finkler, one key is to read from books and essays of the New England individualist and writer Henry David Thoreau. He’s even found evidence of a Walden-like structure in his far north neighborhood.