Alaska News Nightly: January 17, 2008

A US House committee hearing highlights disagreement over Polar bear listing. With elections looming later in the year, Don Young takes stock of his chances And a Vietnam vet from Fairbanks is awarded the Silver Star, one of our country’s highest military honors . 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.

Polar bears take center stage in the US House

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
At a U-S House hearing today, critics of the delay in listing polar bears as threatened were dissatisfied by the answers they heard from Interior Department officials. Some lawmakers are pushing legislation to hold off a Chukchi Sea oil and gas lease sale until after a listing decision if Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne does not take that action himself.

Don Young takes stock of his chances for ’08

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
U-S Representative Don Young says he feels good about the way his re-election effort is going, even though he’s facing his most serious challenge in years. He’s vulnerable because of federal investigations into whether he and his campaign have engaged in illegal fund raising activities.

2 bills propose significant change to education funding formula
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The first hearings are now on the schedule for two bills the House and Senate Task Force on Education produced over the summer. They make major changes to the essential elements of the education funding formula that determines how much money is sent to local schools.

Army Alaska commander looks to the future

David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
Major General Stephen Layfield, the commanding general of all Army-Alaska met with members of the media this morning at Fort Richardson. General Layfield mostly spoke about the coming expansions of both Fort Rich and Fort Wainwright.

Fairbanks Vietnam vet receives high military honor
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
A Fairbanks man was awarded the Silver Star yesterday, one of the military’s highest honors.  Andy Wescott got the commendation 40 years after he earned it on the battlefield of Vietnam.

School loses fuel to theft

John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
State troopers in Haines are investigating an apparent case of stolen fuel from the Mosquito Lake School.

“Ice Crystals” documents Meth use in MatSu schools
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A young documentary filmmaker is highlighting the Meth problem in the Mat-Su Valley with a film called “Ice Crystals.” 19 year old Eirin Strikland is a 2006 graduate of Palmer High School. He made the film in four months with 10 thousand dollars in savings.

Yukon Quest loses its race marshall – for the second time

Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
For the second time this season, the Yukon Quest’s race marshal has quit.  Trapper Creek musher Joe May resigned this month for what Quest officials are calling “personal reasons.”  May, a veteran of both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod, had agreed in November to be the Quest’s race judge.  He took over for fellow musher Dave Monson, who cited time constraints for stepping down from the job.