Alaska News Nightly: January 24, 2008

Today in Alaska news…Congress takes up reform of 19th century mining law while The Board of Game gets set to discuss the denning of wolf pups.  Meanwhile, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich goes calling on Capitol Hill and the flu season gets off to a weak start.  Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Congress takes up reform of 19th century mining law
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The U-S Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has begun a series of hearings on how to go about reforming the 1872 Mining Law that applies to hardrock-mining claims and operations on federal lands.

Legislators coming to grips with shorter session
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
State Legislators are aware of the ninety-day limit on this year’s session. But there’s some question on when and how they will shift into high gear to finish their work in time. Senators yesterday were still looking for time off when President Lyda Green reminded them of the deadline.

Board of Game to consider “denning” of wolf cubs
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Board of Game will consider allowing the culling of wolf pups pulled from dens.  The proposal is one of several aimed at enabling predator harvest, that goes before the Board at a statewide issues meeting this weekend.

Mayor Begich makes the rounds in Washington
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
National Democrats are courting Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich to run this year against Senator Ted Stevens, who’s perceived to be vulnerable because of corruption allegations and a federal investigation.  So while attending a US Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington DC today, Begich was invited to go to Capitol Hill and meet with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Merger to create new Alaskan aviation service
Jacob Buckenmeyer, KNOM – Nome
As Frontier Flying Service and Hageland Aviation formally join forces over the coming weeks, they hope to become the largest aviation service based in Alaska.

Flu season comes in like a lamb
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
The flu season has been slow so far in Alaska.  With winter half-over, only 142 cases have been reported so far.  Nearly 90% of those were in the Anchorage area, and only five were in the Interior.  Alaska Division of Public Health epidemiologist Dr. Beth Funk says most states are not reporting wide-spread activity, and so far, there haven’t been as many hospitalizations in Alaska usual.

Forest Service cuts staff in Southeast

Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Forest service offices around southeast Alaska are going through another round of staff cuts. It’s part of a re-organization plan for the Tongass that’s been underway since 2006.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska tightens child protection policies

Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
The Tribal Council passed an ordinance requiring all employees, volunteers, and contractors who have direct interaction with children or the public, to undergo criminal background checks.

Yukon Elk get ticked off

Brian Boyle, CBC – Whitehorse
In Canada, the Yukon government has started to hand out free meals to elk in an attempt to kill off an alien invader.  It’s an effort to kill off a tick species that’s infected the Yukon’s entire elk population. Now the government is trying to kill off those ticks by feeding the elk corn that has been laced with medication.

Third Grader wins subsistence art contest

Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
Third-grader Jack Weaver from Sitka is one of two grand-prize winners of the 2008 Subsistence Student Art Contest – a statewide competition intended to encourage young people to share their subsistence way of life with others.   Weaver’s watercolor depicting spawning salmon will grace the cover of the 2008-2009 subsistence fishing regulations book.