Alaska News Nightly: February 28, 2008

Senator Stevens takes Transportation Department officials to task over proposed aviation cuts. Plus, the Interior Department expects to release a decision on whether  to list Polar Bears soon.  Plus a new study measures contaminants in National Parks, including some in Alaska. 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.

Senator Stevens berates Transportation Department
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Ted Stevens gave top Transportation Department officials an earful today about the Bush Administration’s proposed cuts in aviation programs next year. Stevens was especially upset by a proposal to slash funding for the Essential Air Service program that subsidizes airline service to remote rural areas.

Decision on listing of Polar Bears expected soon

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall says he expects a final decision soon on whether to give ‘threatened’ status to polar bears. But he’s not sure it will come out before conservation groups are able to sue over the listing delay.

St George relying on air delivery of fuel

Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
Another Bering Sea community is now receiving fuel by emergency air deliveries as fuel barge shipments in the region lag behind communities’ needs.

Senate bill would help make middle-income homes more green
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
Senate Bill 289 would allow middle-income Alaskans to get grants and loans to make their homes more energy efficient.  The bill is sponsored by Senator Lyman Hoffman of Bethel.

Study measures contaminants in National Parks
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The findings of a massive 6-year study measuring contaminants in National Parks was released this week. The 500-page report measured pollutants in snow, water, sediments, fish and vegetation in 8 core parks and 20 other park units in the Western United States ranging from the Noatak National Preserve in Alaska to the Big Bend National Park on the Rio Grande near Mexico.

Keeping moose off the Sterling Highway
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
A unique effort to keep moose from lingering on the sterling highway is scheduled to get started in the next few days.

UAF researcher discovers Jurassic fossil
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
A University of Alaska researcher was part of a team that recently discovered a major Jurassic fossil that may be the largest of its type ever found.  Pat Druckenmiller is curator of Earth Sciences at University of Alaska Museum of the North.  He worked last summer in the remote Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard.

New type of Kelp discovered in the Aleutians

Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
Scientists have discovered a new variety of kelp in the waters off the Aleutian Islands. The kelp’s common name is Golden V Kelp, after its shape and color. NOAA Fisheries scientist Mandy Lindeberg first identified the new species on a 2006 research cruise in the Aleutians.

Haines store bans plastic bags

John Hunt, KHNS – Haines
A grocery store in Haines is getting rid of plastic grocery bags at its check-out stands.