Alaska News Nightly: April 15, 2008

A US Senate committee hears about a proposed land swap that would make a road between King Cove and Cold Bay possible. Plus, local Anchorage DJ’s are suspended for racist comments.  Also,  Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is grilled for delaying a decision on polar bear protection.  Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Izembek road on the radar in Washington, DC

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Supporters and critics of a proposed land swap for a road that would connect King Cove with Cold Bay appeared before a US Senate panel today. King Cove officials and the state want to swap 61-thousand acres of land for a 206-acre right-of-way, part of it through what is now designated wilderness—in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. King Cove officials say the basic issue is safe travel to the airport, emergency medical services and other amenities available in Cold Bay

Radio racism

Dixie Hutchinson, KNBA – Anchorage
A classic rock station in the Anchorage market is getting a lot of attention from the native community and beyond for demeaning and derogatory comments against native women.

Senate presses Kempthorne over delay on polar bear decision

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne was pressed again today on when the Bush Administration will decide whether to put polar bears on the threatened species list. At a Senate hearing on Interior’s budget request for next year, the polar bear question was brought up by California Democrat Diane Feinstein. Kempthorne got a pointed question from Feinstein after he gave his stock answer for why it’s taking so long.

Prospects for Gravina bridge fade once again

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
State lawmakers approved billions of dollars in spending this year, but none of it will go to the Gravina Bridge. That’s despite end-of-session attempts to insert money in a statewide transportation bonds package. But Southeast lawmakers did get about $50 million in regional projects in that package, which will go before voters later this year.

Don Young campaign revises 1st quarter fundraising totals downward

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Today is the deadline for congressional candidates to file their 1st quarter fundraising reports with the Federal Elections Commission. There was a bit of surprise from Congressman Don Young’s campaign. Week before last, a campaign spokesman gave a preliminary estimate of around 164-thousand dollars raised. But today that number was revised downward to 134-thousand. The spokesman says some contributions were apparently double-counted in the earlier estimate. Young spent around 213-thousand dollars in legal fees related to several ongoing investigations into whether his campaign has engaged in improper or illegal fundraising practices.

Birds of a feather flock to Creamers Field
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The average first arrival date for Canada Geese at Creamers Field in Fairbanks is April 13th. Unseasonably cold and snowy weather hasn’t stopped the first Canada Geese from arriving on schedule.

Finding constructive employment
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
In recent years, the Anchorage School District has worked to develop a program for students who want to go into construction. Last Friday, some of the advanced students took part in a first of its kind event at King Career Center

Valdez remembers fallen skier
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
Last week, Jesse Tol became the 4th avalanche fatality in Alaska this year. The 31-year-old was buried while skiing at Thompson pass with his dad. His family is remembering him as an adventurer who was generous and passionate about many things- especially skiing.