Alaska News Nightly: April 16, 2008

A helicopter crash has killed three state employees and the pilot. A 14 year old boy survived. Plus, electric bills in Juneau are likely to skyrocket after avalanches cut hydroelectric power to the city. 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.

Chopper crash kills four, leaves one teen survivor
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
Three state employees and their pilot are dead after a helicopter crash 100 miles northeast of Anchorage. Miraculously, there was one survivor.

Avalanches drive up electricity costs in Juneau
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Several massive avalanches have knocked out nearly all hydroelectric power to Juneau — sending power rates skyrocketing for at least the next three months.

‘Alaska Ranger’ survivors unveil new allegations of misconduct
Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
A Marine Board of Investigation looking into the sinking of the Alaska Ranger held its second day of hearings in Seattle today. The board heard testimony from several survivors of the Easter Day sinking, all of whom made strong and, in some cases, unprecedented allegations.

Local radio station may lose ad dollars in wake of racial remarks
Dixie Hutchinson, KNBA – Anchorage
A prominent local organization is pulling advertising from Clear Channel in Anchorage. The action is a response to derogatory comments made by two disc jockey’s at one of the company’s local radio stations.

Park Service managers working to clarify official Denali boundaries
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The National Park Service is trying to better mark the boundary of Denali National Park. Agency spokeswoman Kris Fister says the effort is aimed at areas where trails cross the 600-mile park perimeter.

Marine Highway looking forward to state’s funding boost
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The state ferry system got an extra $100 million from the legislature during this year’s session. The money will go toward a new ship and a more predictable schedule. The system’s advisory board also got a new lease on life.

Anchorage Schools report drop in student suspensions
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Suspensions in the Anchorage School district fell significantly in the third academic quarter compared to last year.

Early surveys suggest southeast Alaska deer numbers rebounding
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
The State Department of Fish and Game is conducting its annual spring deer surveys in northern southeast Alaska. And at this point, large numbers of healthy yearlings indicate the region’s deer population may be bouncing back from a couple of hard winters.

Yukon Flats land exchange comment period reopens Friday (April 18)
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
The public has more time to weigh in on the proposed land exchange in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period on its draft environmental impact statement. Under the proposed deal, Doyon Native Corporation would swap some of its in-holdings in the Refuge with Fish and Wildlife.