Alaska News Nightly: May 13, 2008

Searching Attu Island for the remains of WWII Japanese soldiers. Plus,Ted Stevens takes on the TSA during a Senate hearing today, and Flint Hill considers future of its North Pole refinery. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Search for Japanese remains on Attu begins again
Ann Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
Japanese and American specialists began another mission to Attu Island today to search for the remains of 2,300 Japanese soldiers killed during World War II.

Ted Stevens takes TSA to task
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The head of the federal Transportation Security Administration got an earful from Ted Stevens at a U-S Senate Commerce Committee hearing today.

Digital TV conversion looms for Alaskans
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Alaskans haven’t exactly been rushing to buy digital television equipment. T-V stations in urban markets will discontinue analog broadcasts next February. But only 14,500 Alaskan households have so far taken advantage of a federal offer to help pay for the special equipment that will be needed to receive television signals after the conversion.

Flint Hill considers future of North Pole refinery
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks / AP
The future of Flint Hills’ North Pole refinery is in question. The Kansas-based company is considering three options: selling the North Pole plant, reconfiguring it, or expanding operations to increase volume and lower operating costs.

Juneau Access Road continues to cause friction
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
State Department of Transportation officials say they expect the Lynn Canal Highway construction permit this month. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has confirmed the permit is in its final review stages. But Governor Palin says the highway is not a priority of her administration.

Petersburg teen killed in accidental shooting
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
State troopers say an accidental gunshot killed 16-year-old Jacob Madsen of Petersburg over the weekend. Family, friends and the community are mourning the loss.

Native leader push expansion of tribal self-governance contracting
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Native leaders told the U-S Senate Indian Affairs Committee today that tribal self-governance contracting with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service should expand, not shrink. But they also say it won’t work very well unless Native tribes and groups get more contract- support funding from those agencies.

Concern over Avian Cholera grows
Patricia Bell, CBC – Yukon, Canada
Canadian Federal biologists will expand the monitoring of eider ducks as concern grows over avian cholera. Avian cholera is a naturally occurring disease that kills birds but doesn’t affect humans. Environment Canada says it’s also collaborating with Greenland and Alaska to keep an eye on what’s happening.

Running and walking round the clock for cancer research
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Later this month, a large group of dedicated volunteers will assemble at the West Valley High School track in Fairbanks to take turns running and walking for 24 hours straight. The Relay for Life is a fund-raiser for cancer research.