Alaska News Nightly: May 20, 2008

A wildfire has broken out on the Kenai Penisula. Also, a new study shows the drug Naltraxone is succeeding in combatting alcoholism in the bush. The US Army considers stationing more troops in Alaska. And the Department of Homeland Security provides grant for Port of Anchorage security. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Wildfire breaks out on the Kenai
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
Firefighters are working today to contain a wildfire that apparently started last night on the Kenai Peninsula. The fire is burning in an area with logging slash and beetle-killed trees. KBBI’s Mike Mason has
the details.

State tries to cope with demand for Yup’ik language election materials
Dan Bross,KUAC – Fairbanks
The State Division of Elections is creating a new position to improve language assistance for Yup’ik only speakers. The Division and the city of Bethel are listed as defendants in a lawsuit that alleges they have failed to meet requirements for Yup’ik Language assistance.

Naltraxone having success treating alcoholism in the bush

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
New research shows a drug called Naltrexone is effective in treating alcoholism in rural areas- especially among Alaska Natives. Previous studies have proved the drug works, but its only been tested in urban
settings. Lead author Dr. Stephanie O’Malley wanted to see how it would work in areas where other forms of alcoholism treatment are limited. In the study, 35 percent of patients on Naltrexone abstained from drinking for 16 weeks, compared with only 11 percent in the placebo group.

Examining a process to provide low-cost fuel

Dan Bross,KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation is hiring an energy engineering firm to study coal and biomass energy for Fairbanks. FEDCO, is paying Canadian company Hatch a half million dollars to look
at the application of Fischer Tropsch technology to turn local coal or wood into a low cost liquid fuel for power generation, heating and transportation.

Homeland Security provides grant for Port of Anchorage security
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Port of Anchorage will continue to reinforce its security operations, thanks to a grant from the US Department of Homeland Security. It’s the second such grant in the last two years.

The Army considers basing more troops in Alaska

Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Army put out a draft environmental impact statement looking at options for growing the army force here and re-aligning it. Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Allen says the goal is to boost the strength of forces in the Pacific Theater.

Rising fuel prices put pressure on AMHS to raise fairs for the Fairweather
Weld Royal, KTOO – Juneau
The ferry Fairweather travels faster than most other Alaska Marine Highway vessels, but it also uses more fuel. It takes about 4000 gallons of diesel for the Fairweather to make the roundtrip from Juneau to Sitka. Since the vessel began serving Southeast Alaska in June, 2004, the price of marine fuel has almost tripled. Passenger fares have remained the same—for now.

New book chronicles the run up to the battle for Sitka

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Two of Southeast Alaska’s leading cultural historians have published a new book about the battle for Sitka. The book documents the eventsleading up to the battles of 1802 and 1804, which took place at sites now known as “Old Sitka” and Sitka National Historical Park. The little-understood episode was last major conflict between North American Natives and a colonizing European power.