Alaska News Nightly: May 27, 2008

Juneau’s energy crisis could end a month earlier than expected. Meanwhile, tourism on the Kenai is already taking a hit over high gas prices. Plus, an electric dragster pushes the limits of green machines at a race in Palmer. 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.

New power towers may short circuit Juneau’s energy crisis
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Juneau’s electricity rates may drop more than a month sooner than expected. Over the Memorial Day weekend, construction crews finished replacing the transmission towers destroyed by avalanches along the Snettisham power line.

Higher gas may lower Kenai tourism
Emily Schwing, KBBI – Homer
With the price crude oil above $133/barrel, increasing gas prices could change travel plans for vacationers in Alaska.

PHOTO: Yes, that’s a Ford Pinto. And yes, it won the race. (Click the photo for more pictures)

What happens when you dump 800 amps into an electric Ford Pinto? You win races.
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Although many people may think “slow” or “golf cart” when they imagine electric cars, an Anchorage man is achieving world-class speed with the automobiles. Mike Wilmon says he decided to convert his daily commute pick up truck to electric more than 2 years ago when gas hit $2.95 per gallon.

Ferry Columbia sidelined by generator fire
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
A generator aboard the state’s largest ferry caught on fire this weekend while sailing between Ketchikan and Wrangell.

Sealaska reports strong earnings ahead of annual shareholder meeting
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s regional Native corporation had its highest revenues in recent memory last year. Sealaska made money from investments, timber operations and a number of other subsidiaries. The corporation’s annual report was released as shareholders prepared for Sealaska’s annual meeting, which will be held this year in San Francisco.

Sea lion death disappoints, puzzles Petersburg marine mammal observers
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
An emaciated young female sea lion rescued from rocks south of Petersburg last week died before it could be transported to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. The Petersburg Marine Mammal Center, volunteers and the SeaLife Center were hoping to nurse the sick animal back to good health in Seward before returning it to Southeast Alaska. Instead, they’ll try to find out why the sea lion died.

Healthy Alaska Native foods gaining attention of cancer survivors
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A new book that examines health benefits of traditional Alaska foods for cancer survivors is gaining attention beyond its original audience. The book is a full-color guide to 70 land and sea foods traditionally gathered by Alaska Natives.

Summer comes to Barrow
Earl Finkler, KBRW – Barrow
In Barrow the winters are rather long and dark according to weather statistics. But for those who live there, including commentator Earl Finkler, there can suddenly be a sprint to summer for both two- and four-legged residents.