Alaska News Nightly: May 28, 2008

Conservationists try to use success on Polar Bear listing to pave the way for seals and Walrus. Meanwhile, experts say avalanche defenses would not have saved Juneau’s power lines. Plus, Anchorage developer Dave Cuddy guns for Ted Stevens seat again, and today marks an important anniversary in Alaska’s drive for statehood. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Polar bear listing empowers environmentalists to seek protection for other species

Jennifer Canfield, KNBA – Anchorage
Fresh off a successful campaign to list polar bears as a threatened species, a conservation group has petitioned to provide the same protection to the bears’ main prey. The Center for Biological Diversity today sought Endangered Species Act protection for ringed seals, plus two other ice-dependent species – spotted and bearded seals. The listing petition says their sea ice habitat is threatened by global warming.The organization also says it will sue to force the federal government to act on a petition to list the Pacific walrus as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The group petitioned for the listing in February.

Experts say avalanche defenses would not have saved Juneau’s power lines
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Avalanche specialists hired by Alaska Electric Light and Power say conventional avalanche defenses would not have kept Juneau’s electric lifeline safe last month.  Technicians with Alaska Avalanche Specialists say some of the largest avalanches known to science hit the transmission line.

Cuddy to take on Stevens again

David Shurtleff, APRN  – Anchorage
Anchorage developer Dave Cuddy officially announced his candidacy for the US Senate today. He’ll run as a republican, and for the second time, will try to beat Senator Ted Stevens in a GOP primary.  In a previous attempt in 1996, Cuddy spent nearly a million dollars of his own money, and took 27% of the vote from Stevens.

Fighting is down in Anchorage schools

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage high school students are fighting less at school, but they don’t feel any safer.  That’s just one of several findings in a new school district survey.

Governor wields tourism veto
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Governor Sarah Palin has vetoed half of the tourism-oriented projects funded by cruise-ship passenger fees. Close to $20 million in projects in Southeast, Southcentral and Interior Alaska were cut from the legislature’s capital budget.

50 years ago, the US House voted for Alaska statehood

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Alaska is coming up on its 50th anniversary as a state. It was exactly 50 years ago today that Alaskans began taking the last steps toward statehood. On Wednesday, May 28, 1958, the US House of Representatives approved what would ultimately be the final Alaska statehood bill.