Alaska News Nightly: June 10, 2008

The International Whaling Commission comes under scrutiny in the US House.  Plus, a federal judge puts a temporary hold on the Southeast charter one halibut bag limit. And a 9-year-old becomes the youngest contestant to win the Ketchikan King Salmon derby. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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US House Subcommittee examines International Whaling Commission
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
In preparation for the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting later this month in Santiago, Chile, a US House Subcommittee held an oversight hearing today to talk about the IWC and hear from its chair.

Courts put temporary halt on Southeast halibut bag limit
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
A Washington DC federal judge has put a temporary stop to the one halibut a day bag limit imposed on the Southeast Alaska charter industry nine days ago.

Special session gets ready to hit the road
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Lawmakers have wrapped up the initial part of their consideration of the North Slope gasline project Governor Sarah Palin gave them at the start of the special session last week.   The joint committee that is holding hearings on the plan — and basically, includes all the members of the House and Senate – will begin three weeks of travel tomorrow, opening hearings in Fairbanks on Thursday.

Oooguruk oil goes to market
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Pioneer Natural Resources Company has brought a near-shore oil production unit on line. Pioneer spokesman Tadd Owens says the first barrel from the Oooguruk facility was sold yesterday. The unit lies northwest of the Kuparuk river, inside the barrier islands of the Beaufort sea. Owens says Pioneer is the first independent to bring new operations on line and they did it quickly — from exploration to production took only 5 years. He says the plan is for 40 wells to be on line within 3 years.

Sno-bots roam Juneau Icefield
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Robots have landed on the Juneau Icefield. They’re being tested to help scientists monitor rapidly changing conditions in the world’s ice sheets. With funding from NASA, Georgia Tech engineering professor Ayanna Howard has “tricked out” some two-foot-long toy snowmobiles. She’s stuffed them with advanced sensors and electronics. The “sno-bots” are programmed to roam specific areas of the icefield and report back on the conditions they find.

One of Juneau’s biggest energy consumers tries conservation
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Like many Juneau rate payers, the Alaskan Brewing Company hasn’t seen its first bill for expensive diesel-powered electricity in the wake of city’s recent energy emergency. But the brewery’s efforts to make beer less energy-intensive pre-date the April avalanches that cut Juneau off from its main source of hydropower.

Alaska real estate markets out perform lower 48

Mary Donaldson, KMXT – Kodiak
Housing Markets in the Lower 48 are predicted to hit rock bottom by next year. But Alaska is fairing better than much of the country.

9-year-old wins Salmon derby

Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
The youngest person on record won the Ketchikan Charr King salmon derby.  9-year-old Gage Heath reeled in a 42.7-pounder and is taking home more than $12,000 in cash and prizes.

Sitka High School converts cars to electric

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
High gas prices won’t be an issue for at least two more Sitka motorists. Right now in the auto shop of Sitka high school a Nissan pickup truck and a Geo Metro passenger car are being retrofitted with high-power electric conversion kits by a community schools class. The two vehicles will roll out onto Sitka’s streets in a few days.