Alaska News Nightly: June 17, 2008

Searchers in Denali National Park ramp up efforts to find two missing backpackers. Plus Congress takes a closer look at the effects of ocean acidification. And a new Susan Butcher Institute opens at UAF. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Search for lost Denali hikers intensifies
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Searchers in Denali National Park are ramping up efforts to find missing backpackers Abby Flantz and Erica Nelson. The searchnow involves 3 helicopters, a plane, 60 people, and 4 tracking dogs. Park Service spokeswoman Kris Fister says members of specialized search and rescue teams from the MatSu Valley, and Anchorage as well as local whitewater experts have joined the effort which has so far yielded no sign of the missing women.

Congress examines effects of ocean acidification

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Tomorrow, a US House subcommittee plans to pass a bill to step up research on the impacts of growing acidity in the world’s oceans, due to increased Carbon Dioxide. Currently there are only a few researchers working on what many believe is a looming environmental problem. While most of that research is taking place in laboratories, one scientist has discovered an area of the ocean where a more acidic future can be found.

Pt. Thompson gas production a distant goal
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Full production of natural gas from the Point Thomson field on the North Slope could be 15 years away – that’s after the legal issues are settled involving the state’s termination of the unit – and after production of oil begins.

Forest Service open to Kenai Mountains national heritage area

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The US Forest Service is open to having its first national heritage area in the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm region. But it wants to do another feasibility study first to incorporate other heritage and scenic designations now in the area.

Former Kodiak Coastie takes command of Coast Guard forces in the Middle East

Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
The former commanding officer of the Kodiak-based Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley is now the commander of US Coast Guard forces in the Middle East.

New Susan Butcher institute opens at UAF
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has created a new institute named for mushing great Susan Butcher, the 4 time Iditarod champion who died of leukemia in 2006. The focus of the institute honoring her will be cultivating public service and leadership.

Anchorage strikes workable balance between tourists and street people

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Three Anchorage groups have combined forces this summer to reduce the seasonal tension between the street people and tourists. And so far, the new effort seems to be working.

Fish and Game warns against meddling with moose calves

Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is reminding residents in South Central Alaska to steer clear of moose calves.