Alaska News Nightly: June 30, 2008

Yesterday’s bear mauling of an Anchorage teenager has some people up in arms. But wildlife managers say they’re not ready to shoot the bear, even if they could find it. Plus, 50 years ago Alaskans celebrated their new place as the 49th state. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Near-fatal bear attack in Anchorage prompts outcry, discussion
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
An Anchorage teenager was scheduled for more surgery today to treat extensive wounds from a bear attack in the city’s Bicentennial Park this weekend. Police aren’t releasing her name but describe her injuries as critical, with damage to internal organs. She’s expected to live. Wildlife mangers will monitor bear activity in the area closely in the coming weeks and decide whether there is a threat to public safety.

Lawsuit filed to protect Beluga population
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Trustees for Alaska filed a lawsuit today in Washington, DC over the delay in moving forward with an Endangered Species Act listing for the Cook Inlet Beluga. In 2006, based on a status review, the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded the beluga were likely to continue declining or go extinct over the next 300 years.

Fairbanks extends energy emergency funding and research
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks Borough Assembly has extended emergency funding aimed at solving the local energy crisis. The emergency ordinance, originally passed last month, was scheduled to run out July 7, 2008.

Kodiak hosts meeting for Exxon ‘Valdez’ claimant education
Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
The first of several meetings with plaintiffs in the aftermath of last week’s Supreme Court decision in the Exxon Valdez oil spill punitive damages case was held in Kodiak this past Friday. The meetings are designed to help claimants understand the Court’s decision, as well as what they can expect as the litigation winds down.

Denali opens $10 million revamped visitor’s center
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Denali National Park has opened a new earth-friendly version of the Eielson Visitor Center. The facility at mile 66 of the Park Road replaces the original one built more than 50 years ago.

Alaskan orchestra plays musical bars behind bars
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
There’s an orchestra in Eagle River quite literally unlike any other in the world. They’re grown women, and perform music at a mostly amateur level, but still they manage to sell out all of their shows. They also all happen to live in the same “big house.”

Alaska joins U.S. as 49th State — 50 years ago today
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
It’s one of the classic, sepia-tinted images of Alaska history: smiling Alaskans holding up newspapers bearing the large, bold headline “WE’RE IN!” That moment in time was 50 years ago today, when the U.S. Senate gave final Congressional approval to the Alaska Statehood Bill.