Alaska News Nightly: July 7, 2008

An Illinois climber has died of unknown causes on the summit of Denali. Plus, scientists are growing more and more alarmed about the problem of ocean acidification and its potential to affect a wide range of species. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Cruise ship runs around in Glacier Bay
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
Another cruise ship is in trouble today. The vessel “Spirit of Glacier Bay” operated by Cruise West, ran aground just before 8:00 a.m. this morning in the Bay.

Climber collapses, dies on Denali
Eli Menaker, APRN – Anchorage
A 51-year-old climber died on Denali Friday evening after collapsing at the summit.

State of Alaska teams up with natural gas players for in-state delivery
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
ENSTAR, the Anchorage natural gas utility, has joined with the state of Alaska and the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority in an effort to develop a gas line to service in-state energy needs. Governor Palin announced the group today, saying the pipeline fits in comfortably with the North Slope gas line under consideration by the legislature.

Natural fireworks kick up Alaskan wildfires over holiday weekend
Libby Casey, Fairbanks – KUAC
Fire activity picked up across the state over the holiday weekend. Lightning strikes started most of them, but a few were human-caused, including one discovered in Fairbanks yesterday at the corner of the Steese Highway and Johansen Expressway. Fire information officials say someone left a burn pile of pallets and heavy timbers unattended.

Ocean turning acidic, threatening fisheries; possible mass extinction
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
This week, the U.S. House is set to consider a bill to beef up research on the growing acidity of the oceans — an issue with major implications for fisheries. A research cruise off the west coast last summer discovered acidic waters creeping toward shore far faster than expected. [This is Part 1 of a 2-part report; Part 2 will air tomorrow.]

WWF taking on IUU fishing with market forces
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska’s fishery management system may have its flaws, but it’s much better than what most countries have. And beyond U.S. waters the reach of any sort of management is tenuous. Now there’s a serious effort in Congress to assert some authority over what is termed “IUU” fishing — Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated. But a team from the World Wildlife Fund is taking a hands-on approach with Russian fishermen. They’re hoping to address illegal fishing with an old fashioned solution: marketplace incentives. [Tune in to Talk of Alaska tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 10:00 a.m. for more on IUU fishing issues.]

Tiny Eklutna village corporation handling big Anchorage land developments
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
On the northern boundary of the Municipality of Anchorage lies the Native village of Eklutna. The community itself is small, less than 100 people, but its corporation is a big player in the development of north Anchorage.

President Eisenhower signs Alaska statehood bill — 50 years ago today
Joel Southern, APRN
It was 50 years ago today that Alaska entered its final phase on the way to becoming a state. On July 7, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Alaska statehood bill into law a week after the Senate gave it final congressional approval.

UAS launching Riley/Freer scholarship in honor of friends, public servants
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Fundraising is underway for a University of Alaska Southeast scholarship in the memory of two statehood pioneers. Burke Riley and Dick Freer, of Yakima, Washington, were cousins and lifelong friends who bought a one-way ticket to Alaska in 1938 in search of work. They landed in Fairbanks and, like many Alaska pioneers, both had a long history of public service in the last frontier.