Alaska News Nightly: July 8, 2008

A second climber collapses and dies on Denali. Plus, ocean acidification along with its potential effects are raising growing concern. Also, legislators take a hard look at Governor Palin’s plan for an in-state pipleline. And Alaska will soon have its own semi-pro basketball team. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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2nd climber collapses and dies on Denali

Eli Menaker, APRN – Anchorage
The Denali climbing season is winding down with another mysterious death on the mountain.  Last night, an Indonesian climber died after collapsing suddenly just above the 17-thousand foot camp.

Ocean Acidification sets off alarm bells

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Increasingly acidic waters in the Pacific Ocean may be a factor in the steep decline of salmon runs in the lower 48 states, and possibly Alaska.

Sales of wood stoves grow as fuel oil prices climb

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Dealers of alternative heating appliances are seeing a major spike in demand due to high oil prices.  Mark Wiebold, sales manager at the Fairbanks area wood stove shop– the Woodway, says a lot of people are in shock due to high home-heating oil prices.

Legislators take close look at in-state pipeline plan

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
An in-state gas pipeline providing energy for Fairbanks and SouthCentral Alaska would not violate the terms of the license before the legislature during the special session.  Concerns about the state’s involvement in an in-state project were raised — but not answered — in hearings in Barrow last week.

Sealaska Corporation pushes investment in second California casino

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s regional Native corporation is continuing to push its investment in a second California casino, near Cloverdale. That’s despite growing opposition from nearby residents, including the town’s city council. Sealaska is working with a Pomo Indian group to develop the gambling resort about 90 miles north of San Francisco.

Kodiak considers increase in tax on alcohol

Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
The City of Kodiak is considering an increase to its sales tax on alcoholic beverages to pay for soaring construction costs for a new police station and jail.

Conservation groups take Bush administration to court over polar bears and walruses

Associated Press
Two conservation groups are challenging the Bush administration’s recent decision to let oil companies unintentionally harrass or harm polar bears and walruses in the growing pursuit of fossil fuels off the northwestern Alaska coast.The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

Alaska to get semi-pro basketball team

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Semi-professional basketball is coming to Alaska. The American Baskeball Association franchise will be called ”The Alaska Dream.” The team will be based in Anchorage and games are expected to begin late this year.

Weather website nears end of successful first year

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A website designed to track unusual weather and climate events in Alaska is nearing its first birthday. The site is a collaboration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.