Alaska News Nightly: July 21, 2008

The AGIA gasline bill ready for a vote in the state house . Meanwhile 3 dead whales wash up in Lower Cook Inlet. Plus a Russian ham radio team heads out to set up an outpost in the Aleutians. And GCI lays fiber optic cable to connect 5 towns in southeast. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Gasline bill ready for House vote
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The House tomorrow  will take up – and vote on — the bill authorizing a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to North American markets.

Southeast troll on target for Chinook
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
Southeast’s commercial troll fishing fleet looks to be right on target for it’s king salmon catch from a five-day opening early this month.

Dead whales turn up in Cook Inlet
Emily Schwing, KBBI – Homer
At least three dead whales turned up in the Lower Cook Inlet area over the weekend.  Scientists with the North Gulf Oceanic Society (NGOS) were unavailable for official comment, but they did confirm the whales had been killed by transient killer whales within the last few days.

Stategic energy summit concludes in Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Local, state and federal officials participated in a 2-day Strategic Energy summit in Fairbanks over the weekend. The focus of the meetings was a synthetic fuel project being pursued by the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The proposed facility would turn local coal, and potentially biomass, into a synthetic diesel for heating, transportation and electricity generation.

Search for entangled Humpback underway in Icy Strait
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Rangers and entanglement specialists from Glacier Bay National Park are out on Icy Strait looking for a humpback whale tangled in a fishing net.

Alaska Railroad Freight Shed to be restored as historical landmark
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Oscar Anderson House, Kimball’s store, the Anchorage Hotel, and the Fourth Avenue Theater are some downtown survivors of the city’s past.  Soon a new, old timer will join their ranks–the Alaska Railroad Freight Shed.

Fairbanks home sales remain strong
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks area home sales remain strong despite the national real estate downturn.  Statistics released by the Greater Fairbanks Board of Realtors show only a modest dip in sales during the first and second quarters of this year.  More than 4-hundred homes sold in the Fairbanks area during the first 2 quarters.

Russian ham radio team heads to the Aleutians
Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
A team of Russians are setting up an amateur radio outpost on an uninhabited Aleutian Island.

GCI lays cable to connect 5 towns in southeast
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
Mariners in Southern Southeast will see a barge laying fiber optic cable between Ketchikan and Wrangell this week. It’s part of GCI’s $30 million project to connect five southeast towns to the company’s cable link with the lower 48.

Dipnetting on the Kenai reached its peak over the weekend
Emily Schwing, KBBI – Homer
Dipnetters lined the shores of the Kenia River this weekend as the subsistence fishery peaked.