Alaska News Nightly: August 6, 2008

The State House and Senate are headed toward a showdown over how much money to give Alaskans to cover the high cost of fuel. Plus, we go searching for a hearty breed of ice worm, rumored to live on the glaciers in Denali National Park. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Legislature still wrangling big energy spending plans in special session
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Alaska House late last night approved spending almost $1 billion on pipeline and energy-related needs for the state. However, it delayed passing the bill that contained the specific instructions on what to do with most of that money. Before last night’s vote, Finance Co-Chairman Mike Chenault led members through the plan.

Stevens, Palin, AFN and others discuss energy crisis developing in Native Alaska
Eli Menaker, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) sponsored a roundtable discussion on the escalating energy crisis yesterday at the Captain Cook Hotel.

John Glass steadies Public Safety in Palin-Monegan-Kopp storm
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
While the Palin Administration looks for a new commissioner to head up the department of Public Safety, the current interim commissioner, John Glass is quietly leading the department. Glass was made acting commissioner after the turmoil that resulted from former commissioner Walt Monegan’s firing and then the quick resignation of Palin’s choice for the next commissioner Charles Kopp. Kopp quickly resigned because of a sexual harassment complaint that was filed against him more than 2 years ago in Kenai became public.

Commissioner Glass has been with the Alaska State Troopers since 1973. He started his career in Ketchikan. He says the recent shakeup at the department has been tough on morale, but public safety professionals are good at recovering from stress.

Researchers seeking Denali’s tough ice worms
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Two biologists are testing their glacier travel skills and field science expertise on a trek in Denali National Park this week. They’re searching for a tiny animal called an ice worm. Scientists have studied them on warmer, coastal glaciers for decades. Now, they’re hoping to find a distant relative that’s learned to adapt to an even harsher climate.

Southeast village of Edna Bay reopening school after 8 years
Lisa Phu, KSTK – Wrangell
After standing largely unused for the past 8 years, the school in Edna Bay is going through a transformation as it reopens its doors to students. Edna Bay is a community of roughly 50 year-round residents and the school has been closed since 2000. Starting just a few weeks ago, a team of workers have been bringing it back to life.

Worst of Interior flooding recedes, but Nenana still inundated
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Flood waters have receded at Salcha and Fairbanks, but Nenana is still coping with high water from the Tanana and Nenana rivers. Several Nenana roads remained impassable today. Mayor Jason Mayrand says the flood has affected most of the Parks Highway community of 400.

Snopac’s arrival in Sand Point mixing up seafood processing market
Tony Gorman, KSDP – Sand Point
It has been a difficult season for fishermen, but business in the Aleutian community of Sand Point is about to pick up. A new floating seafood processor arrived in town this week and it’s out to prove that it can compete with the traditional processors in town.

Renowned photographer to be memorialized with totem pole
Andi McDaniel, KCAW – Sitka
It’s been over a decade since the internationally-acclaimed wildlife photographer Michio Hoshino was killed by a grizzly bear, but residents of his native Japan and his adopted homeland of Alaska still mourn his loss. This Friday, a memorial totem pole will be erected in his honor.