Alaska News Nightly: August 7, 2008

The State House and Senate agree on energy rebate bill as the special session ends. Plus, the Coast Guard eyes expansion into the arctic. Also, Indian plaintiffs awarded only a fraction their claims against the US government. And what’s to become of the books at the Sheldon Jackson College library? Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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House and Senate agree on energy rebate bill as special session ends
Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
State House and Senate leaders today appeared to have found common ground in their two versions of the bill helping Alaskans meet high fuel prices this winter. After they spent most of the day in negotiations at the capitol, the House went into session to formalize its part of simple agreement. The Senate would have to agree to approve the one-time twelve hundred dollar resource rebate check to all Alaskans – the core of Governor Sarah Palin’s proposal that was also the basis of the House plan. In exchange, the House agreed to increase the ceiling and put more money into the Power Cost Equalization program.

Coast Guard turns attention to the Arctic
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
The U.S. Coast Guard’s senior-most officer is touring Northwest Alaska this week, as the agency continues to explore its expanding role in warming Arctic waters.

Indian plaintiffs awarded only a fraction claims against US government
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A decision in the 12-year-old case brought by Indian plaintiffs against the federal government over mismanagement of trust fund monies was announced today. The class action lawsuit sought $47 billion for more than a century of mismanaged funds related to land allotment payments.

Volcano near Atka erupts
Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
Kasatochi volcano near Atka, on the Aleutian chain, erupted this afternoon.  Kasatochi is a young volcano with no known historical eruptions, though it is covered in relatively young volcanic debris. The Alaska Volcano Observatory does not have any scientific instruments on the volcano and relies on seismic data from nearby islands.

Scientists in southeast delve into cave labyrinth
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast scientists are depositing dye into holes in the ground to learn more about how water flows beneath the surface. The research is turning up unexpected information about the cave mazes underlying parts of Southeast Alaska.

State sets up flood disaster centers in Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state has set up centers in Fairbanks, Salcha and Nenana to help flood affected individuals apply for emergency relief.  The move follows Governor Sarah Palin’s disaster declaration earlier this week for flooded areas of the interior, and storm damaged communities on the North Slope.

Kodiak’s Living Room, a haven for homeless, closes
Mary Donaldson, KMXT – Kodiak
For years, the Living Room in downtown Kodiak has provided refuge and a hot meal for the city’s homeless residents and other services for those struggling to make ends meet. But after nine years, they are now closing their doors.

Uncertain future faces books at Sheldon Jackson College library
Andi McDaniel, KCAW – Sitka
When Sitka’s Sheldon Jackson College closed a year ago, so did the Stratton Library, which houses nearly 7-thousand rare books and photographs. The future of the library, like the rest of the campus, is uncertain.