Alaska News Nightly: August 26, 2008

Senators are calling on the Bush Administration to withdraw proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act they say would weaken the law. Plus, firewood poaching is becoming more common near Fairbanks as people search for cheap fuel for winter. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Lawmakers seek to kill off proposed Endangered Species Act changes
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
A group of Democratic U.S. Senators are speaking out against proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this month the Bush Administration announced plans to revise the law that protects America’s wildlife. It would be the biggest overhaul to the Act since 1986.

Kodiak utility wins $38 million, pursues renewable energy
Casey Kelly, KMXT- Kodiak
Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) received a big boost in its efforts to purchase the Terror Lake hydro plant from the Four Dam Pool. A $38 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service will go a long way toward ensuring KEA will reach its goal of 95% renewable energy by the year 2020.

Fairbanks area forests subjected to illegal axes
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The scramble to find dry firewood has some Fairbanks area residents poaching trees on public lands. Northern Area State Parks chief ranger Matt McClure says he’s seeing more illegal firewood harvesting than normal in the Chena River State Recreation area east of Fairbanks.

Poor Alaska Census results from 2000 driving advance planning for 2010
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
Though 2010 is more than a year away the planning efforts for the next U.S. Census are getting started in Alaska.

Anchorage schools will keep mid-August starts despite complaints
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Last the night the Anchorage School Board approved the calendars for the next two years. And despite considerable protest, the district says the academic advantages of the August start outweigh the problems it causes some families.

Rising visitor rates at Denali driving review of Park road plans
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The National Park Service is seeking input on the future of traffic on the road into Denali National Park. The agency is holding meetings this month as it develops options for addressing increased visitor demand.

Kodiak now launching pad for new Vaseline product
Mary Donaldson, KMXT – Kodiak
Vaseline brand lotion has chosen Kodiak as the main location to produce an ad campaign for its new product. One local will be the star of the campaign, but it will also include many more Kodiak residents.

‘Fairview Manor’ apartments undergoing transformation in Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The long-planned replacement of the aging Fairview Manor Apartment Complex in Fairbanks is underway. Heavy equipment has demolished and is clearing away the first of three large U-shaped low income apartment buildings to make way for new units. The other Fairview buildings, which still have residents, will be taken down in later stages of the project.