Alaska News Nightly: September 11, 2008

Since returning to the state yesterday, Governor Palin has been met by enthusiastic crowds along with protesters. Plus, a Nevada-based company has secured the rights to explore the geothermal energy potential on Mount Spurr, near Anchorage. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Palin back in Alaska with Presidential politics in tow
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Alaskans welcomed home Governor Sarah Palin last night in Fairbanks. Thousands were on hand to celebrate the recently-named Republican vice presidential candidate, while others — outside the event — rallied against her.

Women disagreeing with Palin’s politics holding rally despite hateful backlash
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A group of Anchorage women are planning a “Reject Palin” rally Saturday to show that Governor Sarah Palin does not necessarily represent the political values of all women.

Committee investigating slow fall in fuel prices
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A legislative committee charged with figuring out why fuel prices in Alaska have been slow to come down with the price of crude oil, heard testimony in Fairbanks.

Mount Spurr geothermal power speculators sign lease deal with state
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The state of Alaska has held a lease sale that included over 36,000 acres of land on the southern flank of Mount Spurr. The intent of the lease sale is to allow companies to explore the Mount Spurr area for a potential geothermal electricity project.

King Cove closer to new road, but wildlife refuge may stand in the way
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
The U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved legislation today that would allow a land swap in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge on the Aleutian Peninsula. The village of King Cove wants the land to build a road on what’s now designated wilderness.

Consumer Alert: Contaminated peas from Mat-Valley Peas
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Anchorage and Alaska officials are warning consumers not to eat raw peas grown by Mat-Valley Peas in Palmer.

Researcher looking for toxins leading to Alaska Native birth defects
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The links between cancer and environmental toxins will be the subject of a lecture given tonight in Anchorage. Dr. Devra Davis is a University of Pittsburg Cancer Center epidemiologist and toxicologist who is working with researchers at UAA to look at why Alaska Natives have a higher rate of birth defects than the general public.

Polar bears and climate change often misrepresented in media
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Before Governor Sarah Palin started dominating the national media, polar bears were probably Alaska’s most famous residents. The animals have been in the news this summer after the Interior Department decided to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

This summer the bears have faced the second greatest ice decline on record in the Arctic Ocean. But as the main ice sheet retreated north, it left a thin tongue of broken ice over the food-rich areas of the continental shelf. USGS Polar Bear researcher Steve Amstrup got to see the bears make use of this remaining ice on a recent flight over the Chukchi Sea, and he spoke with us about the climate and bear stories often poorly explained in the media.