Alaska News Nightly: November 4, 2008

Alaskans flock to the polls setting records at some voting places. Plus, a new European report says arctic sea ice continues to recede.  And adventurer Karl Bushby’s global trek grind to a halt. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3, 30 min)

Alaskans flock to the polls
Anne Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Like voters across the country, Alaskans appear to be turning out in big numbers today to cast their ballots.

Settlement in Bong Hits for Jesus case
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The Juneau-Douglas High School student who took his free-speech case to the U.S. Supreme Court has reached a final settlement with the Juneau School District in the so-called “Bong Hits for Jesus” case.

Increased wood burning causes drop in Fairbanks air quality

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A smoky haze that’s cloaked Fairbanks in recent days is being attributed to increased wood burning.  Air quality dipped below federal Environmental Protection Agency standards for the first time this season over the weekend. The air was classified as unhealthy for sensitive groups, but has improved with snowfall in the last day. Borough Air Quality Specialist Jim Connor says colder than normal weather last month jump started heating.

Conflict over geothermal at Makushin volcano

Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
The City of Unalaska and the owners of the geothermal fluid near Makushin volcano have different ideas on the best way to push the geothermal energy project forward. The city thinks the best next move is to drill more test wells in Makushin Valley. The resource owners want to pursue a feasibility study that uses lasers to determine the strength of the resource in different locations.

European report says sea ice continues to recede

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
European researchers have reported that satellite observations of arctic sea ice show sea ice decline of 19% compared to the past 5 winters. Dr. Katherine Giles with the Center for Polar Observations and Modelling at University College in London says their research looks at the past 6 winters data from a single satellite. Giles says thinner sea ice last winter verified extreme thawing during the previous summer.

New partnership making some headway against domestic violence in Anchorage
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchoragae
One of Alaska’s saddest distinctions is its continuing high level of domestic violence cases–one of the highest in the nation.  But a new partnership against domestic violence in Anchorage is proving effective enough that the federal government wants to see it duplicated elsewhere in the state.

Hofstad recall in Petersburg hits a snag

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
The city of Petersburg has rejected an application to recall city councilor Melinda Hofstad. The city’s attorney determined the application did not give adequate reasoning for a recall. But recall supporters say they will rework the application and plan to submit it again.

Bushby’s round-the-world trek grind to a halt

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
On the 10th anniversary of the start of his round the world walk, British adventurer Karl Bushby’s expedition is on hold.  Bushby’s father and manger Kieth, in England, says progress has ground to a halt.  He says Karl is trying to find sponsors and negotiate a return to the remote Chukotka region of Russia, where he left off walking last spring.  Bushby’s dad says soured economic conditions and relations with Russia have complicated the situation.