Alaska News Nightly: December 23, 2008

The federal government has decided not to list Ribbon seals under the Endangered Species Act. An environmental group is calling the ruling delusional. Plus, a Homer man has a new job heading up the national wildlife refuge system.

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Are Ribbon seals facing extinction? NOAA says no
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The federal government has decided not to list Ribbon seals under the Endangered Species Act. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the ice-dependent animals don’t face extinction from climate change in the foreseeable future.

Fairbanks, Juneau air particulates well above EPA guidelines
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks and Juneau have been formally designated as non-attainment areas for fine particulate pollution by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Alaska communities are among 46 nationally that have regularly exceeded daily concentration levels set by the EPA for the tiny particles produced by combustion.

Two soldiers, one former soldier held in Fairbanks theft/murder
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A Fairbanks businessman reported missing last week is dead. Daniel Frederick, 62, a downtown resident who operated the Army surplus and antique shop “Blondies,” was found beaten and strangled.

University of Alaska report explores complex Alaska economy
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) has just concluded a comprehensive study that looks beyond the usual factors that comprise Alaska’s economy. The report is called “Structural Analysis of the Alaska Economy: What are the Drivers?” and the idea is to parse out the underlaying factors of Alaska’s monetary foundation. Professor Scott Goldsmith is the lead author.

Commercial fishing permits now renewable online
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Alaska’s commercial fishing permit holders can now renew their permits and vessel licenses over the Internet. The states limited entry commission staff started up the new online system in late November.

Alaskan to lead National Wildlife Refuge System
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
The manager of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge has received a promotion that will put him at the helm of all 548 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Audio Postcard: Ice skating Juneau’s Twin Lakes
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Juneau set a new record this fall with 34 consecutive days of precipitation. But last week, day after day of sunny skies sent Juneau residents flocking outside. KTOO’s John Ryan shares this audio postcard from the busy ice of Twin Lakes.

‘Operation Santa’ makes some early visits to rural Alaska
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Operation Santa has been bringing Christmas presents to children in rural Alaska for over 20 years. This year KUCB’s Anne Hillman tagged along for one of the stops.