Alaska News Nightly: December 24, 2008

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Alaska Airlines canceled 450 flights amidst messy northwest storms
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The unusual snowstorms that hit Seattle and Portland beginning December 19 forced the cancellation of 450 Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights. Airline spokesman Paul McElroy says thousands of people have been stuck at west coast airports because of the heavy snow and strong winds in the Pacific northwest. Rebooking all those travelers is a major challenge. While airline travel is generally back to normal, not everyone will make it home or to their holiday destination by Christmas. McElroy says the airline is considering creating additional flights.

Anchorage nursing home resumes business under old managers — temporarily
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services today issued a 60-day provisional license to the Raindance Corporation, the troubled owners of the Mary Conrad nursing home Center in Anchorage. Department spokesman Greg Wilkinson says the license is very narrow in scope and allows Raindance to deal with financial and clerical details. The state seized control of the facility on December 18 after an inspection found conditions at the facility that presented an immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of the residents. Wilkinson says conditions are much improved today.

Fairbanks Diocese may lease geothermal lands in western Alaska
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks Catholic Diocese wants to sell or lease land with geothermal potential on the Seward Peninsula. The Diocese plans to put out a request for proposals in January for development of land it owns at Pilgrim Hot Springs, about 60 miles north of Nome. Diocese Deacon and Finance Director George Bowder says the church has fielded a lot of interest in the property.

4,000 families receive GIFT from Anchorage churches and charities
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
On Monday Anchorage agencies, churches and other organizations combined forces to distribute children’s gifts and holiday meals to individuals and families in need. “GIFT” has been an Anchorage tradition since 1995 and this year the need was greater than ever.

National Geographic: Sitka a top historic destination
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
The National Geographic Society has named Sitka as one of the world’s top historic destinations. The Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations has compiled a list of 109 historic sites including Ancient Nara, Japan, Sydney Harbor, Australia, and downtown Boston. Sitka is the only Alaskan community on the list.

Unalaska teacher explores Galapagos on international grant
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Every year Toyota sends teachers from around the United States on trips to different parts of the world to help them develop creative, internationally-inspired projects. This year Unalaska High School math teacher Chris Border joined 29 others on a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

What’s the ‘right’ subsistence harvest goal for Sitka Sound herring eggs?
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
The Fish and Game Advisory Board took comment last week on proposals related to herring in Sitka Sound that will be considered by the Board of Fish in February. One of those proposals, to increase the subsistence egg harvest quota levels, generated considerable discussion.