Alaska News Nightly: December 29, 2008

The Governor’s daughter Bristol gives birth to a son.  A fire in Valdez shuts down the Petro Star Refinery.  Also, Bethel Search & Rescue celebrates its new home;  the US Cross-Country Ski Championships come to Alaska, and a Juneau couple wins a national book award. 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.

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Fire shuts down refinery in Valdez
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A large fire has shut down the Petro Star refinery in Valdez. The fire was extinguished early this morning. 32 firefighters responded from the company, the city and from Trans Alaska Pipeline operator Alyeska. Sherrie Pierce is the information officer with the city. She says flames and smoke were visible from town, about six miles away.

Bethel Search & Rescue celebrates new home
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Bethel Search and Rescue has never had a building of their own.  But now the all-volunteer organization is moving into their very own building, and for many involved with the organization, it’s a momentous occasion.

Juneau remains frugal with energy

John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Six months after Juneau emerged from its energy emergency, the capital city continues to conserve electricity.

US Cross Country Ski Championships come to Anchorage

Duncan Moon, APRN – Anchorage
The top nordic skiers in the country are descending on Anchorage this coming weekend for the U-S cross country championships. About 500 skiers are expected to participate. The event kicks off at Kincaid park with a classic sprint Saturday morning.

Juneau couple wins national book award
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Juneau’s Richard and Nora Marks Dauenhauer have won a 2008 American Book Award for their latest publication Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká: Russians in Tlingit America, The Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804.  The Dauenhauers received the award at ceremonies in Berkeley, California over the weekend.

Scientists study “Moonmilk” in southeast caves
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Scientists are studying an unusual form of life found in some Southeast Alaska caves. It’s called moonmilk, and it’s made up of tiny organisms that chew through rock.

Bristol Palin gives birth to a son
Associated Press – Anchorage
The 18-year-old daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given birth in Alaska to a son. People magazine reports that Bristol Palin gave birth to Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on Sunday. He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces.