Alaska News Nightly: January 7, 2009

A new Congress in Washington, DC, but the same old debate over ANWR drilling. Also, the sub-zero temperatures   in Anchorage once again postpone the US Cross-Country Ski Championships. Plus, Bob Poe declares his intention to run for governor and the Alaska Food Bank struggles with rising hunger across the state.

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New Congress, new debate over ANWR
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
The new session of Congress is only in its first week, and already it faces two competing bills dealing with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  In the House,  Alaska Republican Don Young reintroduced a bill to allow drilling in the Refuge, and Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey reintroduced a bill to protect its Coastal Plain.

The Alaska Food Bank copes with growing need for food

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The economy may be slowing down, but hunger is not.  During the holidays, the Food Bank of Alaska distributed 30 percent more meals in Anchorage than last year.  But hunger is hardly an urban phenomenon.  A statewide study indicates around 85-thousand Alaskans deal with food shortages.

Frigid weather continues to plague US Cross Country Ski Championships in Anchorage

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Cold temperatures have once again postponed the U-S Cross Country Ski Championship races in Anchorage. It was the 4th day of cancelations for the six day event.

Bob Poe declares intention to run for governor

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Former Commissioner of Administration Bob Poe says he is ready to become the first candidate in the 2-thousand 10 race for governor. Before his time as Commissioner, Poe worked off-and-on as a consultant and general problem-solver for four administrations over more than twenty years.

Southeast barge company raises rates

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
A major barge line serving Southeast is raising its rates. But it’s reducing its fuel surcharge.

SEACC hires local talent
Jay Marble, KRBD – Craig
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council hired Linsdey Ketchel of Vermont last month to be the Executive Director of the region’s largest conservation group. SEACC recently made another hire, but this time they went local.  Bob Claus of Craig will be the new Southern Southeast “Grass Roots” organizer for the group.

New gun policy for National Parks stirs a lawsuit

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
The Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence is suing to stop a last-minute Bush administration change that would allow people to carry concealed, loaded guns in most National parks and wildlife refuges, including the Sitka National Historical Park.

Wolves roaming closer to northwest villages
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Residents of the northwest Alaska villages of Shungnak and Kobuk are concerned about wolves roaming near town.  Shungnak Mayor Levi Cleveland says wolves have been spotted in recent weeks along the 5 mile trail to Kobuk, as close as a mile and half to the villages.

Starring in Unalaska
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Today is Russian Christmas, or Slavi, when followers of the Russian Orthodox Church in western Alaska celebrate Christmas day with carol singing, feasts, and a tradition called starring.