Alaska News Nightly: January 29, 2009

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Senator Murkowski joins Senate Republican leadership
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Lisa Murkowski has been appointed to the Senate Republican leadership team.  She’s one of three senators Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has chosen as his counsel.  In the position, she’ll offer input and advice.  It’s the latest in a string of prominent roles Murkowski has secured in the Senate

State House takes up Darfur divestiture bill
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A state House committee today began considering three bills that would require the state to eliminate its investments in the Darfur region of Sudan.  A similar attempt failed last year without the early support of the Palin administration and the Permanent Fund.   The governor’s support arrived late in the session.  However in today’s hearing,  the divestment was tightened … and the support was present.

AEDC says this year flat is good
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Sometimes just holding your own can be pretty good news.  That was the theme yesterday as the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation presented its annual economic forecast for the city’s business community.

Fish and Game releasaes Sockeye forecast for Upper Cook Inlet
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released the 2009 Upper Cook Inlet sockeye salmon forecast Monday. Jeff Fox, area management biologist with fish and game in Soldotna, says the prediction for a total run of more than 4 million fish is weak compared to the 20 year average.

Barrow residents meet with Federal Fish and Wildlife Service
Janelle Everett, KBRW – Barrow
Barrow residents gathered this week for a meeting with representatives from the U.S. fish and wildlife service. The federal agency is on the north slope taking comment about the changes being proposed to the migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations for spring and summer 2009. Proposed restrictions ranging from no hunting within one mile of roadways to closures of subsistence hunts if the regional director deemed it necessary were presented.

TAB holds onto water rights for another year
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
A defunct bottler in Sitka has managed to hang on to its bulk water rights for another year. On Tuesday night, the Sitka assembly  extended its contract with True Alaska Bottling – or TAB – for 12 months.

Kodiak Walmart has tobacco license suspended
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
The Kodiak Walmart has had its license to sell tobacco suspended for about a month, because it illegally sold tobacco to a minor. As a result, Walmart plans to implement an universal ID policy statewide for all tobacco and alcohol sales.

Coast Guard assumes responsibility for derelict boat
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
The Coast Guard has assumed responsibility for the clean up of a 158-foot derelict boat in the Seldovia harbor. The Husky II, a World War II era vessel, has been moored in the Seldovia harbor for more than  five years. Its engines aren’t working, and Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis says after a recent inspection it was determined that the boat is an imminent threat to the environment and public health and safety.