Alaska News Nightly: February 9, 2009

State lawmakers hear testimony from residents in Northwest Alaska on reigning in the high cost of energy. Plus, a mushing treadmill is helping a scientist figure out what makes sled dogs so exceptional.

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Alaska Legislature may repeal 2005 retirement benefits changes
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state legislature this week will debate a proposal to repeal the new retirement system for the state’s employees and teachers that passed in 2005.

Legislature considers ‘Bullet Line’ for natural gas project
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
It took four resolutions in the State House today to assemble a comprehensive opinion on a so-called “Bullet Line” — a natural gas pipeline that would provide energy directly to Alaska users.

Energy Committee takes comments in Nome
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
Public comments covered long-term projects and short-term fixes yesterday as the Alaska House Energy Committee took testimony in Nome.

Obama will appoint White House tribal issues advisor
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
President Barack Obama plans to appoint an advisor on tribal issues to his senior White House staff. First Lady Michelle Obama made the announcement today during a visit to the Interior Department in Washington.

Major author of Alaska Constitution dies
The Associated Press
A delegate to the 1955 Alaska Constitutional Convention died over the weekend. George Sundborg Sr. died Saturday of pneumonia in Seattle. He was 95.

A former newspaperman, Sundborg was in charge of the style and drafting of the Alaska Constitution. Friends and colleagues remember Sundborg as a dignified and scholarly man who played a key role in making the Alaska State Constitution a model document.

George Sundborg, Jr. says his father always described the convention as one of the greatest events of his life. The elder Sundborg was one of four remaining delegates from the original group of 55 members. Sundborg later worked as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Earnest Gruening.

Sealaska Corporation seeks Tongass lands
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast’s regional Native Corporation will get another shot at land it wants in the Tongass National Forest.

Some Prince of Wales Island residents oppose Sealaska/Tongass land sale prop
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Residents of northwest Prince of Wales Island say they oppose legislation turning nearby land over to Sealaska. Point Baker and Port Protection representatives say they want Tongass National Forest property to remain open to the public.

Seafood processor offers grants to Alaskan communities
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Seattle-based American Seafoods is accepting applications for its Alaska Community Grant program. Stretching back more than 10 years, the harvesting and processing company has funded projects across the state.

Juneau’s Capitol Records music shop playing swan song
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
It’s a quick fade-out for one of Southeast Alaska’s last remaining independently-owned record stores. Capitol Records in Juneau is closing its doors.

Sitka stars in national ad campaign for Cargill
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
The town of Sitka has a starring role in a television commercial now airing nationwide. Cargill Incorporated, of Minneapolis, sells a myriad of products and services, including salt for seafood processing. But most television viewers around the U.S. don’t process seafood.

Scientist researching powers of dog sledding athletes
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Yukon Quest dogs got the once-over from veterinarians at weekend events in Whitehorse and Fairbanks. Dogs were checked from nose to tail for any problems that could cause them trouble over the Quest’s 1,000 miles of trail.