Alaska News Nightly: February 20, 2009

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Anchorage Mayor attends White House stimulus package meeting
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Anchorage Acting Mayor Matt Claman was among dozens of mayors from around the country who met with President Obama today at the White House. They talked about the massive economic stimulus package the President signed into law this week, and about how local governments can put the money to work.

Interior Department plans stimulus spending in National Parks, more
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today he’s appointing a task force to help make decisions about where to invest more than $3 billion of stimulus money.

Alaska Permanent Fund set to avoid Sudan-related investments
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The Trustees of the Permanent Fund yesterday endorsed legislation that would require all financial managers to no longer invest in companies that do business in the Sudan. Sudan has been black-listed by international groups — and by the U.S. Congress — for its genocide campaign in the Darfur region of that country.

Faith group brings food and religious message to rural Alaska
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has announced a federal fuel cost assistance plan for Emmonak. Senator Mark Begich arranged the announcement during his trip yesterday to Bethel. The BIA’s Niles Cesar says the BIA has waived income guidelines so people can qualify for aid of up to $1,000. He said they have requested the waiver also be applied in 56 western Alaska villages and 11 villlages in the northwest Arctic.

In another effort to ease the economic crisis in rural Alaska, Governor Sarah Palin took off with the Reverend Franklin Graham from a Wasilla airstrip this morning to deliver 200 packages of food to the communities of Russian Mission and Marshall. Graham’s Christian relief group, Samaritan’s Purse, is planning to distribute hundreds more boxes throughout western Alaska next week.

UAA hosts debate on State of Alaska’s financial support for rural life
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Last night at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus a debate and discussion was held on the question: “Should the State of Alaska devote resources to sustain rural villages?” The evening began with a spirited debate by UAA students offering compelling arguments for and against the State ramping up support for services and economic growth in rural Alaska.

No deaths, minor injuries in plane crash near Nome
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
All six people aboard a Frontier Alaska flight from Brevig Mission to Nome survived a crash landing yesterday evening, thanks to their calm reactions and the hard work of local emergency responders.

Gatt and Dalton scratch from 2009 Quest
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Hans Gatt scratched from the Yukon Quest in Dawson City yesterday, saying he wants to save his dogs for the Iditarod. Fellow veteran racer Dave Dalton also pulled out at Dawson yesterday because his dogs are sick. That leaves 25 teams in the race.