Alaska News Nightly: February 27, 2009

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Board of Game considers expanding predator control
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The state Board of Game has begun work on a stack of proposals – many of which involve predator control.  Among other things, the Board is considering allowing citizens to hunt wolves from helicopters, and clarifying how killing bears in their dens can be done legally.

Legislature considers task force to handle stimulus funding

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A bill read into the state Senate today would set up a special task force to deal with the state’s needs and response to the federal economic stimulus money.  Alaska is set to receive more than $800 million.

Mid-size Alaska communities may miss out on stimulus transportation funds
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Many of Alaska’s mid-size communities will miss out on some of the transportation money from the massive economic stimulus package. Anchorage will get its money, but communities with between 5,000 and 200,000 residents were left out of formula-funding.  Alaska’s Congressional delegation is calling it a “mistake” and an oversight.  Alaska was supposed to get an exception from language that requires a certain amount to be spent in small communities.

Senators Murkowski and Begich introduce bill for direction drilling under ANWR

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Alaska’s Senators have introduced a bill that would allow directional drilling to tap oil under the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Republican Lisa Murkowski introduced it on the Senate floor this morning with the support of Democrat Mark Begich. Murkowski says it could end the three-decade long debate over drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Former K-300 manager indcited on 25 counts

Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The Former Manager of the  Kuskokwim 300 Sled Race, Staci Gillilan, has been indicted on 25 criminal counts.  Gillilan  was arrested last spring and charged with Theft involving K300 funds.  Her case went to Grand Jury yesterday.

Legislator requests details of Department of Law’s investigation into price fixing
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Anchorage Representative Pete Peterson has requested the Department of Law’s input into the federal investigation of price fixing among ocean shipping companies.   Peterson says the ongoing criminal investigation is similar to civil litigation now in the Federal District Court in Anchorage. He says the results of the investigation and lawsuit could effect all Alaskans.

100th anniversary of first Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Today is the 100th anniversary of the first National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Some of the first areas to be added to the system were Bogslof Island near Unalaska, St. Matthew Island, and Walrus Island. President Theodore Roosevelt designated them as bird reserves. In 1980 these lands were consolidated with others to create the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 2,500 islands and rocks along Alaska’s coast and includes most of the Aleutian Islands. The refuge protects habitat for more than 40 million seabirds. The Maritime Refuge will host celebrations through out the state this summer.

Stimulus funding may increase broadband Internet service to the bush
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The federal stimulus legislation may help rural Alaska upgrade broadband service for faster internet connection, but organizations need to be ready to act quickly.

Troopers greet avalanche season with series of safety workshops
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Alaska’s avalanche season is underway and Alaska State Troopers are hoping to raise awareness of the dangers of mountain backcountry travel. Beginning tomorrow, troopers are sponsoring avalanche workshops in Seward, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Glenallen and Sitka.