Alaska News Nightly: March 18, 2009

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Lance Mackey Wins 3rd Consecutive Iditarod
Tim Bodony, KIYU – Galena
Lance Mackey rolled into Nome at around noon today (Wednesday) to win his third consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race. Mackey joins Susan Butcher and Doug Swingley as the only mushers to win three races in a row.

Governor Palin Responds to Concerns About Gasline
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Legislators returned from the Energy Council meetings in Washington D.C. with questions about Alaska’s role in the national energy picture. They discovered that they were high on the agenda with President Obama’s support for the North Slope Gas Line. But they also learned details on alternatives to the plan that could risk the economic return for the state’s AGIA project. Back at the capitol, Governor Sarah Palin is pushing her administration’s plan. And that is creating new tension between the camps.

Commerce Nominee Has Bipartisan Support
Libby Casey, APRN – Anchorage
Nearly two months after President Obama took office, his nominee for Secretary of Commerce finally had his confirmation hearing today. Former Washington state governor Gary Locke met a friendly audience in the Senate Commerce Committee. It’s been a long road to find a nominee – the first, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew because of an investigation, and the second, Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire changed his mind about serving a Democratic president.

Anchorage Physician Studies Link Between Climate Change and Disease
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
An Anchorage doctor testified this week in Washington D.C. about the link between climate change and emerging disease. Dr. Jeffrey Demain is the director of the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska.

New Techniques Confirm Southeast Alaska Ice Age Species
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Scientists are using advanced genetic techniques to discover which Southeast Alaska species made it through the last ice age. That and other research might have lessons for the Tongass rain forest.

Begich Joins Moderate Democrat Coalition
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
Senator Mark Begich has joined a coalition of moderate Senate Democrats. They’ll meet biweekly to talk strategy and ideas, but Begich says they won’t be bound to vote as a group.

St. Lazaria Island Celebrates 100th Birthday
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
St. Lazaria Island just had a birthday. The rugged, volcanic knob in Sitka Sound has been around for thousands of years, but it was one-hundred years ago last month that President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation making it a seabird reservation – and one of the nation’s first wildlife refuges.