Alaska News Nightly: March 26, 2009

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Mount Redoubt Dusts Kenai Peninsula
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer and Ben Stanton, KDLL – Kenai
Mount Redoubt exploded this morning with its highest ash cloud yet, sending a plume 65 thousand feet in the air. An hour before, the volcano pushed out ash to 30  thousand feet. Redoubt recorded several other smaller seismic events today. The activity shut down most flights in and out of Anchorage and sent an cloud towards the Kenai Peninsula that scattered trace amounts of ash south of Ninilchik.

Scientists Expect Volcano to Explode Without Warning
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Redoubt’s activity today happened without warning after a lull yesterday when the Alaska Volcano Observatory lowered the volcano’s alert level. Stephanie Prejean is a AVO geophysicist. She says that’s exactly what scientists anticipated. She says once a volcano is erupting, they don’t need to make any “noise” as they send out magma.

Governor Names New Attorney General
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
With Cook Inlet as the backdrop, Governor Sarah Palin announced her pick for Alaska Attorney General today in downtown Anchorage at Resolution Park.

Lawmakers Miffed at Canceled Meeting on Stimulus Funds
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Legislative leaders this week have anticipated a face-to-face meeting scheduled today (Thursday) with Governor Palin, looking for some direct guidance on what she plans to do with the federal economic stimulus money available to the state that she said she would not accept.

Study Shows Importance of Aviation to Alaska Public Media
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
It’s long been common knowledge that aviation is crucial to Alaska. But for the first time, aviation’s importance in the state has been quantified, thanks to an economic assessment from the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Fort Wainwright Soldiers Petition Army for Better Treatment
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A group of Ft. Wainwright soldiers is petitioning the Army to examine and improve the way it treats injured and sick service members. Sergeant Jesse Raymo is part of a group gathering signatures for a petition directed at Ft. Wainwright commanders.

Anchorage Doctors Turning Away New Medicare Patients
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Most doctors in Alaska’s cities have stopped accepting new medicare patients. A new study from the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research found only 13 primary care doctors in Anchorage who will see new medicare patients. Nearly half were at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Clinic, where accepting medicare patients is a federal requirement.

Young Brothers Race Well at Cross Country National Championships
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
U.S. Ski team athletes won the team sprint events at the Cross Country Ski National Championships in Fairbanks last night. In the women’s’ race, Vermonter’s Liz Stephen and Morgan Smyth paired up to win. Anchorage’s Kikkan Randall and Katie Ronsee teamed up to take 4th place.