Alaska News Nightly: March 30, 2009

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Volcano Disrupts Cargo Flow at Anchorage Airport
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska Airlines canceled more flights today, as Mount Redoubt produced new ash clouds. The Alaska Volcano Observatory reported several short, relatively low altitude explosions from the volcano today that sent plumes
as high as 27 thousand feet.

Officials Consider Removing Oil at Drift River Terminal
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A group comprised of state, federal and Cook Inlet Pipeline staff have formed a unified command under the supervision of Coast Guard commander Joe Locuito to develop a plan for the Drift River crude oil facility located at the base of Mount Redoubt.

Palin Picks Grussendorf for Open State Senate Seat
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Palin has selected a high-ranking legislative employee as the next state Senator representing Juneau. Tim Grussendorf has been appointed to the seat made vacant when Kim Elton left for Washington D.C. to work for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Democrats Angry over Grussendorf Pick
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Grussendorf was one of four people interviewed by the governor for the Senate District B seat. He says he’s not surprised she selected him. He thinks he answered the questions just the way Palin wanted.

State Lawmakers Fight Back Over Washington Tax Plan
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Washington State legislators are considering levying a 37-and-a-half cent a gallon tax on refined, blended fuel exported to other states, including Alaska. That would effect some thirty million gallons of fuel coming into the state. And Alaska’s legislators are fighting back

Fisheries Council Considers Contentious Proposal
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is convening this week in Anchorage to tackle the thorny issue of Chinook Salmon bycatch within the Bering Sea pollock industry.

Senator Murkowski Wants More Funding for Volcano Monitoring
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
Senator Lisa Murkowski plans to introduce legislation this week that would establish a national volcano monitoring system. It would include the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Murkowski announced her intentions on the Senate floor in Washington today.

Historian Bill Holm Honored at Tlingit Conference
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
This weekend saw the conclusion of “Sharing our Knowledge: A Conference of Tlingit Tribes and Clans.” Last week, hundreds of Alaska Native leaders, scholars, elders and visitors gathered in Centennial Hall to learn about Tlingit people and culture.

World Dancers Gather in Bethel
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The Cama-ii Dance Festival wrapped up in Bethel Sunday night.
The 3-day event featured over 20 dance groups from the YK Delta to Japan.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori