Alaska News Nightly: April 13, 2009

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Juneau Mayor Offers Compromise Senate Candidate
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Juneau’s mayor today (Monday) said he’s actively getting involved in trying to find a state senator for the capital city. Bruce Botelho released a written statement saying that neither Governor Sarah Palin nor the Senate democrats are to blame in the controversy that has seen two nominations rejected by the legislative caucus.

Native Leaders Voice Concerns on Off Shore Drilling
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska Natives are uniting in asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to put a stop to oil and gas development off Alaska’s shores. A five year off shore drilling plan crafted during the Bush administration includes environmentally sensitive areas in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and in Bristol Bay.

Scientists Prepare for Oil Spill in Arctic Waters
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
Regardless of what the Obama Administration decides about moving forward with lease sales, the Arctic is changing. Ice melt is inviting increasing activity, from cruise ships to tankers in search of shipping lanes. That’s causing scientists and policy makers to look at how to respond to a maritime accident in the Arctic.

Walrus Scat Provides Clues for Changing Arctic
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Walrus scat may provide a key to understanding the changing Arctic ecosystem. It turns out fecal matter is more than just waste, it’s a wealth of information about a walrus’s diet, it’s sex, and even it’s stress levels.

Yummy or Not? Grading School Lunch
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
The Juneau School Board last week voted to continue contracting school food work to NANA Management Services for another year, at a cost to the district of 2 dollars and 92 cents per lunch. NANA signed on in May 2008, after the state gave the school district’s food-service program a failing grade.

Senate Approves Unemployment Insurance Change
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Senate today (Monday) approved changes to the state’s unemployment insurance rules, opening the way for receiving economic stimulus assistance, and protecting regular federal input into the program.

Spending Plan Lean on Ferry Money
Ed Schoenfeld, APRN – CoastAlaska
A new public-works spending plan includes funding for state ferry repairs. But there’s no money for new vessels, or to resurrect a canceled ferry route. The budget is tight this year, with limited local or long-term projects.

House Approves Federal Stimulus Funds
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The House of Representatives late Friday unanimously rejected the governor’s stand against using all the federal economic stimulus money to which the state is entitled. On a forty to zero vote, they appropriated four hundred fifty million dollars that the governor did not apply for.