Alaska News Nightly: May 4, 2009

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Ice Jam on Yukon Causing Major Flooding in Eagle
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
An ice jam on the Yukon River is causing major flooding in Eagle. National Weather Service hydrologist Ed Plumb says both old and new areas of the historic riverside city and native village are being affected.

Kuskokwim River Flooding Upriver Villages; Red Devil Nearly Evacuated
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Breakup on the Kuskokwim River is also flooding some upriver villages. Red Devil was nearly evacuated this weekend before water levels there began to recede. Now the village of Aniak is experiencing high waters.

Fire Service Remains Alert to Wild Fire Potential
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
This year’s abrupt break up has left the ground muddy, but officials say that doesn’t preclude the chance for wild fire. Alaska Fire Service spokesman Doug Stockdale says fire potential can elevate rapidly.

Fairbanks Energy Maverick Makes Another Mark
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks green energy maverick Bernie Karl has achieved another breakthrough. Karl, who pioneered the world’s first low temperature geothermal power plant with United Technologies at his Chena Hot Springs Resort, has adapted the technology to a portable unit.

Redoubt Rumbling Again but Alert Level Remains at Orange
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Mount Redoubt has been ramping up the intensity with stronger tremors and more frequent earthquakes over the past two days. Alaska Volcano Observatory Geophysicist Dave Schneider says, although the AVO has not yet changed the aviation alert level from orange, the lava dome
that started building after the last big eruption April 4th is getting larger and more unstable.

Some Whaling Crews Unable to Reach Open Water
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Although Savoonga whalers have had three successful bowhead strikes this whaling season, crews in Barrow and other villages to the North are having a difficult time just getting out to open water.

Stimulus Money Will Remediate Abandoned Wells and Mines
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Stimulus funds headed to the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska will pay for removing an old well head in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. They’ll also help clean up abandoned mines and restore habitats, trails, and roads on federal land.

FERC Gives OK to Transcanada to Continue Process
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC has notified Transcanada that their request for pre-filing status has been approved. The letter from FERC director of Energy Projects J. Mark Robinson to Transcanada states this step allows FERC to begin reviewing materials sent by Transcanada before they submit a final application, so that staff can
better identify issues that need to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement.

Anchorage Casts Votes for May0r
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Tomorrow Anchorage voters decide the city’s next mayor in a special run-off election. The extended campaign came about when none of the original 15 candidates on the April 5th ballot won enough votes for an outright victory.

More Changes On the Way for M/V LeConte
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
Changes are afoot for the M/V LeConte… again. The 235-foot ferry joined the Alaska Marine Highway System in the early 1970s, and sailed Southeast 24-7. In 2004, the vessel hit Cozian Reef, and ground to a halt for nine months. In 2006, concerns about crew fatigue led Marine Highway officials to make the LeConte a day boat.