Alaska News Nightly: May 14, 2009

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Wildfire Spread Near Homer
Marcia Lynn, KBBI – Homer
The wildfire burning near Homer has grown to over a thousand acres in size. By last night, 124 fire personnel were on scene, 17 miles out East End Road. At a briefing today Matt Weaver, from the Alaska Division of Forestry in Palmer, said despite fire lines made by five bulldozers, containment was a long way off.

Alaska Senators want 2 Tug Escorts for Double Hulled Tankers
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.
Alaska’s Senators have introduced a bill that would require all oil tankers in Prince William Sound to be escorted by at least two tug vessels. Current law says only single-hulled tankers need the dual escort, but the new law would require them for double-hulled tankers too.

Shell Oil Explores Plans for North Aleutian Basin exploration
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Representatives from Shell Oil visited Unalaska this week to talk about their prospective involvement with offshore oil and gas drilling in the North Aleutian Basin.

Ted Stevens Files Final Senate Disclosure Forms
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.
Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens spent at least 1 million dollars and as much as five million dollars defending himself against federal charges that he failed to report gifts. Stevens filed a final financial disclosure from with the U.S. Senate last week.

Juneau Prepares for Large, New Parking Facility
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
Juneau is expected to start building a new downtown transportation center July 1st. The project includes a transit center for bus riders, plus a trail to a hilltop park. But the item that’s aroused quite a bit of controversy over the last few years is the four-level, 209 space parking garage.

Construction Season Off to Slow Start in Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The recession is slowing private construction in Fairbanks and there are mixed readings on what’s to come. While government funding will bolster local military and infrastructure projects, privately financed activity appears to be declining. City of Fairbanks Building official Steve Shuttleworth says the situation is hard to gauge because the city is coming off a string of several boom years.

Community Recovery Work Underway in Eagle
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Flood recovery operations are proceeding in Eagle. One of the first objectives of emergency managers is gaining road access to the old and new native village sites. The road there is blocked by a mile and half stretch of broken river ice washed ashore during last week’s record flood.

Kodiak Elders Develop New Alutiiq Words for Modern Times
Erik Wander, KMXT – Kodiak
How do you express modern concepts and terms in an endangered Native language spoken fluently by few people? Each month, elders from around Kodiak meet to tackle that question, developing new words in Alutiiq for English words such as “computer” and “Internet,” in order to help the language evolve with the times.