Alaska News Nightly: May 20, 2009

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Congress Passes Restrictions on Credit Card Rules and Bill to OK Guns in Parks
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Alaska’s Congressional delegation has voted to tighten regulations on credit cards – and to allow loaded guns in national parks. The credit card reform legislation passed the Senate and House this week, and now goes to the President for his signature.

Senator Murkowski Lifts Hold on Interior Pick
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Senator Lisa Murkowski has lifted her hold on the President’s pick for Deputy Interior Secretary. She and fellow Republican Bob Bennett of Utah were blocking the Senate from voting to confirm David Hayes in the Interior Department’s number-two job.

Russian Mission Hit Hard by Flood Waters
Alice  Criswell, KYUK – Bethel
The Lower Yukon Village of Russian Mission is being hard hit by breakup flood waters. Homes have flooded and the village’s massive fuel tank is floating.

Anchorage’s Homeless Population Growing
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Growing homelessness in Anchorage has prompted the city’ s Coalition on Homelessness to take urgent action. Recent data indicates that homelessness in the city has almost doubled and many of those affected are children. Acting Anchorage Mayor Matt Claman held a press conference today to highlight new efforts by the city administration to address the problem.

Governor Palin Signs New Education Bill
Alex Hotz, KFSK – Petersburg
Governor Sarah Palin signed a new education bill into law during a brief stop in Petersburg on Wednesday.

Governor Palin Also Signs New Boating Safety Bill
Tony Gorman, KSTK – Wrangell
Governor Palin visited Wrangell to sign a boating safety bill.

North Pole Plant to Make Pellets From Waste Wood
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Construction is getting underway in North Pole on a plant that will turn local waste wood into pellet fuel for heating. The new
Alaska company, Superior Pellet Fuels is backed by private lower 48 investors.

Air Force Retiring Local F-15 Fighters
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A little piece of aviation history will soon disappear from Alaska’s skies. The Air Force is putting its F-15 into retirement. They’ve
been the backbone of the nation’s Asian and Pacific defense for twenty eight years — working from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.

Forestry Division Lays Out Timber Offerings
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The State Division of Forestry has laid out a slate of Fairbanks area timber sales to be offered at its annual auction next month.
Fairbanks area forester Marc Lee says the 11 sales include spruce, birch and aspen along the Parks and Richardson Highways and Tanana River.

Visitors Getting Their Say About the Tongass
Ed Schoenfel, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The Forest Service is questioning visitors and locals about their experience in the central and southern parts of the Tongass. Up to 30 staffers are surveying hikers, picnickers, cabin-users, and others through October.

Invasive European Green Crab is Showing Up – Again
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
Volunteers around the state are once again monitoring Alaska waters for European green crab.  The invasive species has established itself on the east and west coasts and is steadily making its way north.