Alaska News Nightly: May 29, 2009

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Obama Administration Wants Second Look at Timber Sales
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
The Obama Administration is taking a second look at new forest service timber sales in roadless areas. The new directive announced on Thursday requires prior approval by the secretary of agriculture before logging is allowed in roadless areas of national forests.

Arctic Village Hosting Refuge Celebration
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Arctic Village is hosting a celebration this weekend to mark two decades protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  The events, including a unique art project, are aimed at local and global environmental concerns.

Passports Needed Soon to Cross Into Canada
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Starting on June 1, Americans crossing the border with Canada will need a passport – or comparable document.  A passport is already needed for air travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. But starting Monday, it will also be required for land and sea border crossings.

McGrath Area Fire Threatening Primary Residences
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
The lightning caused Broken Snowshoe fire near McGrath has consumed more than 22,500 acres. The fire began on May 25, and is now threatening primary residences, cultural resources and private property.  The blaze is on Native Corporation land with high timber value.  Dry fuels and almost no rain have made it a difficult fire to fight.

Mt. Redoubt Still Drawing Vigil
Marcia Lynn, KBBI – Homer
The 2009 eruption of Mt. Redoubt volcano is now in its 10th week and staff of the Alaska Volcano Observatory continues its round-the-clock vigil.

Southeast Native Corporation Developing New Partnerships
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s biggest Native corporation and its largest tribal organization are developing new business partnerships. Leaders say they hope to provide employment and services for villages and other economically-strapped parts of the region.

Election Division Beefing Up Translation Program
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The Alaska Division of Elections has been working to improve their Yup’ik Translation program.  Top members of the Division were in Bethel on Wednesday to inform local tribes about those changes.

Red Salmon Return Better Than Anticipated
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The red salmon return on the Copper River is coming in better than anticipated. State area management biologist, Mark Sommerville says indicators point to a strong early return.

Education Program at Sheldon Jackson Still Strong
Emily Schwing, KCAW – Sitka
Despite the closing of Sheldon Jackson College two years ago, the education program at the former college hatchery is still in full swing.  An organization called the Sitka Sound Science Center has been releasing fish from the hatchery all week.