Alaska News Nightly: June 15, 2009

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Court OKs Interest for Exxon Valdez Plaintiffs
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
A three-judge panel of the 9th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill litigation should receive 5.9 percent interest on their punitive damages dating back to September 1996.

US Supreme Court Rules Against Valdez in Tax Case
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
US Supreme Court justices ruled against the port community of Valdez today in a case that has consequences for the city’s revenue base.

Senator Still Gathering Info on Alaska Native Corporations
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The head of a US Senate oversight panel looking into the small business contracts awarded to Alaska Native Corporations says her office is still working on collecting information in advance of next month’s hearing.

Wildfires Burning in Southwestern Alaska
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
A number of wildfires are burning in Southwestern Alaska, but firefighting crews appear to have the upper hand over a couple of them.

Juneau School Board Proposes Random Drug Tests
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
For the third year, OxyContin remains the illegal drug of choice among Juneau teens.  That’s one reason the Juneau School Board is putting a mandatory, random, student drug-testing program up for public hearing and possible action this August. A committee is already working on a proposal.

State’s Largest Satellite Facility Getting New Ops Center
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state’s largest satellite receiving facility is getting a new operations center.  Nine million dollars in federal economic stimulus money will help fund construction of the new building at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s data recovery station north of Fairbanks.

Lower Yukon Villages Assessing Break-Up Damages
Alice Criswell, KYUK – Bethel
Residents on the Lower Yukon are not only dealing with low King returns, they are also working through the damages left by the Spring break-up. Many residents in the coastal community of Emmonak have no fish racks and smoke houses left after the flood.

Diving Crews Cut Short Fuel Recovery
Ben Stanton, KDLL – Kenai
Diving crews cut efforts short over the weekend while recovering diesel fuel from the sunken supply boat Monarch.