Alaska News Nightly: July 1, 2009

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Villagers Protesting Salmon Rules
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The Native Tribe in the Marshall is protesting fishing restrictions imposed by the State of Alaska.  On Friday six boats went fishing for King Salmon during a closed period.  Residents in Marshall, and other Lower Yukon villages, say their harvest of King salmon won’t carry them through the winter.

Obama Team Coming to Alaska
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Five of President Obama’s top cabinet secretaries will visit Bethel next month as part of a “rural tour.”  The group includes Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.  They’ll be in Bethel August 12 to talk about rural infrastructure, green jobs and climate change.

Alaska Growing Older, Leads the Nation
Shaleece Haas, KCAW – Sitka
This year, Alaska overtook Nevada to become the state with the fastest growing population of elderly people. And for the most part, state agencies seem to be preparing for the needs of older Alaskans. But there’s one segment of the senior population that’s having a difficult time finding the care they need: those with mental illness.

Rat Poison Suspected of Killing Island Birds
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Rat poison is responsible for killing at least five birds on an island in the Aleutians this spring. It is suspected in the deaths of more than two hundred other birds, including bald eagles, gulls and peregrine falcons. The US Fish and Wildlife Service covered Rat Island with a rodenticide in 2008 to try to rid the island of its namesake. When biologists returned in April they found no rats, but an unexpected number of dead birds.

Only One Legal Hurdle Blocking Kensington Mine
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Only one legal hurdle prevents the startup of work at the Kensington Gold Mine.  And mine owner Coeur Alaska is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to immediately lift an injunction in place since 2006.

Usibelli Ups Coal Estimation
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Usibelli coal mine has upped its estimation of available reserves at Healy. Usibelli vice president of customer relations Bill Brophy says the assessment shows an abundance of easily accessible coal beyond the previous estimate of 50 million tons.

Volunteers Looking for Invasive Species of Crab
Marcia Lynn, KBBI – Homer
Volunteers are helping biologists from the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve search local waters for an invasive species of crab. Each month they check traps along the beach to identify and measure the crabs they find inside.

Wainright Soldiers on Way Home
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
More than 85 Fort Wainwright soldiers are returning from a year-long deployment in Iraq. Post spokeswoman Linda Douglas says the Task Force 49 soldiers due in Wednesday have been providing aerial reconnaissance and support.