Alaska News Nightly: July 7, 2009

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Palin Makes First Public Appearance Since Her Announcement
The Associated Press and Suzy Erlich, KOTZ – Kotzebue
Sarah Palin returned to work as Alaska’s governor today in Kotzebue. She visited the arctic community to sign a bill aimed at strengthening the Village Public Safety Officer program. It was her first public appearance as governor since she announced her plan to resign.

Stimulus Spending to Help Fish, Too
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska
Fish as well as people are expected to benefit from another round of federal stimulus funding that’s headed to Alaska.

Wildfire in Kenai Refuge Growing
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
The Shanta Creek Fire burning north of Tustumena Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge continues to grow. Wildfire officials are monitoring the blaze, which was started by lightning about a week ago. The fire grew by a couple thousand acres on Monday.

Coast Guard Commander Wants More Presence in the Arctic
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The Commandant of the US Coast Guard says the nation should beef-up its presence in the Arctic.  Admiral Thad Allen made his comments before a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing about Coast Guard oversight. Alaska Senator Mark Begich (D) questioned him about what is needed.

Cargo Containers Go Overboard
Emily Schwing, KCAW – Sitka
A little over a week ago, three cargo containers went overboard on their way through Milbanke Sound, off the coast of British Columbia.  Two of the containers are still missing, but the loss could make for some interesting beachcombing.

New Mining Data for Chistochena District Available
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
The state’s geological and geophysical survey has released new mining data for the Chistochena District. The information from airborne surveys of 442 square miles of the district is meant to provide data about the region’s bedrock, the types of rocks in the area and their electric and magnetic properties.

Two Arts Groups Purchase Ketchikan’s Fireside Building
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
Two arts organizations have purchased the former Fireside Building in downtown Ketchikan. The purchase is a major to find a permanent home for First City Players and Ketchikan Theater Ballet.

Public Internet Program Launched in Sitka
Shaleece Haas, KCAW – Sitka
Sitkans can now update Facebook from the lawn at Totem Square. Last week, the city launched a public Internet program and soon, free wireless will be available in downtown Sitka.

AFN Sponsors Essay Contest
Suzanna Caldwell, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Federation of Natives is partnering with the National Congress of American Indians to sponsor an essay contest open to all Native thinkers.