Alaska News Nightly: July 9, 2009

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Fires Blamed for Smokey Southcentral Skies
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
A high pressure system over Southcentral  Alaska is to blame for heavy smoke blanketing the Anchorage and Matanuska Valley areas. The system is trapping smoke from Interior fires over the population centers.

Heat Wave Hits Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Wednesday was the hottest day in Fairbanks since 1994. National Weather Service meteorologist Corey Bogel says the official temperature at the airport reached 91 degrees.

Special Session Could Be Around Corner
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
A special session may be on the horizon for state lawmakers. In addition to a possible override of Governor Palin’s veto of federal economic stimulus funds, lawmakers may also weigh in on her latest choice to be the incoming lieutenant governor.

BLM Nominee Questioned on Energy Development
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The man President Obama has chosen to run the Bureau of Land Management faced questions from the Senate Energy Committee on Thursday.  Robert Abbey’s confirmation hearing focused on balancing development and conservation efforts on public lands.

Court Lifts Injunction Against Kensington Mine
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a 2006 injunction against the Kensington Mine.  It puts the mine one step closer to constructing a tailings facility, the last major work to be done before operations can begin.

Anchorage Police Have New Tool to Deal with Illegal Camps
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Anchorage Police have a new “tool” to deal with illegal campsites in the city.

Fairbanks City Council Cracks Down on Drinkers
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks City Council passed an ordinance this week that makes it a fineable offense to buy alcohol for chronic drinkers.

Famous Wheelchair Race Returning to Anchorage
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Sadlers Ultra Challenge is coming back.  The world’s longest wheelchair and hand cycle race normally run between Fairbanks and Anchorage on the Park’s Highway is celebrating its 25th year with a new format.

Prepaid Cards Being Investigated
Alice Criswell, KYUK – Bethel
Many people use pre-paid calling cards instead of long-distance phone service because it is cheaper. But Alaskans recently found out that they could no longer re-charge their pre-paid Sprint cards. They complained about it, and now the Regulatory Commission of Alaska is looking into the accusations.