Alaska News Nightly: July 14, 2009

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3)

Strange Substance Found off Alaska’s North Coast
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The Coast Guard is working with the North Slope Borough to identify an unusual substance floating off Alaska’s northern coast, between Barrow and Wainwright. Test results are still pending, but officials who gathered samples of the material say it isn’t petroleum based.

Fire Crews Stop Two New Interior Wild Fires
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state stopped two fast moving new wildfires in the interior late yesterday (Monday) as hot, dry, windy conditions prevailed across the region. One of the blazes, at Healy Lake, between Delta Junction and Tok off the Alaska Highway, threatened homes and cabins.

Damp Weather Helps Shanta Creek Firefighters
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Sixty eight fires are burning around Alaska at last count. The Shanta Creek fire within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is moving to the east, and fire information officer Mike Ferris says cooler, damp weather is helping keep the fire away from residences to the north and west.

Shanta Creek Firefighters Make Base Camp at Soldotna High School
Ben Stanton, KDLL Kenai
Crews fighting the Shanta Creek Fire are from both Alaska and the Lower 48, and they are living in a temporary camp set up around and in Skyview High School in Soldotna.

State Starts Work to Restore Full Medicaid and Medicare Services
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state’s Division of Senior and Disabilities Services has begun work to overcome a federal order removing its authority to accept new applications for Personal Care Assistance and for programs offering help to people needing waivers to be able to receive Medicaid services.

Tourism Operators in Ketchikan Take a Hit
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
From jewelry shop owners to tour operators, Ketchikan’s cruise ship industry appears to be suffering the effects of a weakened global economy. As KRBD’s Deanna Garrison reports, industry officials say they expected a downturn in sales this season. While some have been pleasantly surprised, others say they had no way of planning for the drop in sales they’re seeing this summer.

Housing Market in Fairbanks Improves
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Home sales have been picking in the Fairbanks area in recent months. The latest data released by the Greater Fairbanks Board of Realtors shows sales more in line with pre-recessionary numbers.

Two Dead in Plane Crash
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
A light plane crashed in Wasilla this morning, killing the plane’s pilot and one passenger. The plane, equipped with floats, took off from Kalmbach Lake and crashed around ten a.m., according to Alaska State Trooper’s spokeswoman Megan Peters.

New Collections Expand Online Photo Archive
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
More of Southeast Alaska’s Native history is going online. That’s because two new collections have been added to the Sealaska Heritage Institute’s photographic archives.

Northwest Passage Crew Hopes to Tell Global Warming Tale
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Sailors like adventures, but some want adventures with a greater purpose. Another sailboat passed through Unalaska recently to attempt the Northwest Passage. This time, the crew of the 40-foot sailboat want to educate people about climate change in the Arctic.