Alaska News Nightly: July 16, 2009

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Alaska Native Contracts Scrutinized at Senate Hearing
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
Alaska Native Corporations’ special right to get no-bid federal contracts came under scrutiny today on Capitol Hill. A Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight examined the Small Business Administration’s 8-A Program, which gives socially and economically disadvantaged businesses a leg-up in securing contracts. Tribal, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Organizations get special opportunities.

Lieutenant Governor Calls for Expanding Special Session
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell has asked State House and Senate leaders to extend the planned one-day special session on August tenth in Anchorage.

Experts Weigh in on Particulate Problem in Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Air pollution experts from around the country are assembled in Fairbanks this week for a symposium aimed at unraveling the community’s fine particulate problem. Wild fire smoke has elevated local particulate levels this week, but as KUAC’s Dan Bross reports the symposium is focused on human generated emissions from heating, power production and vehicles.

Juneau Mall Struggles to Fill Space
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
A month-and-a-half after Gottschalks closed its doors, Juneau shoppers are still wondering about what will fill its 32-thousand-square-foot shoes in the Mendenhall Mall.

New Ferries Will Include “Quiet Rooms”
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Alaskans’ opinions remain mixed about plans for new ferries without staterooms. But officials say more comfortable seats and quiet rooms will answer many of the concerns.

Good Weather Marks Denali Climbing Season
Sue Deyoe, KTNA – Talkeetna
The Denali climbing season has ended and all climbers are off the mountain. The season wasn’t without incidents, but there were fewer major issues compared to last year.