Alaska News Nightly: July 22, 2009

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Agency Head Working to Correct Home Healthcare Challenges
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The head of the state agency that oversees a troubled home healthcare waiver program says they’re working hard to correct problems.  Last month the federal government red-flagged the program and said for now, no new people can be enrolled.

Groups Want Moratorium Lifted on Healthcare Program
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Service providers and advocacy groups agree with Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) that the moratorium should be lifted. At a regular meeting today in Anchorage of the Senior Citizens advisory commission, Commissioner and administrator for the Marlow Manor assisted living center Teresa Brisky says people going through the assessment process and families spending their resources down, hoping for a reprieve are left hanging.

Field Crowded for Democratic Gubernatorial Race
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Next year’s Democratic Primary race for governor will be a crowded field,  with three people already in the race and a fourth preparing to kick off his campaign soon.

Environmentalists Concerned About Pesticides’ Affect on Polar Bears
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Pesticide pollution is an increasing threat to the worlds’ polar bear populations. That’s according to a group of experts who met this month in Denmark. A conservation organization is hoping the Environmental Protection Agency will help stop the flow of pesticides to the arctic.  The Center for Biological Diversity has announced its intent to sue over the issue.

Fish and Wildlife Pick Gets Warm Reception
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
President Obama’s pick to direct the US Fish and Wildlife Service got a warm reception on Wednesday from key members of the Senate.  Only a handful of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee members attended Samuel Hamilton’s confirmation hearing this morning.  Chairwoman Barbara Boxer said that’s a sign he’ll have a smooth confirmation process.

Railbelt Fires Sparing Structures
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Despite weeks of growth, the Railbelt complex of wildfires have not burned any structures.  The complex’s three fires have charred over 250 thousand acres west of the parks Highway and Nenana, and there are miles of active fire line.

Anchorage Author Explores Frigid Topics
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A new book explores a topic Alaskans are all too familiar with: the cold. In the interest of research, Anchorage author Bill Streever takes a dip in the icy Arctic Ocean and even delves into the world of quantum physics. He also looks at glaciers, frostbite, seals and igloos, among other things. The book is called, simply – “Cold.”