Alaska News Nightly: August 11, 2009


Photo by Patrick Yack, APRN – Anchorage

Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan appear on Talk of Alaska with APRN host Steve Heimel.

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HUD Secretary Announces Block Grants for Tribes
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The early signs are that Alaska’s Native tribal governments are going to get a significant boost from the Obama administration cabinet members visiting this week. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced some big block grant awards to tribes, from the federal stimulus bill, on the public radio call-in show “Talk of Alaska” today.

Bethel Prepping for Obama Cabinet
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
Bethel is preparing for a visit from four Obama Administration cabinet Secretaries tomorrow. The delegation includes HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. They’re stopping in Bethel and Hooper Bay as part of a rural tour of America.

Bill Seeks to Address Violent Crime in Native Communities
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Draft legislation called the Tribal Law and Order Act is expected to be on the agenda for lawmakers after their summer recess. The bill seeks to address violent crime in Native communities. A proposed amendment to the bill would create a pilot project in Alaska that would give up to five Tribal communities that have tribal courts, more authority in dealing with domestic violence, alcohol and drug crimes.

State Prisoners Moving from Arizona to Colorado
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Alaska’s inmates currently in a private prison in the Lower 48 will be a little closer to the state by the end of the year. The Department of Corrections has decided to move prisoners from a leased facility in Arizona to a newly constructed facility it’s leasing in Colorado.

Juneau School Board Wrestling With Drug-Testing Plans
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
The Juneau School Board is wrestling with a plan to institute mandatory, random drug-testing for high-school students in athletics. A school district drug task force is recommending immediate implementation, as well as a rewards-based voluntary drug program for other high school students.

STDs on the Rise in YK Delta
Alice Criswell, KYUK – Bethel
There is an alarming increase in the rate of two sexually transmitted diseases in the YK Delta.  Both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea have increased dramatically in the region since 2007.

Yellow Jackets Descend on Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Yellow jackets are bugging people in Fairbanks again. This summer’s hot dry conditions are conducive to wasp survival, and she’s been getting calls about them causing problems around homes and gardens.

Author Describes Palin’s Meteoric Rise
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Washington Post political reporter Dan Balz doesn’t pretend to know where Sarah Palin’s career is heading. But in his new book, “The Battle for America 2008,” he gives new insight into her meteoric rise on the national stage last summer. He describes how she was picked as John McCain’s running mate, electrified the presidential race, but ultimately hurt his candidacy.