Alaska News Nightly: August 18, 2009

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Coast Guard Out in Force This Month
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
The U.S. Coast Guard has been out in force around Western Alaska this month, to assess both is capabilities and limitations amid warming Arctic waters.

Scientists Watching Retreating Sea Ice
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
As September approaches, scientists are guessing how far the Arctic Sea ice will retreat this year before it begins to freeze up again.  Scientists were stunned by the record withdrawal that took place two years ago.

Medicaid Fraud Case Settled
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state’s largest Medicaid fraud case ever has been settled. The president of On Call Nursing of Alaska,  Sherry Trotter, pled guilty to felony first degree theft of more than $1.3 million.  Trotter was sentenced to three years in prison – with 28 months suspended – and ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution.

125th Stryker Brigade Remembering Fallen Comrades
Jennifer Canfield, University of Alaska Fairbanks
In the coming weeks, soldiers from the 125th Stryker Brigade based out of Ft. Wainwright, Alaska will be making their journey home. Most are gearing up to be reunited with their families and some are remembering fellow soldiers who died.

Elderly Man Dies After Boating Accident
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO- Juneau
A 76-year-old California man has died in a boating accident near Juneau. Robert Earl Lehnhart of Lake Forest, California was one of seven people thrown into the water on Monday when their boat capsized near Tee Harbor, about 20 miles northwest of Juneau.

Firefighters Taking Advantage of Better Weather
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A short break in the weather is giving state and federal wildfire fighting agencies a chance to haul gear back from remote country where fires were battled for weeks prior to the arrival of recent rains.  The State Division of Forestry says it’s been a challenge retrieving equipment set up to protect isolated backcountry properties.

Juneau Administrator Chosen for Domestic Violence Council
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The state has tapped a Juneau administrator with experience at shelters and Native organizations to lead its Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Sandy Samaniego began working Monday with the council.

Brown Bear Cubs Captured in Sitka
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Three brown bear cubs have been captured, and a fourth has died, after their mother was possibly killed in a Sitka neighborhood. Officials with the state department of Fish and Game decided to trap the cubs on Sunday after it became apparent that the sow was no longer with them. The cubs have been temporarily housed.