Alaska News Nightly: August 24, 2009

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Murkowski Hosts Energy Hearings
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Alaska alternative energy efforts got some national attention over the weekend. Public and private sector energy leaders testified at a U.S. Energy and Natural Resources Committee field hearing.  Senator Lisa Murkowski, the committee’s ranking Republican, hosted the hearing Saturday at Chena Hot Springs.

Scientists Return to Kasatochi Volcano
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Just over a year ago Kasatochi Volcano erupted and turned a lush, life-filled Aleutian Island into a moonscape. A group of scientist recently visited the volcano to see if life was returning.

State Given OK to Accept Some New Medicaid Applications
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state’s Division of Senior and Disabilities Services has been given permission to begin accepting applications for home care and community care services under the Medicaid waiver program – but only for people with emergency needs. Division Director Rebecca Hilgendorf says the federal officials set the criteria that determines who qualifies for assistance.

Slowdown in Medicaid Hitting Home
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Medicaid waiver program that helps seniors, those with disabilities and children with serious illness – has been on hold since June as the state works to clear up a backlog of applicants and meet other federal requirements. As state officials work to meet a September deadline for program revisions, Alaskans dealing with the daily work of caring for family members with little or no help are hoping for change.

Parnell Picnics in Juneau
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Governor Sean Parnell and six commissioners served up picnic fare to thousands of Juneau residents Friday.   Some estimate nearly 10 percent of the city’s 30,000 residents showed up.

Moose Dropping Festival Dropped
Sue Deyoe, KTNA – Talkeetna
The Talkeetna Historical Society Board of Directors decided last week to cancel the town’s popular Moose Dropping Festival. This summer, the popular event was marred by drunk revelers, rowdy behavior and even one death.

Native Charter School Seeing Robust Enrollment
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
A year ago the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School was desperately recruiting students as staff prepared temporary classrooms in an Anchorage church.  This year finds the school in permanent quarters and showing a robust enrollment.