Alaska News Nightly: September 3, 2009

Jelly Fish

Photo by Kevin Raskoff. Monterey Peninsula College.

Scientists photograph jellyfish found deep in the Arctic Ocean.

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Parnell Pushing for OCS Initiative
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Parnell is beginning what he calls a full-court press to support a five-year oil and gas leasing program on Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf.  The decision to proceed with the program will come from the US Interior Department, which is accepting public comments until the twenty first of this month.

Jellyfish Discovered in Arctic Ocean
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Scientists have published photos of jellyfish found deep in the Arctic Ocean.  During a series of dives, using remotely operated vehicles in 2002 and again in 2005, the animals were filmed, and now the photos have been published in the Journal of Deep Sea Research. The research took place in an area known as the Canadian Basin, just north of Point Barrow, which is an undersea trench cut off by deep ridges.

State Ends Incentive Program for Improving School Scores
Anne Sutton, KTOO – Juneau
The state will not renew a program that paid bonuses to school employees when student test scores improved significantly. Only 11 schools qualified this year – down from 42 the first year, when the department paid out almost two millions dollars in bonuses. DOE officials say the program did not live up to expectations during its three-year test run and never won broad support from teachers.

Researchers Want to Know More about Octopus Populations
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
Federal researchers, biologists, and fishery managers are putting in place a research effort to better understand the octopus populations in federal waters off Alaska.

Environmental Groups Suing Obama Administration
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Two environmental groups are suing the Obama Administration to list the arctic Ribbon seal under the Endangered Species Act. Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity want the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to overturn a Bush era decision denying protections to the ice dependent species.

UAF Shows Enrollment Increases
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fall classes started today at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and enrollment is up. UAF Admissions Director Mike Earnest says over 7,600 students signed up for classes, a seven percent increase over this time last year.

Anchorage Recyling Again Accepting Plastic Bags
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Beginning Thursday, the Anchorage Recycling Center is again accepting plastic bags.   That’s not only welcome news for local recyclers, but for the economy as well.