Alaska News Nightly: September 15, 2009

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State Narrows Options for Western Road Link
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state has narrowed it options for a potential western Alaska road link. The Department of Transportation began looking at the project again a year ago.  It’s reviewed past studies updating them with current cost, maintenance, terrain, resource, and community information.

Administration Gives Lawmakers Peek at Gas Plans for Anchorage
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Parnell Administration gave legislators on Tuesday a comprehensive comparison of possible routes to get a long-lasting supply of natural gas to Anchorage, Fairbanks and points in between.  The 43 pages of maps, photos and cost charts was part of a complete analysis due next spring that will fuel debate and decisions on in-state use of the state’s North Slope reserves.

Climate Change Response Centers to Open
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington
The Interior Department is opening eight regional Climate Change Response Centers in the country, including one in Alaska.  It’s part of a new effort to coordinate the Department’s work on climate change. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed an order on Monday intended to address the impacts of climate change on the country’s lands, waterways, wildlife, and cultural resources.

Anchorage Hires News Teachers to Meet Unexpected Demand
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The Anchorage School District is working to hire 53 new teachers and staff to help with more than 500 students who enrolled unexpectedly this year. The school board voted unanimously to approve the hiring of 30 teachers and 23 support staff Monday night.

Tax Free Weekend Draws Shoppers in Wrangell
Tony Gorman, KSTK –Wrangell
Wrangell residents descended on shops in town last weekend to take advantage of Tax Free Day. They enjoyed the luxury of stocking up on food, clothing and other items without having to pay the city’s sales tax.

Homer Debating New City Budget
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
The Homer City Council took its first public comment on the draft 2010 city budget on Monday. The city manager and council members have portrayed the budget situation as bleak since the first sales tax receipts came in earlier this year. But the council got some potentially good financial news on Monday.

State Ferry Heading for Repairs
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
The state ferry Tustumena is headed to Seward for repairs. Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Roger Wetherell says the boat’s vehicle lift experienced an unspecified malfunction while offloading in Seldovia.

Canadian Rescued in Denali
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
An injured hiker who intentionally started a wildfire to get help was rescued by the National Park Service earlier this month.  A Denali National Park spokeswoman says a helicopter went after 39-year old Robert Faber of Toronto.

Summertime Tale: The Tumbling Bear
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A proper Alaskan summer includes plenty of adventure. The state’s vast open spaces, abundance of wildlife and rivers filled with fish make thrills easy enough to find. But those opportunities always come with a certain element of danger too. As the season of sunlight draws to a close, APRN’s Annie Feidt is reflecting on a trip that quickly crossed the line from exciting to terrifying.