Alaska News Nightly: October 9, 2009

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CIRI Aiming to Help Railbelt Energy Needs
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Cook Inlet Regional, Incorporated, or CIRI, an Alaska Native Corporation on Friday added another piece to help fill the long-term energy needs of the Railbelt. It uses Underground Coal Gasification – or UCG, a technology that turns coal into gas that’s ready to pump into the existing energy infrastructure – without mining.

Fairbanks Formally Welcomes Back Stryker Brigade
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Stryker Brigade Combat team based out of Ft.Wainwright was formally welcomed home at a ceremony in Fairbanks on Thursday.

Murkowski and EPA Feuding
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is in a fight with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA recently opposed a Murkowski-sponsored amendment, which would’ve weakened the Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Murkowski sent the EPA’s administrator a letter this week saying she’s “extremely disappointed” by the way the EPA handled its response to her proposal.

Aniak Celebrates Local Lifesaver
Shane Iverson and Alice Criswell, KYUK – Bethel
The village of Aniak is celebrating the work of a man that is credited with saving scores of lives. Pete Brown has gained national attention for his work with village youth. He was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and doctors say he has only a short time to live.

Sealaska Asks for Land in Tongass
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington
A bill that would allow Sealaska Native Corporation to select 85,000 acres in the Tongass National Forest had its first hearing on Thursday in Washington. It’s opposed by environmental groups, including the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. Sealaska hopes to claim the lands through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act or ANCSA.

Bethel Alcohol Vote Tightening
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
In Bethel the City Clerk’s office is reporting an additional 49 absentee ballots yet to be counted. That moves the number of uncounted ballots from 110 up to 163 and increases the chance that the outcome of Proposition One could change. Proposition One asked if the City of Bethel should revoke local option and allow alcohol to be unrestricted. Proposition One is currently passing with 53 percent of the vote. To change that outcome, 66 percent of the uncounted ballots would have to be no votes. The remaining ballots will be tallied Monday.

Composer Emily Kurn Finds New Inspiration
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A lot of artists find inspiration in Alaska’s majestic scenery and wild spaces. But not singer songwriter Emily Kurn. The Anchorage resident says the calm that came with moving so far away from the fast paced lower 48 pretty much destroyed her creative streak.But she has written songs since moving north six years ago. Her latest CD came out last October- one month before her son was born. Kurn says motherhood may have opened her heart to finding inspiration in quieter times.