Alaska News Nightly: October 13, 2009

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NOAA Head Says Offshore Oil Plans Should be Reined In
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The head of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration says proposed offshore drilling plans for Alaska’s coasts should be reined in because of concerns over oil spills, fisheries, marine mammals, and local residents. In a 26-page report recently made public, NOAA says development should NOT be done in the North Aleutian Basin, because of its environmental sensitivity and the high value of commercial fisheries, particularly in Bristol Bay.  It also calls for a ban on Arctic drilling until oil spill clean up and prevention technology is improved.  The report says a “precautionary approach” should be used in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas because of warming temperatures and opening sea ice which may lead to unanticipated changes.

Bethel Votes to Reverses Damp Status
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Alcohol will become unrestricted in Bethel.  Bethel has been damp for 32 year but that’s sure to change now. Proposition One  has passed with even more votes after the Bethel Canvass board met last night (Monday) to complete the vote count. The Ballot question asked Bethel voters if the City should revoke local option.  Bethel voters have approved the measure by 54 percent.

Brotherhood and Sisterhood Call for State to Stop Citations
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast’s oldest Native organization says it’s time to confront the state on subsistence. Delegates to the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood’s annual meeting called for the state to stop citing indigenous people who are harvesting traditional foods. They also called for other changes in the government’s role in subsistence. One leader facing a state citation says the best approach might be a class-action lawsuit.

Natural Resources Meeting Heats Up
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Testimony got heated during a House Natural Resources Committee Hearing in Bethel. Much of the hearing centered on the management of Salmon in the Arctic, Yukon and Kuskokwim Region.

Fisheries a Major Concern in Rural Alaska
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The frustration and anger at the legislative meeting only touched one area of concern in rural Alaska. The success — and management — of fisheries affects the entire economic structure of Western Alaska.  Last year’s harvests led to the winter stories from people who had to choose between paying for food or fuel in the coldest part of the year.

High Pressure Means Warm October
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A high pressure system over Alaska is making for an unseasonably warm October.

Fox Islands Rocked by Multiple Earthquakes
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
The Fox Islands group, home to Unalaska and Nikolski, has been rocked by about 80 earthquakes since last night.

Kodiak Battling Mudslides
The Associated Press
Kodiak is dealing with mudslides because of heavy rainfall. On Friday the town recorded its second rainiest day ever – 6.40 inches of rain.

Famed Climber, Skier Returning to Alaska
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Andrew McLean has climbed and skied some of the toughest mountains on every continent. But three of his favorites are in Alaska.

Elmendorf and Richardson to Begin Merger in ‘10
The Associated Press
Army officials say the process of combining Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson into one joint operation will begin early next year.  The joint installation in Anchorage is a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. Across the country 26 facilities are being combined into 12 bases. The Anchorage transition to one base will begin Jan. 31, and is slated for completion by October 2010.