Alaska News Nightly: October 22, 2009

Elizabeth and Willie Hensley AFN 09

Photo by Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC

Elizabeth Hensley, daughter of Alaskan community leader Willie Hensley (L), stirred AFN delegates with a call for action to meet the needs of Alaska Natives.

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AFN Conference Opens; Subsistence Issues Take Center Stage
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The 2009 Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention got underway in Anchorage today. This year’s theme is Northern Dreams-Our Historic Journey Continues. AFN President Julie Kitka this morning said she was excited about the historic upcoming meeting on November 5th with President Obama and tribal leaders from across the nation.

Allen Scheduled for Sentencing, Loses Plea for Delay
The man at the center of Alaska’s political
corruption scheme will be sentenced next Wednesday. Today a federal judge denied former Veco
CEO Bill Allen’s request for a sentencing delay.

Interior Dept. Sets Aside Area for Polar Bears
Annie Feidt, APRN – Washington DC
The Interior Department set aside 200,000 square miles in Alaska and off shore today on Thursdayto protect the threatened polar bear. The critical habitat designation is a requirement under the Endangered Species Act. Environmental groups are calling the proposal an
important step for protecting polar bears. But are concerned the federal government is still allowing oil and gas drilling within the designated area.

Parnell Launches Response to Threats to Resource Development
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state has begun a three-pronged response to what Governor Sean Parnell (R) calls the improper use of the Endangered Species Act to shut resource development.
He says that won’t happen on his watch. In a press conference on Wednesday, he said the state has filed a motion in Federal Court against the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service’s “threatened” listing of the polar bear.

Legislators Looking for New Ways to Get Needed Drugs to Vets
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The six Pioneer Homes around the state do not administer free prescription medicines to Disabled Veterans who reside there. Instead, the residents are required to purchase their medication from the state assisted living facilities. Legislators trying to change the practice are
finding a knot between the state and federal agencies.

Anchorage Prosecutors Win High Praise
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The highly successful efforts of two Anchorage city prosecutors against city gangs and violent crimes have received national recognition.

New Book Chronicles Seattle-Unimak Trek
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
A new book is out chronicling a couple’s 4,000 mile trek from Seattle to Unimak Island without using any motorized transport. They spoke with KUCB’s Anne Hillman about their journey and their lessons learned.