Alaska News Nightly: October 26, 2009

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SBA Considering New Regulations for 8A Program
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The US Small Business Administration is prepared to issue new regulations changing the federal oversight of the 8A program that allows regional and village native corporations to avoid the competitive bidding process on many federal purchases.

Presidential Advisor Hopes for More Dialogue with Tribes
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The first ever senior adviser to a President on Native American issues says she hopes to see better dialogue and increased respect by the federal government to tribes.  Kim Teehee joined President Obama’s Domestic Policy Council in July as his adviser on Native American Affairs. Her job is to incorporate Native issues in the broader policy direction of the White House.

Two Capitol Construction Workers Injured, Airlifted to Seattle
Rosemarie Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Two construction workers injured in an accident Monday morning at the State Capitol Building have been medevaced to Seattle. The men, whose names have not been released, were working for Silverbow Construction connecting a sky bridge from the capital to the Thomas B. Stewart Legislative Office Building when their forklift toppled over.

AFN Convention Ends in Anchorage
By Lori Townsend, APRN -Anchorage
2009 Alaska Federation of Natives convention wrapped up on Saturday with delegates voting on a wide range of resolutions. Of the 44 put forward, 43 passed. Resolutions ranged from seeking better protection of oceans, fish and game, more involvement of Alaska Natives in managing resources to requests for VPSO housing and creating a lead federal agency to assist communities needing to relocate because of coastal erosion.

Parnell Appoints First Director of Rural Education
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (R) has appointed a long-time member of the Juneau School Board as the first ever Director of Rural Education for the State of Alaska.

Quinhagak Will Get Winter Funds
Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham
The Native village of Quinhagak will be receiving $450,000 in emergency funding to prepare homes before the upcoming winter.

State Seeking Millions in Alternative Energy Grants
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state is seeking applications for $50 million in alternative energy project grants.  The request for proposals is the third round of a grant program started by the state legislature in 2008 when oil prices spiked. The program is administered by the state’s Alaska Energy Authority.  AEA alternative energy and efficiency program manager Peter Crimp says 125 million dollars in grants have already funded 107 projects across the state, including a major wind farm in Kodiak, a hydro project in Gustavus and ground source heat pumps in Juneau. Crimp says the state grants can fund projects at any stage of development.

Eagle Preparing for Winter
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Eagle residents are settling in for winter nearly seven months after record spring flooding devastated the Yukon River community.  People from the city and nearby native village spent the spring summer and fall dealing with the aftermath of high water and ice that destroyed and damaged dozens of buildings, downed power lines, and crushed vehicles and boats.

Alaska Groups Rally During “350” Day
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska groups participate in the worldwide “350′ day of action on Saturday. That number is the CO2 level, in parts per million, that many scientists believe is the safe upper limit for the atmosphere. The planet is currently edging close to 390. Alaska’s participants hope the day long event will spur more engagement on the issue of global warming.