Alaska News Nightly: October 30, 2009

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3)

White House Releases Jobs Numbers
Libby Casey, APRN- Washington DC
The White House says the economic stimulus plan has created or saved 2,315 jobs in Alaska so far.  The Obama Administration released the latest numbers on Friday on the affects of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Overall it either created or saved 640,000 direct jobs as of the end of September, according to self-reporting done by stimulus money recipients.

Naknek Electric Awarded Energy Grant
Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham
The Naknek Electric Association was recently awarded the 4th largest grant in the nation from the latest round of federal energy stimulus funds to push the development of a geothermal power plant in Bristol Bay.

Venezuelan Diplomat Promises Fuel for Alaska
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Venezuela’s US Ambassador, Bernardo Alvarez, is in Alaska this week pledging to continue distributing vouchers for free fuel in villages this winter. The country’s state run oil company – CITGO – has been handing out 100-gallon fuel vouchers for rural Native Alaskans since 2007.

Senate Passes Interior Appropriations
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC and Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The US Senate has passed the Interior Appropriations bill, which now goes to President Obama for his signature.  It totals $32.25 billion dollars, and includes $13 million for village sanitation, $2.5 million for preparing timber sales in the Tongass National Forest, about $6.5 to rebuild Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park.  It also contains nearly $2 million to reconstruct a campground at Chugach National Forest, as well as an infusion of funds for the Indian Health Service for compacting with Native tribes.  The Interior funding bill also contains money to fence the Campbell Airstrip in Anchorage.

NOAA Releases Arctic Warming Report
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has released it’s latest report on Arctic warming. The yearly update, called “The Arctic Report Card” draws on monitoring of land, water, plants and animals in the high latitudes.

More Projects Planned for Aleutians
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Archaeologists are planning two new projects in the Aleutians for next summer to expand their knowledge of Aleut cultures both before and after Russian contact.

Board of Regents Meet on Budget
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Board of Regents met in Fairbanks today to discuss it’s budget proposal for next year. Regents are starting with numbers put together by UA President Mark Hamilton and UA system chancellors. UA spokeswoman Kate Ripley says the preliminary operating budget runs over $865 million, including $350 million from the state.

UAF Under Consideration for Special Training
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks may be educating the next generation of federal intelligence workers. UAF is being considered for selection as a National Intelligence Center for Academic excellence. John Kelly a UAF marine science professor who organized a recent meeting with US intelligence officials, says the university has a mix of attributes that appeal to the federal intelligence agencies.

First Woman Named Postmaster in Anchorage
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Lisa Ebner has been sworn in as the 14th postmaster in Anchorage and the first woman to hold the position in the city’s history. Ebner has 26 years with the Post Office.

Experts Converge on Ketchikan to Talk Noxious Plants
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
Invasive species experts from around Alaska converged on Ketchikan this week for the 10th annual Alaska noxious and invasive plants management conference. Scientists say we can expect invasive plants to continue to spread throughout Alaska with coastal areas being hit the hardest.

Hey Linus: Check Kenai’s Humongous Pumpkin
The Associated Press
If Charlie Brown’s pal Linus is looking for the great pumpkin, he should try the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. A 319-pound donated pumpkin was turned into a giant gourd sculpture by Joy Falls, an art instructor from Kenai Peninsula College.