Alaska News Nightly: November 5, 2009

White House Tribe Meeting 11 05 09

Tlingit elder Clarence Jackson Sr delivers the invocation at the opening of the Tribal Nations Conference. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar bows his head in prayer.

Photo by Libby Casey, APRN – Washingon DC

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Obama Meets with Tribes Today and Makes History
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
President Barack Obama and top members of his cabinet welcomed hundreds of leaders from Alaska Native and Native American tribes to Washington today.  The President called the Tribal Nations Conference the largest and most widely attended gathering between the federal government and tribal leaders in history.

Interior Department Drops Charges Against Marshall Protestor
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The United States Interior Department is dropping charges against the lone Marshall protest fisherer that was cited this fall. Jason Isacc of Marshall was charged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service after he admitted to investigators that he fished for King Salmon in the Yukon River during a closed period.

State Directs Swine Flu Vaccine to Little Diomede
The Associated Press
State health officials have redirected 130 doses of H1N1 vaccine to the remote island village of Little Diomede.  A medical team also was en route Thursday to the western Alaska island to treat additional people with suspected H1N1 flu infection and help prevent further transmission. Health officials say two residents were flown to Nome after exhibiting symptoms. One has tested positive in an initial rapid test. The town’s mayor, Andrew Miligrock, requested that a medical team and medication be sent to treat an increasing number of residents with flu-like symptoms. The 130 residents of Little Diomede have been without regular air passenger service for four months since a weekly helicopter flight stopped. The Alaska Army National Guard will respond to emergencies.

Availability of Swine Flu Vaccine Prompting Questions
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
State health officials have been fielding calls from concerned Alaskans demanding to know why H1N1 vaccine is not yet more widely available as well as questioning how decisions are made about the distribution of the vaccine. State division of health immunization program manager Laurel Wood says each day state health officials check the CDC website to see how much vaccine is available and how much Alaska will be allowed to request.

Census Bureau Hopes for Greater Participation in Alaska
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
The US Census Bureau is gearing up for the 2010 count of the nation’s population. Alaska traditionally has the lowest rate of response to the mail-in census survey. So this year there’s a renewed effort to promote the forms.

Alaska Businesses Call for Action on Climate Change
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
With November temperatures in the 40s, no snow and full sun in Anchorage, it seemed an appropriate day for representatives of Alaska businesses to call for action on climate change.

Fairbanks Utility Could Owe $1.2 Million in Refunds
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state says a Fairbanks sewer and water utility owes its customers another $1.2 million dollars in refunds. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska ruled that Golden Heart and College Utilities customers are due the money because interim rates charged over the last two years were too high.

Fairbanks Holds Vigil for Homeless Youth
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A candle light vigil for homeless youth is being held in Fairbanks tonight. The event is aimed at putting a face on national statistics that show 40 percent of homeless are under 18-years old. The sponsor organization, Fairbanks Counseling and Adoption Center’s Street Outreach and Advocacy Program, has had success helping homeless kids.

Young Fishermen Headed to Anchorage for Special Training
Sam Wright, KDLG – Dillingham
Young fishermen from across Alaska will gather next month in Anchorage for a summit intended to give them the skills, tools, and information necessary to become professional fishermen. KDLG student reporter Sam Wright has the story.