Alaska News Nightly: November 19, 2009

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Supreme Court Panel Hears Predator Case
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
A panel of three state Supreme Court justices heard a case that threatens to overturn the law that underlies predator control programs. Ronald West argues that predators like wolves and bears have to be managed in a way that will assure their abundance in the future, just as prey species are.

Environmentalists Concerned About Shell’s Plans
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Environmental groups are concerned that the Obama Administration is giving Shell Oil Company extra time to weigh in on proposed development plans for the Chukchi Sea.

Alaska Gas Line Coordinator Stepping Down
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state’s in-state gas line coordinator is leaving his job. Harry Noah announced plans to resign yesterday. The Governor’s oil and gas advisor Gene Theriault of North Pole says Noah has advanced the project.

Cessna Makes Emergency Landing Near Tuntutuliak
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
A plane full of passengers made an emergency landing near the Coast. The Federal Aviation Administration says that a Cessna 207 Skywagon went down about 14 miles Southwest of Tuntutuliak.

Special Report: Sitka’s Homeless
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
The infrastructure to help the homeless in Sitka has been compared to a patchwork of services and agencies, without much unity – a problem that’s not uncommon to other Alaskan communities. In the last installment of a three-part report on homelessness in Sitka, KCAW’s Ed Ronco explores some of those patches, and talks with people trying to stitch them together.

North Pole Unsettled by New Santa Policy
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Letters sent to Santa Claus are being returned or recycled due to a new postal service regulation. The national policy change follows an incident on the east coast last December in which a volunteer responding to Santa letters was identified as a sex offender. The change effects post offices and community groups around the country that have traditionally worked together to answer Santa letters, but the change is hitting especially hard in the Christmas themed city of North Pole.

Obama Announces Grants for Native Health Programs
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The Obama Administration announced on Thursday $10 million in grants to help enroll Alaska Native and Native American children in health insurance programs. It’s part of a broader push to get more kids covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

Anchorage Report Says Former Mayor Didn’t Tell All About Budget
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
A report issued on Wednesday by Anchorage’s Municipal Attorney contends that former Mayor, now Senator, Mark Begich, didn’t fully tell the Anchorage Assembly about a developing financial shortfall in the city’s revenues. Some assembly members, along with the current mayor Dan Sullivan, say had they known about the revenue weakness they would not have approved the existing 2009 budget and four union contracts.