Alaska News Nightly: November 27, 2009

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Vessels Finding Widespread Acidity in Beaufort
Steve Heimel, ARPN – Anchorage
Canadian and Japanese research vessels are finding widespread acidity in the Beaufort Sea, off the coast of Alaska and Canada.  The waters are corrosive enough to dissolve the shells of marine organisms. Melting sea ice appears to be the main source of the acidity, but not the only one.

US Encroaching on Yukon Say Canadians
Brian Boyle, Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Canadian officials say Alaska is encroaching on the Yukon’s turf and the Member of Parliament for the Western Arctic wants the Prime Minister to step in.  Dennis Bevington told the Canadian parliament this week that the United States has authorized oil and gas exploration in an area of the Beaufort Sea that is claimed by both nations.

Alaska Recognizes Land Dispute with Canada
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Alaska has recognized the land dispute between the US and Canada.  In the final findings for bidders to use in preparation for the lease sale, published November 9th, Division of Oil and Gas officials say the U-S State Department has notified Alaska of the title dispute, and that potential bidders should  “be prepared for possible delays in determining state title to lands within this tract.”

Author Remembers Story of Teacher on Attu
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A new book tells a little known story of a teacher on the Aluetian Island of Attu, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War Two. Attu is the last island in the Aleutian chain. It was invaded by the Japanese in June, 1942.  Etta Jones was living there with her husband, Foster. They were both teachers who had spent two decades living in remote communities across Alaska. Jones was a prolific letter writer. Her great niece, Mary Breu uses those letters to write the book, “Last Letters form Attu: The True story of Etta Jones, Alaska Pioneer and Japanese P.O.W.”

Army To Station Aviation Brigade at Wainright
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Army will permanently station an aviation brigade at Ft. Wainwright that’s been at the post on a temporary basis.  US Army Alaska spokesman Major Bill Coppernoll says the formal record of decision listed on the federal register this week, cements positioning of the units 1,200 soldiers and 70 helicopters at Ft. Wainwright.

Southeast Conference Leader To Focus on Infrastructure
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The new president of the Southeast Conference says she will focus on improving the region’s energy and transportation infrastructure. Maxine Thompson became the organization’s board president this fall. The Angoon’s businesswoman and former mayor is the first Alaska Native to lead the organization of industry, government and other Southeast leaders.

Native Educators Working to Combat Western Bias
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
When the Exxon Valdez ploughed into Bligh Reef twenty years ago, scientists descended on Prince William Sound in droves.  Few, if any of them, took Alaska Native traditional knowledge into account in recording their findings, and no doubt valuable information about the animals and flora of the area was buried under an oil slick of disparagement thicker than the scrum of North Slope crude blanketing the Sound’s beaches.  Some Native educators are working now to fight against Western research bias with an all-Native perspective on natural sciences.