Alaska News Nightly: December 28, 2009

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Download Audio (MP3)Diesel Almost Emptied from Bligh Reef Tug
The Associated Press
Almost all diesel fuel from the undamaged tanks of a tugboat that went aground on Bligh Reef has been removed. Crowley Marine Services spokesman Jim Butler says the tugboat Pathfinder also was relocated Tuesday to the container dock at the Port of Valdez. This makes the tug much more accessible to naval architects to more closely examine the damage to the vessel. Butler says crews left a limited amount of fuel on board the tug to run necessary systems, like generators and pumps. The company and the Coast Guard continue to investigate how the 136-foot tug, which had finished surveying for ice in the sound’s shipping lanes and was headed back to Valdez, grounded on the infamous Bligh Reef Dec. 23. That’s where the Exxon Valdez went aground in 1989 in the nation’s worst oil spill.

Report Reflects Glaciers’ Affects on Marine Environment
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Glaciers do more than store water and provide spectacular scenery.  They also lock massive amounts of nutrients in their icy depths – the original frozen foods, so to speak. And the nutrients they store are released in glacial melt into tidal waters, where they are gobbled up by tiny microbes, that in turn, feed the sea creatures that eventually feed us. Now University of Alaska and US Forest Service researchers have
released findings that indicate just how important the organic matter released by melting glaciers is to the marine environment.

Anchorage Gets Peek at 2010 Economic Picture
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
In the second of a two part series on the Anchorage economy, we move from the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s analysis of 2009 to its prediction of 2010.   In the upcoming year, will the full force of the national recession finally hit the region?  Or will Anchorage and much of Alaska continue to dodge the worst aspects?

Damp Initiative Gets Clerk’s OK
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
A petition drive to return Bethel to “Damp” status has certified by the City Clerks Office.  Now Bethel residents will again go to the polls to decide what kind of alcohol restrictions the community should be under.

Salmon Delivered to Kotzebue for Village Distribution
Jennifer Canfield, KNBA – Anchorage
20,000 pounds of silver salmon was delivered to Kotzebue yesterday as part of a mission to get extra food to villagers. It took the hard work of several organizations orchestrated mostly by one woman to complete one of the largest food donations the region has ever received.

Palin Sought Secrecy in Custody Battle
The Associated Press
A custody dispute between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston is now before the court. A judge has denied Palin’s request to keep the legal proceedings closed.  Alaska Superior Court judge Kari Kristiansen of Palmer last week ordered all sealed records opened. Bristol Palin filed a petition for sole custody of the child, one year old Tripp, in November. She also is seeking a visitation schedule for Levi Johnston, the child’s father.   Johnston is seeking shared custody of the child. Court documents indicate that Bristol Palin fears that Johnston will be filming a reality show in Alaska, and that the media attention could hurt the child.  Johnston counters that he fears reprisals from the child’s maternal grandmother. Johnston’s attorney, Rex Butler, is out of town and unavailable for comment at the moment.

Tenakee Springs Landmark Gets Makeover
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
A landmark in Tenakee Springs is getting a makeover. Snyder Mercantile will keep its retail component, but also add a brewpub restaurant and lodging. The building was put up by Ed Snyder in 1899 as a General Store.

Tlingit Elder Kita Passes Away
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Tlingit elder Herman Kitka died in Sitka on Sunday, December 27.The Kogwaantaan leader and the first president of the Shee Atika corporation board of directors was 95- years old.