Alaska News Nightly: Februrary 2, 2010

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Fuel Survey Exposes High Prices in Alaska
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The results of a statewide survey released this week shows Alaskans pay considerably more for their fuel than the rest of the U.S. It also showed high price variations among communities within Alaska.

Persily Makes His Case at Senate Confirmation Hearing
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.
President Obama’s choice to lead the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects faced a handful of Senators in Washington today (Tuesday) and assured them an Alaska gas line has a future.

Senate Confirms New U.S. Marshall for Alaska
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.
Alaska has a new U.S. Marshal. Former Anchorage Police Chief Rob Heun was confirmed in the job by the U.S. Senate today (Tuesday). He was approved by unanimous consent after sitting on the Senate’s calendar for a week and a half.

Fairbanks Man Builds Militia to Protect the Constitution
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks man who started the 2nd Amendment Task Force says it’s spawned a local army, and grassroots support across the country. Schaeffer Cox says the group has seven thousand Fairbanks members, 35 hundred of whom are part of a militia.

Lawmakers Pass Bill Promoting Electric Cars
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Legislation promoting electric cars is on its way to the governor’s office. Senate Bill 59 allows the vehicles on more roads in villages and small cities, especially in Southeast.

Economist Predicts Continued Job Loss in Alaska in 2010
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The total number of jobs in Anchorage will continue to fall throughout 2010. That was the assessment of state labor economist, Neal Fried, at his annual luncheon presentation to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce today.

Fairbanks at Near Record Low Snow Levels
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks is experiencing one of its lowest snow seasons. Only 20 point 7 inches have fallen since July 1st, making this Fairbanks 10th lowest snowfall season at this point. It snowed just 1 inch last month, the second smallest accumulation for January on record.

Alaskans Win Snow Sculpting Contest
Tara Bicknell, KHNS – Haines
Last weekend’s International Snow Sculpture Championships in Colorado left behind a garden of 12 foot tall cold, white sculptures for the people of Breckenridge to gaze at. And their favorite among all of them: Team Alaska’s The Last Iceberg.

Jeff King Invents a New Kind of Sled Dog Race
Laureli Kineen, KNOM – Nome
You’ve heard of tennis doubles… now an Alaskan musher wants to transfer the concept to his sport.

Alaska Celebrates “Marmot Day” for the First Time
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
What’s Groundhog day in the rest of the country, is now Marmot Day in Alaska. A bill signed into state law last year designates February second as Marmot Day. The change is aimed at Alaskanizing the holiday, but Link Olsen a biologist and curator of mammals at the University of Alaska Museum of the North says Alaska’s 3 species of Marmot, include the groundhog.