Alaska News Nightly: February 10, 2010

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3)

NOAA Considering New Agency for Climate Change Issues
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working on plans to establish a new agency as powerful as the National Weather Service to handle climate change issues. The National Climate Service would have six offices around the country, including one in Alaska.

Chief Justice Calls for More Cooperation
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti on Wednesday called for more cooperation between the courts and the legislature to reduce problems in Alaska’s society — with particular focus on the issue of recidivism, the number of people returning to prison after completing their first sentence for criminal activity.

Goose Creek Prison Getting Fresh Look
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The Goose Creek prison, now under construction in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough; won’t be completed until 2012, yet some in the state corrections department are examining a plan to privatize the facility. On Tuesday, Deputy Corrections Commissioner Dwayne Peebles briefed a state House Finance subcommittee on the possible benefits of privatizing the facility.  Peebles said the briefing came at the direction of a last year’s legislature.

Denali Commission Facing Budget Cuts
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The head of the Denali Commission says the agency hopes to fight proposed budget cuts, but will survive if they go through.  Federal co-chair Joel Neimeyer says when he was first chosen to head the Denali Commission last fall the White House told him it would be rooting out earmarks.

Mill Owners Unite to Convert Wood Waste to Biofuel
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
Six small mill owners on Prince of Wales Island have formed a biofuels cooperative. The co-op plans to construct a new plant in Thorne Bay to convert wood waste from area mills into two biofuel products.
Gatt Holds Yukon Quest Lead
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Yukon Quest leaders are closing in on Dawson City right now. It looks like Hans Gatt will be the first into the checkpoint. According to trial observers, he made a gutsy move between Eagle and Dawson, cutting rest to only one or two hours to get out in front.

Skiers Get Preview of Olympics Course
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska’s three representatives on the US Olympic Cross Country ski team are getting a chance to preview the official course in Whistler for the first time on Wednesday. They also participated in the first US nordic ski press conference at the games, with eight teammates from across the country.

Year-Round Access to Blackerby Ridge Gets Additional Support
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
An effort to create year-round access to Juneau’s Blackerby Ridge got some much needed support Monday. The CBJ Lands Committee approved conceptual design for a trail that would start at the city-owned gravel pit next to Home Depot, travel over city and state land, and end on US Forest Service property 2,500 feet up the ridge above Lemon Creek.