Alaska News Nightly: February 12, 2010

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Anchorage Could Get New Medicare Clinic
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Anchorage Senior Citizens could have a new medical clinic this year under a plan unveiled at the capitol on Friday. The primary care clinic would totally focus on patients who are covered by Medicare, and would be a starting point for those who need specialists’ services under the government program.

Parnell Visits YK Delta Schools
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Governor Sean Parnell (R) and rural legislators took a break from the Capital Thursday to tour village schools in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Parnell has said he would like to resolve a 10 year old court decision concerning inadequate funding for rural schools, but his budget leaves it all in the hands of the Legislature.

Murkowski Chides Obama on Energy Policy
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Senator Lisa Murkowski is complaining about what shecalls a lack of progress by the Obama Administration on certain energy issues. In a Senate floor speech on Thursday Murkowski said the President’s budget does NOT do enough to support nuclear energy or fossil fuel development.  She says that runs contrary to the President’s pledge during his recent State of the Union speech to support nuclear and new oil and gas development. Murkowski’s criticism comes despite President Obama’s move to triple the loan guarantees available to the nuclear industry.  He wants to boost it from $18 billion to $54 billion. Murkowski admits she approves of that, but still chided Obama for scrapping the nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, and for not helping finance a nuclear project in its first year in office.  She says while the Administration is making what she called “some progress” on nuclear, she does not see it doing so on oil and gas development.

Yukon Quest: Gatt Wants 4th Title
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbank and Joshua Armstrong, Fairbans Daily News-Miner.
Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt resumed his run at a 4th Yukon Quest title this morning in Dawson City Yukon. The latest GPS tracking puts Gatt about 10 miles from the Scroggie Creek checkpoint.  Hugh Neff and Lance Mackey, are running close together about 20 miles behind Gatt. Neff’s team appeared well-rested and peppy after completing their 36 hour rest at Dawson Friday morning.

New Hunt in Copper Basin Proves Successful
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
A new type of moose and caribou hunt has proven successful for residents of eight Alaska Native villages in the Copper Basin area. The Ahtna Community Harvest was a first for the region,  but some, like the Alaska Outdoor Council, are crying foul on the program, saying that it creates two classes of subsistence user.

Wade Expected to Change Plea in Murder Case
The Associated Press
Joshua Wade, the man accused of torturing and killing a 52-year-old Anchorage nurse who lived next door to him will change his plea in the federal capital murder case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Cooper wouldn’t comment Friday on Wade’s change of plea and sentencing, except to say it would be held in Anchorage federal court on Wednesday. Wade’s trial was to have begun next month. He could have been sentenced to death if convicted in the 2007 killing of 52-year-old Mindy Schloss.

Pebble Heating Up In Juneau
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
The battle over the proposed Pebble Mine is heating up in the Alaska legislature. The Alaska Board of Fisheries last month sent a letter to lawmakers calling for an independent review of the state’s mining permit system and tougher standards depending on the findings. This week, Bristol Bay residents came to the capital to express both concern and support for the review.

Junior Racers Compete at Alyeska
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
As the International Winter Olympics begin in Vancouver, junior ski racers across the country are preparing for their own winter games. Young racers from the Anchorage area, Fairbanks and Juneau are competing this week at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood.  An Alaska State Alpine Championship, the Alyeska Cup is one of two qualifying races for the Western Region Junior Olympics.