Alaska News Nightly: March 26, 2010

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Wildlife Managers at Odds Over Wolves
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
State and federal wildlife managers are at odds over wolves in the eastern interior. The feds are concerned about a declining wolf population in Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve, while the state is shooting wolves outside the conservation unit to bump up moose and caribou numbers in the broader area. Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms says it’s a matter of dueling mandates.

Parnell Announces Cruise Tax Plan
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Governor Sean Parnell announced terms of his cruise legislation on Thursday. The bill includes a corporate income tax credit for cruise lines contributing to the state’s tourism marketing campaign.  The governor is introducing his own measure, rather than trying to amend an existing bill that’s met opposition. But combining the measures remains an option.

Donlin Creek Mining Operations Also Target of Opposition
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The proposed Pebble Creek mine gets a lot of attention from environmental activists and Native groups who want to make sure it never happens. But another massive gold mine in development a few hundred miles away called Donlin Creek has gone largely unnoticed.

Program to Cover Costs of Complying with Fishing Restrictions
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
A coastal development program says it will foot the bill so Lower Yukon fishers can comply with new fishing restrictions. The Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association is buying webbing and net materials for fishers near the mouth of the river. The CDQ hopes a new fleet of nets will persuade the State of Alaska to be less restrictive during the upcoming salmon runs.

Former Race Manager  Sentenced in Felony Case
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Former K300 Race Manager Staci Gillilan was sentenced in court on Thursday.
The sentence came after Gillilan pleaded guilty to felony theft and struck a deal with State Prosecutors. The sentencing hearing was presided over by Judge Marvin Hamilton.   Hamilton accepted the deal, which calls for Gillilan to serve two years probation, and pay restitution to the K300 in the amount of $7,500. Gillilan will not serve jail time.

Ferries to Provide Online Service
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The Alaska Marine Highway System is bringing back onboard, online service. State officials signed a contract this month to provide internet connections to most ferries when they’re at sea. The $2.2 million contract with Radio Holland covers almost three years. Ferry Chief Jim Beedle says staff will try the system out as a communications and administrative tool before it goes public.

Bills Support Corporation Status for Five Villages
Tony Gorman, KSTK – Wrangell
The Alaska congressional delegation has bills pending in both the Senate and House to allow five towns in Southeast to form Native Village corporations. The towns of Haines, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg and Tenakee were left out in 1971, when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was passed. But Juneau and Sitka were included.  It’s not the first time Alaska Congress members have introduced bills to allow the towns to select federal lands.  The bills have failed to pass because the issue is controversial – the land would have to come out of the Tongass National Forest. The “landless village” issue came up for discussion at the Wrangell Assembly, along with another bill, also controversial, to grant land selections in southern Southeast to the Sealaska Regional Native Corporation.