Alaska News Nightly: March 31, 2010

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Obama OKs Offshore Drilling
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The Obama administration says the country’s new offshore oil drilling policy is a balance between development and conservation. President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made the announcement Wednesday morning at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The plan received mix reaction in Alaska.

AK Delegation Responds to Offshore Initiative
Ellen Locker, KSKA – Anchorage
Alaska’s Congressman Don Young, a Republican, had harsh words for the new
offshore drilling plan. Young says the plan actually stalls U.S. efforts to become energy independent, essentially placing a moratorium on Pacific Coast oil development. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) had a more positive spin on it. Speaking in Juneau on Wednesday, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said offshore resource development should provide a level of revenue sharing for affected coastal states.

Begich Speaks to Legislators
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Senator Mark Begich addressed the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday and talked about a wide range of issues. The senator didn’t back off from discussing his role in the recently enacted Health Care plan, the $13 trillion national debt, and the effects of the stimulus money that have come to the state. But the biggest response came when he talked about resource development.

Communities Rally to Highlight Domestic Violence
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Governor Sean Parnell has called domestic violence and sexual assault an epidemic in Alaska, which he wants to end in 10 years. On Wednesday, members of the Parnell administration held rallies in communities throughout the state to kick off a public relations campaign called “Alaskans Choose Respect.”

Compensation Checks Going Out to Abuse Victims
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Compensation checks began going out yesterday to victims of sexual abuse by clergy who sued the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese. The checks are being issued to 287 claimants, primarily Alaska Natives who were children growing up in western Alaska villages, when they were abused by Catholic priests and other clergy overseen by the Fairbanks Diocese.

Spring: Alaskans Getting Ready for the Gardening Season
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
While Spring is already here, it will be a while before most Alaskan gardeners can start putting seeds in the ground.  But there are dedicated gardeners who are already at work – starting seeds indoors, or in green-houses. There appears to be a lot of enthusiasm for local food production this year.

Wildlife Officials Make Amends
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
State and federal wildlife officials have patched things up and agreed to move on following the accidental shooting of four Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve based wolves during s state predator control hunt March 17th.  Representatives of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Park Service met to discuss what happened Tuesday.

April Fools: Juneau Comic Keynotes the Day
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Juneau funnyman Jeff Brown unleashes his latest project on an unsuspecting public on Wednesday  Brown’s “Real Alaskan Magazine” is available at select locations in many of
the state’s larger communities, and the attractive, photo-packed publication
answers many of the questions visitors to our state often ask.