Alaska News Nightly: April 6, 2010

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Legislature Winding Down; Legislators Getting Edgy
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
With only 12 more days expected in this year’s session, legislators are beginning to get edgy about this year’s capital projects budget.   Today’s scheduled release of the plan was canceled.  And that leaves a problem — most members haven’t seen any part of it yet. And they don’t know if the scattered information they’re hearing is complete – or even correct.

UAA Researchers Eyeing Concepts for Safer Drinking Water
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A team of researchers at the University of Alaska Anchorage are working on a study that could eventually help make drinking water safer in the U.S. They recently won a grant from the National Institutes of Health to look into the affects of the chemical perchlorate on the health of a fish called the three-spined stickleback. The team has already discovered some startling results.

State Has Written Agreement with Cruise Lines on Tax
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
State officials say they have a written agreement with cruise lines to drop a lawsuit challenging Alaska’s passenger head tax. That’s if lawmakers reduce the charge by nearly 60 percent. That and other details of the cruise-tax issues came up during two legislative meetings yesterday.

Legislators Hear from New Rural Education Director
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The House Education committee heard testimony from the state’s new Director of Rural Education Phyllis Carlson on Friday. Carlson role is a new position within the Department of Education. She grew up in the Chignik Bay and Kodiak area and attended the school in Chignik when there were 30 students enrolled.

Fairbanks Police Bust Massage Parlor Operators
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks Police have jailed four massage parlor operators on prostitution and related charges. The women were arrested at three businesses: Jade’s Therapeutic Massage, Spa Asia and April’s Massage last Friday.

Tsunami Warning System Posted False Message
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
In the aftermath of the Chilean earthquake in February, Alaska remained under a tsunami advisory for most of the day. But for a brief period in the early morning the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center’s computer system posted a false all-clear. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey was one broadcaster who reported the false message. He talked recently with emergency authorities to find out what went wrong that morning.

Urban Students Get Seminar on Seal Butchering
Stephen Nowers, Alaska Dispatch – Anchorage
Seal butchering isn’t an activity normally associated with urban life. But a group of high school students in Anchorage recently had a chance to take part in a two hour seminar on the subject. The class is part of the Alaska Native Heritage Center’s after school program and is offered to Alaska Native and Native American students in the city. As part of our
series on Alaska Native education, we have an audio postcard from the seminar.