Alaska News Nightly: May 11, 2010

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Senators Grill Oil Company Executives
Associated Press
Congress called BP and its drilling partners to account today for a “cascade of failures” behind the spreading Gulf oil spill, zeroing in on a crucial chain of events at the deep-sea wellhead just before an explosion consumed the rig and set off the catastrophic rupture.

Salazar Proposes Minerals Management Service Split
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today (Tuesday) a proposal to split the Minerals Management Service. The change would allow one agency to oversee offshore oil and gas lease sales while a second handled environmental reviews and enforced safety. Environmental groups say the plan would help address a huge problem in Alaska.

Anchorage Museum Prepares New Arctic Studies Center
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Anchorage Museum offered an advance peek at its new Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center due to open later this month. The new, permanent gallery features hundreds of Alaska Native artifacts from the Smithsonian Collection and includes many objects never before displayed.

UAF Scientist Disputes “Climate Gate” Claims
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A group of scientists is striking back at climate change skeptics. A letter from over 200 members of the National Academy of Sciences follows a scandal stemming from hacked emails from international climate researchers.

Smaller Alaska Nonprofits in Danger of Losing Status
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
Over a thousand non-profit organizations in Alaska are in danger of losing their tax exempt status thanks to some changes in federal regulations that took effect 3 years ago.

Memorable Graduation for Bethel University Campus
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
Graduation was one to remember this year at Bethel’s Kuskokwim Campus, which is a branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It was standing room only at the ceremony which took place Friday afternoon.

Military Wife from Alaska Wins National Award
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.
A woman from Elmendorf Air Force Base has won a national magazine’s title of “military spouse of the year.” Lori Bell is married to an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, and has lived with her family in the Anchorage area for nearly 2 years.

Southeast Troll Fishery Misses Target
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Despite a hot finish, the winter troll fishery closed on April 30th 3 to 4 thousand kings short of the 45 thousand fish target. The Department of Fish & Game will continue to analyze where the winter Chinook originated – either in the wild or at hatcheries – before announcing any adjustment to the spring or summer troll quota.

Grey Whale Makes Rare Appearance Outside the Pacific
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Scientists are confirming the sighting of a grey whale in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel this weekend. The whale is said to be the first spotted outside the Pacific Ocean in three hundred years.