Alaska News Nightly: May 20, 2010

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State Prepares Controversial Predator Control Project

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
State Wildlife managers announced today they’re going ahead with a plan to carry out predator control next month on Unimak Island, with or without the blessing of the federal government. The proposal is controversial because the vast majority of the island is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

Alaskans Visit Communities Affected by the Gulf Oil Spill
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
A group of Alaska Natives fighting oil and gas drilling off Alaska’s coasts journeyed this week to the Gulf of Mexico. There they witnessed first-hand evidence of the oil spill from last month’s rig explosion.

Scientists See Rapid Ice Loss in the Arctic Ocean
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
An ice-free arctic may be closer than originally thought. The latest satellite images show the ice cover over the Arctic Ocean is now where it was at the end of the summer two years ago. The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. says it could be a record year for ice loss.

Wildfires Flare Up South of Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A change in the weather is helping slow progress of wildfires south of Fairbanks. Today’s cool, wet, calmer conditions followed several days of hot windy weather that saw four wildfires flare up from remnants of 2009 blazes. Three of the fires in the Wood River region are in limited management zones and being allowed to burn, while the fourth is being fought.

Red Dog Mine Proceeds With Expansion Plan
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The world’s largest zinc mine will proceed with its expansion. Teck Resources made the announcement this morning that they will go to work developing another deposit at the Red Dog Mine near Kivalina. They had been suggesting they might not proceed this year because of a holdup in awarding their water quality permit.

Chevak Residents Say Sewer System has Brought Health Benefits
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Yesterday, reporter Len Anderson described the Western Alaska village of Kasigluk as it prepares to abandon its honeybuckets for a community water and sewer system. From Kasigluk, Anderson went to Chevak, which has had its water and sewer hook-ups for 10 years and provides a good example of the benefits and challenges a village system offers.

Sealaska Shareholders Pushing for New Voting System
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Some Sealaska shareholders are pushing for a change in corporate decision-making. They say the current discretionary voting system favors board incumbents, and slows change. Managers of the Southeast regional Native corporation say the current system works well.

H1N1 Flu Still Present in Alaska
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
It’s not too late – or too early – to get protection from the H1N1 Swine Flu.
The disease is still present in the US, although Alaska has not seen a laboratory-confirmed case since early April. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, the chief of the state’s epidemiology section, says you could still get it this summer, and it will likely be predominant running through the normal flu season beginning this fall.