Alaska News Nightly: June 2, 2010

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Railroad Planning to Spray Herbicide Along Tracks

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Railroad plans to begin spraying herbicide along it’s tracks next week for the first time in 26 years. The permit was granted by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s division of Environmental Health.

Trustees for Alaska has asked for an adjudicatory hearing with DEC and has requested commissioner Larry Hartig to stay his decision on the permit until after that time. At issue is the chemical glyphosate, it’s the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup and also in Aquamaster, which is the herbicide approved by DEC for the Railroad to spray with.

Diversifying Salmon in Bristol Bay
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Salmon stocks and investment stocks may have a lot in common, according to a new study. Long term, the returns for both benefit from diversification. The cover article in Thursday’s issue of the Journal Nature looks at the issue in Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. The researchers show diversification there helps maintain salmon runs at relatively stable levels year after year.

Primary and General Election Filing Deadline Passes
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The deadline passed Tuesday night for filing to run in this year’s Primary and General Elections,  with a dozen people – from four different political parties – entering the race for governor.  Nine people are running for Lieutenant Governor, six for the US Senate and four for the US House of Representatives.

But Legislative races are not so heavily contested.  Of the 40 House and 10 Senate seats open, 16 races are uncontested.   And voters will make decisions in both the Primary and General Elections in only nine races around the state.  Democrats have an advantage there with only one contested primary race.

Palin Endorses Murkowski Challenger
Associated Press
Sarah Palin has endorsed a challenger to Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican August primary. Palin today issued her support for Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller on her Facebook page.

State Holds Off on Wolf Control Plan
Associated Press
The state is holding off on plans to kill wolves on the caribou calving grounds inside a national refuge on Unimak Island until it hears from a federal judge. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game had said the Unimak mission could begin as early as yesterday. But Department of Law spokesman Bill McAllister says the hope now is to resolve the issue in court.

Researchers to Study Mountain Growth
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Researchers are headed into the Alaska Range this month as part of National Science Foundation funded project aimed at better understanding the emergence and growth of North American’s biggest mountains.

Well-Known Whale Found Dead
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
A whale that has lived in Sitka Sound for more than 25 years was found dead last week near Shelikof Bay. Experts say one or two whale deaths are reported every year in Southeast Alaska. But as KCAW’s Ed Ronco reports, this particular whale was well-known to local biologists, who now are trying to learn as much as they can about what happened.

Quartz Lake Residents Notified of Possible Evacuation
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
People who live around Quartz Lake north of Delta Junction have been notified about possible evacuation due a growing wildfire.  The Gilles Creek Fire is burning nearby along the access road to the Pogo Mine.

Yup’ik Storyteller Featured in New Book
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
Yup’ik storyteller, John Active of Bethel, is part of a new book on Trickster that features storytellers from all across the country.

Cultural Celebration Dances into Juneau
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s largest Native cultural event begins this week in Juneau. As many as 2,000 dancers from Alaska, Canada and the Lower 48 will take the stage to share song and dance traditions.

Up to 5,000 participants will also view contemporary Native art, hear research presentations and discuss techniques for preserving languages. CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld previews two competitions that are part of Celebration 2010.