Alaska News Nightly: June 3, 2010

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Governor Vetoes Denali Kid Care Expansion
Annie Feidt and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Governor Sean Parnell announced today he’s vetoing an expansion for Denali Kid Care. The program provides health care to low income pregnant women and children in Alaska with a combination of state and federal funds.

Lawmakers estimate the expansion would have funded health care for at least 1,200 more children and 100 pregnant women.

Anchorage Democrat, Senator Bill Wielechowski says he was shocked by the Governor’s veto because of Parnell’s long history of support for Denali Kid care from it’s inception under the Knowles administration. Wielechowski says he was unaware that abortion funding was allowed under the program until recently. But he says even though he has concerns about public money being used for abortions, lawmakers often pass legislation that they consider 90 percent good.

Parnell Finishes FY 2011 Budgets
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Parnell put the finishing touches on this year’s budgets on Thursday by vetoing $336 million from next fiscal year’s operating and capital budgets. He left the rest of the $13 billion in spending the legislature approved and untouched.

New Large Fire Reported Near Delta Junction
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state reported a new large fire in the Delta Junction area yesterday.  Fire Information Officer Pete Buist says the Big Swede fire had already burned 2,000 acres when it was identified in the vicinity of the Gills Creek fire.

So far this year, 293 fires have burned nearly 464,000 acres. The state’s biggest wildfire has combined with a second blaze. Buist says the 133,000 acre Toklat blaze, southwest of Nenana, has burned together with the 17,000 acre Jeannes Creek fire.

Palmer Farm Provides Home For Musk Oxen
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
The horned, long haired Musk Ox, once plentiful in Alaska, was so overhunted, that by the mid-19th century, it vanished from Alaska. Efforts to bring back, and to domesticate, the gentle animals began in the 1950s with a few musk oxen captured in Canada.  A Palmer farm now provides a safe home for a growing herd and its seven new babies.

National Guard in Bethel Going Airborne
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The National Guard in Bethel is going airborne. Construction has started for a new Guard Headquarters in the Western Alaska city to support the new mission.  Local guardsman hope the change will bring more jobs, and more career training to the region.

Native Youth Pick Up Traditional Knowledge
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The traditional summer for Alaska Native youth centers on the family fish camp and a chance to absorb culture and learn new skills. But that doesn’t mean Native youth in staying in Anchorage this summer won’t be picking up traditional knowledge or honing academic skills in a culturally familiar environment.

Celebration 2010 Begins
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Celebration 2010 is underway. Southeast Alaska’s largest Native cultural gathering kicked off this morning (Thursday) with the Grand Entrance Parade along Juneau’s Willoughby Avenue.