Alaska News Nightly: June 10, 2010

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Disapproval Resolution Rejected
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
On Thursday, the US Senate rejected Senator Lisa Murkowski’s bid to curb the Environmental Protection Agency’s power.  Her “disapproval resolution” sought to stop the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gasses. 

Initiative Limiting Access to Political Process Withdrawn
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The supporters of the ballot initiative that would limit access to the political process Thursday withdrew today from the heated campaign to win voters’ approval in the August primary elections. Measure Number One, however, will remain on the ballot.

Ballot Supporters did not return calls for this story. But the decision to stop campaigning for the measure was published on the sponsor’s website in a message from Chairman Dick Randolph.  He wrote the decision was prompted by a change in the ballot language ordered by the Lieutenant Governor – with the advice of the Attorney General.  Randolph said those changes were made “capriciously and unilaterally” – to give opponents an advantage.   Wasserman says the ballot changes were not as substantial as Randolph describes. 

Suspect in Officer Shooting Commits Suicide
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
This morning the Anchorage police announced that the suspect in yesterday’s officer shooting had committed suicide.   In a press conference called at city hall, the police released details of the investigation that brought the case to such a rapid conclusion.

US Missile Defense Agency Reports Successful Test Launch
Dan Bross, KUAC – Anchorage
The US Missile Defense Agency and contractor Boeing report a successful test launch.  They say the interceptor test from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday involved a two-stage missile designed for no longer planned deployment in Poland. Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner says the shorter range missile was tested for possible future use, but there are no plans for deployment at the existing interceptor sites at Vandenberg and Alaska’s Ft. Greely.

There was no target involved in the test, which was carried out over an established test range between California and the Marshall Islands.  Boeing spokeswoman Jessica Carlston says the test flight provided valuable information.

Parnell Asks Alaskans What Should Be Done With Sheldon Jackson College
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
Governor Sean Parnell has posted a message to his Facebook page asking Alaskans for ideas on what to do with Sheldon Jackson College. Parnell’s message was posted Wednesday morning. It comes just two days after the University of Dubuque announced it was abandoning talks to run a program at Sheldon Jackson.

Budget Cuts Claim Kotzebue Library Funding
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough Martha Siikauraq Whiting says budget cuts for the borough had to include funding for the public library in Kotzebue because she needed to carve $4 million out of their operating budget and deep cuts were made across the board.

But Mayor Whiting says she doesn’t think the library is in peril.

Whiting says budget woes began about six months ago when the payment in lieu of taxes or PILT agreement that the borough has with Teck Resources Limited, the operator of the Red Dog mine had a doubtful future. The main deposit at Red Dog is nearly depleted and until permits came through earlier this year to continue operations there on an adjacent deposit, the borough did not know if their PILT money would continue. 

Anchor River King Fishing Restricted
Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer
Anglers who hoped to get a piece of the king salmon action on the Anchor River this weekend were dealt a blow Thursday with an announcement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that the river will be restricted to catch-and-release *only* as of midnight Friday.

According to the emergency order, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Anchor River fishermen cannot possess, retain or remove from the water any king salmon. Sarzi says Fish and Game stopped short of an outright closure of the Anchor River.

Soapberries Make Appearance at Celebration 2010
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Soapberries are a traditional food for many Tlingits in northern Southeast, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. They’re collected, and sometimes preserved, then whipped up into a frothy treat with a taste a little like ice cream.

The small red berries were prepared and taste-tested during a contest that was part of the recent Celebration 2010 events in Juneau.