Alaska News Nightly: June 28, 2010

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3)

Senator Begich to Question Petraeus About Afghanistan War
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Alaskan Senator Mark Begich will get a chance tomorrow to publicly quiz the President’s pick to run the Afghanistan war.  General David Petraeus goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee and must win a majority of senators’ support to move along in the confirmation process.

PSP Cases Shouldn’t Affect Commercial Shellfish Business
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Commercial shellfish harvesters in Alaska say recent cases of personal use paralytic shellfish poisoning – including two deaths – shouldn’t affect their business. The state requires commercially grown shellfish to be tested on a regular basis to make sure it’s safe for human consumption.

IWC Meeting Wraps Up
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The International Whaling Commission just wrapped up their meeting, this year in Morocco. Harry Brower is the chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission based in Barrow. Brower attended the meetings and said there was a move by the IWC to change the subsistence quota timeline from the current five-year to a 10-year system.

Brower says it’s concerning that the IWC is increasingly polarized with some factions supporting subsistence whaling and conservation groups that oppose all whaling. Alaska whalers lost their quota completely for a time in 2002 and attempts were made to block it in 2007 but the U.S. chair worked to get it re-instated. Brower says the current quota that expires in 2012 is not secure into the future.

Native Leaders Meet With Secretary of Indian Affairs
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Alaska Native leaders from across the state met with assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk in Fairbanks Monday morning.  It was EchoHawk’s third visit to the state to hear directly from Alaska Native issues. 

EchoHawk heard concerns about substance abuse, subsistence, climate change and energy, but the central focus was a fundamental challenge created by the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act or ANCSA.  The act gave land and shares in Alaska Native corporations to tribal members born before December 18, 1971.  Harold Napoleon of the Native Village of Paimiute, speaking on behalf of leaders who met over the weekend, says the Act has resulted in over 60 percent of today’s Alaska Native people not having shares in their corporations.

Bear Warnings Frequent in Sitka
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
If you read the Sitka police logs often enough, one word describes the call that’s listed again and again: “BEAR.” Sometimes it’s a sighting of an actual bear, but many times, the call comes in because someone sees trash strewn about a yard, or along a road. The city has been looking for ways to keep trash away from bears.  One of those proposals involved setting up bear-resistant trash cans along part of Cascade Creek Road, as a trial program to see if it would work. But the Assembly voted against conducting the trial program at its regular meeting last week.

UAF Shuts Down Office of Electronic Miniaturization
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is shutting down its primary economic development venture.  The Office of Electronic Miniaturization is closing this week. 

Ted Stevens Reflects on Life of Senator Robert Byrd
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Alaska’s former Senator Ted Stevens is reflecting on the life of his long time colleague Senator Robert Byrd today.  Byrd died this morning at the age of 92 after serving West Virginia in the Senate for more than five decades.  Four of them were spent serving along-side and sparring with the 86-year old Stevens, who lost his re-election bid in 2008.

Stevens says when he first entered the Senate in 1968, Byrd took him aside for guidance. 

He was known to champion the Constitution, which he carried around with him everywhere, and was a stickler for procedural rules.  Stevens says that could work in their favor, because Byrd was a master at finding ways in the Senate to benefit his rural state.  Stevens says even though they were on different sides of the political aisle, Byrd helped him advocate for his small-population state.