Alaska News Nightly: July 5, 2010

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Center’s Pregnant Sea Lion Had Cancer

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Preliminary necropsy results on the pregnant sea lion that died at the Alaska SeaLife Center last month show she had pancreatic cancer. Kiska was nearing the end of her pregnancy term when she died suddenly. The veterinary staff was not able to save the pup either.

Ian Dutton is CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center. He says she likely had the disease before she became pregnant, but it’s not unusual that the staff wouldn’t have caught it. Dutton says the cancer was certainly a factor in Kiska’s death, but more tests will determine whether there were other contributors. He says the test results may help staff at the SeaLife Center develop disease indicators that could make it easier to detect cancer earlier in the future.

XTRAFTUF Jobs Going Overseas, Officials Say
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

XTRATUFs are as common in Alaska as the Stetson is in Texas. The brown neoprene boots are the last rubber footwear made in the United States. But production of the boots is moving out of its plant, and officials in the city where XTRATUFs are made say the jobs are going overseas.

Dueling Sprint Ends Yukon River Quest
Dave Croft, Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

This year’s Yukon River Quest was long on aches and short on records, but many participants enjoyed it anyways. The Texans in a voyageur canoe beat out solo kayaker Carter Johnson for first place by only seconds as they sprinted for the finish line. It’s the Texans third win and like many of the racers they were sore after fighting big waves on Lake Laberge, a slow river and ferocious thunder storms.

Sales Tax Money Wanted for North Douglas Crossing
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

A citizen group says local sales tax money should be used to pay for a North Douglas crossing. For years, the City and Borough of Juneau’s top transportation priority has been a second bridge linking the mainland to the island. City officials believe the best potential for future development is in the West Douglas area. Emergency access and congestion on the existing bridge are also concerns. Despite its best efforts, the city has never been able to secure state or federal funding for the project.

Forest Service Goes Into the Field to Collect Data
Lily Mihalik, KCAW – Sitka

This summer, as part of an ongoing project to document and preserve wilderness, the Forest Service is sending staff, scientists, and volunteers into the field to collect data. In the first of a two-part series, KCAW accompanied one such crew into the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness.

Trout Unlimited Sponsors Chefs’ AK Tour
Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham

As the Sockeye Salmon runs in Bristol Bay hit their peak this summer, a group of chefs arrived to cook a few. They went to the East Side, and got a chance to see the Leader Creek processing plant as well as Katmai National Park. The tour was sponsored by Trout Unlimited as part of a campaign against upstream mining in the area where some of the Bay’s rivers originate.

Saint Innocent’s Academy Rooted in Music
Diana Gish, KMXT – Kodiak

Saint Innocent’s Academy in Kodiak is an alternative school for youth which is rooted in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. The study and performance of music is an essential part of the school’s curriculum. For the past few years, the students have sung, played and danced for cruise ship passengers who port in Kodiak. Recently the students stopped by the KMXT studio to perform a live radio concert between shows. When he’s wasn’t playing the penny whistle, Academy director Father Paisius talked about the connection between education, art and faith.