Alaska News Nightly: August 5, 2010

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Elena Kagan Confirmed into US Supreme Court Justice Seat
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Alaska’s senators are split on the next United States Supreme Court Justice.

Elena Kagan won confirmation on Thursday by the Senate, on a vote of 63 to 37.

Senator Mark Begich joined with all but one of his Democratic colleagues in supporting her. Five Republicans crossed over to vote for her, but Senator Lisa Murkowski voted no.

Murkowski says her greatest concern is with Kagan’s lack of a record on gun rights issues. Senator Begich disagrees.  He says Kagan made it clear she respects the right to bear arms.

Murkowski says she’s glad to see a fourth-ever woman reach the bench.  But she’s critical that Kagan will join five other sitting Justices from the North-eastern states.

Kagan grew up in New York City, and attended Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law School.  Now that the Senate has confirmed her she will take the bench for the Supreme Court’s next term.

More Shellfish Testing Positive for PSP
Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska
In Southwest Alaska, clams and mussels are testing positive for the paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin and at unusually high levels. The news is creating anxiety in the region, especially given events earlier in the summer when two people in Southeast Alaska died of PSP and three other cases were reported.

Yukon Residents Concerned About More Slow Salmon Runs
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Some Yukon River residents have grave concerns about the river’s Chinook salmon stocks.  As another in a string of below average runs nears its end, too few kings have made it across the border to meet fishing demand.

Environmental factors like climate change, as well as at sea by catch have been pointed to as possible factors in the decline of Yukon King stocks over the last decade. But as KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, fisherman and fishery managers also bear responsibility.

Satellite Outages Expected in Rural Alaska
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
GCI customers in rural Alaska can expect some telephone and internet outages next week thanks to a wayward satellite.

Calista Corporation Buys Two New Companies
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
Calista, the regional Native Corporation for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta announced the purchase of two new companies. The Corporation says they will bring more money and jobs to its shareholders.

New Facility Targets Anchorage’s Elder Housing Needs
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Earlier this week Cook Inlet Housing Authority celebrated the opening of Eklutna Estates, a 59-unit senior housing project in northeast Anchorage. During the dedication, the authority pointed to unique features, and the considerable need prompting the project.

Haida Weaver Searching for Spruce
Lily Mihalik, KCAW – Sitka
Kruzof Island is 168 square miles of land, popping out of the Pacific Ocean just west of Sitka. It holds a volcano, a trail system, a series of beaches, meadowlands and forest. During World War II, it was a strategic location for U.S. forces.

It’s also where KCAW’s Lily Mihalik found an 80-year-old Haida weaver hot on the trail of young spruce roots for her baskets.