Alaska News Nightly: August 23, 2010

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Search Goes On for Missing Plane
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The search continues at this hour for a missing floatplane in Katmai National Park and Preserve.

The single-engine de Havilland Beaver was carrying three National Park Service employees and its pilot.  The plane was last seen on Saturday afternoon, when it left Swikshak Lagoon headed for King Salmon.

The missing employees are Mason McLeod, 26, and two brothers, Neal Spradlin, 28; and Seth Spradlin, 20. The pilot is Marco Alletto, 47, from King Salmon.  The plane is operated by Branch River Air Service of King Salmon. John Quinley is the National Park Service spokesperson.

Repairs Continue on Taylor Highway
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The state has some aggressive action planned to fix a rain damaged portion of the Taylor Highway.  The road’s been mostly out of service due to two rounds of heavy rain earlier this summer, and as KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, repairs continue as eastern Alaska communities that depend on the remote gravel highway, try to get in supplies before winter.

Comparing Costs of Living in Alaska
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
Alaska is a huge state with large differences in the cost of living from region to region.  A state economist recently took a look at all of the available data in Alaska.

King Salmon Man Sentenced for Compiling Hit List
Associated Press
A King Salmon man who was accused of compiling a hit list of targets he believed were enemies of Islam was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison. Paul Rockwood Jr., with his wife, Nadia, faced counts of lying to FBI agents when questioned about the list of 20 targets in May. They pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism charges last month, the first time such charges were brought in Alaska under the Patriot Act. The length of Rockwood’s sentence was the maximum penalty for the crime. His 36-year-old wife, who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and United Kingdom, was sentenced to five years probation. She will be allowed to return to her native country and take care of the couple’s 4-year-old child.

Authorities said Paul Rockwood, 35, of King Salmon, converted to Islam about a decade ago and followed the teachings of a cleric who supports acts of terrorism and espouses hatred for the United States. The alleged hit list includes members of the military and media.

Southeast Hydropower Plant Approaches Completion
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
A Southeast Alaska hydropower plant is closer to completion. A $9 million Alaska Energy Authority grant is the final piece of the funding puzzle for the Prince of Wales Island’s Reynolds Creek project.

Top Official Meets on Forest Service’s “Transition Framework”
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
A top official in the Department of Agriculture was in Sitka Friday for a meeting on the Forest Service’s “transition framework.” Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who reports directly to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak, spent four hours in the Sitka Tribe’s community house asking questions and listening to various perspectives on the Forest Service’s plans to shift to young-growth management and forest restoration.

Forensic Audit Finds No Legal Wrongdoing But Faults Process
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
An independent audit into the financial matters during the last months when Mark Begich was mayor of Anchorage revealed no evidence leading to legal action.   KSKA’s Len Anderson reports the primary use of the report could now be to help the assembly build safeguards against any future information gaps.  

Juneau Police Hosts Junior Police Academy
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
The Juneau Police Department has 50 new recruits. But they’re a decade or more from joining the ranks. For the second summer in a row, JPD has hosted a Junior Police Academy for sixth and seventh grade students. The four day program is designed to give young people a better understanding and appreciation of law enforcement. KTOO’s Casey Kelly attended the final session of the academy last week, and filed this report.