Alaska News Nightly: September 3, 2010

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Salazar Ends Tour of Alaska in Anchorage Today
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stopped in Anchorage today, at the end of a whirlwind 48-hour tour of Alaska’s North Slope. He stopped in Barrow, Prudhoe Bay, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska and flew over the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Salazar said he wanted to see first-hand some of the areas in the state that will be affected by his department’s decisions in the months and years ahead.

Miller Continues to Pull Ahead After Murkowski Concedes
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Republican Candidate for the U.S. Senate Joe Miller pulled further ahead of incumbent Lisa Murkowski today as the Division of Elections neared the end of the vote-counting process for this year’s Primary Elections.  As of air time, the tally in that race shows Miller ahead by two 2,020 votes.  So far, more than a 109,000 votes have been counted in that race. Murkowski conceded the primary election Tuesday night.

Prosecutors Wait to Decide on Appeal of Dismissed Charges Against Kookesh
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Prosecutors will wait before deciding whether to appeal the dismissal of a fishing citation against State Senator Albert Kookesh.

A judge on Thursday threw out charges alleging Kookesh and three others overfished their subsistence permits while harvesting sockeye salmon last summer.

District Attorney Doug Gardner says officials will wait for a written ruling due out in about a week.

Kookesh and the other defendants, all Angoon residents, argued that the state failed to follow its own rules for setting harvest limits.

Sealaska Lands Legislation Still Afloat
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Lisa Murkowski’s defeat in the Republican primary could impact the chances of Sealaska’s lands legislation passing. Murkowski was the bill’s main backer in Congress. And primary winner Joe Miller has spoken against it.

But the other two members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation say they’ll keep the measure in play.

Matanuska River’s Eroding Banks Troubles Homeowners
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Eroding banks of the Matanuska River are causing stress to some homeowners who live a little too close to the river.   About a month ago, a Sutton man lost part of his house to the river, and now residents of the nearby Butte area are worried about potential losses to the rushing waters.  They’ve asked the Matanuska- Susitna Borough for help, but Deputy Borough Mayor Lynne Woods says it’s more a question of who has the authority to do erosion control work.

Woods says the state, not the Borough, has erosion and flood control powers. State and federal dollars are required and there has to be a cooperative effort between the two entities, and with state legislators, to get funding. A Matanuska River Management Plan is scheduled to be aired at an upcoming Borough Assembly meeting on September 7.   Woods says the plan contains options for managing erosion.

Since the early August incident that threatened riverside homes, the Borough has been monitoring the situation and looking for emergency federal funding to address it.  Woods points to work done by the state in the 1980s which bolstered the riverbank in the threatened area.  She says most of that has been washed away, and what remains has not been maintained by the state.

Residents have petitioned the Borough to fix the damaged levee.

Search for Extras Fails to Draw Crowd
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The search for 1,000 extras for the upcoming film, Everybody Loves Whales failed to draw crowds today in Anchorage. 50 to 100 people stood in line at a local mall for tryouts

Extra hopefuls ranged in age from high school to elderly. The process moved quickly.

Each applicant was photographed full face, and right and left profile mug shot style.

No word on when finalists will be notified.  The extra try outs continue tomorrow at the Diamond mall in Anchorage.

Alaska Roads Among Worst Maintained in Country
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
Alaska has among the worst state maintained roads in the country according to a new report that grades the highways and roads across the country.

Bike Riding Family Settles Down for Winter in Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A Kentucky family that rode a five-person bike to Alaska is settling in for the winter in Fairbanks. It’s the next phase of the Harrison family adventure that began 13 months and 7,000 miles ago. KUAC’s Dan Bross visited Bill and Amarins Harrison and their three young daughters at their wintering spot outside town.