Alaska News Nightly: September 6, 2010

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Skies Were Clear When Cargo Plane Crashed in Denali
Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks
Federal investigators say the skies were clear and the weather was good when a cargo plane crashed last month at Denali National Park.

Labor Groups Throw Holiday Picnic in Anchorage
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
In Anchorage, the Labor Day holiday was celebrated with a picnic, put on by the AFL-CIO on the park strip.

Ketchikan Cruise Ship Industry Had Mixed Sales
Maria Dudzak, KRBD – Ketchikan
Ketchikan’s cruise ship industry is reporting mixed sales this summer. KRBD’s Maria Dudzak spoke to some downtown merchants and tour operators about how sales have been going this season, and has this report.

AK Independence Party Says No to Walker
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The Alaskan Independence Party has selected Michigan Militia founder Norm Olson as its candidate for lieutenant governor. But AIP leaders say they’re sticking with the party’s candidate for governor, Don Wright, over Bill Walker, who lost to Gov. Sean Parnell in the Aug. 24 Republican party primary election and has been looking for ways to continue his campaign. AIP chairwoman Lynette Clark says Wright had been considering stepping down as the candidate, but told party leaders Saturday that he planned to stay on the ballot for the November general election. Wright could not immediately be reached Sunday.

Forest Chief Says Plans Won’t Require Amending Tongass Plan
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
The head of the United States Forest Service says the proposed transition to more forest restoration and second-growth logging will not require a special amendment to the Tongass Land Management Plan. On
his recent trip to Petersburg, chief Tom Tidwell talked about the transition.

Audubon Releases List of Birds in Trouble in Alaska
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Audubon Alaska has released a list of birds in trouble. The 2010 Audubon Watchlist pinpoints 49 declining and vulnerable bird species in Alaska.

Cook Inlet Advisory Council Boots Member
The Associated Press
A member of the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council has been removed from the panel for publicly criticizing its decisions. Bob Shavelson, an outspoken environmental activist, says he believes the oil oversight group has become a mouthpiece for government and industry. The council decided during a special executive session that Shavelson’s negative comments about the council violate the nonprofit group’s standards of conduct. Council member Robert Peterkin says Shavelson had been warned about speaking against decisions made by the board of directors. Peterkin says Shavelson is a “good guy,” but he was not following protocol.

Wildfire Season Coming to a Close
The Associated Press
The Alaska wildfire season is just about over.There are still 34 fires burning around the state considered “active,” but none of them are being fought. Officials told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that firefighters have been pulled off the last two fires that were being staffed – the Peavey Creek and Pat Creek fires northeast of Fairbanks. But crews remain on alert with hunting season in full swing and plenty of camp fires around Alaska.

Ice Alaska Pushing Borough for Land Swap
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The group that runs the World Ice Art Championships is pressing the Fairbanks Borough assembly to push a land swap with the Alaska Railroad. Ice Alaska is facing a major lease hike for the Railroad land where it runs the popular ice sculpture Park each March, and has proposed a trade of borough land for the ice park property and adjacent real estate along the Chena River.

Mountains Plus Mystery Equals Good Adventure
Joe Stock, APRN – Anchorage
Part 1
For Anchorage ski mountaineer Joe Stock, a good adventure has to involve lots of mystery. You can plan for weeks or months, but you never know what you’re going to encounter. This spring, Stock set out with two friends for his first trip in the Wrangell Mountains. The idea was to explore deep into the glaciated mountains and ski fresh powder on high peaks. But it didn’t take long for the elements to interfere with a different plan.