Alaska News Nightly: December 30, 2010

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Savoonga Seeking Help From Red Cross
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Power outages in Savoonga are being blamed on high winds and severe weather.  The power went down four days ago, and as of Thursday, an estimated 80 homes are still without electricity, some frozen solid according to reports.

Biting cold has forced more than 100 people to take shelter in the local school, where supplies of food and essential items are running thin.  Savoonga’s mayor has asked the American Red Cross for assistance, and today, an air shipment of emergency supplies left Anchorage for the St. Lawrence Island community by way of Nome, according to the Red Cross’s Katie Bender.

Meanwhile in Anchorage, Yaari Kingeekuk is concerned about her relatives and friends in her home town.

Kingeekuk is in touch with a niece in Savoonga through the social networking site Facebook.  She says lack of power is only escalating damage

Alaska Village Electric Cooperative supplies power to Savoonga residents.  Company officials say severe weather and below zero temperatures caused some power lines to freeze and slap against each other, which caused the initial outage.  Crews are working to restore power.  Kingeekuk says she’s trying to organize  people to  help Savoonga residents

Katie Bender, with the Red Cross, says financial donations can be made through the Red Cross website.

Search Crews Continue Search for Missing Man Near Nome
Ben Matheson, KNOM – Nome
Search and rescue crews from Nome and Teller are continuing the search for John Koezuna, 10 days after he began walking to Nome.

8(a) Advocacy Association Denounces One-Sided Story
Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage
A Native 8(a) advocacy association has denounced what it calls a one-sided story about Alaska Native corporations and the Small Business Administration Section 8(a) program, which provides the corporations with special advantages in competing for federal contracts. The story, by a reporter with the online public interest news site ProPublica, ran in USA Today in mid-December.

Governor, Lt. Governor Sign Final Certification Documents
Associated Press
Governor Sean Parnell and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell today signed the final certification documents declaring Senator Lisa Murkowski the winner of the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai will hand-carry the documents to Washington, DC to be filed with the U.S. Senate Secretary’s Office.

BBB Offers Advice for Those Looking to Resolve Debt Problems
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
For those resolving to fix their financial and debt problems in 2011, the Better Business Bureau has some warnings to heed and some resources to use.

Alaska Superior Court Judges Retain Positions
Associated Press
Alaska’s four presiding Superior Court judges will retain their positions for 2011.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter L. Carpeneti announced Thursday that Judge Patricia A. Collins will preside over the First Judicial District, which covers Southeast Alaska.

Judge Ben Esch will oversee the Second Judicial District, which covers Alaska’s most northern areas and includes Superior Courts in Barrow, Nome and Kotzebue.

Judge Sharon Gleason will remain presiding judge for the Third Judicial District, covering Anchorage and Southcentral Alaska.

Judge Douglas Blankenship of Fairbanks will preside over the Fourth Judicial District, which covers the Interior and parts of southwest Alaska.

Chief justice Carpeneti also today reappointed Judge Robert G. Coats as chief justice of the Alaska Court of Appeals.

Coats has served on the Appeals Court since it was created in 1980.

Before his appointment, Coats was an assistant attorney general and an assistant public defender in Fairbanks and Kenai.

Coats is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He has lived in Alaska for more than four decades.   The three-judge court hears appeals from judgments in criminal cases. The court also hears cases of juvenile delinquency, prisoners challenging the legality of their confinement, and probation and parole decisions.

Barrow Awarded $5 million in Grants to Build New Boat Launch, Renovate Rec Center
Jake Neher, KBRW – Barrow
The City of Barrow is being awarded nearly $5 million in federal grants to pay for a new boat launch and a complete renovation of the city’s recreation center. The funds are part of an impact mitigation program, which gives a percentage of National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska lease sales to impacted communities.

Two Interior Communities May Gain River Turbines
Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks
Two communities in the Interior may soon have harness an abundant form of green energy to generate electricity – the power of a rushing river.

Marine Power Developers Getting Creative in Oregon
Tom Banse, Northwest News Network
Alaska coastal communities that are considering the ocean for power might want to keep an eye on Oregon, where marine energy developers are looking for ways to make electricity from the sea.

The alternative energy sector has been slow to coalesce around one technology.  In fact, unconventional ideas are blooming like algae.  Northwest News Network Correspondent Tom Banse reports on the proliferation of creative electric engineering on the coast.