Alaska News Nightly: April 22, 2011

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3)

Governor Establishes Fourth Saturday in July as Ted Stevens Day
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Friday, Governor Sean Parnell at a bill signing ceremony established the fourth Saturday in July as Ted Stevens Day.

Stevens was a giant in Alaska politics – involved in statehood and virtually every political battle waged in the state for nearly 60 years. He was the longest serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, representing Alaska for more than 40 years. But Parnell said it goes without saying that Stevens was a friend of everyone in the legislature, which unanimously passed the bill honoring him.

After Stevens died in a plane crash last August, Parnell established the late Senator’s birthday – November 18 – in honor of him. But Stevens’ family requested that it be in the summer, so Alaskans could celebrate outdoors.

Stevens’ loved ones were not able to attend the bill signing. But as Stevens often did when negotiations in the U.S. Senate got tough, Parnell wore an Incredible Hulk tie to the ceremony. He said it was given to him by Stevens’ daughter, Lily.

Parnell is currently locked in tough negotiations with the state Senate Majority over the capitol and operating budgets. Several legislators from both chambers attended the ceremony, though Parnell only recognized members of the House.

Legislature, Governor at Odds Over How to End Special Session
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The House, Senate and Governor are still at odds over how to get to an adjournment of this year’s special session.  The operating and capital budgets are still remaining – and the coastal management and scholarship bills are also still in the mix. As of now, the Senate has adjourned until Monday morning, but the House still plans a Saturday-morning floor session – although there is nothing on the calendar for members to consider.

Marine Research Institute Goes Green
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Just in time for Earth Day, the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute in Juneau has gone green.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility turned off its two oil-fired boilers last week. It’s now warmed entirely with a heat pump system that uses recycled sea water from scientific experiments.

Kodiak Rocket Launch Delayed
Jacob Resneck, KMXT – Kodiak
A spectacular mishap in which a $424 million NASA research satellite was lost in the Pacific has caused the launch of a military satellite from the Kodiak Launch Complex to be delayed for several months.

Southeast Winter Troll Fishery Closes for Season
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Southeast Alaska’s winter troll fishery closed Wednesday night. The department of Fish and Game expected the king salmon catch would reach the guideline harvest level of 45,000 fish by that time. In slower seasons, the fishery can run through the end of April, but this year wasn’t slow. Troll Management Biologist Pattie Skannes announced the April 20 closure shortly after some big landings.

As the season wrapped up Wednesday, Skannes said catches and effort had been above average during the six-month season.

Skannes said king salmon prices on average were $7.10 a pound during the winter fishery.

Renowned Pilot Holds Several Records Despite Having Type-1 Diabetes
Jake Neher, KBRW – Barrow
Douglas Cairns is a world renowned pilot, and has type-1 diabetes. That would’ve been impossible just over a decade ago, due to widespread restrictions against flying with the disease. Today, Cairns holds several aviation records. And on Tuesday, he touched down in Barrow after making a landmark expedition to the North Pole.

Fairbanks Officials Urge Wood-Burning Residents to Begin Next Winter’s Preparations
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The advance of spring is winding down the heating season, but state and local officials want Fairbanks area residents, who burn wood, to start preparing for next year.  The public outreach “Split, Stack, Store and Save” campaign is aimed at reducing fine particulate pollution. North Star Borough P.M. 2.5 project coordinator Kristy Dehaven says prepping wood early will ensure it’s ready for efficient burning by next fall.

DeHaven says dry wood also produces less creosote on stove pipe, reducing the chance of a chimney fire.  Burning green wood is a major source of local fine particulate pollution that’s landed Fairbanks in violation of federal clean air standards.  The state and borough are charged with coming up with ways to clean up local air. DeHaven says following some simple steps will result in dry wood.

DeHaven says depending on the wood, the weather and the amount of sunlight your wood pile gets, logs can be dry enough to burn cleanly and efficiently in six months.

NICWA Wrapping  Up 29th Annual Conference
Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage
The National Indian Child Welfare Association is wrapping up its 29th and largest annual conference in Anchorage. About 900 people from across the United States and Canada attended.

Tribes Continue Push for Federal Involvement in Subsistence
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast’s largest tribal organization continues to push for more federal involvement in subsistence. The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska made it a priority at this month’s annual meeting.