Alaska News Nightly: June 6, 2011

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Fishery Safety Experts Unhappy with Program Cancellation

Jacob Resneck, KUCB – Unalaska

Commercial fishing remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. So, safety experts are crying foul over the Obama administration’s proposal to cancel a program run by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that’s working to reduce fisheries-related deaths and injuries.

Update on Missing Talkeetna Woman

Sue Deyoe, KTNA – Talkeetna

The search for a missing Talkeetna woman intensified today. Alaska State Troopers ramped up their resources and are searching the area about 18 miles east of Talkeetna to look for any sign of Melanie Gould.  Meanwhile a Facebook page dedicated to Gould’s disappearance now has thousands of followers and has turned into a clearinghouse of information.

Teenage Girls Survive Drowning Accident on Tustumena Lake

Ben Stanton, KDLL – Kenai

After an 18-foot boat sank on Tustumena Lake two people died Friday night while trying to swim ashore.  But three teenage girls survived the high winds and cold water.  They made their way to a public-use cabin to recover before being found by an air search.

Officials Investigate Marine Mammal Deaths Near Skagway

Associated Press

Federal wildlife officials are investigating the deaths of five marine mammals found near Skagway, including one found with a bullet in its head.

Since January biologists have recovered the carcasses of two Steller sea lions and three harbor seals.

One sea lion appeared to have died from illness but the four other animals showed signs of head trauma. The bullet was recovered from a harbor seal.

It’s possible that subsistence hunters killed the animals legally but lost them before they could be recovered. Or they could have been illegal.

Officials Have Aggressive Plan to Combat Hastings Wildfire

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Officials managing the response to the big wildfire north of Fairbanks have some aggressive action planned.  The management team is trying to stop the 12 thousand acre Hastings Fire from moving any closer to subdivisions on it northeast side. Fire Information Officer Pete Buist says a substantial burn-out may be conducted where the fire jumped containment lines on Sunday.

Buist says firefighters have helped prepare northeast-side subdivisions in the event things don’t go well and the fire advances east.

Crews have already done structure protection and secured a line on the southern part of the Hastings Fire, along the Chatanika River, where there are also homes and cabins. Buist says unless there’s a strong north wind, things are in good shape on that part of the fire. He says there are not many structures to the fire’s northwest.

EPA Gives Update on Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

Melati Kaye, KDLG – Dillingham

Senior Environmental Protective Agency officials were in Dillingham last Friday to give an update on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. The public meeting is an early stage in the agency’s assessment of the watershed and the potential impact of large-scale development on water quality and regional fisheries.

Mat-Su Borough Assembly Bids to Disband Ethics Board

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly is looking at a bid to disband the Borough’s ethics board, and a vote on the issue could come as early as Tuesday night.  Some residents are concerned that the move could mean that major changes to the Borough’s ethics code will be taken out of public view.

Fuel On Its Way to Kake

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

A fuel barge is on its way to Kake today, where residents dealt with a gasoline shortage over the weekend.

Kake Tribal Corporation President Vicki Wolfe confirms that there was a shortage, and that residents were limited to five gallons a person. Kake Tribal runs the fuel operation in Kake.

A fuel barge is scheduled to arrive Tuesday, with another regular shipment on Thursday. Wolfe said more information will be available after a Tuesday meeting of the corporation’s fuel committee.

Roughly 600 people live in Kake, which is on the northwest side of Kupreanof Island.

Tribal Leaders Convene in Anchorage

Sophie Evan, KYUK – Bethel

Tribal leaders from all over the state will be convening in Anchorage this week, to sign an historic accord.

Emerging Leaders Program Wraps Up

Susan Bucknell, KOTZ – Kotzebue

The 2011 Emerging Leaders dialogue wrapped up in Kotzebue on Sunday. Sponsored by the Institute of the North, the leadership program is designed to empower young leaders, and build relationships across the state.