Alaska News Nightly: September 9, 2011

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Air Traffic Controller Talks About Korean Airliner  Incident on 9-11

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A decade after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, APRN has uncovered new information regarding the events that caused a Korean 747 en route to New York and scheduled to stop in Anchorage for fuel, to be diverted from Anchorage to Whitehorse Canada. NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is a joint Alaskan/Canadian military partnership had control of the airways and had requested that Canada allow international flights to be diverted to their airports. As in so many things that day, there was confusion, anxiety and some fear that the Korean jet may have hijackers on board. The plane began squawking 7500 – a code meaning it had been hijacked. The military says it was a miscommunication between the pilot and air traffic control. But the air traffic controller who dealt with the plane as it approached Anchorage says it was a direct command to the pilot. Retired Air Traffic controller Rick Wilder says he is still haunted by the incident because so many lives were at stake. He says when he first received the order to tell the pilot to squawk 7500 he refused.

Grounded Vessel Refloated And All Safe, No Damage

Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg

The Coast Guard says the crew of Northern Song has refloated the 84-foot charter vessel and there were no injuries, damage or pollution reported.

Coast Guard public affairs Charly Hengen says the Petersburg-based boat went aground early this morning on the southeast side of Baranof Island.

Hengen said the master contacted the Coast Guard early this morning. He reported the vessel was aground with seven passengers and four crew onboard. Hengen said a helicopter from Air Station Sitka and a cutter responded to the call as the Northern Song’s crew took the passengers to shore.

The Northern Song is a steel-hulled yacht constructed in 1997 and owned by Dennis Rodgers and Alaska Sea Adventures of Petersburg.

The company had another grounding incident with a previous vessel, the 60-foot Alaska Adventurer, in Late January, 2010 near Holkum bay South of Juneau. That vessel was not carrying passengers at the time, but it was seriously damaged and the crew was rescued by the coast guard after abandoning ship.

Volunteers Hope to ID Most At Risk Homeless

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage

Next week, volunteers will spread across Anchorage to survey and identify the most at-risk individuals of the city’s chronic homeless.  The ultimate objective is to place as many of these vulnerable individuals as possible into housing before winter.

Beringia Celebration Kicks Off in Nome

Ben Matheson, KNOM – Nome

Beringia Days began today in Nome.  The conference and celebration brings together American and Russian scientists, government leaders and local residents.

ANSCA at 40 Panel Meeting at UAA

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A panel discussion at the University of Alaska Anchorage Friday night will be the culmination of a series of talks that were organized by the ANCSA at 40 committee. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act is approaching four decades in existence and tonight’s panel will feature Congressman Don Young, former Arctic Slope Regional Corporation official Oliver Leavett and Chugach Alaska leader Sherry Buretta. Nellie Moore is moderating the discussion. She says the goal is to create a historical record.

Moore says the panels have examined what was happening in the lead up to the passage of ANCSA and to document the challenges and successes the Native corporations have had through the years so future Alaska Native leaders have the facts.

The programs will be made available through cable channel 360 North and online in November as part of Native American Awareness month. They will also be archived at UAA. A large event is being planned for the actual 40th anniversary of ANCSA on December 18th.

AK: Despite Recent Troubles, Daycare Remains Strong

Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg

It can be hard to find child care in small town Alaska. The Petersburg Children’s Center is a lifeline for working families in the small southeast town. But the nonprofit facility has struggled financially recently after a former executive director stole thousands of dollars. Thanks to an outpouring of community support, the daycare has remained open. KFSK’s Matt Lichtenstein recently toured the Children’s Center to find the pre-school kids and their caretakers fully engaged in the business of learning…and play.

300 Villages: Wales and Metlakatla

And now it’s time for our weekly trip around the state in the segment we call 300 villages. First we’ll head to the Northwest community of Wales, on the Bering Strait, and then to Metlakatla, south of Ketchikan.

That was Frank Crisci in Wales and Arthur Fawcett in Metlakatla.