Alaska News Nightly: January 4, 2012

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Governor’s Office Gets More Time To Release Palin Emails

Associated Press

Alaska’s attorney general has given the governor’s office until Feb. 20 to release the last of Sarah Palin’s emails from her time as governor.

The extension was requested by Randy Ruaro, deputy chief of staff to current governor Sean Parnell. Ruaro said without an extension, responding to requests for the emails would “substantially impair” the other functions of the governor’s office, as well as the ability to properly and thoroughly review the messages.

Last June, the state released 24,199 pages of emails from Palin’s first 21 months in office, in response to public records requests first made in September 2008, after Palin was chosen as the GOP vice presidential nominee. The final emails are from Oct. 1, 2008 to July 26, 2009, when Palin resigned as governor.

‘Occupy’ Protestors Maintaining Fairbanks Presence

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Occupy movement has continued into the New Year in communities across the United States.  In Fairbanks, a small but steadfast group of Occupy protestors has maintained a presence at a downtown park since mid October.  As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the movement is developing and sharing its message in and beyond Fairbanks.

Kivalina Votes To Building School At New Location

Associated Press

Voters Kivalina have overwhelmingly said yes to building a school at a new location.

Kivalina City Clerk Marilyn Swan says the unofficial count in Tuesday’s election was 107-11 in favor of the proposed school site about seven miles northeast of the Inupiat Eskimo community.

Kivalina administrator Janet Mitchell is hoping the support adds new life to relocate the crumbling community.

She says a feasibility study must now be done to see if the location would work.

Funding for the school would stem from a recent agreement by the state to settle a lawsuit that alleged inequities in funding for rural public schools.

Kivalina has more than 400 people and is located 625 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Renda Departs For Nome

Ben Matheson, KNOM – Nome & Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

The Renda is on its way to Nome.  The tanker departed Dutch Harbor Wednesday morning at 9:50 with the icebreaker Healy close behind. They are now steaming north through 380 miles of open water before hitting the ice edge. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow says the vessels will be near each other for the open water transit, cruising at up to 10 to 12 knots.

Wadlow says the vessels will have 340 miles of ice to plow though. The fuel could arrive in Nome sometime around Sunday, depending on the progress through the ice. Vitus Marine CEO Mark Smith says his team is putting their efforts towards the final delivery in Nome.

What happens at port however, is still not finalized.  The ice conditions for the final stretch and a ruling by the Department of Environmental Conservation will determine the details of offloading fuel.

Five days before the anticipated delivery, researchers from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks were drilling ice cores to get a better understanding of ice conditions.  Assistant Research Professor Andy Mahoney said his priority was assessing a pressure ridge that formed at the very end of the breakers, at the entrance to the harbor.   Above the surface it’s 5 feet high, but below the surface it extends further down.

Ice stability is crucial as delivery plans could include offloading fuel with the tanker moored outside the harbor with hosing running across the ice.

Ice cores taken by the team will be melted and tested for salinity. By knowing the composition of the ice, officials will be able to determine the best course of action and equipment for unloading the fuel from the Renda into Nome’s tanks.

Nome Fuel Delivery Costly For Government Agencies

Ben Matheson, KNOM – Nome

The price of the fuel to customers in Nome after the upcoming fuel delivery is still to be determined. Nomeites may be spared the cost of gas at $9 a gallon, but the operation to deliver fuel with icebreaker support is not cheap for the government agencies involved.

Boeing Will Continue To Operate Fort Greely Missile Defense System

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

The 90 or so people who work for Boeing in the Interior got a late Christmas present Friday when the Pentagon awarded a seven year, $3.5 billion contract to the company to operate the Fort Greely based missile defense system.

Kikkan Randall Takes World Cup Silver Medal

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Anchorage skier Kikkan Randall took home a World Cup silver medal today in the skate sprint in Toblach, Italy. She finished just behind Norway’s Marit Bjoergen.

The competition was part of the nine stage event called the Tour de Ski. Today’s silver medal pushed Randall from 7th place to 4th overall for the 11 day Tour.

In a U.S. Skiing press release, Randall was quoted saying “It was a challenging course and with five races in my legs already, I was happy to put together four solid rounds and be on the podium.”

Yesterday, Randall turned in her worst result for the Tour de Ski, finishing 29th in a 3.3 kilometer classic race.

Tomorrow’s stage features the women’s 15-kilometer pursuit.

Rehabilitated Sea Otter Released In Homer

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

A crowd of about 30 people who braved chilly temperatures at the tip of the Homer Spit Monday morning were treated to a rare sight – the release of a fully rehabilitated sea otter back into the wild. KBBI’s Aaron Selbig has the story about Corky, the otter who recovered after being found on the side of the Kenai Spur Highway in November.

Group Runs Across US To Raise Naturopathic Awareness

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

If you’re considering how to peel off some extra pounds after all those Christmas cookies and festive dinners, a young Alaskan has a simple suggestion. Just move. 21-year-old Jonas Ely did a lot more than that last fall when he ran across the nation, more than 3000 miles, with his uncle, a Naturopath doctor. They ran to raise awareness of what naturopathic medicine is and had conversations in the communities they traveled through about the importance of being healthy.