Alaska News Nightly: May 28, 2012

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Fairbanks Area Rains Prompt Flood Advisories

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Significant rain over the weekend in the Fairbanks area is prompting flood advisories for several rivers and streams. National Weather service meteorologist Corey Bogel says around 2 inches of rain has fallen, and there’s concern about recreational boaters. Bogel says water levels have been high on the Chena, Goodpaster and Salcha Rivers, and even the Tanana. The Goodpaster flooded an airstrip and equipment yard at the Pogo Mine. Bogel says the rainy weather pattern is unusual for the spring. Bogel says it’s hard to predict rainfall from this type of pattern, and cautions that weather is expected to remain unsettled with showers in the forecast. Nearly an inch of rain fell Sunday between Miles 80 and 112 on the Steese Highway, and flooding there was likely. Drivers are urged not to attempt to drive through water covering the road.

Congress Faces Busy Schedule After Holiday

Peter Granitz, APRN-Washington

The U.S. House and Senate are out of session at the moment, but when the two chambers return from the Memorial Day recess, they’ll have a full plate.

July is usually reserved for appropriations – the giant bills that fund all the different agencies of the government. Congress has been writing and marking up all sorts of appropriations bills, and getting them ready for up or down votes come summertime.

It’s the heavy lifting the government must do or it will need to pass a continuing resolution – an agreement to keep the government afloat for a certain period of time.

Appropriations bills are always political. This year, with an election looming in November and August reserved for campaigning, that will likely be the case.

The Senate has shown some signs it wants to move some bills along quickly. It passed a reauthorization for the Food and Drug Administration with 96 yes votes last week, though Senator Lisa Murkowki’s so-called “Frankenfish Amendment” to the bill failed.

The two chambers will also have to take up controversial measures soon. One would prevent student loan interest rates from increasing in July. It’s already failed in the Senate, but it will try and move it again. Congress also must pass a massive reauthorization to pay for the country’s roads, highways and bridges. Each chamber has passed a version and a conference committee is working to meld the two.

APU Students Dig for Answers on Eklutna Glacier

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Anchorage is one of the only cities in North America dependent on a glacier for most of its drinking water. The Eklutna Glacier also provides about 15 percent of the city’s electricity, in the form of hydro power. And it’s an ideal outdoor laboratory for an intrepid group of Alaska Pacific University students who are working to answer one very important question: How long will the glacier last?

UAF Student Hoping to Make Olympic Team

Emily Swchwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

A group of freshman on this year’s University of Alaska Fairbanks swim team is making waves on the national scene. One of the athletes – Margot Adams – is training in California for a shot at the Olympic trials.

Retired Anchorage Cop Combats Child Predators

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Anchorage Police Department Detective Glen Klinkhart recently retired from APD after 17 years on the force, but he’s hardly kicking back. Klinkhart helped launch the cyber crimes unit at APD a decade ago. Now, five full-time officers work not only on computer forensics but are on line catching child predators. Now he’s written a new book to aid parents in keeping their kids safe online. He says the Internet has allowed those with ill intent to have access to children and communicate with them, but it’s also lets law enforcement have access too. Klinkhart says his book gives an overview of the Internet and also gets into specifics parents should know about.

UAF Science “Geeks” Make Science Interesting

Kelsey Gobroski – University of Alaska Fairbanks

It can be difficult for scientists to show other people why they love what they love, because it’s hard to translate science. But when they find the connection to everyday life, scientists and writers can keep people engaged in the world around them. Two science geeks at the University of Alaska Fairbanks use anecdotes to keep their audiences hooked.

COMMENTARY: Leaving for Afghanistan

Rex Gray, APRN Contributor

Alaska Air National Guard troops are getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. Rex Gray is a parent of one of those citizen soldiers. His son Ben is heading off on his first deployment. In this commentary, Rex reflects on what the experience means to him.