Alaska News Nightly: June 7, 2012

Individual news stories are posted under APRN News. You can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

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Divers Unable to Find Lost Bag of PCB-Contaminated Dirt

David Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

An 11,000 pound bag of PCB contaminated dirt fell into the waters off the

Dillingham city dock last November. Alaska Logistics decided to wait until

spring break up to remove that bag, known as a super sack. But salvage divers working yesterday weren’t able to find the bag.

Long-Standing Land Dispute Should Be Settled Soon

Laureli Kinneen, KNOM – Nome

A forty-year land dispute between an Alaska Native Corporation and the State of Alaska should be cleared soon with the signature of President Barack Obama.

Missing Bison Found Near Chena Lakes

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Three of the four bison that escaped last month from a ranch just outside North Pole have turned up along the bike path at the Chena Lakes Flood Control Project south of Fairbanks.

Lightning Blamed For Denali Park Fire

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Park Rangers are blaming lightning for a five acre fire inside Denali National Park.  When a crew flew over the fire at noon Thursday, there was no visible smoke.  The blaze burned a five acre area, 15 miles north of the park road along the East Fork drainage of the Toklat River.  Park officials are concerned about an historic cabin located within three miles of the fire.  Crews plan to fly over the fire again this evening.

Redistricting Board Chairman Says Fair Plan In Place For Year’s Elections

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The chairman of the state’s Redistricting Board says that although there’s still not a final plan on the books yet, voters have a fair plan ready for this year’s elections.   John Torgerson of Soldotna told the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Thursday that the plan waiting for final approval from the Courts and U.S. Justice Department,  reflected the most open, non-partisan process possible.  He credited computers and emails with engaging the public in the new plan’s creation.

Torgerson said it was impossible to avoid the atmosphere of winners and losers as the elections districts were coming together. However, he said, the board was limited in what it was allowed to do – by both state and federal law and oversight.

Torgerson says there is still a chance some issues could require a major overhaul of the plan before 2014.

Tok May Be First Alaska Community Fully Powered By Biomass

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Tok may become the first community in Alaska to get all its electricity from wood.

A utility has proposed building a power plant that would burn black spruce, a plan backers say  could serve as a test case for communities struggling with high cost fossil fuel generated power.

Fish Processor Won’t Reopen This Summer After Crash

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg

Ocean Beauty Seafoods won’t be processing fish at the company’s cannery in Petersburg this summer because of damage from the state ferry Matanuska.

Calista Corporation Reschedules Shareholder Meeting

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Calista, the Native Corporation for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, has canceled its annual shareholder meeting this month and re-scheduled it five months later.

Celebration 2012 Underway In Juneau

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Celebration 2012 is officially underway. Southeast Alaska’s largest Native cultural gathering kicked off in earnest Thursday morning with the Grand Entrance Procession in Juneau.

Hunter Rescued After Traveling Across Bristol Bay On Ice Floe

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

Last month four hunters from the village of Platinum were rescued by the Coast Guard after they traveled across all of Bristol Bay on an ice floe after running out of gas.