Alaska News Nightly: June 12, 2012

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Dry Weather, Thunderstorms Light Wildfires In Western Alaska

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

Wildfires are burning in Western Alaska. The past two months have seen warm, dry weather in much of that part of the state and with several thunderstorms last week, conditions have been ripe for wildfires. Doug Gibbs is the Alaska Fire Service’s assistant fire manager for the Galena Zone: an area that spans most of western Alaska above the Yukon River, including the Seward Peninsula, all the way up to Barrow.

IWC Meeting To Set Whaling Catch Limits

Wendi Jonassen, APRN – Anchorage

The International Whaling Commission is meeting next month in Panama City to set whaling catch limits around the world. The commission is supposed to set a quota for Alaska’s subsistence whalers for the next five years. But the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission is concerned their subsistence quota will fail to pass in the heated climate surrounding international whaling. So the AEWC is pushing for legislation that would allow the U.S. to set the subsistence catch limit in Alaska.

JBER Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

A soldier assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson in Anchorage has been killed in Afghanistan. The Army is reporting Private First Class Nathan Tyler Davis died June 9th when his vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device. Davis was driving the vehicle. The 20 year old was from California and joined the Army in 2010. This was his first deployment.

Davis was a member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. The 3,500-soldier brigade deployed in December.

Three other soldiers were wounded in the incident. Next of kin have been notified.

Alaska Highway Reopens

The Associated Press

Traffic is moving again on a section of the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory that was closed for four days because of a washout.

Allan Nixon, assistant deputy minister of Highways and Public works, says many people driving recreational vehicles and campers waited until this morning to get back on the road.

The washout occurred along a critical stretch of the Alaska Highway north of Watson Lake.  Crews worked around the clock to repair the highway, which was reopened last night.

Officials Investigating Vehicle Fire In Pogo Gold Mine

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

A federal mine-safety official from Anchorage has been at the Pogo gold mine since this morning investigating the evacuation and shutdown of the mine in response to a vehicle fire underground early this morning.

State Wants Comments On Coal Health Assessment

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Sydney, Australia- based Riversdale Alaska has been awarded a state coal lease in the Chickaloon area.   Riversdale was the high bidder for the almost ten thousand acres of potential coal bearing lands in the Matanuska- Susitna Borough, paying a more than $3 million bonus for the lease.

Subsistence Salmon Fishing Closed For Week On Kuskokwim

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Week long salmon fishing closures went into effect Sunday for subsistence fishers on the Kuskokwim River. It’s the second year in a row that subsistence fishing during the King salmon run has been restricted on the river.

Like Adventure? Siberian Bike Ride Goes To Facebook Vote

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

A former Alaskan is one of five finalists for the 2012 Outside Magazine Outdoor Adventure grant. Quinn Langbauer is a 2007 Sitka High graduate. If he wins, he and his brother and a friend from college will spend most of next year bicycling over 7,000 miles across Siberia.

Celebration 2012 Ends With Grand Exit

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Celebration 2012 ended Saturday night with the Grand Exit, where groups from as far away as Anchorage and the Pacific Northwest made their final procession.

At the lead, and at the start of the Southeast Native cultural festival’s Grand Entrance, was one dance group from Angoon.