Alaska News Nightly: August 8, 2012

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS.

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Coast Guard Monitors Possible Pirate Vessel

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

The Coast Guard cutter Rush normally patrols Alaskan waters, but it’s traveled deep into the Pacific Ocean in pursuit of a suspected pirate fishing vessel.

Brooks Range Council Opposing ‘Road To Resources’ Program

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

The Brooks Range Council is a grassroots movement opposing Governor Sean Parnell’s plan to develop a road to the Ambler Mining District. The governor’s office has proposed nearly $29 million next year to advance his “Road to Resources” program, which includes $4 million for the planned road to Ambler. That money will be used for permitting and environmental work on the proposed roads, which the governor says will eventually allow access to resources near Umiat, Tanana and Ambler. The Ambler mining district is the proposed terminus of a 220-mile road from the Dalton Highway.

Rep. Young Wants States To Take Over Management Of Some National Parks

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks  

Representative Don Young wants states to take over management of some National Parks. Young, a longtime critic of the National Park Service, says the proposal is a good fit for Alaska, where he says agency regulations unnecessarily limit access.

Young says the bill he plans to introduce would provide states with half of the funding the National Park Service gets to manage federal parks and preserves.  He says the arrangement would work for many parks in Alaska.

Young, who’s running for re-election, touted the idea during a visit to Fairbanks Tuesday.

Navigable Waters Lawsuit Working Way Through Courts

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

An Alaska case challenging National Park Service authority is working its way through the courts.  Central resident Jim Wilde is appealing his misdemeanor conviction stemming from a 2010 run in with park rangers during a boat safety check on the Yukon River.  The appeal challenges the Park Service’s authority to police navigable waters.  Wilde’s attorney Bill Satterberg of Fairbanks says the appeal filed in the 9th Circuit Court in January has been thrown back to a lower court.

Jim Wilde refused to cooperate with the rangers who were trying to do a safety inspection on his river boat, where it passes through the Yukon Charley National Preserve.  Navigable rivers like the Yukon are generally under state jurisdiction, but courts have upheld some national park service regulatory authority, where rivers pass through federal parks and preserves.

Matanuska Maid Dairy Building Was Uninsured

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The fire that destroyed the original Matanuska Maid Dairy warehouse in Palmer on Tuesday took a piece of Alaska’s history.  The building dates to 1935, when the original Matanuska Valley colonists settled in Alaska, and has been on the Alaska Association For Historic Preservation’s list of endangered historic properties for several years.

Audit Studies Math In Sitka School District

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

Teachers are doing a good job, students are eager to succeed and parents are invested in what’s going on. But the Sitka School District needs to make sure all three of those groups are on the same page when it comes to math education. That’s the finding of an audit on the way Sitka teaches math. The $18,000 project was commissioned by the Sitka School District last year. Results were presented to the school board Monday.

‘Spirit Bears’ May Be Facing New Threat

Anne Hillman, KSTK – Wrangell

Some black bears, especially those on the coast of British Columbia, carry a genetic anomaly that makes their fur white. They’re popularly called spirit bears. KSTK’s Anne Hillman spoke to bear biologist Wayne McCrory, who has been studying the bears and trying to protect them for the past 30 years. He says they could be facing a new, larger threat.

Booming Caribou Population Prompts Fish And Game To Issue More Hunting Permits

Wendi Jonassen, APRN – Anchorage

This year’s Nelchina caribou herd population is at an unexpected high. And the department of fish and game issued an additional 2,425 hunting permits in an effort to keep the population within a manageable range.

Samoan Community Comes Together Through Softball

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The Samoan population in Anchorage more than doubled between 2000 and 2010. And as the community has grown rapidly, so has its presence on the city’s softball fields. Samoan churches in Anchorage run coed softball tournaments throughout the summer as a way to bring the community together. The atmosphere is friendly but the competition is fierce.