Alaska News Nightly: September 4, 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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Unusually Strong Storm More Typical During Winter Months

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

An unusually strong wind storm is affecting a huge swath of Southcentral Alaska. The storm stretches from Adak in the south and west to Big Delta in the eastern Interior.

In Anchorage, the National Weather Service is predicting the high winds to peak around midnight with gusts of up to 100 miles per hour on the hillside and 60 miles per hour in east Anchorage. National Weather Service forecaster Dave Snider calls it a potent system and says it’s comparable to a tropical storm.

Snider says the strongest winds are predicted to move through the region relatively quickly. But he says the Anchorage area could still see wind gusts between 30 and 40 miles per hour into Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.  The storm warning is in effect until 5:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Southcentral Braces For Big Storm

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Power companies in Anchorage are bracing for outages and emergency management officials are asking residents to be prepared.

Anchorage to Pay $5.5M to Settle Rape Lawsuits

The Associated Press

Anchorage will pay more than $5.5 million to settle 11 civil lawsuits filed by women who claimed they were raped by a police officer. Mayor Dan Sullivan’s office announced the settlement Tuesday in a news release. The women claimed in their lawsuits that the city failed to supervise and discipline Officer Anthony Rollins. Rollins was convicted last year of sexually assaulting five women while on duty. He was sentenced to serve 87 years.

Those five women, and others who claimed they were also victims, sued the city and Rollins, separately. Rollins was not part of the city’s settlement, and several of the women have indicated they will continue with their lawsuits against him. The settlements range in size from $1.7 million for one victim down to $75,000.

Yearly Cook Inlet Beluga Count Wraps Up

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The annual summer effort to determine the number of endangered whales that exist in Cook Inlet is underway with one count completed in June and another finished this month. Kristi Sims, a biologist with NOAA has been involved with the annual whale census for more than a decade. The flagging numbers of the belugas makes the count important. As Sims heads across the tarmac for an afternoon aerial survey of Cook Inlet, she says the August count is focused on calves and after several days of capturing video, the real work starts.

Report Guides Potential North Slope LNG Producers Through Federal Regulations

Peter Granitz, APRN – Anchorage

A federal office in Washington issued a report today guiding would-be natural gas producers on the North Slope on how to navigate federal regulations.

Mat-Su Borough Opts To Sell Ferry Susitna

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly has voted to sell the ice class ferry Susitna.  In a brief meeting last week, they approved the sale. The ferry has been a problem for the Borough, because the unique ship has no place to dock on either side of Knik Arm.

Airport Construction Complicates Bethel Air Traffic

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

The Bethel airport is the third busiest passenger airport and the second busiest cargo airport in the state. But air traffic has been more complicated this summer because of on-going construction at the airport. High winds, which are common in the region, are all it takes for a flight delay or cancellation.

Unification Church Leader Had Strong Ties To Kodiak

Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak

The founder and leader of the Unification Church died Monday in South Korea at the age of 92. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon had a home here, which he would visit often. Chris Fiala is the husband of the church’s Kodiak pastor. He said Reverend Moon felt Kodiak was a special place.

Despite Rising Lower 48 Cases, No West Nile Virus Found In Alaska

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Cases of West Nile virus are on the rise in the United States.  This year, every state in the country, except Hawaii and Alaska, have recorded cases of the mosquito borne illness, which is carried by birds.  Alaska has never documented a case of the sometimes deadly disease being contracted in the state.

KIC Class Teaches Tsimshian Language

Leila Kheiry, KRBD – Ketchikan

A group of students, from youths to elders, is learning the Tsimshian language at the new Ketchikan Indian Community technical training center.