Alaska News Nightly: September 13, 2012

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

Download Audio

Fishing Disaster Declared In Yukon, Kuskokwim Rivers And Cook Inlet

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

The U.S. Department of Commerce has declared a fishing disaster for the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers and Cook Inlet. Whether the aid ever materializes hinges on Congressional action.

Chinook Run At Bethel Could Be Lowest Ever

Mark Arehart, KYUK – Bethel

The Kuskokwim Chinook salmon run was so poor this year that even with unprecedented 12-day subsistence closure was implemented. Still fish manager don’t think enough Kings have reached the spawning grounds.

Anchorage Braces For Another Wind Storm

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Anchorage residents are bracing for another powerful windstorm. The National Weather Service is predicting the winds will pick up Saturday afternoon and peak over Saturday night. It is the second major wind event to hit the area in less than two weeks. National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Snider says these types of storms should be rare this early in the fall.

Forecasters are predicting wind gusts of around 100 miles per hour on the hillside and along Turnagain arm Saturday night and Sunday morning.  The lower hillside and the rest of Anchorage could have gusts of up to 65 miles per hour during the same period. The strongest winds should subside by Sunday afternoon.

With Repair Estimates In the Millions, Anchorage Braces For 1-2 Wind Storm Punch

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Damage estimates for the Sept. 4 storm are already in the millions of dollars. And the municipality of Anchorage is asking people to wait until this next storm is over to submit any more damage reports.

APD Officer Shot Near Merrill Field Inn

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

An Anchorage Police officer was wounded earlier today during a shootout at a local motel.

APD  spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said the shooting took place at the Merrill Field Inn. The motel was evacuated and Fifth Avenue, one of the main traffic arteries into the city, was shut down for about two hours. Parker says it all began when two APD officers were investigating a burglary.

The injured officer and the two people in the motel room were taken to safety, and a SWAT team was called in to negotiate with the shooter, whom, Parker says, police believe was wounded during the return gunfire.   The suspect, as yet un-named, surrendered to police officers at about 1:30 this afternoon.

Anchorage Police Prepare For Budget Cuts

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan is asking for budget cuts and one of the departments being targeted is the Anchorage Police department. The mayor says the city is facing a $30 million shortfall for next year’s budget.

Derek Hsieh is president of the officer’s union. He says APD’s budget is $80 million and the mayor is proposing a 10 percent cut, or $8 million. The chief of police will make recommendations for where to find those savings, but Hsieh says there isn’t much room for trimming.

Derek Hsieh is president of the police officer’s union. He says the State Troopers have already started recruiting Anchorage police officers to fill 40 open positions.

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan says he wants to balance budget cutting with maintaining appropriate staff levels for all Municipal departments. But if other efficiencies can’t be found he says, reductions in the police force will have to happen.

The mayor will present his final budget plan to the Anchorage Assembly on Oct. 1.

Public Transportation Gets Another Look

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Matanuska Susitna Borough is one of a handful of areas in the United States designated by Easter Seals for a program aimed at better assisting disabled and elderly bus riders.

Study: Otters Help Combat Global Warming

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

A new study is adding another dimension to the sea otter debate. The research shows the marine mammals help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major contributor to climate change.

Next Phase Of ‘A Trip South’ Set To Begin

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

The “Trip South” gang is ready for the next step in their adventure.

Back in June, the group of 20-somethings from Juneau launched an epic kayak and bike trip from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. The paddling portion recently ended in Ladysmith, British Columbia, and after taking a couple weeks off, the group plans to begin the bike portion this weekend.