Alaska News Nightly: September 19, 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

Arctic Sea Ice Begins Freezing Again

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Wednesday, the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado announced that the sea ice is starting to freeze up again in the Arctic Ocean. Unless some big winds come up, it looks as if the biggest melt-back of the sea ice happened on Sunday, Sept. 16. It was a record.

BBNC Leaders Push For Salmon Fishery Protections In DC

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Leaders from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation are in Washington, D.C. pushing members of Congress to support the forthcoming EPA watershed assessment and to increase protections for the salmon fishery in Bristol Bay.

Double Shooting Near Kiana Under Investigation

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage & The Associated Press

A double shooting near Kiana is under investigation.  Alaska authorities say two men were shot Tuesday night in an altercation at a cabin 40 miles upriver from the village of Kiana. Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters says the trouble began when the two hunters stopped at a remote cabin.

Peters says Troopers responded to the scene at daylight Wednesday morning, taking the two injured men to a waiting medevac flight in Kiana then transporting them to hospitals in Kotzebue and in Anchorage. She says no further information is being released on the victims.  Peters could not say how Troopers were alerted to the shootings.

Peters says there is no current I.D. on the suspect.

According to Village Public Safety Officer Richard Eunice, one of the men was shot in the chest and the other was shot in the arm. The village is in lockdown because of the incident.

Peters would not release the names of the victims or comment on their medical status. She says Troopers do not know if the suspect is still on the river or not.

Seward Declares Emergency Due To Flooding

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Heavy rains in Southcentral Alaska are inundating local rivers and creeks, causing flood concerns from Cordova to Anchorage. And a National Weather Service forecast for the Anchorage area indicates more wet weather to come this weekend.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Seward until 4 a.m. Thursday. The Resurrection River was forecast to go above major flood stage by 4 p.m. this afternoon. City manager Jim Hunt declared a state of emergency, and that has triggered the activation of the city’s emergency operations center.

The city is establishing a shelter at the High School for residents who need to evacuate their homes. Joanna Kinney, the Seward city clerk, says power is out in part of the city, due to trees falling on power lines.  The city owned utility is working to restore power, and Kinney says generators are at the ready if necessary. Kinney says local flooding is affecting some city roads and flooding is reported at mile 3 and 4 of the Seward highway.

Emergency services personnel in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and in the Kenai Peninsula Borough are also keeping an eye on flood danger. The Mat-Su Borough emergency operations center has been activated. EOC spokesperson Vickie Lee Fenster says wind gusts are taking a toll on power lines.

Matanuska Electric Association reported sporadic outages in Eagle River, Palmer, the Butte and Eklutna.  In all, over 3,700 customers were affected.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service’s hydro-meteorologist Dave Stricklan says the heavy rain will continue.

Strong winds blew trees down in Anchorage. An especially fierce gust this morning toppled and damaged a construction trailer on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Several incoming flights were diverted to Fairbanks.

More than 1,000 Chugach Electric customers lost power in the storm. But as of this afternoon, power had been restored to all but 100 homes.

Collaboration Keeps Contract In Kake

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

A collaborative effort involving government, environment and business interests has kept a construction contract in Kake. While it’s a small job, those involved say it’s a model that could be duplicated in other economically-strapped villages.

Scientists Studying ‘Slow Quakes’

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Earthquakes are a daily occurrence in Alaska, but most go unnoticed by the general public.  The unfelt quakes include a slow variety unknown to scientists until about 10 years ago. Stanford University professor of geophysics Gregory Beroza, says ultra sensitive seismometers and GPS measurements detect the gradual but powerful movements of the earth’s crust.

Game Board Rejects Denali Wolves Buffer Zone

The Associated Press

The Alaska Board of Game has rejected an emergency request for a buffer zone protecting wolves that leave Denali National Park and Preserve.

Board Executive Director Kristy Tibbles says six members determined the request did not meet criteria for an emergency order.

The petition sought a ban on trapping and hunting east of the park.

The wildlife groups requested the emergency order after the Grant Creek wolf pack, viewed most frequently by Denali Park visitors, in April lost a breeding female to a trapper outside the park. The groups say the pack may have disbanded.

Alaska Wildlife Alliance President Tina Brown says park visitors are being denied the chance to see wolves.

She says the chances will continue to decrease unless the Game Board protects wolves outside park boundaries.

Ceremony Aims To Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Haines

Many times, in a Southeast Alaska community, a pole raising means a carved totem pole unveiled to honor a family, place or event. But last week several dozen gathered in Haines to unveil a different kind of pole in awareness of domestic violence.

Haines, Skagway Residents Deal With Loss of Family, Friends

Heather Lende, Haines

The communities of Haines and Skagway recently lost several residents in a short amount of time. Haines author Heather Lende has this commentary about dealing with the passing of longtime residents and the sudden loss of friends and neighbors in a such a small community.