Alaska News Nightly: October 18, 2012

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AFN Kicks Off In Anchorage

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Alaska Federation of Natives convention kicked off Thursday with speeches, fanfare and a bit of fireworks. The annual event, takes place at Anchorage’s Denaina Center. This year’s theme is “Success Beyond Barriers.” Keynote Speaker Carol Wren, a young woman now working with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council spoke about how her life took her from a village background to a job helping other native people achieve success.  She thanked those who mentored her along the way.

Subsistence Fishermen To Be Represented Pro Bono

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

About 25 subsistence fishermen along the Kuskokwim River will soon head to trial for alleged illegal fishing during closures this past summer. Many of them are being represented for free by a civil rights law firm.

DNR Preparing To Lease Land For Coal Exploration Near Skwentna

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The State Department of Natural Resources is preparing to lease more than 13,000 acres near Skwentna for coal exploration.

Bill Cole, with DNR’s mining section, says the potential lease sale has been prompted by the request of an interested party, the Alaska Energy Company.

The area, called the Canyon Creek lease, is located about 18 miles from Skewntna near Shell Lake. The potential coal lease area has been surveyed for mineral quality, and is rated as high potential, Cole says.

A public hearing for the Canyon Creek Competitive Coal Lease Sale will be held Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Anchorage. The public is also invited to submit written comments by Nov. 21.

Fairbanks Left With Few Options To Reduce Air Pollution

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has fewer local options to reduce air pollution from wood burning following the passage of a citizen ballot proposition earlier this month.  Proposition 3 bans the borough from regulating heating devices.

‘Wood Energy Fair’ Reintroducing Sitka Residents To Wood Heat

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

Wood energy is making a comeback in Sitka. With fuel prices approaching record highs, locals are returning to firewood, and to other forms of wood fuel lumped under the term “biomass.” This Saturday, the community is holding a “Wood Energy Fair” to re-introduce residents to wood heat in the home.

New Weather Station Installed Along Elliot Highway

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management installed a new weather station at Wickersham Dome along the Elliot Highway late last month. Before now, there was no available weather data between Fox and Livengood.

Don Young Eyeing Record 21st Term

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Representative Don Young is running for his 21st term in Congress. He’s running against long-shot candidate Sharon Cissna, who we heard from earlier this week.

If Young wins reelection, he doesn’t plan on changing his legislative ways.

Community Art Project Captures Spirit of Native Gatherings

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Alaska Natives from across the state are meeting in Anchorage this week. And along with all the serious business of the Alaska Federation of Native’s Convention, an Anchorage artist is bringing together people to paint too. At the Elders and Youth Conference earlier this week, Artist Phillip Charette invited attendees to participate in a community art project that captures the spirit of the gatherings.