Alaska News Nightly: October 31, 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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Shell Wraps Up Exploratory Arctic Drilling

Stephanie Joyce, KUCB – Unalaska

Shell Oil wrapped up its exploratory drilling season in the Arctic today. As promised, not a drop of oil was spilled in the process – but not a drop was drilled either.

Environmental Groups Say Drilling Season Was A Failure

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Environmental groups say this year’s drilling season was a failure. Mike LeVine is senior counsel at Oceana. He says Shell’s mishaps this summer should read as a cautionary tale.

Media Scrutiny Of Port Project Puts Officials On The Spot

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

At Tuesday night’s assembly meeting, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said that the city’s port expansion project would cost at least $300 million more. Sullivan was pressured into finally giving a cost estimate after the U.S. Maritime Administration released a statement saying that the initial draft port study indicates that the design is inappropriate for the local environment.  Assembly member Paul Honeman questions Mayor Sullivan.

Mega Storms Likely Tied To Warming Arctic

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Long lasting mega storms, like Hurricane Sandy, are likely tied to a warming Arctic.  Dr. Jennifer Francis, a researcher with the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University, says rising Arctic temperatures have changed the jet stream that drives weather in the northern hemisphere

A Week Before Election, State House Candidates Sharpen Rhetoric

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Redistricting has many incumbents facing incumbents for the Alaska legislature this election. And that’s true of two House races in the Fairbanks area. House district two includes Two Rivers and House District 38 represents Nenana and Tanana.

Wood Energy Conference Takes Place In Fairbanks

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

People from around Alaska are gathered in Fairbanks to talk about biomass energy.  The conference is geared toward helping smaller communities replace high cost oil fired energy with wood fueled systems.

Katmai Ash Whipped Up By Strong Winds

Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak

There was volcanic ash in the air over the Shelikof Straight and parts of Kodiak Island yesterday. While the Alaska Volcano Observatory showed all was normal, it turned out that a volcano had erupted, though it wasn’t yesterday – it was almost exactly 100 years ago.

The National Weather Service office in Anchorage reported that ash from the Novarupta explosion of 1912 was being whipped up by strong northerly winds because of a lack of snow cover in the Valley of 10,000 Smokes and Katmai National Park on the Alaska Peninsula.

The ash was lifted to about 4,000 feet and drifted over the Shelikof Straight and Kodiak Island. It was a significant enough amount that the weather service issued a warning to pilots, as volcanic ash can damage airplane engines.

Known as the Katmai Explosion, the 1912 eruption came from a volcanic vent later named Novarupta. It was the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century and ash fell on Kodiak for three days.

Group Wants Input To Improve Sitka’s Downtown

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

Since the start of the year, at least four stores have closed in downtown Sitka. Fewer visitors are coming aboard cruise ships, sales tax revenues are declining, and business owners have long expressed concerns about the financial health of Lincoln Street.

Now, a group of Sitka residents hopes to do something about it.

Beware…The Haunted Ship Awaits!

Anne Brice, KCAW – Sitka

The Haunted Ship is back in Sitka. After a several-year hiatus, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maple is inviting everyone to weave through its dark, narrow hallways Thursday and Friday evening.

Halloween Story: Chilkoot Zombie Fish

Rosalie Lowen, KHNS – Haines

Thousands of spawned out salmon create an eerie sight on many Alaska river banks this time of year. Haines author Rosalie Lowen calls them Zombie Fish and brings us this Halloween story from the Chilkoot River.