Alaska News Nightly: December 21, 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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Police Arrest Anchorage Student After Online Threats

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

A possible attack was thwarted by law enforcement at an Anchorage School on Thursday. Officials are being tight-lipped about details, but confirm that a tip from out of state alerted them that an East High School student was involved in an online plot to attack a school.

Alaska Capitol And Church Bells Toll On Behalf Of Sandy Hook

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

Bells across Alaska rang at 9:30 Friday morning in memory of the 26 victims who were shot to death one week ago at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Congress Recesses Until After Christmas

Peter Grantiz, APRN – Washington DC

Congress is recessing until after Christmas without an agreement on staving off the so called fiscal cliff. Senator Mark Begich is not optimistic.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation To Decrease Student Loan Debt

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

Student loan debt is second only to mortgage debt in America, totaling out to about $1 trillion. This is a serious financial hit for graduates, especially in a fairly weak economy. But, some Alaska legislators are working to reduce the burden on students.

Federal Government Lists 2 Ice Seals As Threatened

The Associated Press

The main prey of polar bears has been declared a threatened species because of diminishing sea ice due to climate warming.

The National Marine Fisheries Service on Friday declared ringed seals as a threatened species, joining polar bears on the list.

The agency also placed a second ice-dependent seal, bearded seals, on the list.

Operation Santa Goes To Mekoryuk

Mark Arehart, KYUK – Bethel

The small village of Mekoryuk sits on the north side of Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea.  The remote community often experiences harsh weather that prevents planes from coming or going.  But this holiday season, the village got a special early visit from a certain famous North Pole resident.

Ringed seals are the only seals that thrive under completely ice-covered Arctic waters. They use stout claws to dig and maintain breathing holes.

Females give birth in snow lairs to pups that are susceptible to freezing until they grow a blubber layer.

Bearded seals give birth and rear pups on drifting pack ice.

Sea ice this year melted back to record low levels.

New Book Explores Frontier Mythology

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A new book by Judy Kleinfeld of Fairbanks explores a mythology often lived out in Alaska. “The Frontier Romance” looks at why people head north to carve out an existence off the beaten track.

AK: Holiday Brass

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

Some of the nation’s top brass musicians appeared in Sitka this week. The trumpeters, trombonists and more performed Monday night at the community’s performing arts center. All 6xx seats regularly sell out for the concert which has become something of a holiday tradition in the southeast community.

300 Villages: Angoon

This week we’re heading just northeast of Sitka, to another island community-Angoon. The village is home to about 450, most Tlingit, residents. Richard George is the mayor of Angoon.