Alaska News Nightly: July 8, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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South Carolina Family Killed In Soldotna Plan Crash

Ariel Van Cleave, KBBI – Homer

A family of five from South Carolina are among the victims in the Soldotna plane crash that left 10 dead. The Antonakos family usually vacationed together in Myrtle Beach, S.C., each summer, but the father of Kimberly Antonakos says his daughter and her family decided to travel to Alaska from their home in Greenville, S.C., for 10 days this year, instead. The children were 16-year-old Olivia, 14-year-old Mills and 11-year-old Anastacia.

Investigators have begun their probe into the crash of a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter that went down shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday at the airport in Soldotna.

Stuart Creek 2 Fire Started During Army Artillery Training

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Warm, dry and windy weather in the Fairbanks area over the weekend stoked the Stuart Creek 2 Wildfire burning east of Eielson Air Force Base. The fire is now nearly 80 thousand acres.  Richard Hadley is a public information officer with an incident management team from California assigned to the fire.

Redistricting Board Releases ‘Concept Plan’

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The Alaska Redistricting Board is one step closer to finalizing the state’s political boundaries. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez has more on the “concept plan” released today.

Coast Guard Investigating ‘Naknek Spirit’ Grounding

Tony Gorman, KCHU – Valdez

The Coast Guard is investigating a grounding the led to a fuel spill in the western Prince William Sound over the weekend.  The Naknek Spirit’s starboard fuel tank ruptured when it ran aground Saturday evening in Passage Canal six miles east of Whittier.

Igushik Fishery Remains Closed

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

In another, earlier tender grounding in Southwest Alaska, Magone Marine divers contracted by the US Coast Guard have been working to seal off fuel vents on the tender Lone Star, which sank near the mouth of the Igushik River in Bristol Bay a week ago Sunday.

Traini Targets Executive Pay And Benefits

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The Anchorage Assembly will hear public testimony Tuesday on an ordinance that would cap pay for the city’s executive workers.

Program Helping Anchorage’s Childhood Obesity Rate Drop

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Anchorage is one of fewer than a dozen communities in the U.S. where the number of kids who are obese is declining. Between the 2002 and 2010 school years, the obesity rate among students in grades K-8 fell 3 percent.  Cindy Norquest is program director for Healthy Futures, a statewide initiative to get kids exercising every day. She’s in Washington D.C. this week to share Anchorage’s success story in a panel discussion sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

She says Healthy Futures wants kids to make physical activity a habit, in a fun way.

Elodea Spreading In Southcentral Alaska

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Pilots of floatplanes could unwittingly be spreading a dangerous invasive weed throughout Southcentral Alaska.  Elodea, an aquatic plant that chokes lakes and slow running rivers, has been found in several lakes in the Anchorage area, and at least one water body near Fairbanks, and authorities are warning that the plant’s spread threatens irreversible harm to fish habitat.

Elodea is not native to our sub- Arctic environment, but it can survive freezing. It can also survive being swept long distances downstream, and even tiny fragments of the plant can sprout new ones.

Centennial Denali Climb Members Return To Talkeetna

Phillip Manning, KTNA – Talkeetna

A group of climbers that successfully retraced the hundred year old footsteps of their ancestors by reaching the summit of Denali last month have completed their long walk out to civilization. KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke to some members of the climb in Talkeetna and has this story.

Yup’ik Artist Heading Mural Project For Anchorage Covenant House

Sara Bernard, APRN – Anchorage

Yup’ik artist Apayo Moore, from Dillingham, is leading a mural project at Anchorage’s Covenant House, a shelter for homeless youth. She’s painting the mural with the help of Covenant House residents over the next few weeks at the shelter’s new location at 8th Avenue and A Street. The project was commissioned by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation in part because nearly half the youth the Covenant House serves are Alaska Native, and Moore’s work often speaks to that identity. The mural features both salmon and caribou. Moore says these animals represent a subsistence way of life that prioritizes community, family, and Mother Nature.