Alaska News Nightly: July 26, 2007

Senator Murkowski announced today she’s selling her controversial Kenai River land. Plus, the Alaska Democratic Party has launched its campaign against Don Young with a new website called Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Murkowski sells back Kenai River land to short circuit ethics concerns
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, D.C. (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
Over the past week, Senator Lisa Murkowski’s Kenai River land deal with long-time friend and political supporter Bob Penney has brought her a firestorm of criticism and a Senate ethics complaint. So today, Murkowski said she and husband Verne Martell have decided to let go of the 1.27-acre tract.

Alaska Democrats start campaign against Don Young online
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Alaska Democratic Party has begun a full campaign against Don Young’s re-election next year. Party leaders showcased a new website today called that chairman Jake Metcalfe says shows what he calls the “web of corruption” surrounding the veteran Congressman.

New report shows consistent warming across Alaska
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) released a report today (written by U.S. PIRG) compiling and analyzing government climate data from Alaska and across the nation. The findings show that over the past seven years Barrow, Anchorage and Talkeetna have experienced temperatures consistently one to 3 three degrees (Fahrenheit) above normal.


Gold mine outside Fairbanks cleared for cyanide heap leach construction
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The operator of the state’s largest gold mine hopes to begin construction of a proposed heap leach facility later this summer. The project at Fort Knox Mine has undergone extensive scrutiny given the technology’s tainted history in the West.

IHS Director contract up for renewal amidst constrained funding
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, D.C. (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
Charles Grim’s appointment as Indian Health Service (IHS) Director is up for renewal. At a U.S. Senate Indian Affairs hearing today, lawmakers praised Grim’s record but said the IHS, the Bush Administration and Congress all have to do a lot more to improve the health of Native Americans. Lisa Murkowski, the new vice chair of the Indian Affairs panel, said none of what Grim has had to do since he started leading the IHS has been easy.

New ferry authority in Southeast seeing mixed ridership numbers
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Traffic is up for Southeast Alaska’s newest ferry — the Stikine. More passengers and vehicles are traveling on the Inter-Island Ferry Authority (IFA) ship on its northern route. But the IFA’s other ferry — Prince of Wales — is carrying fewer passengers this year on the southern route.

Forest Service employees and volunteers cut new trails into Petersburg wilderness
Ike Sriskandarajah, KFSK – Petersburg
A small crew is at work carving a new trail up Petersburg mountain. The team of eight Forest Service employees and volunteers has been living and working on the densely forested mountainside for 10-day stints since mid-May.