Alaska News Nightly: November 28, 2007

Alaska birds are included on a national watch list; a new genetic link ties native peoples in North America and Siberia, and “Papa Pilgrim” is headed for prison. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Alaska birds included on national watch list
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Twenty types of birds that breed or live much of the time in Alaska are included in a watch list of the nation’s most imperiled bird species. It was put out today by the Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy.

New genetic link ties native peoples in North America and Siberia
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A new study finds a genetic link for many Native people in North America with certain populations in Siberia. University of Michigan genetics professor Noah Rosenberg was a principal author of the study. He says a distinct genetic variant was found in 422 individuals from 24 Native groups in North, Central and South America that has not been seen anywhere else in the world except for 2 populations in eastern Siberia

AMHS building causing friction
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The Alaska Marine Highway headquarters building in Ketchikan needs major repairs. And that could get in the way of state plans to buy the structure from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Ferry officials say they might even move out of the building. And that raises issues that came up when headquarters relocated from Juneau.

Papa Pilgrim headed to prison
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
Robert Hale has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. Hale, who was also known as Papa Pilgrim, had pled no contest to incest, assault and rape, of one of his daughters. And testimonies by Hale’s wife and fourteen of their fifteen children painted a picture of severe and wide-spread abuse.

Living successfully off the grid

Anne Hillman, KDLG – Dillingham
As electricity prices rise and the true cost of fossil fuel usage becomes apparent, some people are choosing alternative energy sources. One Dillingham couple is choosing to forego electricity all together for now.

Hooper Bay works to protect tundra from vehicle damage

Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
Four-wheelers and other modern vehicles have made access to Rural Alaska’s subsistence hunting grounds much easier than the old days, but that’s also placing greater stress on the land. The northwest village of Hooper Bay is working to preserve its traditional lands with a trail-hardening program.

Bear numbers on the rise in Hoonah
Weld Royal, KTOO – Hoonah
Alaska tour books claim Admiralty Island has more brown bears per square mile than any other place in the state. Municipal officials in Hoonah on neighboring Chichagoff Island are challenging that claim. They say the animals are wandering into their village in greater numbers than ever. Hoonah officials have drafted a new garbage ordinance and lobbying the state Department of Fish and Game for a more lenient hunting policy.