Alaska News Nightly: April 16, 2009

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Lawmakers Reject Ross
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
In a joint session today (Thursday) the legislature rejected the appointment of Wayne Anthony Ross as Attorney General by a vote of twenty three in support and thirty five in opposition. It’s the first time in the state’s history that a member of the governor’s cabinet, the head of an executive branch department, has failed to be confirmed for office.

Palin Stars at Right to Life Dinner
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Governor Sarah Palin is speaking during a right-to-life dinner in Indiana tonight. Its her first out-of-state trip for a political cause since the presidential campaign ended.

Stevens Accepts ComFish Invitation
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
There’s going to be a special guest at the gala dinner during ComFish Alaska next week in Kodiak. Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens will be able to make it after all, according to Kodiak Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debra King.

Juneau Residents Look Back on One Year of Conservation
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
One year ago today a massive avalanche, considered a one-hundred year event toppled several Snettisham transmission towers and lines, severing Juneau from low-cost energy for a month and a half.

Anchorage Firefighter Survives Canadian Avalanche
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Avalanches can take human lives as often, and as quickly, as they destroy infrastructure. Alaska has had one avalanche fatality this season, a snow machiner who was caught in a massive slide near Turnagin Pass. Many skiers have been luckier this year, and survived partial or even full burials. Anchorage firefighter Rob Whitney counts himself in that group. And he hopes telling his story will help other people stay safe in the backcountry.

Feds Take Steps Towards Beluga Habitat Designation
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The National Marine Fisheries Service will be working throughout the next several months to identify critical habitat for the Cook Inlet Beluga. NFMS listed the Cook Inlet beluga in October of last year as an Endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

Haines Residents Feel Earthquake
John Hunt, KHNS – Haines
An earthquake felt by Haines residents Wednesday night emitted from a fault line area of another famous quake that occurred 50 years ago.

Record Snow Prompts Call for Disaster Declaration in Kotzebue
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Mountaineering season is getting underway on North America’s highest peak. Denali National Park officials report that the first two expeditions of the spring are on Mt. McKinley. Park spokeswoman Kris Fister says rangers have spent the last 3 weeks ramping up climber support and rescue operations on Denali.

Mountaineering Season Kicks off on Denali
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The transition to spring means wildlife on the move, including interior bears, which will soon be emerging from their dens. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Don Young in Fairbanks says bears will begin stirring over the next couple weeks.