Alaska News Nightly: May 13, 2009

Crews Battle Kenai Wildfire
Crews Battle Kenai Wildfire

Photo By Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer

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Senator Murkowski Battles Interior Nominee
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski helped lead the Republican charge Wednesday to block President Obama’s nominee for a top Interior Department post. David Hayes’s confirmation as Deputy Interior Secretary has been stalled for months – Murkowski recently placed a hold on his name, saying she wants answers to questions about the Interior Department’s direction.

Russian, US Biologists Team Up to Study Polar Bear
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Political relations between the U-S and Russian may be strained right now. But that hasn’t stopped biologists from each country from teaming up in the Chukchi Sea on a study to learn more about the polar bears that roam between the two countries. The collaboration is an important step on the long road to implementing a treaty signed between the U-S and Russia almost a decade ago.

Crews Battling Wildfire on the Kenai
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
Fire crews continue to battle the first major wildfire to hit the Kenai Peninsula this year at mile 17 of East End Road outside of Homer. More than 100 firefighters, including smoke jumpers and helicopter crews, are on the scene. Officials are now evacuating homes closest to the fire.

Burn Permits Suspended in Southcentral Alaska
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Dry weather has prompted the state division of forestry to suspend burn permits throughout Southcentral Alaska. Open burn suspensions were issued from the western Kenai Peninsula through the Matanuska Valley on Tuesday. Anchorage bowl burning has been suspended as well.

Floodwaters Receding in Tanana
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Floodwaters are receding slowly in the village of Tanana after the Yukon River crested at near record level yesterday. Julie Roberts Hyslop, acting executive director of the Tanana Tribal Council and lifelong Tanana resident, describes the flooding as major.

Alaska Facing Shortage of Foster Homes
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska is facing a shortage of foster homes. On Tuesday, Amanda Metivier and State Representative Les Gara organized an event to help address the problem. They want to inform Alaskans about foster opportunities with the State’s Office of Children’s services.

Recession Costing Sealaska’s Investments
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The recession has cost Sealaska tens of millions of dollars. Leaders of the Southeast-based regional Native corporation says it’s still strong, with new businesses entering new markets. But its investments have dropped in value, which will affect shareholders’ dividends.

Noted Alaska Physician Dies
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Noted physician and author Doctor Robert Fortuine passed away Monday in Wasilla. He was 75. Dr.Fortuine was well – known both as a man devoted to Alaska Native medical care and as a medical historian.