Alaska News Nightly: July 27, 2009

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Fairbanks Woman Dies after Contracting Swine Flu
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A woman in her 40’s from Fairbanks died this month after contracting the H1N1 swine flu. She is the first Alaskan to die from the virus.

Platinum Opens New Processing Plant
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
A huge crowd gathered last week near the Bering Sea village of Platinum for the grand opening of the Goodnews Bay Processing Plant.  The new plant will greatly expand the amount of salmon commercial fishermen can catch.   Local residents say it’s turning the economic tide in their village.

Alaska Natives Doing Better, but Still Lag National Average
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
Alaska Natives are more educated, have more jobs, and are making more money than they were 40 years ago. But they are still well below the national average.  That’s according to a recent report released by the Institute of Social and Economic Research  (ISER) with the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Sean Parnell Takes Command of State
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Monday is Sean Parnell’s first day as governor after being sworn into office in Fairbanks on Sunday.

Legislature Starts Override Preparations
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Two legislative committees on Monday began preparing for the special session that will include an override of ex-governor Sarah Palin’s veto of $28 million in federal stimulus money. Legislative staffer Larry Persily told members of the House and Senate Energy Committees that the money that Palin rejected was destined for the State Energy Program which has been in place in its current form since 1996.

Tourism Leaders Call for Eliminating Cruise Tax
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Some Southeast tourism leaders are calling for repeal of the cruise-ship passenger tax. They’re looking toward legislative action – or their own citizens’ initiative – as a way to bring back business that’s headed to other ports. Getting rid of the tax was one of several solutions suggested at an industry summit held last Friday in Juneau.

Upper Cook Inlet Closes to Commercial Salmon Fishing
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
An emergency order has closed Upper Cook Inlet to commercial sockeye salmon fishing. Low escapement on the Kenai River has prompted the move, according to Jeff Regnart, who is the Department of Fish and Game’s Central Region supervisor.

Set in Sitka, The Proposal Was Shot (Mainly) in Mass.
Shaleece Haas, KCAW – Sitka
The romantic comedy “The Proposal,” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, is set in Sitka. But most of it was shot in Rockport, Massachusetts. In fact, not much in the film comes from the real Sitka. But there are a few home-grown elements – including a Tlingit wedding chant, composed for Betty White’s character by Sitka’s  Edward Littlefield.

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