Alaska News Nightly: December 2, 2009

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Delegation Responds To President’s Afghanistan Plans
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Alaska’s Congressional delegation approves of the President’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, but their opinions of his strategy diverge from there.

Tribal Meetings with Interior Department Get Underway
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
the first in a series of Interior Department meetings with tribes on the issue of consultation kicked off today in Anchorage. Although today’s meeting started nearly an hour late, the morning attendance was still low. This was in part due to tribal participants being busy with other meetings for the concurrent BIA providers’ conference and the Alaska Intertribal Council gathering.  Unalakleet housing director Sheldon Katchatag said the consultation meeting is a ray of hope after feeling ignored by the Bush administration for eight years, but he said it should have been at a separate time rather than competing with the other tribal meetings.

Food Stamp Applications Skyrocketing in Alaska
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Food Stamp applications in Alaska are increasing at an unprecedented rate. Rural Alaska continues to have the higher percentage of families on food assistance, but the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services says new applications are now pouring in from urban areas of the State.

Popular Native Leader Dies
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Alaska native community has lost a leader in the interior.  Mitch Demientieff Nenana died suddenly Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 57. Demientieff was a long-time Athabascan leader from a prominent Nenana family.  His sister Cathy Morgan says Mitch’s leadership role began early when he served the first of 2 terms as president of the Tanana Chiefs Conference.

Progress Reported on North Slope Spill
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Progress is reported on clean up of the spill at Prudhoe Bay. State Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Weld Royal says workers have used hand tools to pick up oil misted snow on the perimeter of the spill area around where a BP pipeline was discovered leaking over the weekend.

New Deputy Director for Arctic Commission Named
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A wildlife biologist who has spent the last three years studying bowhead whales for the North Slope Borough is the new deputy director of the US Arctic Research Commission in Anchorage.

Ramras Questions Gas Line Coordinator
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks State Representative Jay Ramras (R) is raising questions about the resignation of in state gas line coordinator Harry Noah. Ramras says the state is putting up roadblocks for the project as it pursues a larger export line. Ramras likened the situation to what happened under former Governor Frank Murkowski when there was friction between state officials over gas line development.

Parnell Warmly Received in Ketchikan
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
Governor Sean Parnell (R) received a healthy round of applause in Ketchikan Monday as he announced that he and his family are in the process of moving to the capital city. The governor discussed his impending move, the Gravina access project and the state’s efforts to stimulate the southeast economy during his visit to Ketchikan.