Alaska News Nightly: December 17, 2009

LNG Fire 12-17-09 005

Photo Provided by Deputy Chief Mike Keenan, Mat-Su Borough

Fire and explosions damage natural gas plant on Thursday. No injuries were reported.

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Natural Gas Facility Damaged by Fire
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fire and explosions have damaged a natural gas processing facility near Anchorage. No one was hurt in the incident at the Pt. McKenzie plant. The Fairbanks Natural Gas owned processing plant is across Knik Arm at a fairly isolated location. The fire was at the plant’s vehicle maintenance shop.

Bethel to Revisit Damp Status
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Petition sponsors in Bethel say they have collected enough signatures to ask Bethel voters to return the city to a damp alcohol status.  Meanwhile the Bethel City Council is struggling to handle the first liquor license application in over 30 years

Federal Grant To Provide More High Speed Access
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Thirty thousand people in Southwestern Alaska can go online with high-speed Internet access within the next year. Vice President Joe Biden this morning on Thursday announced a $25 million federal stimulus grant that will provide wireless connections to 53 communities in the area.

Democrats Hustling to Close Out Year
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
In the final days before the US Senate is set to go on Christmas recess, Democrats are hustling to get business done before work stalls, in hopes of ultimately getting a health care bill passed. That’s led to unusual behavior by Democrats under the direction of their leaders.

GOP Asks Obama to Not Make Commitments at Copenhagen
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Republicans in the US Senate are warning the Obama Administration not to make commitments in Copenhagen without the support of Congress.  As the UN Climate Change Conference reaches its final days, President Obama is traveling there Thursday night.

BP Spill Almost Cleaned Up
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The BP pipeline spill on the North Slope has nearly been cleaned up.  State Department of Environmental Conservation on Scene Coordinator Tom DeRuyter says most of the oiled snow and underlying tundra has been removed for remediation.

Frogs Might Be Coming with Christmas Trees
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The state department of Fish and Game is asking Alaskans to be on the look out for an invasive species of frog that has been found on imported Christmas Trees. Two Pacific Chorus Frogs have been found so far from trees that came from Washington state. The department isn’t too worried about the species establishing itself in Alaska, but is concerned the frogs may be carrying pathogens that could infect native frogs.

Hanukkah is Celebrated with a Unique Personal Story
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Every family has their own unique holiday traditions. Anchorage resident Leslie Kleinfeld has created a new one celebrating Hanukkah around a story her mother wrote in 1934. Delores Kleinfeld was a poet and writer who left behind files stuffed with thousands of poems and stories when she died in 2000.