Alaska News Nightly: January 23, 2010

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Alaska Politicians Assessing Fallout from Campaign Decision
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Alaskans are trying to understand the full effects of Thursday’s US Supreme Court decision that will allow corporations to become more involved in political campaigns. The decision overturned parts of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act – and its own earlier rulings – that prohibited corporations from using their money to make and run advertisements for or against issues or individual candidates. Alaska has corporate restrictions in place for state campaigns. Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French – an Anchorage Democrat – announced on the senate floor Friday that he will initiate hearings on the decision to find out exactly how it will affect Alaska politics.  He called the ruling “disastrous for the future of democracy.”

Search Underway for Sand Point Plane Crash Victims
Kells Hetherington, KSDP – Sand Point
Thursday night an Ace Cargo plane crashed on takeoff from Sand Point. Search efforts have been underway since early Friday morning. Two people were on board. Before the Coast Guard arrived, local fishing vessels searched the waters around Sand Point.

Doyon to Explore for Oil in Yukon Flats
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Doyon has announced plans to explore for oil and gas in the Yukon Flats this winter.  The   interior Native regional corporation will work with the village corporations for Birch Creek and Stevens Village on the seismic survey project, which will scan a 95 mile long swath of native lands in the vicinity of the Trans Alaska Pipeline. About 15 to 20 tribal members from Stevens Village are expected to work on this winter’s exploration project. Doyon spokeswoman Sharon McConnell says the support of village residents who live in the exploration area is key to the project.

Anchorage Convention Bureau Faces Challenging Year
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Describing 2009 as an “adventure” likely to continue into 2010, the head of Anchorage’s Convention and Visitors Bureau presented on Thursday the organization’s annual report on Anchorage’s visitor industry. The CVB made some of its goals and missed others.

Many Foster Youths End Up Homeless Adults
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Forty percent of youth that come out of foster care in Alaska end up homeless at some time as adults. This dismal statistic has inspired a new program to match young people who are leaving foster care with adult mentors who will help them navigate the sometimes scary waters of life on your own. Amanda Metivier is the statewide coordinator for Facing Foster Care in Alaska. Metivier was in foster care as a teenager. She says the available services for young adults are missing some key connections.

Moose Hunting Reopened for YK Delta
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The Federal Subsistence Board surprised many hunters in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta by reopening the moose hunting season there.   Now a massive chunk of land will be open for another month. The decision came after requests by the Yukon Delta Wildlife Refuge, and two tribes from the village of Marshall. The area has seen a rapid rise in the Moose population there.  In their decision, the Subsistence Board cited poor travel conditions during the previous winter hunt.

New Parks Book Captures Breathtaking Images
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A new book capturing breathtaking images of selected national parks is out by photographer Ian Shive. Scenes from across the country are captured within the pages of The National Parks-Our American Landscape. Shive says the majority of the pictures are digital, although some of his film archives made the cut also. He says he takes four to five thousand images in each place before editing down to a few. The project spans four and a half years, although Shive says when the book concept became reality, things moved much quicker.

Heritage Center Presents Unique Blend of Cultures for Theatrical Production
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA –Anchorage
At one time long ago, whalers from Alaska, Massachusetts and Hawaii all worked together off Alaska’s shores.  Now, their descendants in all those regions are working to blend three or more different cultures in a unique theater production that will have its first run at Anchorage’s Alaska Native Heritage Center this weekend.