Alaska News Nightly: January 28, 2010

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Missing: Personal Information on Thousands of Alaskans
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Personal information about more than 77,000Alaskans is missing — and officials are concerned that it might have been the result of identity theft. The people involved were teachers, state employees or retirees in 2004 or earlier. Attorney General Daniel Sullivan says accountants with Price Waterhouse Coopers were doing contract work for the state in a lawsuit against Mercer, Inc. the state retirement system’s former actuary. Price Waterhouse Coopers has accepted responsibility for the lost documents — and has agreed to cover the cost of protecting those whose information could have been compromised.   Sullivan says the company will pay for credit monitoring or credit security freezes — and it will reimburse any Alaskans for losses as a result of the security breech.  He says there’s no indication that any of the information has been misused.

Obama Supports Opening New Offshore Areas to Exploration
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
President Obama’s message in last night’s State of the Union address of “more jobs” and incentives for small businesses struck a chord with Alaska’s Congressional Delegation. The president also singled-out opening up new offshore areas to oil and gas development – a line met with standing applause by both Alaska’s senators.

President Says Congress Should Stop Playing Politics
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
President Obama gave Congress a stern warning Wednesday night in his State of the Union address to quit playing politics – especially when it comes to confirming his nominees.

BP Reports Small Leak on North Slope
The Associated Press
A North Slope oil spill has been reported from the same pipeline that froze and ruptured in November, leaking 46,000 gallons of crude oil and oily water. Steve Rinehart, a spokesman for Lisburne oil field operator BP Exploration, says the new leak reported Wednesday is estimated at less than one barrel, which consists of 42 gallons. He says the leak had stopped by the time it was discovered at an elevated section of the 18-inch flowline during a regular inspection. The material splattered over a 2,000-square foot area, landing on the edge of a nearby drill pad and the tundra below it. The cause is unknown.

Sitka Assembly Encourages Bulk Sells of Blue Lake Water
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
True Alaska Bottling Company has been trying since 2006 to tap into water at Blue Lake, near Sitka, and sell it in bulk. Doing so could mean big money for the city. On Tuesday, the Sitka Assembly gave the company more time to get the water moving.

Anchorage Development Corp. Release Annual Economic Forecast
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation released its annual economic forecast for 2010 on Wednesday.

Sealaska to Continue Seeking Lands Bill
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Sealaska Corporation says alleged threats made by its board chairman will not derail efforts to get a lands-selection bill through Congress. Albert Kookesh, also a state senator and Democrat, was part of a corporate delegation visiting a recent Craig City Council meeting. Sealaska officials pushed local leaders to support its proposed takeover of valuable timberlands on Prince of Wales Island.

Snowboarder’s Name Might Be a Challenge for Sports Announcers
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Olympic announcers are used to pronouncing tricky names. They are dealing with athletes from all over the world, after all. But in Vancouver next month, Alaska’s own Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, might test even the most seasoned TV and radio pro.

Homer Tradition: Lake Racing
Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer
In the season of dog mushing, skiing and ice hockey, Homer has it’s own tradition of friendly wintertime competition – racing cars around a frozen lake.