Alaska News Nightly: March 3, 2010

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Providence to Expand for Newborns and Cardiac Patients
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Anchorage based Providence Alaska Medical Center announced today a proposal for a 150 million dollar expansion to newborn intensive care facilities and a larger cardiac surgery center. Dr. Richard Mandsager is Providence Alaska’s chief executive. Mandsager says about 75% of the expansion will go toward modernizing and expanding the labor and delivery unit and the mother/baby units for normal births.

Google Might Get Juneau Bid
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Internet giant Google announced last month plans to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in communities throughout the United States. The company promises Internet speeds over one gigabit per second — more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today. Several communities around the country are considering bidding for the service, including Juneau.

Gasline Coordinator Gets Committee OK
President Obama’s pick to be the federal coordinator of Alaska gasline projects, Larry Persily is a step closer to getting on the job. On Wednesday morning the Senate Energy Committee voted to advance his name to the full senate.

Interior to Release Offshore Plans in Coming Weeks
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his department should unveil a new offshore oil and gas leasing plan in the next few weeks.

Troopers Meet on Anchor Point Burglaries
Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer
A standing-room only crowd packed into the Anchor Point senior center Monday night for a community meeting with Alaska State Troopers. After a recent two-month-long spate of burglaries that set the entire community on edge, many folks are not happy with the Troopers’ response.

Anchorage Assembly Passes Guidelines for Housing Homeless
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
After a divided and lengthy public hearing that occupied portions of two meetings, the Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved an ordinance that sets guidelines for housing designed for homeless, chronic alcoholics.

Energy Rebate Program Drew Faithful Response
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation officials say that about 70 percent of the people who signed up for the Energy Rebate program eighteen months ago have stayed with the plan and gotten money back for the work they have done to make their homes more energy efficient.

Coastal Communities Could Lose Connection to UA Marine Program
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Six coastal communities could loose their local connection to the University of Alaska’s marine advisory program. University officials say without legislative funding, they may have to close offices in some towns including Petersburg, Cordova, Nome, Dillingham, Unalaska and Kodiak.