Alaska News Nightly: July 2, 2010

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Dahlstrom Resigns from Parnell Administration
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Former Eagle River representative Nancy Dahlstrom has resigned from her new job with the Parnell Administration.  Parnell says he did not ask her to step down as his Senior Advisor for Military Affairs, but that her decision came after the Department of Law changed an opinion originally saying her newly created position was within the spirit of the state Constitution.

The issue revolves around the Constitutional provision that prohibits a legislator from taking a position on which he or she might have voted – while a member of the legislature. Dahlstrom had resigned before the position was created.   Attorney General Dan Sullivan originally advised that since there was no position until after the resignation, the prohibition did not affect Dahlstrom and was not a factor.  But Parnell says a more recent review determined that a court might see it differently.

Parnell says he will not offer any future state job to legislators and that he will ask next year’s legislature – if he is re-elected – to define the limits of the constitutional ban.

Sealaska Lands-Selection Legislation Changes Released
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski released changes to her Sealaska lands-selection legislation on Thursday.

The revisions are based on amendments that have been circulating among interest groups for weeks. But officials say more changes may be on the way. The changes shift some timber harvest areas away from northern Prince of Wales Island. And they remove 17 of 46 Native Futures Sites.

Doogan Recovering from Successful Surgery
Associated Press
An aide to Alaska State Rep. Mike Doogan says the Anchorage Democrat is recovering from the successful removal of a brain tumor.

Aide Priya Keane says Thursday’s surgery went well and that doctors were able to remove the entire tumor.

Doogan’s office disclosed earlier this week that the 62-year-old lawmaker would undergo the surgery in Seattle after a recent MRI revealed a tumor. Keane says Doogan’s doctors believe his tumor was benign, but pathology reports are pending.

There was no immediate word on when he’d be released from the hospital.

Inuit Circumpolar Council Adopts Nuuk Declaration
Joaqlin Estes, KNBA – Anchorage
The Inuit Circumpolar Council general assembly wrapped up Thursday in Nuuk, Greenland. The 66 delegates from Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Chukotka, adopted an ambitious plan, called the Nuuk Declaration for the next four years.

Courts Partially Agree with ACLU Claim
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Anchorage
An Anchorage Superior Court has partially agreed with the Alaska Civil Liberties Union’s claim that a bill that went into effect Thursday is unconstitutional.   The bill sets limits on releasing criminals on bail while awaiting trial.

While the court allowed most of the bill to stand, a statement from the ACLU, says the court issued a temporary restraining order against one provision that kept those accused of domestic violence from their homes and businesses. That means the state may not enforce that portion of the new law.

No statement was released by the Department of Law.

Fishermen Troll for Kings
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Southeast salmon trollers headed out Thursday for the first major king opener of the summer.

The fleet is expected to target just over 78,000 kings in roughly one week of fishing.

Moose Stumbles into Well
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Alaska is full of animal stories.  Hollywood is soon to begin filming the saga of the three grey whales that were trapped under the ice in Barrow two decades ago.   A back yard animal rescue drama this week in Anchorage may never get star-studded treatment, although a young calf moose in trouble got a reprieve, thanks to fast work by state Fish and Game biologists and quick thinking neighbors.

Haiti Earthquake Survivor Recovers
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
When the massive earthquake hit Haiti in January, Alaskan Christa Brelsford and her brother Julian were there, at a friend’s house that collapsed as they were running to get downstairs.

Christa was trapped under debris and ultimately lost her right foot. She considers herself lucky, both because she says she was only trapped for an hour and because Haitians helped her brother free her. Her six-month recovery is a story of significant success. She started a foundation called Christa’s Angels that has raised enough money to rebuild the school she and her brother were working at and she is back to rock and ice climbing as she had done in the past. She says she’s been surprised at how easy it’s been to adjust to an artificial limb.

Alaskan Christa Brelsford is a survivor of the Haitian earthquake. She will be speaking about her experience and her foundation Christa’s Angels tomorrow night in Anchorage at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.