Alaska News Nightly: February 9, 2012

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Timelines Proposed for Impact Statement on Steller Sea Lion Regulations

Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska

The decline of the western stock of Steller sea lions has been a source of controversy for more than two decades now. Now there’s a new development in a lawsuit that pits the State of Alaska, fishing industry groups, and Aleut Enterprise against the National Marine Fisheries Service.

No-Texting Bill Would Override Court Rulings

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Courts on the Kenai Peninsula and in Fairbanks have recently ruled that an existing law forbidding drivers from looking at devices with screens – such as computers and DVD players – does not forbid a driver from using a cell phone to send a text message.  Lawmakers are afraid that legal opinion will spread to other jurisdictions, and are talking up a bill that would make certain that texting while driving is not legal.  The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday heard a bill on the matter. The bill by Anchorage Democrat Les Gara would specifically define and forbid texting by a driver while the vehicle is moving.  Gara told the committee that texting is the new drunk driving.

Study Shows Drinking Goes Down in ‘Housing First’ Facilities

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Recent studies show that housing street alcoholics is cheaper than letting them fend for themselves. But a new study shows that’s not the only benefit — they’re finding that tenants also drink less. KSKA’s Daysha Eaton takes us inside Karluk Manor in Anchorage … where we meet one tenant who has already stopped drinking and is trying to turn her life around.

Allen Moore First Musher To Reach Dawson City

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Allen Moore of Two Rivers was first musher to reach the halfway point of the Yukon Quest. The first musher to pull into Dawson, and then finish the race, wins four ounces of gold.  Moore was followed in closely by Lance Mackey and Hugh Neff early this morning.

‘Tlingit Superman’ Series Uses High-Tech Materials For Traditional Crafts

Ann Kaiser, APRN Contributor

Tlingit weaver Teri Rofkar normally works on traditional ravens tail ceremonial pieces using natural wild fibers like mountain goat, buffalo, cedar and spruce roots. But thanks to a national grant, the Sitka artist will take her weaving in a new direction, using hi-tech materials like Kevlar and programmable fiber optics. She’s calling it her Tlingit Superman Series.

Park Service May Plow Road Further Into Denali National Park

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The National Park Service has proposed plowing more of the road into Denali National Park. Park spokeswoman Kris Fister says keeping more of the road open in winter will allow for better visitor access.

Fister says keeping the additional miles of road open will increase viewing opportunities and provide improved jumping off points for non-motorized backcountry travel. Fister says the park service is looking at impacts of keeping the additional road miles open in winter.  Public comments are being accepted through March 9.

‘Northern Justice Project’ Assisting Low-Income People In Court Cases

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Navigating the legal system alone can be daunting for average citizens but expensive if you must hire a lawyer, who starts running the meter with the first call. For lower income people it can be impossible to scrape together a retainer, much less pay an hourly fee that can be hundreds per hour. But there are organizations in Alaska that can help. The Northern Justice project is one such entity. As part of an occasional series on Alaskans who believe in service to others, I spoke with the founders, Jim Davis and Goriune Dudukgian, who since 2005 have been assisting Alaskans with civil rights cases. Goriune starts by describing who needs their help.