Alaska News Nightly: May 15, 2012

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Breakup Proving Tough On Kwethluk

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Breakup has been harder on the Lower Kuskokwim than the Upper River this year.

Fifteen miles upriver of Bethel, the village of Kwethluk is flooding in all low lying areas. It has been for a few days now. Thirty-one elderly and chronic care patients were evacuated to Bethel before waters closed off the airport road.

Activists Protest Arctic Ocean Exploratory Wells

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Activists in Washington, D.C. are urging President Barack Obama to stop Shell Oil from drilling exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean this summer. They organized a small protest at the White House Tuesday.

Groups Sue To Protect Cook Inlet Beluga Whales

The Associated Press

The Native Village of Chickaloon, The center for Biological Diversity and two other groups are suing the National Marine Fisheries Service, claiming the federal agency’s permit for oil exploration will hurt endangered beluga whales in Cook Inlet.

The groups say NMFS improperly granted the permit to Apache Alaska Corp. for seismic exploration.

A survey last June counted 284 whales.

NMFS spokeswoman Julie Speegle says the agency can’t comment on pending litigation.

Murkowski Scores Additional Funding For Veterans

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

Alaska’s Senior U.S. Senator was successful inserting additional funding for veterans in legislation being considered in the Senate on Tuesday.

$107 Million To Be Spent On Pebble Permitting

The Associated Press

The Pebble Mine is being prepared for permitting later this year.

Mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. announced Tuesday that $107 million has been approved to prepare the mine in southwest Alaska for permitting, with the process beginning in the fall.

Pebble is a huge copper and gold deposit that sits near some of the world’s last and best wild salmon-producing rivers. Supporters say the project will provide good jobs for years. But opponents say the mine poses an unacceptable danger to salmon, the region’s valuable renewable resource.

Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ronald Thiessen said meetings will be held with stakeholders in the fall.

JPARC Public Hearings Continue This Week

Rex Gray, APRN Contributor

Public hearings are continuing this week on the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, or JPARCs plan to modernize and enhance training areas in the state. Monday night, two dozen people attended a hearing at the Palmer train depot.

Elders Saw Climate Change Coming Early

Johanna Eurich, APRN Contributor

Long before climate change dominated headlines, Alaska Native elders noticed that major shifts were taking place in their environment.  It is not surprising that people living in remote place depending on wild fish and game should have a sophisticated and intimate knowledge of the weather and its impacts on the wild food they depend on.  But the elders went further.  Forty years ago, elders advised the young to prepare for hard times.

Contest Brings Innovative Architecture To The Aleutians

Stephanie Joyce, KUCB – Unalaska

The Aleutian Islands are soon to be home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge architecture. Last week, the International Living Future Institute announced the winners of a contest that challenged architects to design an affordable, net-zero energy home suitable for the region’s tough climate. Now, as KUCB’s Stephanie Joyce reports, the Aleutian Housing Authority is moving forward with plans to turn those designs into reality.

Anchorage Edges Closer To Glass Recycling Solution

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Compared to just a few years ago it’s easier recycle in Anchorage. Since 2008, curbside recycling of paper, cardboard and plastics has spread throughout the municipality. And there are drop-off locations for other things from construction materials to electronics. But there’s one thing that people can’t recycle that they once could: glass.

Are Alaska’s Teachers Appreciated?

Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska

If you use Facebook, you might have noticed your friends giving shout-outs to the teachers who have made a difference in their lives. This appreciation was part of last week’s Teacher Appreciation Week. KUCB’s Alexandra Gutierrez joined a sixth-grade class at the Unalaska City School to get the scoop on what makes a good educator, what challenges they face, and how to keep more teachers in the system.

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