Alaska News Nightly: May 21, 2012

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Corey Cogdell Heading To London Olympics

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Eagle River’s 25-year-old Corey Cogdell, is headed to the summer Olympics in London. International trap shooter Cogdell won the U.S. Olympic Trials in Tuscon, Arizona by 10 shots, beating out four other women. She hit 47 out of 50 targets at morning trials on Sunday to take the lead into the final trial. Cogdell will be the only U.S. Olympic competitor in women’s international trapshooting at the Olympics this August.

Cogdell now lives and trains in Colorado, but she grew up in Alaska. Her proud father, Dick Cogdell, remembers her earliest attempt at hitting a target with a little Chipmunk rifle.

Dick Cogdell says his younger daughter Corey learned from observing her older sister’s shooting. Corey Cogdell now hits flying targets that travel 75-80 miles an hour, shooting out from ground level bunkers that throw the bird target from different angles and directions.

Cogdell beat the 100 degree heat in Tucson by relocating there three weeks before the Olympic trials and getting acclimated.  She also prepared for windy conditions, which continued through the three-day event at the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club.

Historic Alaska Roadhouse Destroyed In Blaze

Tony Gorman, KCHU – Valdez

One of Alaska’s historic roadhouses was destroyed by fire over the weekend. Glenn-Rich Fire and Rescue responded to the blaze at the Copper Center Lodge early Sunday morning.  Firefighters were unable to save the 116-year-old roadhouse.

DNR Terminates North Slope Lease

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The Department of Natural Resources has notified Alaskan Crude Corporation – a Texas-based oil company– that it will end the unit agreement and state lease on more than 6,000 acres near Deadhorse. However, the company took the decision to court, arguing that it still has issues under appeal from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and that the Department has made unilateral changes to its unit agreement. The Supreme Court has ruled against those complaints.

International Polar Year Data Coming In

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

The first results are beginning to come in from the International Polar Year – a global effort to collect scientific data on the Arctic and Antarctic that began in 2007. The National Research Council published a summary last week.

Anchorage Election Recount Results Show Confusion at Polls

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

An Election Recount Board has released the results of a hand recount of the votes cast in 15 precincts during the Anchorage Municipal Election. The Board spent the past couple of weeks checking paper ballots against voting machine results and voter registries.

The 12-person Election Recount Board met at City Hall Monday morning to sign off on their report. They found that most precincts were only off by one or two ballots. But Precinct 840 had 205 signatures more than ballots. Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler was on hand to explain.

“The voters apparently signed the voter register but also signed the question register and had their ballots placed in question envelopes. And we think we have them all accounted for with the exception of eight.  It may be, we have some evidence of this, but it may be that those eight persons could not wait in line any longer. And, although they had signed the register, they left without actually casting a ballot, which is why you have more people who have signed than ballots cast,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said the same was true in precinct 660, where the count was off by six. The recount was ordered by the Assembly after a group of voters petitioned the Clerk’s office for it. The April 3 Municipal Election was fraught with problems. An Election Commission report blamed the Clerk’s Office for not distributing enough ballots. More than half of the precincts ran out of ballots. The Anchorage Assembly has appointed a retired judge to pinpoint what went wrong. His report, due out by June 28, will be used as a guide to improve future elections. Denise Stephens is a member of the recount board. She says the anomalies they found happened because precinct workers did not know how to handle the unusual number and varied types of question ballots that were cast when precincts ran short of normal paper ballots.

“At the precinct they didn’t have a clear understanding of what they should do with those ballots once they were cast on a non-card for their precinct or they were on a facsimile or a copy or a question, you know a sample ballot, and they were put in question envelopes. So normally, if its in a question envelope you only sign the question register. But at the precinct that day because it wasn’t a normal question envelope, they had them sign both,” Stephens said.

Assembly Chair Ernie Hall observed the Election Board’s meeting. He says he’s relieved that the recount is finished, and is ready to move the process forward.

“I’ll be anxious to see how it gets handled. My anticipation is it’ll pass,” Hall said.

The full Assembly will review the recount report and vote on whether to certify it at their regular Tuesday meeting. Election Board members will answer questions from assembly members. There will be no public testimony.

Bristol Bay Hospital Designated As Trauma Center

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

The only hospital in the Bristol Bay region is now officially designated as a trauma center.

Rural Students Say Traditional Culture, Mentorships Help Curb Suicide

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Rural Alaska Native college students say traditional culture and mentorships protect against suicide.

The National Association of Rural Mental Health held its annual convention in Anchorage last week, with sessions on issues ranging from aging and mental health to workforce development and one on Native students’ views on suicide prevention.

Bethel Gets $23 Million For Swimming Pool

Mark Arehart, KYUK – Bethel

A group in Bethel has been advocating bringing a swimming pool to Bethel for decades so community members can have a safe place to learn to swim.  Their efforts got a $23 million boost, when Governor Sean Parnell signed the state’s budget earlier this week.