Alaska News Nightly: June 20, 2012

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS.

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Subsistence Users Protesting Kuskokwim Closures

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Subsistence fishing for King salmon is happening on the Kuskokwim River to protest the closures currently in place.

Sealife Center Caring For Rescued Beluga Calf

Wendi Jonassen, APRN – Anchorage

The Alaska Sealife Center, in Seward, is caring for its first whale. The newborn beluga calf turned up in Naknek Bay yesterday. Center staff flew to Naknek to rescue it.

New Cook Inlet Player To Spend $200 Million In AK

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Hilcorp Energy is a new player in Alaska’s oil and gas industry. The little known private company has big plans for Cook Inlet oil and gas production.  And it may play a role in giving a boost to Alaska’s slumping oil service industry. Hilcorp president Greg Lalicker outlined some of the company’s goals in Alaska at a talk before the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

Joe Miller Wins Case Against Fairbanks North Star Borough

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A legal dispute between the Fairbanks North Star Borough and 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller has been resolved. The borough and former Mayor Jim Whitaker have submitted to a judgment against them, and agreed to pay Miller $5,000. The case revolves around Miller’s past employment as a part time borough attorney.  Miller’s lawyer John Tiemessen says the case uncovered borough mishandling of personnel information.

Former Fairbanks Militiaman Speaks Out Against Verdict

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A past member of the Alaska Peacemaker’s Militia says this week’s conviction of leader Schaeffer Cox and two group members is a sign of eroding freedom. Cox and Lonnie Vernon were found guilty Tuesday of plotting to kill government officials and having illegal weapons.  A 3rd militaman, Coleman Barney was solely convicted of weapons violations. Former Fairbanks militia sergeant Gary Brockman says the guilty verdicts confirm government overreach.

Brockman says the verdict treads over our rights to free speech and to take up arms.  Brockman says he was not involved in the militia when informants infiltrated the group and recorded conversations about retaliating against government officials.  He says the Fairbanks militia was never the citizen army Cox portrayed, but the larger movement remains alive in Alaska.

Brockman says any ongoing militia groups will likely be keeping a low profile, and there are too many eyes on him to consider participation.

Wrangell Voters Recall Eight From Hospital Board

Charlotte Duren, KSTK – Wrangell

Wrangell voters have recalled eight of nine members on the city owned hospital’s Board of Directors. More than 600 voters turned out to the polls for the June 19 special election. The group pushing for the recall says the board members violated purchasing rules and mishandled a vote over revoking a doctor’s privileges, among other complaints.

Anchorage Renovated MLK Memorial

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Anchorage residents celebrated the renovation Today of a downtown memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. The new memorial contains a laser etched granite image of Dr. King that can be seen from one of the city’s main thoroughfares.

Invasive Species Causing Major Problems

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Alaska isn’t home to a large number of non-native bugs and weeds, but those that are here are beginning to cause some serious problems.

Contractor Demolishes Historic Cabin Near Dalton Highway

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A state contractor demolished an historic cabin along the Dalton Highway near Wiseman. Alaska Department of Transportation northern region environmental manager Bruce Campbell says the state had record of the small trapper style cabin, but the information didn’t transfer to the road reconstruction project.

Campbell says the structure was reduced to mulch. The state isn’t clear about the cabin’s history, but longtime Wiseman resident and tour guide Jack Reakoff is.

Reakoff dates what he calls the Gold Creek cabin back to the 1920’s, built on a trail that accessed area mining claims.

The D.O.T.’s Campbell says the cabin does not show up on road commission records, but the state wants to provide some sort of compensation for its loss.

One possibility is building a replica of the cabin, but Wiseman museum operator Jim Lounsberry favors a more practical local tourism need: an outhouse.

The D.OT. is planning a meeting for next month in Wiseman to talk about the demolished cabin with local residents.