Alaska News Nightly: October 15, 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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Man Dead After Bear Mauling Near Sitka

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

A Sitka man is dead after an encounter with a brown bear. Authorities spent Monday searching southern Chichagof Island, near Sitka, for the animal believed to be responsible in the fatal mauling of a 54-year-old Tomas Puerta.

Tugboat Gets Stuck Near St. Michael

Laureli Kinneen, KNOM – Nome

A tugboat is stuck two miles outside of St. Michael in Norton Sound. Both men aboard the vessel are safe onshore and there is currently no fuel leaking.

Troopers Make Third Arrest In Homer Sexual Assault Case

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

Another arrest has been made in an ongoing sexual assault case that stems from a teenage party in Homer last month. Alaska State Troopers said in a statement Monday that an unidentified 16-year-old male was taken into custody at a private residence Sunday night.

Second Anchorage Body Identified, No Apparent Connection

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The deceased female found in the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage last week has been identified as 62 year-old Marie Andrews. The woman’s body was found by passersby Thursday afternoon near the Mountain View Community Church. The day before, another woman’s body was discovered in a South Anchorage neighborhood. She has been identified as 24-year-old Michelle Felber. Anchorage Police Department Spokesman Lieutenant Dave Parker there is no apparent connection between the two cases.

Research Vessel ‘Sikuliaq’ Launches In Wisconsin

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks realized a dream over the weekend, with the launch of a new Arctic research vessel. The 261-foot Sikuliaq splashed into a river feeding Lake Michigan in Marinette, Wisconsin Saturday. The $200 million vessel project is largely supported by federal economic stimulus funding. The ship is owned by the National Science Foundation and will be operated by UAF. The launch culminated decades of planning and advocacy by the university.

The Need For Alaska Native Teachers

Sarah Gonzales, Kids These Days

Alaska Native students make up nearly one-quarter of the student body in the state, but only five percent of teachers are Alaska Native. And new research from UAA shows despite years of effort, it’s been difficult to get more Native educators into Alaska Schools. In the next installment of our “Being Young in rural Alaska” series, from the producers of Kids These Days, Sarah Gonzales takes a closer look at the problem.

Engineers Gather At AFN To Work On Rural Challenges

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A group of engineers and technically talented volunteers from San Francisco will be at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention this week to help work on rural Alaska challenges. The organization ReAllocate is looking for partners in Alaska for a program called StartUP Country.

The organizers want to facilitate creation of culturally relevant innovations to spur economic development for villages.

One of the Alaskans working with ReAllocate is David Karabelnikoff, an Aleut engineer who studied energy systems at the school of renewable energy sciences. A project he’d like to see launched with ReAllocate’s help is a plan to digitize building a traditional badarka or kayak. He says traditionally, survival for Aleuts and other sea going Alaska Native people was dependent on the kayak.

“How did we survive up here in these conditions? It was all built around the kayak and that technological development. Why aren’t we embracing that? Why is it on the wall? You see kayaks hanging places, but where are they floating at?,” Karabelnikoff said.

He says being able to customize Kayaks on a larger scale could become a thriving business for Alaska.

Karabelnikoff says Alaskans need to reconnect with the idea of being self sufficient, frugal and working to solve their own problems.

“And I think that those things are ultimately empowering to the community when you have local stakeholder input into the decision making process, rather than having big capital projects that are funded from far-away places. These challenges ultimately, I kind of wrap it up in terms of saving ourselves,” Karabelnikoff said.

And that, Karabelnikoff says, is where the team from ReAllocate comes in – helping remote and often impoverished communities across the planet in finding their own answers to local problems, whether that is high energy costs, access to clean water, or building local economies.

“The idea is that people have talents and a gift and their ability to give that in meaningful ways is really the core of what makes us able to partner and makes the work that I’m doing and a non-profit that’s based in San Francisco, where there’s possibility for collaboration. And they’ve figured out a way of really simply having somebody contribute three hours a week as a volunteer to give their skills and make a positive impact on the world,” Karabelnikoff said.

Karabelnikoff says he’d like to see a time when kayak paddlers can be professional competitors and paddling races could be large annual events like the Iditarod is today. The ReAllocate team will be listening to idea pitches at their first StartUP Country Alaska gathering during the Elders and Youth conference that began today.

Fairbanks Restaurant Goes Smoke Free

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

A well-known Fairbanks restaurant has agreed to go smoke free in partnership with the Tanana Chiefs Conference.