Alaska News Nightly: November 30, 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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BP Underwater Oil-Spill Equipment Fails Key Test

John Ryan, KUOW – Seattle

Shell Oil has been building and testing equipment designed for the Arctic Ocean in Puget Sound.

In September, a key test of underwater oil-spill equipment was a spectacular failure.

It forced the energy giant to postpone Arctic oil drilling until next summer.

Shell and its federal regulators have been tight-lipped about the failed test. But freedom-of-information requests reveal what happened beneath the surface of Puget Sound.

Delegation Pushes To Protect Eielson Air Force Base

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Alaska’s Congressional delegation is pushing defense authorization bill amendments aimed at protecting Eielson Air Force base from downsizing.

Palmer Fire Out, No Homes Burned

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The community of Palmer is resting a lot easier now that a fire that burned Thursday is out. Dozens of people spent yesterday afternoon and evening at the Palmer Senior Center worrying that the blaze might burn their homes. But as KSKA’s Daysha Eaton Explains, no homes were burned and the damage was minimal.

BBNC Board Member Resigns After Sexual Assault Charges

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

Facing sexual assault charges, Sergie Chukwak has resigned from the board of Bristol Bay Native Corporation, where he had served since 2010.  BBNC Board Chair Joseph Chythlook, said in a written statement today that Chukwak’s decision to voluntarily resign will allow the Board to “focus on effectively serving” its shareholders.  The State has charged Chukwak with sexual assault from an incident that happened on Nov. 5 in Naknek.  His alleged victim is deceased, and the State has yet to determine how the case against Chukwak will proceed without the victim’s testimony.

Snow Levels Low Around The State

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Many Alaska locations are ending up the month with minimal snow. National Weather Service climate data shows Fairbanks and Anchorage 13 inches below normal, with 6 inches on the ground in Fairbanks and just 2 in Anchorage.

Fairbanks Unveils Air Quality Community Action Program

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Fairbanks North Star Borough unveiled a new air quality community action program during a meeting in North Pole Thursday night. The program encourages residents to voluntarily refrain from burning wood on days when air quality is poor.

Juneau Assembly Housing Committee Gets To Work

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Juneau has perhaps the tightest housing market in the state.

The average assessed value of the Capital City’s single family homes is nearly $350,000. Rents are also among the highest in the state. The average rental unit in Juneau currently goes for more than $1,150 dollars a month.

The Juneau Assembly’s new ad-hoc Housing Committee met for the first time yesterday to lay the foundation for a day-long workshop on barriers to new housing construction in the Capital City.

AK: Humpback Whales

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

There’s a baby boom going on with Alaska’s humpback whales. Slow-but-steady population growth is good news for the species, as well as whale-watchers. But it could be bad news for boaters, hatcheries and the herring fleet.

CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld learned some of the details at this month’s Sitka WhaleFest Science Symposium.

300 Villages: Eyak

This week, we’re heading to the Native Village of Eyak. The village of Eyak is no longer populated. But the Native Village of Eyak, in Cordova, is a federally recognized tribe. Larue Barnes is the museum director for the Native Village of Eyak.