Alaska New Nightly: October 11, 2013

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Spokeswoman: White Powder Deemed Nonhazardous

The Associated Press

A spokeswoman for Governor Sean Parnell says the white substance that prompted the evacuation and closure of the State Office Building in Juneau has been deemed nonhazardous.

Sharon Leighow says the FBI made the determination after contacting the California pharmaceutical company that sent the package.

She says the company was sending tax documents to the state Department of Revenue and the shipping material apparently came apart when the package was opened, prompting the scare.

She says she did not have the name of the company. She says the building will be reopened.

Capital City Fire and Rescue ordered the entire building evacuated shortly after 10:00 a.m.

Galena Residents Struggle To Navigate Assistance Programs

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

It’s been more than four months since a spring break up flood ravaged Galena. A lot of progress has been made to repair damaged infrastructure from power and water lines, to roads, and public buildings. Over 50 homes have been fixed or rebuilt, but many others remain in disrepair. Some Galena residents have struggled to navigate a tangle of assistance programs.

AVEC On Schedule For Bethel Utilities Company Takeover

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

The electric utility trying to buy out Bethel Utilities Corporation says they are still on schedule for a spring takeover.

Sealaska CEO Announces Retirement

The Associated Press

The president and chief executive officer of Sealaska Corp. has announced his retirement.

The corporation in a Friday statement says Chris E. McNeil Jr. will retire within the next nine months, after a successor has been named.

Since 2001, McNeil has been the head of the Juneau-based Alaska Native regional corporation, which has more than 21,000 Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribal member shareholders.

Veniaminof Volcano Active Once More

The Associated Press

A volcano on the Alaska Peninsula has again become active during a months-long eruption, with a trace of ash falling on communities up to 35 miles away.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says in a release that Veniaminof Volcano resumed its 2013 eruption on Saturday after being quiet for about a month.

It’s been marked by lava flows, fountaining and intermittent but small ash, steam and gas plumes.

The plumes usually only travel a few miles from the volcano, but the communities of Chignik Lake and Chignik Lagoon, about 35 miles away, reported trace ash on Friday.

The observatory says ash fall from the volcano 480 miles southwest of Anchorage is not considered to be significant. The eruption started in June.

UAF Scientists Land Grant For Most Extensive Pacific Walrus Research To Date

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will spend the next four years studying various aspects of Pacific walruses in the far north. The $1.7 million project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

UAA Hockey Looks Forward To Fresh Start

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage’s hockey team is putting its turbulent off-season behind it. And with a new athletic director and head coach at the helm, the team has an opportunity to take advantage of a clean slate of sorts.

AK: Float

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

Wood Tikchik State Park is the largest state park in the the United States. With no road or trails, the park remains a quiet preserve for the fish and wildlife it was created to protect. The Tikchik River winds a gentle 60 miles through the pristine northern most regions of the park. And every few years the park rangers float the river to get a better feel for what makes the area so unique.  KDLG’s Dave Bendinger joined them on a trip this past summer and has this story.

300 Villages: Kenny Lake

This week, we’re headed to the community of Kenny Lake on the edge of Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Vicky Koelzer is co-owner of the Kenny Lake Mercantile.