Alaska News Nightly: May 30, 2011

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Veterans Receive Special Honor from Korean Government
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Veterans and their families were joined on the park strip in Anchorage today by Senator Mark Begich and Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki. The two officials left immediately following the gathering for events at Joint base Elmendorf/Richardson. They will also travel to Bethel and Kwigillingok before returning to Anchorage tomorrow for more discussions with veterans at the Loussac Library.

Senator Begich said today’s gathering was particularly important because of a special honor  and medal given to Korean vets from the Korean government. Begich said what stood out to him was how many where there to accept the medal.

Berkeley Ide is the commander of Korean vets in Alaska and has been the Master of Ceremonies at the veteran’s Memorial Day event for the past 10 years. He says the Korean government has a re-visit program and for the past decade has invited American veterans of the Korean War to visit the country. While there, they were given the ambassador for peace medal. But Ide says with the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the Korean government realized there were many vets who would not be able to make a re-visit to Korea.

Lawrence Killinger is a Korean veteran living in Kenai. He said he’d never been to a gathering of veterans before moving to Alaska. He was overcome as he tried to express his gratitude.

His wife Mary Lee helped express their thanks to the Korean Government.

Veteran Morris Breed said his ancestors fought at Bunker Hill. His first day of battle in Korea was July 27th, 1950.

The magnitude of those words then brought tears.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Sitka Coast Guard Air Station’s First Commanding Officer Comes Back for Visit
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
A man named David Irons was among the hundreds of cruise ship passengers in Sitka last week. But instead of heading for the National Park, downtown stores, or other popular attractions, Irons went straight to the Coast Guard air station.

34 years ago, he was in charge of the place, as its first-ever commanding officer.

Special Session Plans on Hold
Associated Press
The president of the Alaska Senate says tentative plans for a second special legislative session are on hold.

Republican Gary Stevens, of Kodiak, says the House and Senate still can’t agree on extending the state’s coastal zone management program, which expires July 1, and they won’t meet in special session until a deal is reached.

Legislative leaders had told members last week to book airplane tickets for Juneau in anticipation of a second special session.

Stevens says Senate majority leaders met Sunday morning to reaffirm their position on the coastal zone management program.

Senators want a provision that allows a governor to dismiss members of a Coastal Management Board for cause only. Senators also want a clear definition of local knowledge versus scientific evidence in coast management.

Sealaska Heritage Institute Cultural Center Named After Soboleff
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The Sealaska Heritage Institute Cultural Center planned for downtown Juneau will be named for the Reverend Doctor Walter Soboleff.

Institute president Rosita Worl made the announcement Saturday during memorial services for Soboleff.  Fundraising is underway for the Southeast Alaska Native cultural and visitors’ facility, to be built adjacent to Sealaska Regional Native Corporation headquarters.

Soboleff died May 22 at his home in Juneau.  He was 102-years old and active until his death.

More than 500 people from across the state attended services on Saturday to honor the Tlingit elder and Presbyterian minister.  Most came for the Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp memorial and stayed the three hours through a public commemoration.  In the first service, Soboleff’s name was placed in the ANB Book of Remembrance Everlasting; in the second memorial he was remembered as a cultural icon and for his great sense of humor.

Speakers are the Reverend Phillip Campbell; Alaska State Senator Albert Kookesh; Janice Jackson, ANS Grand Camp President; Richard Jackson, ANB Grand Camp President Richard Jackson; Governor Sean Parnell, and Dr. Rosita Worl, President of Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Environmental Groups Appeal Railroad Herbicide Spraying
Sue Deyoe, KTNA – Talkeetna
In 2006, after the Alaska Railroad applied for a permit to spray herbicides along the railroad and public outcry ensued, the Department of Environmental Conservation denied the permit.  In 2008, the Railroad authorized a study on small sections of track and then reapplied to DEC for a permit. Since that time, environmental groups have been following the appeals process on the permit approval.

Groups Organize Global Contest to Design ‘Living Building’
Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska
Between the high prices of heating fuel and construction materials in the Aleutians, the cost of building a house along the Chain – and living in it – is higher than most places in the United States. But now, two groups are teaming up to find an affordable and environmentally friendly design that works for the Aleutian Islands. The Aleutian Housing Authority and the Cascadia Green Building Council have organized a global contest to develop what’s called a “living building” in Atka.

“Living buildings” go beyond most green building standards. Mark Masteller is the Alaska director of the Cascadia Green Building Council and he explains what buildings must do to qualify as “living.’

That means that the building’s environmental footprint would be minimal, and that the space would be practically self-sustaining. Masteller says that the buildings should also promote local food production.

The building that AHA and Cascadia want designed is a single-family home that would replace one of the houses in the village of Atka. If this housing project is deemed a success, AHA’s goal is to see homes like it sprout up across the Aleutians.

Masteller says that it’s important for design entrants to factor things like wind, cloud cover, and fluctuations in sunlight over the year as they’re coming up with ways to heat and power the house. The buildings should also match the lifestyles of the community’s residents.

The best design will be announced next May. The winners of the competition will be awarded $35,000 and given the chance to see their design completed.

Neighborhood Activists Share Problems, Solutions
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
What makes a neighborhood a good place to live?  Last week delegates from four countries gathered in Anchorage to answer those questions.

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