Alaska News Nightly: September 6, 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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Parnell Keeps Text Messages Secret

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Governor Parnell’s staff is standing by their decision not to preserve or make public any information sent as cell phone text messages.

Scientists Search For Reason Of Cook Inlet Beluga Decline

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchroage

Scientists studying Cook Inlet Belugas have watched the dramatic decline of their numbers from 1,300 in the 1970s to only 300 now.

Sequester Will Likely Affect Military Spending In Alaska

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Unless Congress creates and agrees to a viable plan to reduce trillions of dollars from the deficit, the federal government will face massive cuts January second. The cuts, known as the sequester, will slash $1.2 trillion from federal agencies.

Thousands Remain Without Power In Storm’s Aftermath

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

There are still thousands of people without power in Anchorage after a huge windstorm hit Tuesday night. The bulk of them are customers of Chugach Electric Association. The CEO of Chugach, Brad Evans, says crews are working as fast as they can to restore power to the remaining 2,000 to 3,000 customers, including two schools, but it’s impossible to give an exact time when the lights will be back on. That’s because crews have a triage system for making repairs.

The September 4 storm knocked out power to 25,000 Chugach customers. On Thursday dozens of customers were lined up at the company’s headquarters to report their outages in person because they said they could not get through on phone lines. Evans says the company has around 20 crews working around the clock and will add an additional 7 or 8 crews Friday. He estimates power will be restored to the remaining customers over the weekend. Matanuska Electric Association officials said, as of Thursday they still have 700 customers without power. Anchorage Municipal Light and Power officials say 300 customers don’t have power.

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has remained silent on the how the Municipality is handling the aftermath of the storm. He hasn’t said whether he’ll be asking the governor to declare the windstorm damage a disaster.

Officials Ask For Patience In Storm Clean Up

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The aftermath of Tuesday’ windstorm in Anchorage is evident all over city streets and backyards. Tree services are working overtime to deal with emergency situations first, such as trees on housetops, or tangled in  power lines, before they tackle less dangerous downed trees. Many city residents are still waiting for the chipper to arrive, but state and city officials are advising them to be patient.

Downtown Flagpole Snaps During Storm, Reveals Time Capsule

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

A very special flagpole snapped during the big storm in downtown Anchorage Tuesday night. The 110-foot Sitka spruce log pole was sent up to the citizens of Anchorage from the city of Ketchikan in 1999, according to a plaque found at the veteran’s memorial on the Delaney park strip where it stood. The wind sheered the pole at the base.

US, Russia Work To Preserve Natural, Cultural Heritage of Beringia

Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Vladivostok this weekend for APEC—the Asia-Pacific Economic Coöperation summit—she’ll have an agenda focused on a rising China, a troubled Syria, and issues with Iran.

Brown Bear Bites Teenage Tourist Near Sitka

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

An 18-year-old Vancouver, BC, resident suffered minor injuries after being attacked by a brown bear sow on a popular trail near Sitka.

The young woman was traveling on the state ferry with her family. The attack occurred on the Mosquito Cove Trail on Tuesday, about a mile from the Sitka ferry terminal.

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