Alaska News Nightly: September 14, 2012

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Roundtable Votes to Move Land Exchange Deal Along

The Associated Press

A group of stakeholders in the Tongass National Forest has voted to support a proposed land exchange in Southeast Alaska.

The Tongass Futures Rountable voted yesterday (Thursday) to support the land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. The deal involves nearly 39,000 acres of federal and Mental Health Trust lands.

As proposed, the exchange includes about 20,900 acres of federal land in the Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island area, and about 18,060 acres of Mental Health Trust tracts around Ketchikan, Meyers Chuck, Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka and Juneau.

Jack-Up Rig May Have Carried Invasive Species With It

Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer

A Chinese heavy-lift vessel brought the “Endeavour” jack-up drill rig to Kachemak Bay from Singapore, but it appears the rig itself might have carried its own unique and unwanted cargo.

APD Policies Reviewed

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A report on official procedures in the wake of  a sexual assault conviction of former Anchorage Police officer Anthony Rollins was made public Friday.  Rollins was convicted of raping several women while he was an on-duty police officer. He has been sentenced, but the aftermath of his crimes has initiated changes in Anchorage Police Department procedures.

Anchorage High Wind Warning Lasting Into Monday Morning

Lori Townsend, APRN

Another large wind storm is moving toward Anchorage and surrounding areas. The storm is across the southern Bering Sea but is expected to hit Southcentral Alaska and particularly Anchorage late Saturday night. National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Hopkins says the storm will mainly hit three areas of the city, starting with the Upper Hillside.

Hopkins says strong winds will affect the Lower Hillside and East Anchorage. Gusts could reach 70 miles an hour or higher, those winds could begin Sunday morning and persist until early afternoon, with 45 mile an hour gusts forecast out till midnight Sunday. The third area to be hit will be west Anchorage and downtown.

Strong winds may hit the Mat Su valley, possibly up to 70 miles an hour, and there may be strong winds on the Kenai, but the strongest winds are predicted for Anchorage. There is also heavy precipitation anticipated for the eastern Kenai peninsula, north gulf coast, Valdez, Cordova and Whittier. Scott Lindsey is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service river forecast office.

There is also concern for urban streams in Seward, Valdez and Cordova reaching bank levels or possibly over stream banks.

Ice Still Delays Shell Arctic Offshore Drilling

The Associated Press

A spokesman for Shell Alaska says it will be at least Monday before a company drill ship can return to an offshore petroleum prospect in the Chukchi Sea.

Curtis Smith says ice is still prevalent over the Royal Dutch Shell prospect 70 miles off the coast of northwest Alaska.

A Shell drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, on Sunday began preliminary work on an exploratory well.

Ice measuring 30 miles long and 12 miles wide was spotted heading for the drill ship and Shell moved the vessel 30 miles south to wait for ice to pass.

Smith says the ice is expected to pass through in the next two days.

Man Accused In Hotel Shootout Arrested And Charged

The Associated Press

Anchorage Police have charged 37-year-old Jason Barnum with three counts of attempted murder in the shooting of a police officer on Thursday at the Merrill Field Inn.  Barnum was arrested Friday morning after his release from an Anchorage hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound suffered in the shootout.

The standoff with Barnum resulted in a non-life-threatening injury to one police officer, while it shut down major traffic arteries in the city for about an hour.  Police officers had gone to the motel to investigate a string of burglaries, when Barnum began shooting at them. A SWAT team was called in, and the motel was evacuated before Barnum surrendered. Barnum’s arraignment was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Record Numbers Expected At 50th Running Of Equinox Marathon

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The 50th running of the Equinox Marathon starts at 8:00 a.m. Saturday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. A near record number of participants are expected.

Southeast Agency Looks For More Hydropower Efficiency

Anne Hillman, KSTK – Wrangell

The Southeast Alaska Power Agency is seeking new ways to make hydropower more efficient and more consistent through innovative new technology.

AK: Geese

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Thousands of black brants nest each spring on a piece of marshy tundra near Chevak, in Western Alaska. And for nearly three decades, the small geese have been the research focus of biologist Jim Sedinger. In 1984, the University of Nevada Reno professor decided the brants would be good subjects for a long term study on a bird population. This summer, he brought an audio recorder out into the field.

300 Villages: Northway

This week we’re heading to Northway a tiny village on the far eastern edge of interior Alaska with resident Loraine Titus.

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