Alaska News Nightly: November 23, 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 Wants Student Performance Part of Teacher Evals

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Governor Sean Parnell wants the State Board of Education to make student performance an important part of teacher evaluations. The board has been working for months on drafting a new rule that bases 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on student achievement. The Governor wrote a letter to the board this week, asking to boost that figure to 50 percent.

Winds Slowed Diesel Fuel Removal

Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB- Unalaska

It’s been over a week since the tug Polar Wind and the barge it was towing grounded off the Alaska Peninsula, and response crews are still struggling to remove fuel and other cargo.

An assessment team was able to board the tug Wednesday, and they’ve determined that the Polar Wind has lost 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel since the accident. The team had hoped to remove the remaining 15,000 gallons by this time, but 100-knot winds and freezing spray have prevented them from going ahead with the fuel transfer. Responders haven’t seen any oiled animals near the vessels.

In addition to the fuel on the tug, there’s also 1.5 million pounds of seafood aboard the barge Unimak Trader. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, generators on the barge are still working and the fish is still frozen.

The weather is supposed to calm down by Saturday. The cause of the grounding is still being investigated.

Scientists Wonder if Ocean is More Acidic

Ed Schoenfeld, Coast Alaska – Juneau

Scientists want to know how rapidly melting glaciers are affecting marine life in Southeast Alaska waters. They’re concerned all that fresh water is making the ocean more acidic.

Botanist Searches for Wood Alternatives

Emily Schwing, KUAC- Fairbanks

Musical instruments require extremely high quality wood.  One Botanist has spent the last five years at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks searching for alternatives to what’s becoming an increasingly limited resource for woodwind instruments.

Inmate Orchestra Gets Ready for Concert

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA-Anchorage

The all-female Hiland Mountain Orchestra is rehearsing for its annual concert in December.  The string ensemble has gained national recognition for being the first  women’s prison – inmate orchestra in the nation.   The orchestra’s members have a lot to celebrate – they’ve matured as musicians, and they are expanding the orchestra.

AK: The Dark

Annie Fedit, APRN -Anchorage

In Barrow, the sun has set until January. In Fairbanks, residents have five  hours and 22 minutes of sunlight right now. So in comparison, Anchorage’s six and a half hours of sun each day sounds generous. Still, that leaves quite a bit of time for dark in the state’s largest city.

300 Villages: Slana

Now it’s time for 300 villages. This week were going to Slana, a community of about 150 people at the start of the Nabesna Road. It was one of the last spots in the country to stake a homestead.







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