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Tesoro rejects Petro Star claims it seeks to stifle refinery competition

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 20:02
Tesoro rejects Petro Star claims it seeks to stifle refinery competition Refiners Tesoro and Petro Star find themselves disagreeing about how the "Quality Bank" formula -- in which refineries pay a penalty for taking out the high-value portions of oil from TAPS -- affects their economic fortunes in Alaska. July 21, 2014

Scotchmer, Folsom win Alpine Adventure Run crowns

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 19:59
Scotchmer, Folsom win Alpine Adventure Run crowns Sam Scotchmer and Tasha Folsom on Saturday once again stamped their dominance on the Alpine Adventure Run in Sitka.July 21, 2014

Szweda-Mittelstadt, Barnwell win Hope Wagon Trail run

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 19:54
Szweda-Mittelstadt, Barnwell win Hope Wagon Trail run Gillean Szweda-Mittelstadt and Allison Barnwell seized the men’s and women’s victories, respectively, in Sunday’s 3.5-mile Hope Wagon Trail Run.July 21, 2014

Nunaka Valley softball team loses twice over weekend

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 19:51
Nunaka Valley softball team loses twice over weekend The Nunaka Valley girls ages 11-12 are off to a tough start at the 2014 Little League Softball West Regional in San Bernardino, California.July 21, 2014

Firefighters sent Outside as slow wildfire season persists in Alaska

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 19:15
Firefighters sent Outside as slow wildfire season persists in Alaska Besides two notable wildfires early in the season, rainfall statewide has kept Hotshots, initial attack crews and others watching and waiting. But as fire potential grew in the Lower 48, Alaskans were sent to help.July 21, 2014

Don't fall for the myths about the Hobby Lobby decision

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 19:10
Don't fall for the myths about the Hobby Lobby decision OPINION: The president of Planned Parenthood Northwest says people shouldn't be fooled to think the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision will have no impact on women's health.July 21, 2014

Public hearing set for discussion of Enstar gas price hike

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 18:58
Public hearing set for discussion of Enstar gas price hike The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has scheduled a public meeting to discuss a 48 percent rate hike for customers of Enstar Natural Gas Co. July 21, 2014

Oil tax repeal opponents outspending supporters 100 to 1

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 18:43
Oil tax repeal opponents outspending supporters 100 to 1 With a month to go before the election, the campaign finance gap between the two sides of Alaska’s oil tax reform movement is so wide that “chasm” would be a glaring understatement.July 21, 2014

Nothing but 'ghosts' at the tail end of Bristol Bay sockeye season

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 18:12
Nothing but 'ghosts' at the tail end of Bristol Bay sockeye season OPINION: Commercial fishing at the tail end of a run in Bristol Bay means dealing with 'ghost salmon', carcasses of fish that couldn't make it upriver and linger to wreak smelly havoc for net minders. When ghosts outnumber live fish, it's time to head home.July 21, 2014

Grizzly-mauled Guardsman was trained just hours earlier how to react to bear attack

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 18:02
Grizzly-mauled Guardsman was trained just hours earlier how to react to bear attack A soldier from Valdez is in the hospital at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson recovering from a Sunday attack by a grizzly bear. It is the third mauling in the Anchorage area so far this year.July 21, 2014

Services Held for Bethel Woman

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 18:00

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A Bethel woman who had a baby while in a coma, then passed away was laid to rest over the weekend. The young woman was clinically brain dead for most of her pregnancy. Her baby, Faith, was born on July 8th and is now being raised by family in Bethel.

Jessie Ayagalria’s uncle, Henry Combs described her as a tomboy who loved making art and raising dogs. He said she also had a darker side though, which included abusing alcohol, and which he said sent her to the hospital one night in late January.

“It was a Sunday, in he evening,” Combs said. “Jessie had been gone for a while, out drinking for a while. I was out at church, and I had come home kinda late in the evening. She wasn’t feeling well. Then she ended up having the seizures and then we called 9-1-1.”

The 29-year-old was flown to Anchorage where doctors at Alaska Native Medical Center said she’d suffered cardiac arrest. She had no brain wave activity. They also discovered she was 12 weeks pregnant.

“There wasn’t much hope at first. Most of the doctor’s at ANMC said that she couldn’t carry the baby, that it wouldn’t work out,” Combs said.

But Combs said one doctor said it was possible. Family members agreed to put her on life support. The baby was born by C-section at 35 weeks on July 8th. They named her Faith.

Amy Bee said her cousin stayed strong for her baby.

“We all knew as soon as the baby was born … we were just waiting for Jessie to pass. And it was three days after she had her baby, I got the phone call that she passed away,” Bee said.

The community has rallied around the family. Bee and her husband Behrend Swope held a yard sale over the weekend to raise money for Faith’s care.

“We’re just putting on a sale here to benefit her. Hoping to help contribute to the family and help contribute to the family and help them afford the necessities for Faith as she’s in her early days here,” Swope said.

Krissy Medina with baby Faith. (Photo provided by KYUK-Bethel)

The baby’s aunt, Krissy Medina, is caring for Faith. She said the baby is doing well.

“She’s eating a lot more,” she said. “She’s growing. She makes me laugh every day. Seems like it’s like my sister being born again. Her whole face looks like her, especially her nose and her cheeks,” Medina said.

Combs said the family’s sadness is being eased by the baby that resembles her mom. He said he’s sharing their story because he hopes it will help others struggling with alcohol avoid the fate of his niece.

“As a lot of people do in Bethel you know its something more than just being able out to go have a good time,” Combs said.

“It ends up becoming something that’s done regularly. Unfortunately some of us kind of let that take over us. Jessie herself, I mean she did drink. She didn’t like it when others around her would, but she did herself. It was something she struggled with,” Combs said.

But Combs said despite the tragedy that his family has experienced they have not lost their faith.

“In the gravest circumstances there’s still hope and there’s faith,” Combs said. This whole entire endeavor you know really tried our family in faith and hope. There were times that we lost hope – we lost our faith. There were times when we pulled together — it’s been a long journey. What I took out of it was it renewed my faith, my hope you know that miracles do happen. Baby Faith, that’s a physical sign right there.”

Faith’s mother was laid to rest in Bethel this past weekend. Donations can be made to an account set up for the baby and her family at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union (Acc.#:1825307, checking). The family has also set up a page at ‘gofundme.com” and the yard sale to raise funds for the family is continuing this coming weekend. You can learn more about what’s being done for baby Faith at KYUK.org.

Fish wars obscure need to manage for max economic yield

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 17:55
Fish wars obscure need to manage for max economic yield OPINION: Vitriol, spin and a sense of entitlement keep Cook Inlet fishermen at war and solutions at bay. July 21, 2014

Alaska's LNG project takes step forward with export license application

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 17:34
Alaska's LNG project takes step forward with export license application Relying in part on previous iterations of the decades-long quest to deliver Alaska's natural gas to Outside markets, the state's major oil companies filed an application Friday with the Department of Energy to export LNG.July 21, 2014

Alaska News Nightly: July 21, 2014

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 17:27

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn

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Campaign Profile: Sullivan’s “Amazing Credentials”

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, DC

As a candidate for U.S. Senate, Dan Sullivan has a bucket of advantages. He married into an acclaimed Athabascan family. His own family, back in Cleveland, are six-figure donors to Republicans in high places. One of his biggest assets, though, is his resume. But political opponents say his record has thin spots and complain he oversells himself.

Companies Apply for LNG Export License

The Associated Press

The companies pursuing a major liquefied natural gas project in Alaska have applied for an export license with the U.S. Department of Energy. The application requests authorization to export up to 20 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas a year for 30 years. Participants in the project include BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp., TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC.

Scientists in Denali Looking for Dinosaur Remnants

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Scientists are back in Denali National Park for another year of dinosaur hunting. They are taking more measurements on a hillside not far from the park road that contains thousands of tracks laid down in what was an arctic lake bed about 70 million years ago.

Scientists Probing Alaska’s Bat Population

Joaquin Palomino, KSKA – Anchorage

Not much is known about the bat population that lives in Alaska. And until recently, there was no pressing need to study the nocturnal mammal. But with bats being decimated across much of the country by the fungal disease White Nose Syndrome, state and federal researchers are working to learn as much as they can about the animal.

North Slope Students Inspired by GeoForce

Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

Twenty-six high school students from the North Slope recently completed the third year of UAF’s GeoForce program. The four-year summer program gets students into the field to learn about geology hands-on. They’ve seen glaciers in Alaska, visited the Grand Canyon, and explored volcanoes in the northwest. Program Coordinator Sarah Fowell says GeoForce aims to motivate students to study science.

Oil Spill Drill Conducted Near Teller

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

Even as marine traffic increases past the Bering Strait, no one knows how well an oil spill could be cleaned up in the case of an accident. Stakeholders traveled to the region last week to conduct the first spill response exercise there, and learn more about the challenges.

Services Held for Bethel Woman

Daysha Eaton, KYUK – Bethel

A Bethel woman who had a baby while in a coma, then passed away was laid to rest over the weekend. The young woman was clinically brain dead for most of her pregnancy. Her baby, Faith, was born on July 8th and is now being raised by family in Bethel.

 

 

 

 

 

North Korea Is Not Pleased: Dance Video Features Kim Jong Un

NPR News - Mon, 2014-07-21 17:04

Citing a threat to the leader's dignity, North Korea reportedly asks China to block a video that inserts Kim Jong Un's image into bizarre situations, all set to a bouncy dance track.

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New Sullivan ad pushes back against criticism of Alaska bona fides

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 16:50
New Sullivan ad pushes back against criticism of Alaska bona fides Dan Sullivan, the Republican primary candidate for U.S. Senate, released a new ad Sunday pushing back against attacks he’s not Alaskan enough.July 21, 2014

Former president George W Bush donates to Sullivan

Southeast Alaska News - Mon, 2014-07-21 16:21

JUNEAU — Contributors to Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan's campaign include a former president and first lady.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, each contributed $1,250 to Sullivan in April. The donations show up on his latest financial disclosure, which spans from April through June.

Sullivan served as an assistant secretary of state in the Bush White House.

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Companies Apply for LNG Export License

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 16:13

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The companies pursuing a major liquefied natural gas project in Alaska have applied for an export license with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The application requests authorization to export up to 20 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas a year for 30 years.

Participants in the project include BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp., TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC.

TransCanada owns the state’s interest in the pipeline and gas treatment plant, with the state having an option to buy some of that back as the project progresses. AGDC holds the state’s interests in liquefaction facilities.

Scientists in Denali Looking for Dinosaur Remnants

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 16:11

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Late last week Dr. Tony Fiorillo and his team were wrapping up work at the site near the road and preparing to helicopter out to another undisclosed location for a week of investigating a site he’s not ready to disclose much about, but they just published a report about the lake bed site in the journal “Geology.” They found a huge number of tracks there.

Their analysis of those tracks shows that these duck-billed Hadrosaur dinosaurs formed herds and fell into four age categories, indicating a social structure in which young dinosaurs were cared for by older ones.

They could obtain that fine detail because of the quality of the tracks. They can see the actual texture of the animals’ skin, which means its not just deeper mud compressed by the great weight of the dinosaur, but the actual spot on the surface where the foot went down.

These dinosaur social groups were walking in an Arctic warmer than today, with a temperature range similar to that of wintertime Tokyo – not really freezing much, if at all. And the site was definitely some sort of water hole.

Along with the Hadrosaur foot impressions, the scientists have found fossil plant impressions and the tracks of another Dinosaur species – a strange feathered one that is mostly seen in Asia. That’s one of the things they were looking for this year, and found, Fiorillo said.

Most of Fiorillo’s documentation ends up in the Perot Museum in Texas but some of it has now gone into an exhibit at the park’s  Murie Science Learning Center.

Alaska Bat’s Population Probed

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Mon, 2014-07-21 16:09

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It’s 1 a.m., and the dim glow of the sun just peaks over the horizon at Potter Marsh, a popular bird watching spot in South Anchorage. Veronica Padula and Keegan Crowley, both students at the University of Alaska, meander down a zig-zagging boardwalk and scan the horizon. The two researchers aren’t trying to spot cranes or herons. They’re looking for bats.

A map of the Little Brown Bat’s known range in Alaska. The Little Brown Bat is the most common bat in the state (Alaska Department of Fish and Game).

“It’s like a treasure hunt,” Padula says with a chuckle.  “Last night we were really stoked when we finally found a bat.”

Padula and Crowley have been patrolling Potter Marsh for the past week trying to determine where bats feed, so they can come back later with nets to catch the animal for study. To assist in the hunt, Crowley uses a small ultrasonic recorder that measures the frequency of bat calls.

“When they’re feeding you’ll see a bunch of small, shorter calls because they’re trying to be really accurate to find the tiny insects,” Crowley explains, before being interrupted by the shrill chirp of a bat weaving through a meadow a few feet in front of him.

After consulting the recorder, Crowley and Padula determine the bat is feeding. Next week they plan to set up nets in the area to catch the critter.

The research at Potter Mash is part of a broader effort to try and understand bats in Alaska. While the mammal occupies a huge swath of land between the Brooks Range in the Arctic and Alaska’s southernmost boarder with Canada, they remain mysterious.  “What we don’t know about bats far outweighs what we do know,” says David Tessler, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

For example, scientists don’t know whether the mammal spend their winters in Alaska or migrate, if they nest in caves, trees, or man-made structures, or how long they’ve occupied the far north.  And while there are six known species of bats in Alaska—most living in south-east—there could be more.

“There aren’t many times in wildlife biology…where you can embark on something entirely unknown,” Tessler says, “and we know almost nothing about bats here, so that’s exciting.”

But the lack of information could make it hard to protect Alaska’s bats from the fungal disease White Nose Syndrome. First discovered in New York in 2006, the disease covers bats in white splotches of fungus, and causes them to come out of hibernation in the winter and act abnormally.

Little Brown Bat affected by White Nose Syndrome (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

During the early days of the disease there were reports of swarms of bats hovering over interstates during wintertime daylight hours—a time period bats typically spend hibernating. Some caves were found overflowing with tens of thousands of dead bats. And the animal displayed erratic behavior, such as flying into people and objects. To date, the disease has killed more than six million bats in twenty five states and five Canadian provinces.

“It has been called the greatest wildlife disease of our lifetimes and it’s impacting the mammal in a major way,” says David Coleman, national White Nose Syndrome coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “We are seeing demise akin to the passenger pigeon and the American bison.”

While White Nose Syndrome hasn’t made it to Alaska yet, that doesn’t mean the state’s safe. Researchers say the disease is traveling about 200 miles per year, and the fungus could potentially spread throughout all of North America. If it finds its way to the last frontier, White Nose Syndrome could wreak havoc on the state’s ecosystem. One obvious impact would be an increase in the number of small insects.“It’s estimated that one bat can eat as many as 5,000 mosquitoes a night,” Tessler says, ”so they’re actually very, very useful in controlling pests.”

With such a shortage of information on Alaska’s bats, though, it’s hard to know if or when White Nose Syndrome will arrive. Which is why Veronica Padula and Keegan Crowley are romping through Potter Marsh in the early morning hours, trying to find and catch the nocturnal mammals.

“It helps us get to know better where they’re roosting and if they’re staying here over winter or migrating,” Padula says. “A bat in the hand can tell us many, many things.”

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