Statewide Briefs 11/10/2009

Obama to stop in Alaska Wednesday on way to Asia

President Barack Obama will visit Alaska as he begins a longer trip to Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore.

The White House said Obama will stop Nov. 11 at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage to refuel Air Force One. Obama will mark the Veterans Day holiday with military personnel at the base.

The visit will be Obama’s first trip ever to Alaska. He never made it to the 49th state during the 2008 campaign

Alaska Army posts stay open after Texas shootings

An Army official said Forts Richardson and Wainwright remain open following the mass shootings at Fort Hood in Texas.

Maj. Bill Coppernoll said the Alaska posts are “not in lockdown” mode as a result of the shootings Nov. 5 that left 12 people dead and 31 wounded.

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Coppernoll, however, declined to say if any special security precautions have been implemented at Richardson or Wainwright.

He said the Army continually reviews its security environment and takes “appropriate, prudent precautions to protect our soldiers, civilians and family members who live and work on our installations.”

Bear hunters stranded when bear shreds raft

Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear — shreds your raft.

Alaska State Troopers said several members of a bear-hunting party found themselves stranded early Nov. 4 near Klukwan in southeast Alaska after a sow bear with two cubs shredded their Zodiac inflatable raft.

None of the hunters were injured.

Troopers said the hunters walked upriver toward Klukwan and fired rifle shots to attract attention. A Klukwan resident took a canoe across the Chilkat River after hearing the shots and yells from the other side. The hunters were given a ride back across the river in the canoe and returned to their vehicles.

Alaska officials release pipeline progress report

Alaska state officials said they continue to be optimistic about the chances for a large-diameter natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Lower 48 markets.

A state report completed to meet a legislative deadline concluded that TransCanada Alaska, which holds a state pipeline license, is on target to complete an initial open season by the end of July.

An open season is the period when natural gas producers can commit to reserving space on a proposed pipeline. The Alaska gas pipeline is estimated to cost $26 to $40 billion.

Mark Myers, the state’s Alaska Gasline Inducement Act coordinator, said the state’s expectations are being met.

He said TransCanada has expanded its project management team to 100 full-time employees and the state is seeing “a considerable uptick in activity.”

Alaska charities get $550,000 from Permanent Fund

More than 300 charities around Alaska received a total of $550,000 that was pledged by state residents from their Permanent Fund dividend payments.

The Anchorage Daily News reported this was the first year of the campaign called “Pick. Click. Give.”

Some of the biggest recipients: the Food Bank of Alaska, $29,000; Alaska public radio and TV network, $19,000; and Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue, a Mat-Su charity, $15,755.

“It’s a nice surprise,” said Marleah LaBelle, spokeswoman for the Food Bank of Alaska.

That could allow the food bank to buy 2,800 more turkeys for needy families during the holiday season, she said.

Donations are unrestricted, so donors can’t require the nonprofits to use the money for a specific purpose.

– Compiled by Kam Walters