First Japanese flight kicks off aurora seasonThursday, August 28, 2014 9:30am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The first aurora borealis seekers from Japan have arrived in Alaska's interior to launch the unofficial beginning of the northern lights viewing season. The first Japan Airlines flight of the season landed in Fairbanks Wednesday with 174 passengers. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the flight from Narita Airport near Tokyo is the first of six Japan Airlines charters scheduled to arrive in Fairbanks through Sept. 18. The visitor industry designates the eight-month period that begins Aug. 21 as aurora-viewing season, even though many people associate northern lights excursions with winter months. Early season visits have increased over the past decade, from two flights in 2005 to six. The Fairbanks market has earned a reputation as one of the best places in the world to view northern lights.
Shell files revised Arctic offshore drilling planThursday, August 28, 2014 9:15am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Shell is preserving its options to drill for oil in Arctic waters next year by filing a revised exploration plan with federal officials. A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC filed the revised plan Thursday with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Anchorage. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith says in an email that the plan calls for two drilling vessels to operate in the Chukchi Sea. Smith says the filing of the plan is not a final decision to drill in 2015 but it lets Shell keep its options open. The last time Shell drilled in Arctic waters was in 2012. Smith says drilling would require a successful resolution to federal supplemental environmental work. That's required after an appeals court concluded that an environmental review preceding the 2008 Chukchi lease sale was flawed.
Alaska Libertarian candidate withdraws from raceThursday, August 28, 2014 9:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Libertarian Party nominee in the U.S. Senate race has informally dropped from the running, but party officials say they've been unable to reach him about sending a signed withdrawal letter to the state elections division. The party has until Tuesday to swap out candidates for the November election, but can't do so unless its outgoing nominee Thom Walker follows the required procedure. A message purporting to be from Walker announced he was declining the nomination in a posting Wednesday on the party's Facebook page. Party chairman Michael Chambers says Walker has not returned numerous messages to reach him in past weeks. As a result, the party's executive board voted Tuesday to recognize former party chair Mark Fish as the nominee if Walker should step down.