Alaska News Nightly: June 25, 2007

This is the complete story list and audio recording from today’s Alaska News Nightly, as broadcast on APRN stations statewide.

Supreme Court: No more ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Juneau School District in the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner case. In a 5-4 opinion issued this morning, justices reversed a lower court ruling and prohibited student expression that can be interpreted as advocating illegal drug use.

First Legislature corruption trial reaches jury selection phase
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Jury selection began today in the federal trial of former Anchorage state Representative Tom Anderson — the first case to come to trial in the federal investigation of corruption in the Alaska Legislature.

Anchorage senior hoping for resurrection of senior benefits
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska elders are anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s special legislative session that will decide whether or not funding for the Senior Care program continues, is increased or goes away all together. Rita Hatch is 78 years old and has lived in Anchorage since her husband died 10 years ago.

Coghill opposes Senior Care extension
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
North Pole Republican John Coghill is against extending Senior Care. He does not support continuing the Senior benefits program ntil the bureaucracy is trimmed back.

Caribou Hills fire consumes 70 homes, threatens more
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
Fire officials say damp, cooler weather today has helped slow a wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula. The Caribou Hills fire has destroyed about 70 homes and cabins and is threatening more.

Fishing and cruise vessels collide near Sitka
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
A small cruise ship and a fishing vessel collided in waters near Sitka early this morning (Mon, 6/25). No one was injured, but the 58-foot seiner “Adirondack” lost its wheelhouse and electronics and had to be towed back to Sitka.

One coal bed methane exploratory gas well planned for Mat-Su
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Matanuska-Susitna Borough
A new plan to drill for coal bed methane gas in the Matanuska Valley is under review by the Matanuska-Sustina Borough. Palmer-based Fowler Oil and Gas Corporation plans to drill one well using state-of-the-art techniques on an 840-acre site.

Sealaska ownership extended to descendants of original shareholders
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Sealaska shareholders have voted to open the corporate doors to their descendants, potentially adding some 5,000 new shareholders. Ballots counted at Saturday’s annual meeting showed a solid majority in favor of granting stock to Southeast Natives born after 1971.