Alaska News Nightly: July 2, 2007

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

Prosecutors lay out core of corruption case against Anderson
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Today was probably the most important day for the government’s corruption case against former state Representative Tom Anderson. Two witnesses prosecutors are counting on to tie Anderson’s official actions as a state legislator to payments he allegedly received were both expected to testify.

Senator proposes close observation of Massachusetts health care program
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state of Massachusetts yesterday began rolling out its universal health care system — a mandate that everyone in the state have some form of health insurance, with subsidies provided for those who cannot afford it. Senator Hollis French thinks Alaska should watch closely and consider some legislative options.

Department of Labor employees in Juneau file health grievance against State
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Roof repairs are under way to stop leaks and mold at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s building in downtown Juneau. But building employees think construction could expose mold growing inside the walls and make their health problems worse. They’ve filed a class action grievance in hopes of protecting their health.

Two soldiers die in two Alaskan boating accidents
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
Two Army soldiers died over the weekend in separate boating accidents in Alaska. In both cases, no one involved was wearing a life jacket. At Fort Richardson’s Clunie Lake in Anchorage, Specialist Cory Burgess drowned early Saturday morning. Meanwhile Private First Class Anthony Williams, based at Fort Wainwright, died in a boating accident near Fairbanks.

Young amends federal aviation bills, cutting costs for small Alaskan carriers
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Representative Don Young is touting key amendments made to federal aviation legislation. The House version of the FAA Reauthorization bill will not include a proposed $25 airport user fee that would have hurt small carriers in Alaska and Young says a major Senate proposed aviation gas tax hike has also been averted.

Sea otter deaths in lower Cook Inlet may be related to flame retardants
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
For the past several years there has been an unexplained die-off of a segment of the sea otter population in lower Cook Inlet. A presentation was held last week to provide some updated information on the problem.

Disappointing sockeye run on Kvichak forces fishing limits
Johanna Eurich, KDLG – Dillingham
Low sockeye salmon returns on the Kvichak River in Bristol Bay has once again forced managers to pull the fleet on the east side of the bay into special harvest areas to avoid intercepting Kvichak-bound salmon. It’s also raised concerns about the interception of Bristol Bay-bound salmon by Area M fishermen.

Sheldon Jackson College closes its doors; hopes for a resurrection
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
After failing to secure a $1 million loan from the City of Sitka, historic Sheldon Jackson College closed its doors Friday afternoon, ending 130 years of operations on the island. The school will consider its options over the next year.

Anchorage’s Town Square Park to retain its name, despite debate
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
For residents and visitors alike, Town Square has become a favorite Anchorage downtown park. Recently the Anchorage Assembly found itself drawn into a city-wide debate about the park’s name, a controversy that required a last minute compromise and a majority vote to resolve.