Alaska News Nightly: July 9, 2007

Below is the complete story list and audio from today’s Alaska News Nightly, as broadcast on APRN stations statewide. Individual stories are available in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to our news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS anytime.

Jury convicts Tom Anderson for bribery, conspiracy and money laundering
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Former Anchorage lawmaker Tom Anderson was convicted of seven felonies today including bribery, conspiracy and money laundering. His sentencing is set for October. This marks the first court victory for federal prosecutors in an expected series of Alaska legislature corruption cases.

Legislators and observers react to Anderson verdict
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau and David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
On hearing the news of Anderson’s conviction, Anchorage Representative Bob Roses said he was personally disappointed with the outcome of the trial. Roses was one of several legislators and political observers with whom APRN reporters spoke today.

Ethics reform bill signed into law
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Ethics Reform bill passed by the legislature in May is now law. Governor Palin signed the 38-page measure this afternoon. The bill contains about 50 changes to state law aimed at increasing public trust and decreasing elected official corruption.

John Bitney leaves governor’s office on eve of new ethics law
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
One of the Palin administration’s key movers behind the ethics bill — and other major issues during this year’s session — has left government service. John Bitney worked as an independent lobbyist before joining the Palin campaign last year and then continuing as her legislative liaison, responsible for giving priorities to the governor’s legislative agenda.

Arctic Economic Development Summit gathers community leaders in Kotzebue
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage (on assignment in Kotzebue)
Alaska’s northern regions possess some of the state’s richest natural resources. But the wealth from the North Slope Oil Fields or northwest Alaska’s Red Dog Mine has not translated into strong local economies. Far from it. Today regional and community leaders from the two northernmost boroughs gathered in Kotzebue for the first day of the Arctic Economic Development Summit.

As coastline dissolves, communities hit relocation roadblocks
Jesse Zink, KNOM – Nome
Villages up and down the west coast of Alaska continue to face problems brought about by coastal erosion. Several are considering relocating but are finding numerous obstacles in their path.

Mat-Su Borough and MEA divided over coal-fired power plans
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are headed for a showdown over a proposed ordinance that could limit the power provider’s plans to use coal in generating its own electricity.

Thorne Bay courting bids for home and business development land in southeast
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
A little more of the Last Frontier is going on sale soon. The Southeast Alaska town of Thorne Bay is auctioning off property in a new subdivision called Green Tree Heights.