Alaska News Nightly: September 12, 2007

Former VECO chairman Bill Allen takes the stand in Anchorage as the Pete Kott corruption trial rolls on. Meanwhile, we explore Shell Oil’s pull-back from drilling in the Beaufort Sea and keep our eyes peeled for chaplains willing to go to Iraq and Afghanistan. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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VECO chairman Allen takes the stand in Kott trial
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
The corruption and bribery trial of former legislator Pete Kott continued today in Anchorage. Former VECO chairman Bill Allen testified today in the Pete Kott corruption trial.

Shell ramping down Beaufort Sea drilling ops
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Shell Oil has begun a staged ramp-down for its exploratory drilling operations in the Beaufort Sea while an injunction ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is in effect. At this time, the company is evaluating the impact of laying off some of the 700 employees involved in the operations. Alaska Operations Manager Sue Moore says if the injunction remains in place, layoffs of some of those workers will be necessary. However, she adds, the company is still hoping that they will avoid taking that step and that drilling will take place this year.

Alaska National Guard seeking a few good Chaplains
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
The National Guard in Alaska is looking for people to serve as chaplains. Unique job qualifications have made it hard to fill open slots in both the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.

Anchorage Mayor frustrated with state lawyers, turns to federal attorneys
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich says his increasing frustration with the crime enforcement division of the state law department has caused him to forge a stronger working relationship with the federal U.S. Attorney’s office. The head of the state’s law department says the municipality’s perceptions of the state DA’s Anchorage office are just that — perceptions — and not reality.

Ancient Yupik tools on display in Bethel ahead of move to national museum
Kenny Steele, KYUK – Bethel
An exhibit opened in Bethel this week that features ancient Yup’ik tools. The show will be displayed there for two months, then it travels to Anchorage, Fairbanks and finally to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Chinook winds warming and drying the Interior
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Classic chinook conditions are bringing warm, dry weather north of the Alaska Range. National Weather Service Meteorologist Brad Sipperley says a strong low over the Gulf of Alaska is creating a southerly air flow into the region.

Mauricio Escobar: An Immigrant’s Journey, Part 1
John Hunt, KHNS – Haines
The life of Mauricio Escobar is a modern American immigrant’s tale. Escobar works at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park outside Skagway. But his life started out in war-torn El Salvador. This is the first of a three-part series on Escobar’s experience.