Alaska News Nightly: September 19, 2007

Former lawmaker Pete Kott took the stand today in his own defense during his federal corruption trial. Plus, the North Slope Borough considers how to balance cultural needs and resource extraction as the community looks at the future of oil and gas development in the region. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Pete Kott takes the stand
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
In an unexpected move today by the defense team, former legislator Pete Kott took the stand in his own corruption trial.

PFD: $1,654
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
Governor Sarah Palin was in Valdez today to announce this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) amount. About a hundred people gathered at the Valdez Civic Center this afternoon to hear the big announcement. This year’s PFD amount will go to more than 600,000 Alaskans.

Climate change affecting forecasting models
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A federal meteorologist says climate change is eroding the reliability of weather forecasting models. National Weather Service Alaska Region chief of operations, James Partain, told participants in a teleconference meeting how climate change is affecting forecasting.

U.S. House examining tribal 8(a) contracts
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The U.S. House Natural Resources committee held a hearing today in Washington to gather testimony about the effectiveness of tribal 8(a) contracting. 8(a) contracts enable Alaska Native Corporations (among other minority groups) to secure federal work that covers a wide range from military base security to NASA engineering.

North Slope convenes meeting on future of far north resource development
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Tomorrow the North Slope Borough will begin a two-day oil and gas forum in Barrow entitled “The Next 40 Years.” North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta says more than 200 industry, state, federal and tribal officials will be in attendance for the meeting.

Sheldon Jackson College cutting back again in bid for survival
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
Three months after announcing it was closing its academic program, Sheldon Jackson College is downsizing again. Thirty-five more employees were laid off late last week and two mainstays of the Sitka community — the campus childcare program and physical education center — were put on notice.

International cannery workers crank through huge pink run in Cordova
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
It was a big year for pinks in Cordova — one of the top three harvests in more than a century. The town recently recognized a group of laborers that are often overlooked in the industry: cannery workers. Seven hundred (700) workers each received a “thank you” t-shirt for their efforts, which often included 18-hour work days.