Alaska News Nightly: September 21, 2007

Governor Palin decided today to cancel the controversial Gravina Island bridge project in Ketchikan. She says the state will decide how to best redirect the money. Plus, some Healy residents would like to get rid of the bus where Christopher McCandless died. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Proposed Gravina Island bridge going nowhere
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
Governor Palin announced today that the state is abandoning plans to construct the Gravina bridge. One of the two infamous “bridges to nowhere” that drew national attention last year.

Kott defense wraps case, closing statements next
David Shurtleff and Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The defense rested its case this morning in the federal corruption trial of former legislator Pete Kott.

Alaska Native artifacts remind museum visitors of complex history
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
Alaska Native artifacts were on display at the Nome City Museum this week, as it hosted an open house for local tribal members featuring hundreds of indigenous items found last year at the new port entrance. But tensions have arisen about their ownership as well as what their existence says about the area’s pre-contact history.

Heavy BIA retirements may hinder agency services
Dixie Hutchinson, KNBA – Anchorage
The Bureau of Indian Affairs estimates that about 50% of its current employees will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years. Alaska tribal leaders are concerned the turnover will make it harder for the agency to deliver services.

Sealaska may acquire part of Tongass and cultural sites
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s regional Native corporation could acquire more federal land under a bill introduced by Congressman Don Young. Sealaska hopes to select second-growth timberland on Prince of Wales Island that is now part of the Tongass National Forest. It also wants a number of sacred sites and other cultural properties throughout the region.

Will McCandless bus draw unprepared visitors?
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Some Healy area residents want to get rid of the bus where Christopher McCandless died. Locals fear release of the movie “Into the Wild” will inspire a new crop of inexperienced hikers to make the potentially dangerous journey to the abandoned bus.

Alaska remembers historic broadcaster Augie Hiebert
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Friends, Family members and admirers said goodbye to Augie Hiebert today at his funeral in Anchorage. Hiebert was a broadcast pioneer who built Alaska’s first television station. He died last week at age 90. Senator Ted Stevens knew Hiebert well. He says they first met in Fairbanks in 1953.