Alaska News Nightly: September 28, 2007

Officials are investigating a suspicious white substance at the Department of Law building in downtown Anchorage. Plus, the Census Bureau works to ensure it accurately counts Alaska’s Native population in 2010. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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White powder triggers Anchorage building lock-down
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
A building in downtown Anchorage was put on lock-down for most of this afternoon because of an anthrax scare. The scare came at the Brady Building, which houses the Department of Law, including the State Attorney General’s Office.
Photo by David Shurtleff

Soldier guilty of planting evidence, but not murder
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
A military panel has found a Fort Richardson soldier not guilty of two counts of murdering unarmed Iraqis. Specialist Jorge Sandoval was acquitted of the charges this morning in Baghdad, but was found guilty of planting evidence on one of their bodies.

Big crab harvest expected in Bristol Bay this winter
Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
State regulators are planning for a booming winter season in the Bering Sea this year, with harvest levels for red king crab set higher than they’ve been since crab stocks crashed in the early 1980s. The harvest levels, announced this morning, are also set higher for snow crab than they’ve been in nearly a decade.

VPSO shortage vexing villages
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
Alaska’s Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) Senate Task Force heard sobering testimony this week at the Bering Strait Regional Conference in Nome about the toll taken on villages with no law enforcement.

Alaska Native leaders working with Census to get better 2010 numbers
Dixie Hutchinson, KNBA – Anchorage
The director of the Census Bureau heard from Alaska Native leaders about some of the problems from past census counts identified by Native people. The Bureau is talking to tribes across the nation to ensure a true count for the next census in 2010.

AFN President focusing on business development for rural Native areas
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Earlier this week, Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) President Julie Kitka spoke to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce about recent Indian Affairs committee hearings in Washington focused on the need to diversify Native economies.

MCI long distance cards still recharging in Alaska
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The MCI cards that Alaskans purchased through Costco are still in operation — at least for a while. Verizon, the company that sold the cards had discontinued them and told Alaskan users that after September 4, 2007 they would no longer be able to recharge the cards at the 2.9 cents per minute rate.

Mat-Su District 2 Assembly seat up for grabs by Houston or Liener
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Two men are vying for District Two’s empty Mat-Su Borough Assembly seat. Pete Houston and John Liener both have development issues at the heart of their election campaigns. Mat-Su voters will choose between them on Tuesday, October 2.

Bear Fortress gets second furry resident
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
A non-profit bear habitat in Sitka has acquired its second resident. The 100-pound orphaned brown bear cub will join his sibling at the Fortress of the Bear almost two months after their mother was shot and killed at a lodge in Angoon.