Alaska News Nightly: October 24, 2007

The jury in the Vic Kohring corruption trial began watching secretly-taped FBI recordings today. Plus, go deep into the largest known cave in Alaska, thousands of years after a brown bear walked the same area. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Secret video and audio evidence presented to Kohring jury
Duncan Moon and David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
Day three of the corruption trial of former state representative Vic Kohring has come to a close. And today, the jury got a look at secret video and audio tapes captured by the FBI during its investigation.

Senate President dismisses Allen/Kohring election connection
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
U.S. Attorney Joseph Bottini yesterday said he intends to show the federal jury that former VECO chairman Bill Allen’s influence over former legislator Vic Kohring went beyond oil industry interests — saying he twice talked Kohring out of running for the Senate seat currently held by Senate President Lyda Green. Senator Green says she was not aware of any talks between Allen and Kohring.

U.N. ‘Law of the Sea’ treaty threatened by U.S. Senate Republicans
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Some conservative U.S. Senate Republicans — including at least three party leaders — are threatening once again to hold up the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Murkowski habitat shuffle may be reversed by Palin
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
The Palin administration may make some changes to the state agency that oversees fish and wildlife habitat. As part of the Department of Natural Resources, the Office of Habitat Management and Permitting considers the impacts proposed development projects could have on habitat. The agency had been part of Alaska Fish and Game until it was moved under a controversial order from former Governor Frank Murkowski.

Alcohol taxes may jump 100% in Fairbanks
Ben Markus, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks bars and restaurants say a proposed doubling of the city alcohol tax could drain their already thinning business. But mayor Steve Thompson says it’s needed to help pay for this year’s sizable budget shortfall.

Marc Patterson approaches McCandless bus site with ABC technician in tow; you can view the original Nightline story and photos online

McCandless bus draws ABC TV crew; locals vexed by risky tourism
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A Canadian man who made national news for his pursuit of a Christopher McCandless style adventure on the Stampede Trail, only lasted a couple days in the wilderness. Marc Patterson was featured in a recent ABC News Nightline piece on McCandless pilgrims. Healy area guide Coke Wallace escorted the TV crew to the bus.

Sitka Tribe celebrates totem pole unveiling
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
For the Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA), hope comes in the shape of a brightly-painted 12-foot red cedar totem pole dedicated to peace. The Tribe unveiled the pole last weekend in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Mounted in front of STA’s Healing House. It stands for the lessons of the past and the community’s best hopes for the future.

Alaska’s ‘El Capitan’ offers view into 420 million years of natural history
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Hopping into a hole in the ground isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. But for some, it’s an out-of-this-world — or under-this-world — experience. Only one natural cavern in Alaska is open to the public on a regular basis. It’s El Capitan Cave in the remote north of Southeast’s Prince of Wales Island.

View El Capitan cave photos on Flickr