Alaska News Nightly: November 9, 2007

The Special Session gears up for a final push; the state Supreme Court orders two judges to step down. And Humpback whales are spotting in the Arctic ocean.. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Special session hits the homestretch
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Duncan Moon, APRN – Anchorage
The Legislature is in the final week of the special session dealing with increases to the oil tax that went into effect just last year. Both the House and Senate Finance Committees are ready to present the final versions of the bill that take the place of what the Governor proposed when she called the session.

Two Judges ordered to step down
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
The State Supreme Court has ordered two Alaska judges to vacate their seats, after both neglected to file for retention on time in 2004. Barrow Superior Court Judge Michael Jeffrey and Anchorage District Court Judge Nancy Molan now have 90 days to leave their respective courts, barring a re-hearing.

Humpbacks spotted in the Arctic Ocean

Janelle Everett, KBRW – Barrow
A federal agency says personnel working on oil industry vessels this summer have reported seeing humpback whales in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Biologists say the Arctic ocean is far from their usual habitat.

Protection sought for Lynn-Canal herring

John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
The Sierra Club wants the federal government to protect Lynn Canal herring under the Endangered Species Act. But a local advisory committee to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game doesn’t think scientists know enough about Lynn Canal herring to justify Endangered Species protection.

Tatitlek man convicted of murder
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
Matthew Kompkoff, of Tatitlek was sentenced Tuesday for killing his wife just over a year ago. Presiding judge Joel Bolger said the domestic nature of the crime called for a longer sentence. He said he wanted to send a message because, quote, “domestic violence is too prevalent in our communities.”

IFA to cut short season for Stikine
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The ferry Stikine will end its fall season early. Its owners, the Inter-Island Ferry Authority,decided to cut its final two weekends of service. Officials say ridership is down and costs are up.

Its a dog’s life in Iceland
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks is often called the dog mushing capital of the world. But not every community is as accepting of canine companions. In Reykjavik, Iceland, having a pet dog was forbidden until just 20 years ago. Last weekend hundreds of people and pups took to he streets there to fight for dog rights.

Athabascan Fiddlers descend on Fairbanks

Emily Scwhing, KUAC – Fairbanks
The 25th Annual Athabascan Fiddler’s Festival got underway last night at the Chief David
Salmon Tribal Hall in Fairbanks.