Alaska News Nightly: February 20, 2008

New bill would prevent legislators from raising money for political parties. Meanwhile, a virus is targeting babies in the Y-K Delta. Plus, Lance Mackey wins his 4th Yukon Quest – a new record. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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New bill restricts legislator fund raising even further
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Political parties won’t have legislators to help them raise money during sessions under a bill passed by the House today. Current law already bans raising money for legislative races during sessions, but the bill’s original intent was to expand that — reventing members from raising money for gubernatorial or congressional races, also.

Bill would restrict special sessions to the road system
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Legislators have also taken up another bill to move legislative sessions away from Juneau. The House State Affairs Committee yesterday discussed legislation that would require special sessions to be held only on the “interconnected state road system.”

Y-K virus targets infants
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
A respiratory virus that affects babies has been spreading around the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta this winter.

Lance Mackey sets record with 4th Yukon Quest win

Dan Bross, KUAC – Whitehorse and Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
Lance Mackey has made history by winning a fourth consecutive Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.  The Fairbanks musher and his team of 11 dogs crossed under the finish banner in Whitehorse at 1:23 Yukon Time this morning.

Doyon land trade hotly debated in interior villages

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage and Bonnie Sue Hitchcock, APRN – Ft. Yukon
A land exchange between a native corporation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service is being hotly debated in Interior villages this week. Public comment hearings are currently being held across the Yukon Flats. Doyon Corporation wants to trade native allotments to the Fish and Wildlife service in exchange for refuge land, for the purpose of oil and gas exploration in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Harsh southeast winter takes its toll on eagles

Dixie Hutchinson, KNBA – Anchorage
The Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka is seeing a higher number of injured or dead eagles this winter.  As of yesterday, 68 eagles were brought in since January 1st.  Doctor Victoria Vosburg is the Veterinarian at the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka.  Vosburg says a harsh winter this year and last year is making it difficult for all animals.

Sealaska considers going green
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Sealaska wants to cash in on corporate America’s interest in going green. The Southeast regional Native corporation is looking into certifying its timber operations as sustainable. It’s also checking into emerging markets for offsetting carbon dioxide emissions. Sealaska, Southeast’s largest timber producer, is working with environmental groups such as Greenpeace. But there’s no guarantee it will change its practices enough to successfully enter the green market.