Alaska News Nightly: March 17, 2008

The State House voted overwhelmingly today to fund $70 million in projects governor Palin vetoed last year. Plus, five new Village Public Safety Officers are sworn in to their new jobs serving rural communities. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Alaska House defies Governor’s 2007 veto, passes $70M in capital projects
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The House today showed a united front against the Palin administration over a small number of capital projects that the governor vetoed last year.

Quick: There’s an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. What do you do?
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to arctic shipping. We know traffic in the region is increasing dramatically, but experts don’t know how likely a shipping-related oil spill might be in the Arctic or what it would take to clean it up. A workshop this week at the University of New Hampshire is aimed at getting a handle on these issues.

State starting program to profile and combat child abuse, neglect
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A new state program seeks to better understand child abuse that can lead to disability or death. The Alaska Surveillance of Child Abuse and Neglect (Alaska SCAN) program will compile information from a wide range of databases rather than relying on single-source records such as vital statistics or the Office of Children’s Services (OCS).

Halibut Commission looking at quotas, bycatch, charters and more
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The 2008 commercial halibut season in Alaska is just over a week old. The executive director of the International Pacific Halibut Commission was in Homer last week walking the docks and speaking with many of those involved in the fishery.

VPSO program welcomes five more to the team
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
The Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program graduated its 34th class Friday in Sitka. It was the first class to graduate since a Senate task force released a list of recommendations for improving the program.

Juneau prison trying to break crime/prison cycle for inmates
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
The recidivism rate is one of the biggest problems facing the state court and prison systems. But some inmates at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau may have just increased their chances of succeeding on the outside — if ever so slightly. A recent program at the prison is intended to slow the revolving door of Alaska’s criminal justice system.

Thinking green on March 17
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, the informal annual Irish day of celebration, usually marked with parades, the wearing of the green and other shenanigans. Saint Patrick was a real person, although most of what we know about him is shrouded in the mists of time.