Alaska News Nightly: March 26, 2008

The federal government is considering listing four types of seals under the Endagered Species Act. Plus, the State of Alaska has settled its lawsuit with Eli Lilly over the company’s anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa for $15 million. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Teenager arrested on four murder counts in Sitka
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Jason Abbot, 18, was arraigned in Sitka superior court this morning on four counts of murder in the first degree and one count of attempted murder in the first degree following a homicidal rampage in a Sitka neighborhood yesterday.

Alaska settles psychotic medication suit against Eli Lilly
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Eli Lilly will pay the state of Alaska $15 million to settle a lawsuit over the company’s anti-psychotic medication Zyprexa. The agreement was announced today. Alaska is the first state to resolve its case with the company but several others have filed similar suits.

Sinking of the Alaska Ranger leaves a lot of unanswered questions
Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
Later this week the Coast Guard will begin its formal inquiry into what caused a fishing boat to sink in the Bering Sea on Sunday morning. Five men were killed when the Alaska Ranger sank in the early hours of Easter Day, but why the boat went down is still unclear. Although they haven’t provided details yet, investigators will almost certainly be looking at how closely safety regulations were followed on the ship.

Retreating sea ice may push four seals onto Endangered Species list
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced today it will conduct a review to see if Endangered Species Act protections should be given to ribbon seals and three other seal types that depend on Bering and Chukchi sea ice.

Alaska House: Humans at top of game management priorities
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Alaska House passed a bill today that would change the approach to big game management by establishing human use as the top priority of moose, caribou and deer populations.

First herring sac roe fishery window opened in Sitka Sound
Charles Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
A heavy snow squall did not deter herring fishermen from setting their nets in the first opener of the Sitka Sound sac roe fishery yesterday. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Dave Gordon gave the countdown on schedule at 3:00 p.m.

1840’s Kodiak ‘Othello’ appears in eastern Prince William Sound
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
Residents of Cordova and Valdez got something of a history lesson recently. They were treated to a traveling play about Aleutian-Russian relations — from an unlikely source.

UAF students prepare for ride on NASA’s ‘vomit comet’
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A group of University of Alaska Fairbanks students will go weightless next month. The UAF Microgravity team is one of 40 groups nationwide selected by NASA to conduct experiments aboard a special jet that offers the zero gravity conditions of space.