Alaska News Nightly: April 4, 2008

The man accused of murdering 4 people in Sitka pleads not guilty. Plus, the Governor finds a way to solve the supplemental capital budget impasse. And sp,e Alaska Territorial Guard solders receive WWII discharge papersThose stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Abbott pleads not guilty to Sitka murders
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Jason Abbott has pleaded not guilty to murder. The eighteen-year-old was arraigned in Sitka Superior court this morning by telephone from Juneau’s Lemon Creek Correctional Center, where he is being held on $1-million dollars bail. A Sitka grand jury indicted Abbott yesterday on four counts of murder in the first degree, and one count of attempted murder is the first degree, for his role in the March 25th slayings of his grandparents, an aunt, and her boyfriend. A second aunt remains hospitalized in Sitka.

Governor shifts playing field on capital projects

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Sarah Palin last night vetoed a hundred seventy one capital projects that had been in the supplemental budget she got two years ago. But she invited sponsors to bring most of them back in another budget, where they’ll get a favorable reception. In explaining her temporary veto of a hundred fifty five projects, she recognized they are high community priorities – and advised that they should be included in the Budget set aside for capital projects that is in the House Finance Committee now.

Fleet of planes to assess atmospheric conditions
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Aircraft from federal agencies, including NASA, arrived in Fairbanks and Barrow this week to conduct flights over a massive area stretching from Alaska, over the North Pole, to Greenland.

Home sales drop in Juneau
Weld Royal, KTOO – Juneau
The volume of home sales in Juneau dropped by about 20 percent last year compared to 2006. National trends and local concerns contributed to the downturn. One state agency is running an advertising campaign and working with local realtors and lenders to persuade Alaskans to buy homes now.

Company looks to tap tidal power in Southeast

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
A Washington DC company hopes to go with a shorter and simpler federal licensing process to study tidal power generation at two sites in southeast Alaska. The company is looking at tidal energy potential in the Wrangell Narrows near Petersburg and in icy strait near Gustavus but is abandoning plans a third site, in Gastineau Channel near Juneau.

Fairbanks Borough wants to burn trash to generate energy
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks North Star Borough is taking another step toward reducing the local cost of energy.  The Borough recently sent out a request for proposals for a municipal waste incinerator that would burn trash to generate electricity.

Measure backing Filipino WWII vets gets bogged down
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Some Alaska groups are backing federal legislation that would return pension and health benefits to Filipino veterans of World War II. They’re also urging the state legislature to voice support for the change. But so far, the measure is stuck in a committee.

Alaska Territorial Guard solders receive WWII discharge papers
Kenny Steele, KYUK – Bethel
Many Alaskan soldiers who fought in World War II were never officially discharged until last week.  About 50 of these Alaska Territorial Guard soldiers were finally given their discharge papers in Hooper Bay.