Alaska News Nightly: June 13, 2008

Mat-Su Valley commuters may soon have more mass transit options for getting to Anchorage. Plus, Russian conservation groups are promoting a technology that could help oil companies improve their environmental record. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Senate President Lyda Green will not run for re-election
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
State Senate president Lyda Green (R – Wasilla) has announced she does not plan to run for re-election. Green, who represents the Mat-Su Valley, cited her discovery that her constituents are supporting Governor Palin’s AGIA natural gas pipeline process, which she opposes. Green did not make herself available to comment on her decision.

Anchorage and Mat-Su mayors form regional transit authority
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Mat Su Borough Mayor Curt Menard and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich signed a joint agreement today that creates a regional transit authority that will give commuters between Valley communities and Anchorage more efficient options for mass transit.

Juneau drivers buck national trend
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Across the country, soaring fuel prices are driving some commuters to leave their cars in the driveway

Rising fuel prices threatening local southeast Alaska ferry service
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
The Inter-Island Ferry Authority is struggling to keep pace with rising fuel prices. The IFA says skyrocketing fuel costs are limiting the amount of service it can provide.

No movies while moving
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Governor Palin will sign a bill into law in Anchorage on Monday that will prevent drivers from doing things most would think untenable — such as watching movies while driving. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Max Gruenberg (D – Anchorage) says the law will be significant.

Supreme Court ruling on Exxon Valdez expected
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Monday is the next time the U.S. Supreme Court could render a decision in the Exxon Valdez oil spill punitive damages case. While spill victims anxiously wait to hear whether the $2.5 billion judgment will be upheld, Senator Lisa Murkowski is anxiously waiting to see if she can get approval of a measure that would allow income averaging and increased retirement contributions to help them.

Russians using satellites to monitor oil spills
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A environmental delegation from Russia is in Alaska this week to get a first hand look at how the oil and gas industry operates in the state. They’re also promoting Satellite technology that is allowing conservation groups in Russia to independently monitor industry activity there.

Gasline will bring a rush of jobs to Alaska
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Alaskans are looking toward the construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope as another boom for workers who help build it. The legislative committee that is considering a license for TransCanada to build the line this morning heard from the state Department of Labor that the project will have a longer effect than the construction of the Trans Alaska oil pipeline.

Kodiak women’s crisis center adds Spanish-speaking advocate
Dave Donaldson, KMXT – Kodiak
The Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center has been serving abused women and children on Kodiak Island since 1982. Now it has a Spanish speaking advocate to help the immigrant community access its many services.

Petersburg medical center going all-digital
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Petersburg medical center is going all-digital. The hospital no longer uses film for its x-rays and mamograms… and its in the process of eliminating paper charts and records as well. Hospital officials say the new electronic system will improve access to patient information, produce better images, and reduce the wait for radiology results.

40-year-old NOAA vessel John N. Cobb to be retired
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Federal marine scientists are calling it the death of a grand old lady. After researching Alaska waters for 40 years, the vessel John N. Cobb has made her final expedition for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.