Alaska News Nightly: August 14, 2008

Senator Steven’s lawyers move to dismiss charges against him.  Also, Alaska Lobbyist, Ashley Reed is charged with failure to report his business activities before the legislature.  Plus, the Palin administration gave former public safety commissioner Chuck Kopp a $10,000  severance package for his two weeks on the job. And a study underway near Deadhorse is looking at how polar bears cope when they’re forced to spend more time on land because of limited sea ice in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Steven’s lawyers move to dismiss charges against him
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Lawyers for Senator Ted Stevens filed a handful of motions today to dismiss the charges against him.  Stevens faces seven counts of lying on his Financial Disclosure Forms to cover up $250,000 worth of gifts from the oil field services company VECO.  He’s scheduled to go on trial in Washington, D-C next month. The accelerated schedule Stevens’ lawyers requested means the motions are coming all at once.

Alaska lobbyist charged with failure to report his business activities
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
One of Alaska’s most influential lobbyists. Ashley Reed,  faces criminal charges on seven counts of failure to report his business activities to the Alaska Public Offices Commission during this year’s legislative session.

Governor gives Kopp a hefty severance package
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The Palin administration gave former public safety commissioner Chuck Kopp a $10,000  severance package for his two weeks on the job.

A new polar-bear study examines results of receding sea ice
Duncan Moon, APRN – Anchorage
A study underway near Deadhorse is looking at how polar bears cope when they’re forced to spend more time on land because of limited sea ice in the Southern Beaufort Sea.  The bears need good ice that’s near enough to the shore to allow them to hunt their main prey – seals. The study is led by the University of Wyoming in collaboration with federal agencies.

Belugas in the Kuskokwim

Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Kuskokwim Villages are seeing some large and unfamiliar animals in the river.  Residents are reporting at least one Belugua whale headed upriver.

Canadian legislator calls for shared energy vision with U.S.
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A Canadian legislator has shared a vision for the future of energy in North America at the Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians in Fairbanks.  Robert Mills, who chairs the Canadian Parliament’s Environment Committee, said there needs to be a fundamental shift in our perspective on climate change and energy.

Pink returns disappointing in Southeast

Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
With a total catch of around 5 million fish so far, pink salmon returns remain poor in much of Southeast Alaska. The Commercial Pink Salmon Fishery typically peaks around this time. About 200 seine boats have been fishing and catches have improved, but many areas are closed to let more pinks escape up stream. So area management biologist William Bergman believes the total seine harvest will end up pretty short of pre-season expectations.

Craig residents debate fluoridated water
Jay Marble, KRBD – Craig
Fluoridated water has been a controversial subject in Juneau recently. Now residents and council members in the town of Craig, on Prince of Wales Island are taking a look at the issue. On the October municipal ballot, voters there will  tell the Council whether they agree or disagree with the decision to take fluoride out of the water.