Alaska News Nightly: August 27, 2008

The primary race between Don Young and Sean Parnell remains to close to call. At the same time,  Yup’ik language ballots proved a success. And Exxon Mobil agrees to cut checks to pay partial Exxon Valdez oil spill damages. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Young/Parnell vote still too close to call
Lori Townsend, Dave Donaldson, Len Anderson, Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The Republican primary race for Alaska’s U-S House seat is still way too close to call. With only one precinct left to report, Don Young is leading Lt. Governor Sean Parnell by just 152 votes.   That’s out of more than 90 thousand ballots cast.  There are still several thousand absentee ballots and questioned ballots that need to be counted.

Yup’ik language ballots a success
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The State of Alaska provided unprecedented language assistance last night at the polls in Yup’ik regions.  The Division of Elections began preparing for the language assistance program shortly after a lawsuit was filed by several elders.  The Elders claimed that the State was not meeting minority language assistance requirements and a federal judge agreed.  Now, Yupik voters in Bethel say the ballots made more sense than ever before.

Exxon Mobil to pay partial EVOS damages
Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
Lawyers for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case have reached an agreement with Exxon-Mobil to pay partial punitive damages for the 1989 spill. Lead plaintiffs’ attorney Dave Oesting says the company has agreed to pay about 383-million dollars of the 507.5-million dollar judgment made by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case.

Southeast fisherman struggle with high energy prices
Bonnie Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
High fuel prices aren’t just affecting the big city driver. In Southeast Alaska, fishermen are looking at fuel saving measures to cut costs, or they risk staying tied to the dock.

Fairbanks Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker addresses Democratic National Convention
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Whitaker spoke to a national audience from the stage of the Democratic National Convention last night.  He’s the only Alaskan to address the Convention, which runs through tomorrow (Thurs).  Whitaker was chosen by Barak Obama’s campaign staff to give a short speech – as a Republican who’s voting
for the Democratic candidate.

Hydropalooza making progress in Kachemak Bay
Emily Schwing, KBBI – Homer
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ships Rainier and Fairweather are back in Kachemak Bay.  After a month of tracking the tides, they are hard at work using multibeam sonar to update the nautical charts of the bay floor.

Thousands of migrating Geese and Sandhill Cranes take a break in Fairbanks
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Thousands of birds are moving through the interior on their migration south from summer nesting areas on Alaska’s northern and western coasts. Creamers Refuge in Fairbanks is popular stopover point for Canada Geese, White fronted Geese and Sandhill cranes this time of year.