Alaska News Nightly: September 16, 2008

Senator Stevens loses bid to have his federal corruption case dismissed. Plus, State House Speaker John Harris today asked Legislative Council Chairman Kim Elton to call a meeting of the committee which overseeing the troopergate investigation, while five state Legislators sue to stop the investigation. And the lights go back on in Adak. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Senator Stevens loses bid to have his case dismissed
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Ted Stevens lost his final pre-trial bid today to have the federal case against him dismissed.  Alaska’s senior Republican Senator faces seven counts of lying on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms.  The case is set to go to trial next week in Washington, DC.

House Speaker Harris asks for meeting of Legislative council
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
House Speaker John Harris today asked Legislative Council Chairman Kim Elton to call a meeting of the committee that takes care of legislative issues when the House and Senate are not in session.   The Council provided the funds for the investigation of  the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The formal report from investigator Steve Branchflower is due October tenth.

Five state Legislators sue to stop legislature’s investigation of Governor Palin

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Also today, Five legislators in Anchorage and six people in Fairbanks sued to stop the Legislative council’s
investigation of the Monegan firing – managed by Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French. The lawmakers are Representatives Wes Keller, Mike Kelly and Bob Lynn along with Senators Fred Dyson and Tom Wagoner- all Republicans. They say the investigation is an attempt to use the legislative council to further partisan politics.

Opponents call lawsuit frivilous
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Anchorage Democrat and former state prosecutor Representative Les Gara agrees that what he calls the character assassination against Monegan and legislative council Democrats is the worst kind of inflammatory partisan politics and without merit.

Ketchikan worries about alienating Governor Palin
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
City of Ketchikan mayor Bob Weinstein has joined forces with the Obama campaign to dispel what he says are Sarah Palin’s distortions of her record as governor. But Ketchikan’s borough mayor is worried that Weinstein’s public opposition to the governor could end up hurting Ketchikan in the long run.

Fairbanks brawl could be gang related
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks Police and school district officials are trying to understand what caused off-field fighting at a high school football game last week.  The brawl which cut the game short, may be tied to a rise in gang-related trouble in the city.

The power is back on in  Adak

Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
The city council approved a new agreement with the Aleut Corporation which says the Corporation will sell the city five thousand more gallons of fuel on credit while helping them find low interest loans. The city plans on selling the utility to TDX Electric but will have to maintain it until at least December. Janet McNall is one of the five council members who voted for the agreement.

Bethel-based telemedicine program held up as a model in DC

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
On Capitol Hill today, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation’s tele-medicine program was held up as an example of what high speed internet access can offer rural America.  YKHC president Gene Petola testified by video conference from Bethel before the Senate Commerce Committee this morning.  The Committee’s hearing was about the importance of broadband, or high speed internet, access in the United States.

Perseverence Theater celebrates 30th season with Gogol and Rotch
Weld Royal, KTOO – Juneau
Juneau’s Perseverance Theater in Juneau kicked off its 30th season last weekend with the Government Inspector, Nikolai Gogol’s mistaken-identity comedy. It’s a debut for Art Rotch, who returns as artistic director after six years in New York.