Alaska News Nightly: September 25, 2008

In opening statements, opposing lawyers paint two very different pictures of Ted Stevens. Plus, how will having Sarah Palin at the top of the ballot affect other candidates? And NOAA releases 2008 survey numbers for Cook Inlet Belugas. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Opposing lawyers present 2 very different pictures of Ted Stevens

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Prosecutors and defense lawyers for Senator Ted Stevens presented their opening  arguments in U-S District Court today.  As the judge reminded the panel of 12 jurors  and 4 alternates, the opening statements are a road-map of where the lawyers hope to  go – not actual evidence of innocence or wrongdoing.  But listening to the two sides paint their versions of the case gave two very different pictures of Ted Stevens.

How much pull is there in candidate Palin’s coattails?
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Candidates in this year’s legislative races are preparing to see what kind of “pull”  Governor Palin will have on this year’s general election. Her influence was always  expected to be a part of the outcome, but at a safe distance in the Governor’s office. But with the national attention drawn to her, candidates of both parties will find out in November the effects of having her name inside the polling booth – near the top of the ballot.

NMFS releases 2008 Beluga survey numbers for Cook Inlet
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The National Marine Fisheries Service released the 2008 Cook Inlet Beluga survey numbers today. The number of estimated animals is the same as last year- 375. The count was important to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as the agency has been delaying a final decision on whether or not to list the Cook Inlet beluga under the Endangered Species Act until they had this year’s number.

Kake mulls burning wood to provide local power
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Several Southeast communities and businesses are taking a closer look at using wood to power generators and heat buildings. Craig, for example, is already burning mill waste to warm two schools and a swimming pool. Now Kake’s village corporation is trying to set up wood-fired electrical generators.

Searching for sustainable energy
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
While many Alaskans are paying fuel bills with their energy checks from the state, others are trying to leverage the temporary relief into something more permanent.