Alaska News Nightly: September 26, 2008

More “Troopergate” witnesses fail to show up for legislative subpoenas. Plus, the prosecution in  calls its first witnesses against Ted Stevens.  Also, a decline in Kittlitz’s Murrelet population and a rise in chick mortality is causing growing concern. And looking for solutions to local bear attacks in Anchorage. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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More “Troopergate” witnesses ignore subpoenas

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
For the second time in the past week, witnesses who had been subpoenaed to report to the Senate judiciary committee did not show up. Much the same as last week when the first 6 witnesses were no shows, Senator Hollis French gave a brief written statement to reporters naming the 7 state employees who ignored the subpoenas today.

Prosecution in Ted Stevens trial calls its first witnesses

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Veco employees testified today in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens that they spent hundreds of hours working on his Girdwood home.  A book-keeper with the company also testified that she was instructed not to keep a paper-trail on expenses in Girdwood.  The government is building its case in federal court that Senator Stevens took hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts – including the house renovation – and didn’t report them on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms.

Democratic legislators file paperwork for new gas tax initiative
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
One of the most contentious ballot questions of two years ago – the tax on North Slope natural gas that is not offered for production – is back before the public.  The so-called Reserves Tax failed on a nearly two-to-one margin following a major campaign against it by the oil industry and headed by then-governor Frank Murkowski.  But the paperwork for a new initiative was filed today by three legislative Democrats – Harry Crawford, David Guttenberg and Beth Kerttula.

Alaska Marine Higway System plans to build new ferry

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The state ferry system plans to build a new ship that could sail at either end of Southeast.

MatSu examines its transportation needs

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Palmer
Matanuska Valley growth has resulted in some heavy traffic, on roads and in the air.  Road improvement and construction is on tap for the Matanuska Susitna Borough, and for some segments of state highways that cross the Borough. But there’s much more.  Yesterday, a Transportation Fair in Palmer provided information for the public on a wide variety of plans to get people moving faster from one place to another.

Decline in Kittlitz’s Murrelet population raises concern
Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
Fluctuations in seabird populations are often seen as indicators of environmental change. That’s why some scientists are worried about high chick mortality and significant population decline in a rare Alaskan bird—the Kittlitz’s murrelet.

Anchorage looks for solutions to local bear attacks

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Has Anchorage outgrown its ability to coexist with the bears who roam within municipal boundaries?  Last night the public safety committee of the Anchorage Assembly held a special meeting in search of an answer.  But the committee may have found more questions.