Alaska News Nightly: October 3, 2008

The Alaska Supreme Court asked to rule on Troopergate investigation Plus, Alaskan have mixed reactions to Governor Palin and the  Vice Presidential debate.  And the Kensington gold mine north of Juneau will lay off half its workers.  Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Alaska Supreme Court asked to rule on Troopergate investigation

Lori Townsend & Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Supreme Court has been asked to step into the “Troopergate” investigation.  Late Yesterday state court judge Peter Mihalsky denied a motion to stop next week’s release of the investigation’s findings.  Witness have refused to respond to subpoenas but the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to issue its report anyway.  The state Law department, a group of lawmakers and some Fairbanks citizens sued to challenge the legitimacy of the investigation, saying it is politically motivated. Today the Anchorage Daily News is reporting the group  filed an emergency appeal with the Alaska Supreme Court.

Alaskans have mixed reactions to VP debate

Bonnie Sue Hitchcock – KCAW – Sitka
Alaskans around the state turned out at various venues last night for the only Vice Presidential debate between Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden.  In Sitka, those attending a  Republican Rally seemed pleased with Palin’s peformance, while down the street at the Westmark, a standing room only crowd was less enthusiastic.

Darfur divestiture bill likely to return next year

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A bill ordering the state to divest its investments in companies doing business in Sudan – while widespread genocide continues in the Darfur region of that country – will be back before the legislature next year.  And this time with national support from Sarah Palin. She commented on it during last night’s vice presidential debate, saying the US – and Alaska – are in a position to help stop
the death there.

Kensington gold mine to lay off half its workers
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Coeur-Alaska is laying off half the workforce at the Kensington Mine north of Juneau. The Idaho-based company is blaming federal regulators for what it calls the temporary layoffs of 41 employees.

4 Sled dogs die in accident
Associated Press
Kasilof musher Jon Little is grieving the death of four of his sled dogs after they were hit by a vehicle during a training run. Six of the dogs were struck by a Homer resident, who says he didn’t have time to stop. One of the dogs was not hurt, but three died instantly. Of two injured dogs, one had to be euthanized Tuesday.  Wolf, a 3-year-old male, was hit, but his tug-line snapped and the frightened animal ran away. Little got him back Wednesday morning. Wolf had no broken bones, but had a major ankle dislocation.

Alaska banks appear to have avoided the crisis
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Banking officials in Alaska say their institutions are sound. Despite the national economic crisis, there have been no recent failures among Alaska banks. Industry representatives say, that’s because their companies have largely stayed away from the risky practices that have caused huge problems elsewhere in the country.

Some Alaska small businesses finding the going rougher
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Banks may be faring well in Alaska but Alaska Growth Capitol President Hugh Short says investment in small business in Alaska is starting to suffer. The 10 year old company provides financing of up to 10 million dollars for Alaska businesses throughout the state. Short says existing businesses that are successful and have good relationships with their banks are so far unaffected.

Displaced flood victims return to Nenana
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Nenana residents displaced by August flooding are mostly back in their homes.  City mayor Jason Mayrand says most people forced out by the worst flood in 40 years have been able to reoccupy their houses following repairs to remedy water damage.

Conference of Young Alaskans set to kick off tomorrow
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Young Alaskans are preparing for what they hope will be the largest statewide discussion in history tomorrow. The Forum of Young Alaskans will attempt to take the political, social and economic pulse of residents between the ages of 16 and 25 from ten sites across the state. Maggie Grega, with UAA and Nils Andreason, from the Institute of the North are helping organize the event.