Alaska News Nightly: October 6, 2008

The jury in Ted Stevens trial hears taped phone calls between the senator and Bill Allen. At the same time, the judge considers a defense motion to dismiss the case.   And 7 state employees decide to submit to Troopergate subpoenas after all.   Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Jury hears taped phone calls between Bill Allen and Ted Stevens

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Jurors in the trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens listened this morning to three audio recordings of conversations between Stevens and former Veco CEO Bill Allen.  Allen is the government’s main witness, as prosecutors try to build a case that Stevens took more than 250-thousand dollars worth of gifts, mostly from Veco.  One of the alleged major gifts is the renovation of Stevens’ Girdwood home.

Judge in Stevens trial considers defense request to dismiss
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Several times now, Ted Stevens’ legal team has asked Judge Emmett Sullivan to dismiss the case, contending that federal prosecution has been deliberately witholding evidence from the defense.  The judge has said he will rule on the latest dismissal motion tomorrow or Wednesday.  And he ordered prosecutors to provide more complete documents to the defense.  Those documents contain some new details about the Alaska
corruption cases the FBI has been investigating.

7 state employees to submit to subpoenas after all
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Anchorage
Attorney General Talis Colberg this weekend said that all seven state employees who were subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Committee will give depositions to the investigator looking into the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. They had withheld their testimony in the inquiry until  a court ruled on the validity of the subpoenas – which has now been completed. Although an appeal by some plaintiff’s to the Alaska Supreme Court will be taken up Wednesday,  Senator Hollis French says the seven state workers will be allowed to give written statements under oath to help speed up the process.

NPMFC approves contentious halibut harvest plan

Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
A contentious catch sharing plan for Alaska halibut harvesters has gained the approval of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.  Conflicts between commercial halibut fishermen and the guided sport charter fleet have a long history.  The new plan will apply to both Southeast and Southcentral Alaska.

Environmentalists reach agreement with Federal government on endangered spieces issues

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Environmental groups announced today they’ve reached an agreement with the Federal Government over some of their concerns surrounding the recent Endangered Species Act listing for the polar bear. Under the settlement, the Interior Department will designate “critical habitat” for the species. The move wouldn’t automatically prohibit oil and gas drilling in the designated habitat area, but it would make it much more difficult. Melanie Duchin is a global warming campaigner in Anchorage for Greenpeace, one of the conservation groups that reached the settlement

Barge brings cheaper fuel to YK Delta
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
The last fuel barges of the season showed up in Bethel late last week which is dropping the prices in some communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Redoubt volcano spews steam
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The Alaska Volcano Observatory confirms that they have seen some increased steaming from redoubt volcano on the western side of Cook Inlet.

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage

Recently an Anchorage man achieved a dubious distinction.  He was the first to be captured and arrested by APD for trying to steal a “bait car.”  Actually he was arrested by the police, but captured by the car.