Alaska News Nightly: October 20, 2008

Ted Stevens took the stand again in his own defense on what turned out to be the last day of testimony in his federal trial. Plus, what does a village do for fuel when their just-before-winter barge never shows up? Residents of two Y-K delta villages are about to find out. Meanwhile, one Alaskan’s ideas for non-car transportation gets national attention. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Stevens last witness on the stand before closing arguments
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Jurors in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens heard final testimony today. The last word was from Senator Stevens himself. Closing arguments will start tomorrow morning, with jury deliberation
beginning Wednesday. Stevens is charged with felony counts of lying on his financial disclosure forms about gifts, including the renovation of his Girdwood house. Stevens’ testimony came down
to what qualifies as a gift, and how much he knew about the men working on his home remodeling project.

Kwethluk and Napaskiak headed into winter on empty fuel tanks
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Two villages were caught with empty fuel tanks when the Kuskokwim River froze up last weekend. Fuel storage tanks along the river are typically filled in late fall so the communities have gas and heating fuel for the winter. But Napaskiak and Kwethluk are starting the season running on empty.

AFN 2008: Elders and Youth opening annual Native conference
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention gets under way this week and, as in years past, the Elders and Youth conference leads off the gathering with discussions and workshops taking place today and tomorrow.

Beluga whales’ endangered status to impact major development projects
Ellen Lockyer and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Last week’s listing of the Cook Inlet beluga whale as an endangered species is bound to have repercussions for some large construction projects still on the horizon.

Alaska Native Grand Camp focusing on energy, health, economy
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s oldest Native organizations will focus on energy, economic development and health care over the next year. The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood held their Grand Camp Convention earlier this month in Ketchikan.

National transport plan taking biking, walking seriously; Alaska leading with ideas
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
A campaign was launched today in Washington to get a bigger share of the federal transportation budget for what’s called “active” transportation: walking and bicycling. The Rails-to-Trails
Conservancy put out a report saying that modest increases in these activities would lead to an annual reduction of 70 billion miles of driving. The report lists a number of case studies and one of them involves the urbanized areas of Southcentral Alaska. It was largely written
by Lois Epstein of the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project.

‘Inter-ethnic communication’ bridging language gap between Natives and non-Natives
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Just because we use the same language doesn’t mean we speak the same way. Sometimes the speaking style of different ethnic groups — especially Native and non-Native — blocks effective communication. KSKA’s Len Anderson reports about an effort to reduce these conversational misunderstandings.