Alaska News Nightly: October 24, 2008

Jury deliberations in the Ted Stevens trial are put on hold until next week.  Also, AFN focuses on rural energy crisis. Plus, the southeast village of Kake has run out of fuel. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Jury deliberations in the Ted Stevens trial on hold until next week
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Jury deliberations in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens are ON HOLD. Judge Emmet Sullivan decided to send the jury home this morning, in order to accommodate a juror who had to leave town for a family emergency. The delay drags out deliberations, and will force the trial into its sixth week.

AFN continues to focus on energy crisis
Duncan Moon and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The second day of the Alaska Federation of Natives annual 3 day convention started off with more discussion of the urgent need to address soaring energy prices in rural Alaska.

Kake runs out of fuel
Bonnie Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
The village of Kake has been out of fuel for the past three days. After rationing low supplies for a week, Kake Tribal Fuel Corporation says they finally ran out of unleaded fuel completely. President Matthew Bell says it’s put everyone in Kake in a bind, but it’s beyond his company’s control

IBU digs in its heels over split wages
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The Palin Administration hopes to do away with so-called split-wages for all Alaska Marine Highway System employees. The practice has been part of union contracts for years and its demise apparently caused the Inland boatman’s Union, the IBU to reject its latest tentative agreement.

New mineral claims staked near Yakutat
Bonnie Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
New Mineral claims worth billions of dollars in iron ore and other precious metals have recently been staked near Yakutat.  The claims cover nearly 50,000 acres of mostly federal but some state land. Some local residents are concerned about the effects mining would have on the area, including its proximity to the Setuk river and impacts on Yakutat’s fishing industry

Interior Department unveils geothermal energy initiative
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
An interior department initiative hopes to pave the way for geothermal energy development across the western United States.  The plan announced this week by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne  makes nearly 200 million acres in 12 western states, including Alaska, available for leasing for geothermal projects.  Land use plans have been modified to accommodate geothermal leasing in dozens of areas in the interior, northwest, south central and southeast Alaska.

Most of Porcupine Caribou herd wintering in Alaska
Cheryl Kawaja, CBC – Whitehorse
Many Yukon hunters are headed to the Dempster Highway this week.  Some of the Porcupine Caribou Herd have arrived in the area, as part of its traditional winter migration. But there are fewer caribou than usual.