Alaska News Nightly: October 28, 2008

Governor Palin and John McCain call on Ted Stevens to resign from the US Senate. Also, Alaskans join Americans in the lower 48 in setting early voting records. Plus, convicted murderer John Carlin is found dead in prison. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Palin and McCain call for Stevens to step down

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Governor Sarah Palin is calling for Senator Ted Stevens to step down because of his felony convictions.  A Washington D-C jury found Stevens guilty yesterday of lying on his financial disclosure forms about gifts worth more than a quarter-million dollars.

As a convicted felon, Stevens may not be able to vote
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
The Division of Elections does not yet know if Senator Stevens will be able to cast a ballot for himself next week, because he’s now a convicted felon.  State Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai  says it comes down to the definition of “moral turpitude,” which is defined as conduct against community standards of morality and honesty.

Voters taking advantage of early voting in record numbers
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Voters across the nation are recognizing the importance of the elections next week, and they are responding.  Washington State, using its vote-by-mail system,  is forecasting better than eighty percent turnout.   And in those states where it’s allowed, people are casting their votes early – a million of them in Tennessee, one and a quarter million in Florida, and one and a half million have requested early ballots in Ohio.

Convictions may not overshadow Stevens’ legacy
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
University of Alaska Fairbanks Political science Professor Gerry McBeath says Stevens’ conviction will not overshadow everything the Senator has done for state.

Ray Metcalfe feels vindicated by Stevens convictions
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Former state legislator Ray Metcalfe has actively tried to keep governmental ethics in the public eye since he filed complaints with the US attorney,  the state attorney general,  and the federal grand jury  in June of 2005.  He says he feels vindicated– although he says Stevens’ conviction is only half of what he has wanted.  He now is looking for others in Anchorage’s power structure to fall.

Former Fairbanks mayor and convicted felon Jim Hayes wants a new trial

Associated Press
Defense attorney John Murtagh says a judge should have rescheduled the trial of Hayes so his wife could have testified about her central role in stealing more than $400,000 from social service grants.   Jim Hayes was convicted of helping siphon federal grant money from his wife’s mentoring center and hiding the thefts through money laundering.

The race for Senate Seat O is a hot one
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
John Cowdery’s retirement from Senate Seat O has created an increasingly sharp-toned race between a Republican house representative and a Democrat who is a former two-term, Anchorage Assembly member.

Convicted murderer John Carlin found dead in prison

Associated Press
A spokesman for the Alaska Department of Corrections says John Carlin, the gunman in a notorious Alaska killing, has been found dead at the state prison in Seward.

Fish & Game closes doe season on Chichagof Island
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
The Department of Fish & Game closed doe hunting season on  October 1st on northeast Chichagof island. The decision was unprecedented. The closure came more than a month earlier than last year’s closure of the same area in November, and two months before the department closed down hunting for does in the entire game management unit comprised of Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof islands.

Denali Commission celebrates 10th birthday

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Denali Commission, an independent federal agency is now 10 years old. The commission has built infrastructure such as teacher housing, clinics and fuel tank farms throughout rural Alaska. Now the commission is looking at significant changes to the way they fund projects.