Alaska News Nightly: October 29, 2008

Ted Stevens is back in Alaska, enjoying rallies from his supporters but under some big question marks over what happens next — in the election and beyond. Meanwhile, Alaskans have learned a lot more about Sarah Palin in the last several weeks than they ever knew before. So how do they like her now? Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3, 30 min)

Ted Stevens returns to Alaska
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Ted Stevens returns to Alaska this evening to campaign for reelection. He only has six days to reach out to voters before the polls close. Stevens plans to run hard this week, despite Monday’s seven count felony conviction of lying on his financial disclosure forms. Tonight Alaska’s Senior Republican Senator is being welcomed at a rally organized by his campaign.

What happens if Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat is vacated?
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
With calls coming from within his own party for him to resign, Senator Ted Stevens continues to refuse to step down. If he is not elected next week, all those calls for resignation are unnecessary. But the question for Alaskans is: “What happens if he wins the election and then — for whatever reason — leaves the Senate?”

Stevens’ lawyers call for investigation of prosecutors
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Stevens’ legal team has asked the Attorney General of the United States to investigate federal prosecutors’ actions during Stevens’ trial. The 16-page letter from defense lawyer Brendan Sullivan was hand-delivered yesterday to the offices of Attorney General Michael Mukasey. It asks for a formal investigation into what Sullivan called “repeated misconduct by federal prosecutors.” It also asks that the Justice Department preserve all information and material related to the investigation.

National stage gives Alaskans new perspective on Governor Palin
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A University of Alaska Fairbanks journalism professor who’s covered politics in Alaska and as foreign correspondent says Alaskans have learned more about Sarah Palin since she’s been the vice presidential candidate than they ever did when she was Alaska’s governor. Former Anchorage Daily News reporter and Anchorage Press editor Robert Meyerowitz says the lack of sophistication Palin has demonstrated nationally was never apparent in Alaska.

Senate District C campaign stretches district boundries
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The race for Alaska’s largest legislative district has crossed the Pacific. One candidate for Senate District C is campaigning electronically from Japan, where she’s teaching for the season. That’s far beyond the district’s already-enormous boundaries, which run from southern Southeast to the Yukon River and most of the way to the Bering Sea.

Gatto vs. Cheezem in House District 13
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Republican incumbent Carl Gatto faces Democrat and bookstore owner David Cheezem in the upcoming race for the Matanuska Valley’s state House District 13. Gatto has served in the legislature since his 2002 win, but challenger Cheezem says a fast-growing district needs new leadership. Gatto’s getting support from well-known Alaskans like Ed Rasmuson, Red Boucher and Gabriel LeDoux, while Cheezem has drawn contributions from sources as diverse as the Mat-Su Educational Association and Fairbanks Laborer’s Local 942.

Golden Valley takes public comment on proposed rate hike
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks area’s Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) is taking public comment on a proposed rate increase. GVEA filed results of a mandated rate study with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) last month. Golden Valley spokeswoman Dianne Porter says the study shows a rate hike is warranted given rising maintenance and materials costs. She says the increase would affect most customer categories.

African dance comes to the upper Susitna Valley
Sue Deyoe, KTNA – Talkeetna
Residents of the Upper Matanuska Susitna Valley recently had a rare chance to participate in learning music and dance from Africa. The London-based band Baka Beyond was in Talkeetna over the weekend for a concert and workshops.