Alaska News Nightly: October 31, 2008

Ted Stevens denies guilt – says his conviction is unjust. Also, Don Young gathers dollars for his legal expense fund. Plus, winter roars into Bethel early. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hands control of water-quality permitting to the state of Alaska.  Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Ted Stevens denies any guilt
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Last night Senator Ted Stevens continued his refusal to resign or retire from the U-S Senate,  despite calls from members of his own party to leave the job he’s held for forty years.   Stevens was making his only joint appearance this year with Democratic challenger Mark Begich in a debate sponsored by Alaska Public Radio and Television stations.  Congressional contenders Don Young and Ethan Berkowitz also met face-to-face over their differences.

Don Young accrues dollars for legal expense fund
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Alaska Congressman Don Young received 23-thousand dollars for his legal expense fund in the year’s third quarter.  The money came in between July and the end of September.  House rules required its members to disclose contributions for the third quarter by the end of October. Young is the subject of a federal criminal probe, although exactly what he’s being investigated for is still unclear.  Congress asked the Justice Department to investigate a Florida earmark Young inserted into a spending bill that would benefit a campaign contributor.  He’s also under the microscope for ties to lobbyists – including Veco CEO Bill Allen.  Young denies any wrong-doing.

Peggy Wilson vs. Lilly Herwald in House District 2

Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
In the house race for district two, residents of Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka and several smaller southeast communities will choose between four-term, incumbant, Republican Peggy Wilson of Wrangell, and democratic challenger Lilly Herwald from Sitka. Wilson and Herwald met in Petersburg recently for a live forum on public radio where they answered callers questions about Alaska issues.

Stevens trial judge orders juror to explain herself to the court
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
The federal judge who presided over the Senator Ted Stevens trial has ordered a missing juror to explain herself to the court.  Judge Emmet Sullivan will hold a hearing in Washington DC Monday morning to hear from a woman known as “juror number four.”  She sat through the entire Stevens trial and was part of the deliberating jury.  But she disappeared on the third day of deliberations to attend her father’s funeral.  The court gave her permission to leave, but expected to be able to reach her over the following days.  However, the juror didn’t answer the court’s phone calls and never got back in touch with the judge.

AELP applies for grant to fund renewable energy
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Could ammonia be the fuel of the future? Alaska Electric Light and Power and Juneau renewable-energy advocate Bill Leighty want to find out. They’ve applied for an 800-thousand-dollar grant from the state’s renewable-energy fund to turn air, water, and electricity into ammonia.

Winter roars in early in Bethel

Alice Criswell, KYUK – Bethel
October was a record breaking month for cold temperatures in Bethel. With average daily temperatures at just over 21 degrees, the National Weather Service in Bethel says the community surpassed the coldest October on record, set back in 1924.

EPA gives state control over water quality

John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has handed control of water-quality permitting to the state of Alaska.The state will take over the issuing and enforcing permits for wastewater, logging and seafood processing operations this year. State control of pollution from mining, oil and gas, stormwater
runoff, and other sources will be phased in over the next three years.

Halloween candy can be toxic for pets
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Halloween is the beginning of a 2 month season in which candy floods into American homes.  While sweets are fun, they can pose risks for pets.

Mt. Edgecumbe Yupik dance group welcomes all
Bonnie Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
The Mount Edgecumbe Yupik dance group was one of the performers at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention last week in Anchorage. The group is made up of primarily Yupik dancers, but there are also kids from other cultures that are welcome to join as well.