Alaska News Nightly: November 6, 2008

The Legislature organizes bipartisan coalitions. And Nikiski Republican Mike Chenault is named Speaker of the state House.  Also Governor Palin returns to new reality in Alaska.  Plus, a new Grant provides Fairbanks police with resources for fighting domestic violence Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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The Legislature organizes bipartisan coalitions

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state House and Senate today organized their majority coalitions – even though the vote tallies in six House Districts and one Senate District are still so close the final outcomes could change before the session begins.  As it now stands, ten Republicans and ten Democrats hold seats in the session that begins in January.

Nikiski Republican Mike Chenault named Speaker of the state House

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau and Lori Townsend, APRN Anchorage
The House has also announced its leadership structure –and most of its committee chairmanship positions. Mike Chenault of Nikiski is Speaker.

Governor Palin returns to new reality

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Governor Palin doesn’t have the same level of popularity she once enjoyed in the state. And that change will likely extend to her
previously strong backing in the legislature as well.

PERS and TRS sustain losses in economic downturn

Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham
With the recent declines in the stock market, the state employee retirement funds, known as PERS and TRS have sustained big losses.

Emmonak Women’s Shelter looks for resources to return to 24-hour schedule

Laureli Kineen, KNOM – Nome
The Emmonak Women’s Shelter is Alaska’s only emergency shelter located in a village setting.  The staff is comprised entirely of Yupik-speaking women from the community, located at the mouth of the Yukon River. The Shelter is still searching for resources to reopen on an around-the-clock basis.

Grant provides Fairbanks police with resources for fighting domestic violence

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Fairbanks Police will use a new grant to better follow up on domestic violence cases.  A 300 thousand dollar award from the U.S. Department of Justice will pay for a full time investigator as well as Domestic Violence response training for local police.  Project Director Lieutenant Tara Tippet, says the investigator will be able to take on aspects of response police currently don’t have time for, like reviewing domestic violence cases and reports.

Prince of Wales Island Dungeness crabbers await Board of Fisheries decision
Jay Marble, KRBD – Ketchikan
In January, the Alaska Board of Fisheries will consider several proposals to restrict or expand access to Dungeness crabs in the waters off Prince of Wales Island.

Circuit breaker identified as culprit in Alaska Airlines emergency landing

John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Alaska Airlines officials say their investigation into the cause of an emergency landing at Juneau International Airport last month  has confirmed their initial suspicion. A circuit-breaker tripped between the cockpit and one of the engines, causing an instrument panel – but not the engine – to stop working.