Alaska News Nightly: November 13, 2008

The State Division of Elections prepares to count a remaining 40,000 ballots that will determine the outcome of the too-close-to-call race for U.S. Senate. Plus, Governor Sarah Palin attracts more media attention at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Florida. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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40,000 ballots set for counting tomorrow, next week
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Division of Elections will begin counting more than 40,000 remaining absentee, early and questioned ballots tomorrow, working through next Tuesday to clear up the large backlog still pending for this year’s general election.

Washington politicos watching, talking about Stevens/Begich race
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
The Stevens / Begich race is being watched closely in Washington, where Republicans and Democrats are eager to see the seat fall into their camp. The chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, says he’s “cautiously optimistic” Begich will win the Alaska race.

Anchorage legislative seats also up in the air
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
In State legislative races, the outcome of 6 House seats and 1 Senate seat were too close to call on election day. But yesterday’s additional ballot count didn’t change any of those results — the same candidates are still in the lead. One race may even go to court.

Palin speaks to Republican governors
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC and Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Governor Sarah Palin was back in the national spotlight today at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami. She first took questions from reporters at a press conference that lasted only 4 minutes.

Will a new President and Congress support wildlife group objectives?
Libby Casey, APRN – Anchorage
The country’s leading wildlife-protection groups weighed in today on what they hope to see from an Obama presidency. Activists concerned about global warming, endangered species and public lands are optimistic that the new president and the new Congress will hear their voices.

Despite falling oil price, renewable energy a focus for southeast Natives
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
World oil prices have been falling in recent months, but Southeast Alaska Native leaders say reducing villages’ dependence on diesel fuel is still an urgent priority.

EPA turns over clean water administration to State; conservation groups fighting the change
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Last month after a lengthy process that began in 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency transferred authority to oversee and implement the federal Clean Water Act permitting program known as the National Pollution Elimination System program or NPDES to the State of Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Fish processor ‘Atlantis’ seized by feds
Jay Marble, KRBD – Ketchikan
Federal Marshals have seized the fish processing barge Atlantis, currently moored in Ketchikan.