Alaska News Nightly: November 17, 2008

U.S. Senators are considering taking away Senator Ted Stevens’ committee assignments, even before the final vote count for his seat is tallied. Plus, the Board of Game has made it legal again for hunters to kill black bears in their dens. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Lame Duck Senate starts up in DC, Stevens on list of issues to address
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Congress convened today for a “lame duck session,” expected to last the week. Alaska’s delegation is back in Washington after the campaign season. But the return to the Capitol may be especially trying for one member: Senator Ted Stevens.

Izembek land swap vote delayed to 2009
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada said today that an anticipated lands package will not be taken up in this week’s lame duck Congressional session. Instead, it will be given to the new Congress to deal with in January.

Senator Murkowski gathers educator insights on boosting graduation rates
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Senator Murkowski was in Anchorage on Saturday taking testimony from educators and academics on how the federal government can help improve high school graduation rates and boost post-secondary success.

Iraq chopper crash claims two Alaskan soldiers
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Two Ft. Wainwright-based soldiers were killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash in Iraq. The Department of Defense reports Chief Warrant Officers Donald V. Clark and Christian P. Humphries died from injuries suffered in the crash Saturday.

Missile defense makes good economic offense
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A new study shows positive economic effects of missile defense in Alaska. The University of Alaska Fairbanks study, commissioned by missile defense contractor Boeing, shows the project contributed $246 million to the state’s economy in 2007.

Talkeetna historic cabin named ‘most endangered’
Sue Deyoe, KTNA – Talkeetna
Talkeetna is now home to one of the top endangered historical buildings in Alaska. The Alaska Association of Historic Preservation this month placed the Tom Weatherall Cabin on Main Street on their list of the most endangered properties in the state.

Former Governor Murkowski pushing Alaska resource development
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
In a rare public appearance today, former Governor Frank Murkowski spoke about Alaska’s economy to a crowd from the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Murkowski stressed the importance of continuing to push forward with natural resource development in the state, despite the worsening national economic crisis.

Hunters can begin to kill some denned black bears again next year
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
It will be legal again in some areas of the state for hunters to kill black bears in their dens. Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms says the Game Board last week approved a proposal that goes into affect next July to allow the once-common — but more recently illegal — practice in several interior game management units.

Berners Bay bears aren’t like most coastal bears
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
The Alaska Board of Game rejected a proposal last week by Nick Yurko of Juneau to extend the season and increase the bag limit for hunting brown bears in Berners Bay. Staff biologists say the population of 60 brown bears in Berners Bay already has enough hunting pressure on it.

Port Armstrong bear making itself at home, whether anyone likes it or not
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
The community of Port Armstrong, on the Southern end of Baranof Island, has had a fall visitor, who is wreaking havoc around town.