Alaska News Nightly: November 19, 2008

As Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich spends his first day as Senator-elect, Alaskans are reflecting on the historical career of Ted Stevens. Plus, the Denali Commission looks at the problem of rural out-migration. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Stevens concedes, Begich savors first day of Senate-elect status
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
After a tough election battle, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich won Ted Stevens’ long-held U.S. Senate seat yesterday. Begich acknowledged Stevens’ years of service to the state, saying he respected that work. But he says he thinks Alaska is shifting, much as Anchorage did when he was elected Mayor, and beat a Republican incumbent for the first time in the city’s history.

Washington politicos react to Stevens election loss
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
The news that the Senate’s longest-serving Republican will not be returning to office next year sunk in today in Washington.

Berkowitz concedes, Young back at work in Washington
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Two weeks after election day, Alaska Congressman Don Young is back at work in Washington, reflecting on his victory. He was staying mum on the election results until he heard from Democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz. Berkowitz called Young yesterday to concede, after the Division of Elections counted the latest batch of ballots. The two fought a tough battle for an election bid that pollsters had predicted Berkowitz would win. Young says he’s thrilled with the results — but by no means shocked.

Alaskans call Stevens home with mixed emotions
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaskans are reflecting on what life will be like without “uncle Ted” in the Senate. Many are mourning the way his career ended, but also say they’re ready for change.

Anchorage Assembly chair to step up as interim mayor
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
With Mark Begich headed to Washington in January, Anchorage will need a new mayor. Matt Claman is currently the city’s Assembly chair and will be interim mayor. He hasn’t decided yet if he’ll run for the job himself.

Denali Commission avoiding over-investment in shrinking rural Alaska
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The Denali Commission is tightening up its guidelines for the projects it funds in rural Alaska. High fuel prices are prompting an out-migration from the bush, and yesterday the Commission passed a new sustainability policy to avoid investing in oversize facilities for communities that might shrink so much that they couldn’t afford to keep them going. The Commission’s advisory committee is trying to get a better handle on the specifics of the out-migration that everybody now knows is happening.

Bethel area judge appears for misconduct hearing
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
Bethel District Court judge Dennis Cummings was in Anchorage court earlier this week defending himself against a misconduct complaint. The hearing is trying to decide whether or not Cummings acted inappropriately while presiding in the Western Alaska hub community.

Fairbanks holding vigil for homeless youth
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
This is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and a candlelight vigil is being held Thursday in Fairbanks for homeless youth. The annual Fairbanks Counseling and Adoption Street Outreach program event is staged to raise awareness of the community’s population of young people struggling to scrape out a living.