Alaska News Nightly: November 20, 2008

Ted Stevens says goodbye to the US Senate. Plus, an appeals court puts Shell’s Beaufort-Sea drilling plans on hold. And Ruthie Sampson, long a champion of the Inupiaq language, dies in Anchorage. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Federal Court puts Shell’s Beaufort Sea drilling plan on hold
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Shell’s offshore exploration plan for the drilling multiple exploration wells over 3 years in the Beaufort sea ran up against another set back today after the 9th circuit court upheld an earlier ruling saying that the Minerals Management Service did not take a “hard look” at impacts to bowhead whales, other marine mammals and the centuries old subsistence practices of the North Slope Inupiaq people.

Ted Stevens says goodbye to the Senate

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Ted Stevens made his final remarks on the Senate Floor today, closing out his forty year career representing Alaska in the nation’s capital.  His colleagues – some of whom just days ago were saying he should resign – gave him a touching tribute and applauded his work for Alaska and the nation.

Ramras calls for Governor Palin to act on high gasoline prices

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A State legislator from Fairbanks is calling on the Governor to demand Alaska refiners get gas prices more in line with the lower 48.  Representative Jay Ramras says Governor Palin’s clout is a way to gain traction with the state’s 2 refiners of gasoline, Tesoro and Flint Hills.

Gas companies look at possibility of delivering natural gas to Homer

Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
A pair of oil and gas companies are exploring the possibility of bringing natural gas to Homer. The project is still a couple of years out at the very least. But  all signs point to a positive outcome

Sealaska shareholder dividends up this year
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Oil wealth from the North Slope is fueling Native corporation dividends statewide. That includes Southeast’s Sealaska, which is issuing its second-largest shareholder payment this decade. The profits will help replace investment earnings hit hard by the
falling stock market.

Alaska works to break the grip of smoking
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Today is the Great American Smoke out, a day set aside nationally to help people consider giving up the habit of tobacco addiction. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium just celebrated 2 years of being a totally smoke free facility and campus.

Study shows Steller Sea Lion numbers mixed

Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham
A new study shows part of Alaska’s western population of Steller Sea Lions is still in decline. But much of the state’s population is stable or increasing.

Anchorage Doctor killed by out-of-control snowmachine
Lori Townsend and Associated Press, Anchorage
An Anchorage pediatrician, Roger Gollub died after a snowmobile slammed into his dog sled during a mushing excursion in northwest Alaska.   Alaska State Troopers say the 53-year-old Gollub was killed in the crash Wednesday night. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says two people were on the snowmobile. She says the snowmobile was traveling in the same direction as the dog team when it hit the sled on a trail near Kotzebue. Alcohol was involved in the crash.

Ruthie Sampson, champion of Inupiaq language, dies in Anchorage
Lori Townsend, APRN – Acnhorage
Residents of Shungnak said goodbye today to a woman who devoted her life to teaching the Inupiaq language. Ruthie Sampson, was 54 years old when she died of a massive stroke earlier this week on a trip to Anchorage. She was passionate about keeping the endangered Inupiaq language alive. Sampson wrote an Inupiaq dictionary, helped develop an Inupiaq computer program and taught classes in the language.