Alaska News Nightly: February 18, 2009

State Senators discuss their pending pay hike. And, a tight bunch of top mushers are preparing to battle it out over a rough trail in the second half of the Yukon Quest.

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More prosecution ethical lapses revealed in Stevens trial
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
A series of previously-sealed motions and closed-door hearings have been revealed in the Ted Stevens case. The former U.S. Senator was convicted in October 2008 of lying on financial disclosure forms.

Priest sex abuse lawsuits suspended by Jesuit bankruptcy action
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
More than 60 lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests in Alaska are on hold after the Jesuits of the Oregon Province filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday.

Alaska Airline cargo service posts profit in tightening economy
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Despite an overall 2008 revenue decline for national and international air cargo carriers, Alaska Airlines proved the exception. The airline’s air cargo division not only showed a fourth quarter profit, but last year the cargo set an overall revenue record.

Tulsequah mine operations suspended indefinitely
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
It’s unclear when work on the Tulsequah Chief Mine will resume. A new long-term suspension appears to come on the heels of dramatic increases in the estimated time and cost to reopen the mine.

Palin administration lists $334 million in State budget cuts
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Palin administration late this afternoon gave legislators a list of reductions to next year’s budget in response to expected low revenues next year.

Alaska Senate talks about upcoming legislative pay boost
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Today, members of the state Senate discussed their pending pay change, which goes into effect if they take no action on the findings made last month by the State Officers Compensation Commission.

Kleedehn wins Yukon gold upon reaching Quest halfway mark
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Yukon Quest veteran William Kleedehn of Carcross, Yukon Territory arrived first at the Quest’s halfway point at Dawson City last night at 10:15 Yukon time. He wons 4 ounces of gold.

Fish runs profiled at Fish Board meeting
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
Fishery stocks for most species continue to be strong under state management, according to staff reports heard yesterday at the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting, which continues in Sitka today. The 2008 sockeye runs on the Situk river near Yakutat was one exception — sockeye returns there were the lowest seen since 1960. Most of the fish runs in the Yakutat area come from the Situk River.

Fish and Game publishes book on Alaska fishing history
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Board of Fish and Game released a new book on the history of Alaska’s fisheries at this week’s Board of Fish meeting. It’s called Sustaining Alaska’s Fisheries: Fifty Years of Statehood.