Alaska News Nightly: March 11, 2009

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Former Willow Lawmaker Admits Guilt in Bribery Charge
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Former Alaska Republican representative Beverly Masek of Willow has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bribery conspiracy regarding a program that received federal funds.

Congressional Delegation Votes Yes on Omnibus
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
All three members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation voted for the omnibus appropriations bill President Obama signed into law today (Wednedays). The Senate cast its vote on the 410 billion dollar spending bill yesterday. It was carried over from the last Congress because it failed to pass last year, and will fund the federal government until the end of September.

Martin Buser Grabs The Lead out of Takotna
Annie Feidt and David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
The lead mushers on the Iditarod sled dog race are taking their mandatory 24 hour layovers in Takotna. Nenana musher Aaron Burmeister was the first to arrive at the checkpoint at 2:44 this morning. Hugh Neff followed about 20 minutes later with Yukon Quest winner Sebastian Schnuelle close behind.

Rookies Race for Fun and Love of Their Dogs
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A group of mostly rookies are bringing up the rear in the Iditarod this year. Most have day jobs and are making their way to Nome purely for the great adventure and for the love of their dogs.

Interior Departments Shifts Focus to Renewable Energy
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
The Interior Department has a new focus and commitment to renewable energy projects. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed today (Wednesday) his first Secretarial Order establishing the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy as a top priority.

Canadians Hope For Resolution of Arctic Border Disputes
Patricia Bell, CBC – Whitehorse
Legal experts are urging Canada to work with the new U.S. administration to resolve long-standing arctic issues between the two countries. The U.S. and Canada dispute the boundary in an area between the Yukon and Alaska…and they disagree over the status of an ice-free Northwest Passage.

Documentary Focuses On 140 Year Old Shipwreck
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
A documentary about a 140-year-old Cook Inlet shipwreck, played to a packed house at the Homer Theater last weekend.

Stimulus Money Funds Forestry Projects
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg|
Alaska’s national forests are getting two-point-four million dollars from the Economic Stimulus package signed into law last month. It will go toward projects in the Tongass and Chugach National Forests ranging from building repairs to trail maintenance.

Ketchikan Survey Seeks to Boast Tourism
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
A survey of Ketchikan visitors suggests some new directions that could help boost the city’s tourism industry. The research also points to potential for other towns that attract out-of-state anglers.

Researchers Look For Links Between Fisheries and Fish Size
Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham
Scientists are currently exploring a possible link between commercial fishing practices and smaller fish size.