Alaska News Nightly: April 7, 2009

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Stevens Walks Away from Long Legal Ordeal
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D. C. and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Former Senator Ted Stevens’ conviction on charges of concealing gifts has been thrown out, and the indictment against him dismissed. The Judge who oversaw his trial last fall is ordering a criminal investigation into prosecutors who bungled the case.

Fisheries Council Sets Chinook Bycatch Limit
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has taken action to limit Chinook bycatch by the pollock fleet in the Bering Sea. In an attempt to increase Chinook returns to Western Alaska rivers, the council unanimously voted to put in place a 60 thousand fish cap with an incentive program that would aim for a limit of around 47 thousand Chinook.

Earthquake Jolts Anchorage Residents
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaskans in the South Central part of the state were jolted today by a four-point-six magnitude earthquake around noon.

Scientists Predict Low Arctic Sea Ice
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have issued a report card on the condition of the arctic sea ice as its annual spring melt begins. It looks as if the sea ice is on track for another withdrawl similar to the last three years.

Governor Palin Proposes New State Forest
Ed Schoenfeld, APRN – CoastAlaska
The Palin administration wants to create a new state forest in Southeast Alaska. The goal is dedicate more logging land to support the region’s mills.

Senators Approve Higher Power Subsidy Rate for Rural Alaska
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Senate today (Tuesday) approved permanent increases and changes to the power cost equalization program.

Begich Addresses State Legislature
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Alaska’s new U.S. Senator Mark Begich made his first address to the state legislature this morning, discussing his Congressional agenda, but mostly he talked about the state’s opportunities coming through the federal Economic Stimulus money.

Fairbanks Group Criticizes Missile Defense Program
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
While politicians are using North Korea’s rocket launch as reason for continued development of the missile defense system, not everybody is convinced. No Nukes North Coordinator Stacey Fritz in Fairbanks says the system is far from proven capable of deflecting such an attack.

New Virology Lab is State of the Art
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska’s Public Health Department has a new state of the art facility for detecting disease. The new virology lab opened in Fairbanks in January. The lab conducts disease surveillance, testing specimens from around the state.