Alaska News Nightly: April 15, 2009

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Fight over Senate B Seat Continues
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Palin last night (Tuesday) added another person to her list of candidates for the Senate District B seat representing Juneau, businessman Alan D. Wilson.

Senate Passes Stimulus Spending Bill
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The economic stimulus bill is one step closer to the governor’s desk. The Senate passed the four hundred fifty million dollar spending bill today with only a few changes for the version the House passed last Friday.

Alaskans Protest on Tax Day
Ben Stanton, KDLL – Kenai
There’s no statewide income or sales taxes in Alaska, but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from holding protest signs and chanting “No More Spending” on streets near the federal building in downtown Anchorage today.

Senator Begich Appoints Rural Advisor
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Senator Mark Begich has tapped Bethel’s 24-year -old Mayor to fill a newly created position. Mayor Tiffany Zulkosky has accepted a job as Begich’s Rural Director.

Anchorage Will Have New Bear Cop
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Anchorage Assembly voted last night to hire a Wildlife Safety Specialist to help the city deal with “nuisance and dangerous” bears.

Shake Up at Matanuska Electric Association
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
On the eve of board elections, a Matanuska Electric Association meltdown is pitting the utilities’ board of directors against long term management. As APRN’s Ellen Lockyer reports, two executives were fired without cause earlier this week, while the fate of a third is pending.

University Employees Face Steep Increase in Health Care Costs
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
University of Alaska employees will see a substantial increase in health care costs beginning July 1st. UA Director of benefits, Mike Humphries says rate hikes will take a bite out of take home pay.

Lawmakers Honor Alaska Territorial Guard Members
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
One of the busiest rooms in the Capitol Building now doubles as a tribute to thousands of Alaskan heroes.

Cruise Taxes Could Fund Southeast Projects
Ed Schoenfeld, APRN -CoastAlaska
Cruise taxes would fund projects from Ketchikan to Kodiak under the Senate’s version of the state’s capital budget. The measure proposes spending the largest amount of passengers’ head taxes so far.

Database Helps with Outdoor Planning
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A web accessible data base being developed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is aimed at helping Alaskans plan outdoor activities around the weather. John Walsh at the U.A.F based Alaska Center for Climate Analysis and Policy says the site will synthesize historic temperature, precipitation, wind and other data to aid in trip, event and project planning.