Alaska News Nightly: July 15, 2009

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Anchorage Police Arrest One of Their Own
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
An Anchorage Police Officer is being accused of 10 counts of sexual assault. Anthony Rollins was taken into custody today (Wednesday), after a three month investigation uncovered six potential victims. The investigation began on April 16th, when a staff member at Standing Together Against Rape, or STAR, reported information about an alleged assault by Rollins while he was on duty.

Senate Prepares to Hold Hearing on Alaska Native Corporations
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
A Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow (Thursday) in Washington on Alaska Native Corporations and the advantages they get through a Small Business Administration program. The subcommittee on Contracting Oversight will take testimony from government workers involved in the program, as well as national Native business organizations. However no one representing Alaska Native Corporations has been invited to testify.

Bethel Bans Plastic Bags

Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
It’s been debated for years but on Tuesday the Bethel City Council finally did it. The council voted to ban plastic bags and styro-foam containers. The ban is aimed at grocery stores and restaurants.

Lawmakers Call Special Session
The Associated Press
The Alaska Legislature will meet in a special session to consider overriding Governor Sarah Palin’s veto of federal stimulus funds for energy-related projects. Senate President Gary Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak, says the one-day session will be held in Anchorage on August 10th.

Controversial Cruise Ship Bill Becomes Law
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
A controversial bill delaying strict cruise-ship waste water discharge requirements has quietly become law. Governor Sarah Palin signed the measure last week (July 9th) without ceremony or public announcement.

Price Tag for Juneau Highway Goes Up
Rebecca Sheir, KTOO – Juneau
The price tag for a highway out of Juneau has risen 100 million dollars in two years, according to the state transportation department.

Sea Lion Research Zeros in on Reason for Decline
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
The National Marine Fisheries Service is continuing their research on Stellar Sea Lions this summer. This time they are using high-resolution aerial photography to count the number of pups at rookeries and haul outs from Sitka to the western Aleutians. Biologist Lowell Fritz says they need to take the photos now, before the pups start swimming with their mothers.

Bear Activity Increases Near Sitka
Emily Schwing, KCAW – Sitka
Officials from the Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are warning visitors to beware of increased brown bear activity at Redoubt Lake, south of Sitka.

Denali Program Introduces Native Students to the Park
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A group of Alaska Native kids from the Anchorage area are exploring Denali National Park this week. The 8 high school students from the Cook Inlet tribe are participants in a National Parks Foundation funded program related to the upcoming premier of a Ken Burns National Parks documentary series that features Denali.