Alaska News Nightly: October 7, 2009

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Bethel Overturns Alcohol Restrictions
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
In Bethel, voters have overturned alcohol restrictions in place since 1977. The election results are unofficial, but if they stand, Bethel will no longer be a local option community and alcohol will be unrestricted.

Mat-Su, Homer Say No to Sales Tax
Municipalities across the state held elections yesterday. In the Mat-Su Borough voters defeated a three percent sales tax/property tax cap proposition by a more than three to one ratio. Homer rejected reinstating a seasonal sales tax during winter months.

Juneau Approves Higher Taxes on Tobacco
Anne Sutton, KTOO – Juneau
Voters in Juneau came out three to two in favor of a substantial hike in the local excise tax on tobacco.

Runoff Expected in Fairbanks Mayoral Contest
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A runoff will likely decide who the next mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough will be.  It’s a close race between the top two vote getters in yesterday’s municipal election: assembly members Luke Hopkins and Tammie Wilson.

Abuse Victims To Expect Payouts from Fairbanks Diocese
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
There will likely still be an insurance payout for victims of abuse by clergy, who’ve filed claims against the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese – despite a ruling last month that found no evidence of coverage by Continental Insurance Company.

Parnell Won’t Commit to Moving Commissioners Back to Juneau
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Governor Sean Parnell is making no promises to return state commissioners to the capital city. Most heads of state agencies are no longer based in Juneau. And Southeast leaders see it as one more sign of capital creep, the movement of state jobs from Southeast to Anchorage.

Lynx and Fox Population Increasing
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The decline of snowshoe hare in the interior is leaving two of their primary predators hungry and on the prowl.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says a recent increase in lynx and fox sightings in the Fairbanks-Delta region reflects the start of the downside in the 10 year hare cycle.

Converted Tug Arrives in Dillingham
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
A converted tugboat braved the weather and the seas of the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay to arrive unannounced late last week in Dillingham.

Unalaska Students Get Unique Peek at Galaxy
Anne Hilllman, KUCB – Unalaska
Students in Unalaska saw the galaxy from a whole new perspective recently – from the inside of a giant inflatable dome.