Alaska News Nightly: October 28, 2009

Wrecked plane 10 09

Photo Courtesy of Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Amelia Earhart’s plane, with mangled propeller, after Earhart was forced to land near Eureka, Utah.

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Former Veco Execs Sentenced to Prison
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Today marked the end of a major chapter in the ongoing saga of Alaska’s legislative corruption probe.  Former Veco executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith were sentenced in Anchorage for bribing state legislators.

SBA Proposes Changes to 8A Program
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington
The Small Business Administration released proposed changes on Wednesday to the program that makes it easier for Alaska Native Corporations to win government contracts. The 8-A program gives disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses a leg-up, and allows Alaska Native Corporations special privileges, like going after no-bid contracts.  The initial reaction to the proposed changes from Alaska Native Corporations is guardedly optimistic. Sarah Lukin, executive director of the Native American Contractors Association or NACA is pleased with the way members were included in the process.

Obama Signs Bill With Funds for Territorial Guard
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington
President Obama signed into law today a bill that includes retirement pay for former Alaska Territorial Guard members.  Twenty three Alaska Native elders who served with the Guard during World War 2 had their pay revoked earlier this year by Obama’s Defense Department, which said the men provided state service and should not quality for military pensions.

Vets Health Clinic to Open in SE Alaska
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
A Southeast Alaska veterans’ health clinic is scheduled to open this spring in Juneau. The clinic will provide primary care, as well as mental health services. It will be located on the ground floor of Juneau’s Federal Building.

SE Alaska Group Wants to Revisit Cruise Tax
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
An organization of Southeast Alaska leaders wants state officials to re-examine the cruise-ship head tax. The Southeast Conference is also asking for a regular state subsidy to the Inter-Island Ferry Authority.

Diocese Has New Plans for Compensating Abuse Victims
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks Catholic Diocese has a new plan for paying victims of sexual abuse by clergy. The amended plan was filed in court yesterday by attorneys representing the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska or CBNA, who oversees parishes in western Alaska villages where most of the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

High School Musicians Gather in Petersburg
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
More than 100 of the best high school musicians from around southeast Alaska gathered in Petersburg earlier this week  to practice and perform as a band and choir. Schools take turns hosting the southeast honors music festival each year. The event gives the dedicated and talented students a chance to play and sing together under the instruction of college-level conductors.

Recounting a Family Story Featuring Amelia Earhart
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A new movie documenting the life of Amelia Earhart opened in Alaska- and across the country this week. The film isn’t getting great reviews, but it is generating new interest in the pioneering aviator. And it inspired APRN’s Annie Feidt to explore her own family’s brush with the famous aviatrix.