Alaska News Nightly: December 8, 2009

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High Court Hears Weyhrauch Case
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning in the case of former Alaska state legislator Bruce Weyhrauch, a Republican from Juneau. The question is whether Weyhrauch violated what’s called the “honest services law” by asking oil field services company VECO for a job at the same time he was voting on legislation affecting the company.

Nikolski Closes School; Villages Struggle to Keep Doors Open
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
In rural Alaska, a steady out migration is placing schools at risk of not having enough children enrolled to keep them open. The school in the Aleutian Islands community of Nikolski closed this year. Joe Beckford is the Superintendent for the Aleutian region.

Native Class Action Suit Settled
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
One of the largest class action lawsuits ever filed against the federal government was settled today. After 13 years, the Eloise Cobell trust fund lawsuit was finalized today with $3.4 billion.

Judge Halts Revillagigedo Island Timer Sale
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
A federal judge has halted the Orion north timber sale on Revillagigedo Island. The four million-board foot sale was one of 25 timber sales offered on the Tongass this year.

North Pole Wells Coming Up Positive for Solvent
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
More North Pole wells are coming up positive for the chemical solvent sulfolane. Department of Environmental Conservation Contaminated Sites Project manager Ann Farris says the pollution from historic spills at the Flint Hills Refinery is more widespread than previously thought.

Samuels Joins Gubernatorial Race
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Former Anchorage Representative Ralph Samuels on Tuesday joined the 2010 race for the governor’s office. Samuels, a Republican, says he wants to focus on the state’s economic future.

Begich Wants Expansion of Support for Small Hospitals
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Senator Mark Begich on Tuesday introduced an amendment to the Health Care legislation now before Congress that would expand a demonstration program offering support to small hospitals.

Kodiak College Gets New Newspaper
Diana Gish, KMXT – Kodiak
Kodiak College has a new student newspaper, called “The Emerald Looking Glass.”