Alaska News Nightly: January 8, 2010

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Download Audio (MP3)Randall Sweeps Nationals at Kincaid Park
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Kikkan Randall won today’s classic sprint at the US Cross Country ski Championships at Kincaid park in Anchorage. The win gave her a sweep at US Nationals this week- she topped the podium after all four events. Spectators lined the gates at the Kincaid stadium to watch the most anticipated race of the day: the women’s sprint final. Alaskan skiers claimed four of the seven spots in the final- all of them skiing for Alaska Pacific University.

Bills Await New Legislative Session
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Legislators will have at least 51 new bills before them when they go into session. The bills drafted since the end of last year’s session were pre-filed and released to the public Friday morning.

McLaughlin Center Reviewing Charges of Sexual Abuse
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The state’s McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage is under scrutiny for the sexual abuse of residents.  A new federal study indicates that sexual victimization of young offenders there tops the national average.  Most disturbing are allegations by male residents of victimization by female staff.  According to the US Department of Justice, almost all incidents reported involved a female worker.

Former NANA Exec Sentenced for Mail Fraud
The Associated Press
A former chief financial officer of the Alaska Native NANA Corporation has been sentenced in Seattle to 21 months in prison for mail fraud in an embezzlement scheme. The U.S. attorney’s office says 45-year-old Clyde Thomas Beard, formerly of Anchorage, used his skill as a CPA to cover up charging his corporate credit card for computers, travel, a diamond ring and other merchandise. Beard was fired in February 2008 from NANA Services, a subsidiary of NANA Development Corp. He pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced today in federal court to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $188,000 in restitution.

Navy Testing Waters on AK Maneuvers
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
A team of about a dozen Navy employees and contractors are visiting a handful of coastal Alaska cities presenting a draft Environmental Impact Statement for proposed Gulf of Alaska naval maneuvers. Depending on the alternative selected by the Navy, those maneuvers could involve use of high-powered sonar used in anti-submarine warfare, and even the sinking of derelict ships using artillery, missiles or torpedoes. Alex Stone of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet is project manager for the Gulf of Alaska EIS. He said a major part of the study was analyzing the potential effects of the high-powered sonar on marine mammals that live and migrate through the gulf

Obama Turns off Loran System
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
A vestige of marine and aviation navigation during the last century is disappearing. The Obama Administration is turning off the Loran System.

Apprenticeship Programs Announced
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
On Thursday, two state departments announced an Alaska-wide multi-cultural effort to recruit youth and employers into apprenticeship programs. The 10-language campaign is touted as key to raising awareness of apprenticeship opportunities in Alaska.

Potato Stocks Up, but Spuds are Duds in Alaska
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Alaska’s potato stocks are up, but consumers just aren’t buying spuds this year.  State division of agriculture officials are concerned about that, and want the public to help.

Hammett Play Debuts in Anchorage
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Former Anchorage Daily News reporter Peter Porco’s new play Wind Blown and Dripping premieres tonight in Anchorage at Cyrano’s Playhouse. The play focuses on mystery writer Dashiell Hammett’s work as the editor of a soldier’s newspaper in the Aleutians during World War 2. Hammett brings black soldiers on staff at the paper, creating controversy over segregation. The production is Porco’s first full length stage play. He says at first he approached the work as a reporter, but quickly learned he had to write small when condensing racism, corruption and World War 2 onto a small stage.