Alaska News Nightly: August 26, 2010

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Official Hears Testimony on Oil Spill Response Capabilities in Arctic Ocean
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The new director of the agency that replaced the Minerals Management Service made his first trip to Alaska today. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Michael Bromwich was in Anchorage to hear testimony on oil spill response capabilities in the Arctic Ocean.

Division of Elections Sorting Through Absentee Ballots
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
It will be weeks before there’s a final tally in the close U.S. Senate Republican primary race between incumbent Lisa Murkowski and challenger Joe Miller. With all precincts reporting, Miller has a 1,688 vote lead over Murkowski, but it’s far from over. Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai says her office issued more than 16,000 absentee ballots.

9,000 absentee ballots have been received back so far. Fenumiai says they won’t be counted until next Tuesday, with additional counts scheduled for September 3 and 8. Fenumiai says Division of Election workers are also in the process of sorting out an unknown number of questioned ballots delivered from polling stations.

Miller Optimistic About Potential Primary Results
Libby Casey, APRN – Anchorage
Joe Miller defied polls and pundits’ expectations with his strong showing at the voting booth Tuesday.  In the two days since, he’s been deluged with media requests not just in Alaska but from around the country as people outside try to learn more about who Miller is.  He’s now back in his home of Fairbanks for a few days as his campaign awaits next week’s new vote count.

Miller told APRN’s Libby Casey that while he’s not ready to declare victory, he is optimistic.

Campaigners Take Time to Consider Options
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau and Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Candidates and voters are still recuperating from the surprise results of Tuesday’s election.  The campaigners are taking a little time to consider their options this week before getting into what promises to be an activity filled push to the general election.

Joining us with a post election update is APRN’s Dave Donaldson in Juneau.  He says if Joe Miller’s lead holds in the Republican U.S. Senate Primary, Lisa Murkowski would have until September 5 to try to get on the ballot another way.

Lost Hiker Returns Safe and Sound
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A hiker who got lost in Denali National Park is safe.  As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports John MacGregor tapped personal resolve and good luck to get himself to safety.

Airliner Blows Tire in Sitka
Ed Ronco and Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Another Alaska Airlines jet has suffered a mishap in Sitka. Flight 67 was taking off from Sitka Wednesday evening at about 6:45 when a tire blew out. Airline spokesperson Bobbie Egan says the incident occurred when the Boeing 737 was about one-third of the way down the runway. The 120 passengers were transported back to the terminal aboard three Sitka Tours buses. Egan says the cause of the blowout remains a mystery.

Scammers Give New Twist to Identity Theft
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Anchorage Police reports a new twist in identity theft scams.  The approach tries to capitalize on the victim’s trust in the police department.

Electronics Recycling Center Flourishes
Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage
Despite the tough economy, business has skyrocketed in the past five years at an electronics recycling center in South Anchorage. That’s in part because Total Reclaim is spreading the message about the importance of recycling throughout Alaska, to communities along the Yukon River, on the Kenai Peninsula and in Southeast Alaska.