Alaska News Nightly: September 13, 2010

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3)

Murkowski, Walker Remain Undecided on Write-In Campaign
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau and Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Congress is returning to Washington, but Senator Lisa Murkowski is not among those hustling back to the nation’s capital.  She’s still in Alaska, and her staff will not speculate on when she will return to DC.  Her Anchorage campaign staff says her schedule is open at this point while she meets with members of the public and with personal friends – and her family – to make a decision on her political future.

Murkowski is deciding whether to launch a write-in re-election campaign after losing the Republican primary last month to challenger Joe Miller of Fairbanks.

Her campaign staff says she is still weighing the decision, but there is no firm deadline for announcing it.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Walker is also weighing his options to be part of the November General election.   Walker got 33 percent of the Republican vote for his campaign which focused on promoting the All-Alaska gas pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez.  His staff says the issue was not adequately covered by other candidates and Walker believes it needs a higher profile this fall.

Like Senator Murkowski, Walker is also considering a write-in campaign.   His staff says he will decide by the end of the day on Wednesday.

Congress Session May Not Be A Productive One
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Congress is planning a short burst of activity after the long August recess. But as APRN’s Libby Casey reports, it won’t necessarily be a highly productive one.

Beck Event Draws Large Crowd in Anchorage
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
On Saturday more than 4,000 people turned out in Anchorage to see cable television personality Glenn Beck, along with former Governor Sarah Palin and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller.  They paid from $73 to $225 apiece, and they had to walk by a number of protesters to get in.

Meteorologist Investigates So-So Southcentral Summers
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
John Papineau is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

From Juneau, through Anchorage and up to Fairbanks the weather forecast for the rest of the week better resembles California than Alaska.

Southcentral residents are embracing the sunny skies and warm weather especially enthusiastically, after suffering through one of the coolest, rainiest summers on record.

John Papineau, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage has a new report out that takes a look at why summers in Southcentral are so variable, especially in recent years. It’s called, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Southcentral Summers.”

Judge Considers More Arguments in Dry Community Alcohol Offense
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
A judge is considering additional arguments in the case of a state lawmaker’s grandchildren charged with trying to import alcohol into a dry community. The dispute centers around Alaska’s Local Option law and its apparent ambiguous implementation in the village of Angoon.

State House Challenger Concedes to Incumbent
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
The challenger in the Republican primary race for state house district two has conceded the race. Just 142 votes separate challenger Stephen Samuelson of Petersburg and five-term incumbent representative Peggy Wilson of Wrangell for the Republican nomination to represent Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Pelican, Elfin Cove and Port Alexander in the state house.

Stein, Wilson to Battle for State House District Two
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Sitka
Reber Stein is a member of Sitka’s Assembly. He says he would have preferred to be running against Samuelson.

“I was looking forward to working with Steven and discussing the issues affecting Southeast and the challenges ahead. My concern running against Peggy is that we’ll be debating her record and I don’t think that will help us craft a future for Southeast Alaska,” Stein said.

Stein wants to push to make more land available for building. He also says he’ll advocate for an increase in the local share of the state fish tax. He’ll also focus on the region’s high cost of living.

“My campaign is focused on the affordability and livability of life here in the District. Our communities are facing … to ensure we have adequate state support for our electricity projects … our rates to go up by at least 20 percent,” Stein said.

Stein and Wilson are running to represent Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, Elfin Cove, Kupreanof, Pelican and Port Alexander in the State House. The general election is November 2.

Anti-Racism Activists Take to Radio Waves
Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage
Judging by some recent Anchorage incidents, racism is a problem in the city. Some young people videotaped themselves harassing an Alaska Native man. Radio show hosts shared vulgar, tasteless jokes about Alaska Natives. And a Samoan couple was not allowed into a local restaurant. An anti-racism activist and author, and a local Alaska Native leader were guests on Anchorage radio station KNBA today.