Alaska News Nightly: October 4, 2011

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Employee of Native Corporation Subsidiary Indicted in Kick-back Scheme
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.

An employee of Alaska Native Corporation EyakTek  was arrested today (Tuesday) for his alleged role in a major 20 million dollar bribery and kickback scheme.  Harold Babb is director of contracts for EyakTek, or Eyak Technology LLC, which operates under the Alaska Native Corporation umbrella of the Eyak Tribe of Cordova.

Longtime State Employee in DC Resigns Over Partisanship
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.

After serving eight governors, the director of Alaska’s Washington D.C. office is resigning.  John Katz plans to leave the post at the end of the year.  He’s worked for Alaskan governors of all political stripes over three decades, providing a constant in the Washington office.

Murkowski Names New Fisheries Aide
Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has hired a new fisheries aide.Murkowski’s office says Stefanie Moreland will start next month. Moreland will replace Arne Fuglvog , who pleaded guilty this summer to one count of violating the Lacey Act for falsely reporting where he caught sablefish that were intended for interstate commerce. Fuglvog’s sentencing is set for November.

Federal Workers in Alaska Face Uncertain Future
Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Federal workers here in Alaska and nationwide began their first workday of the new fiscal year yesterday. And it looks like they’ll have another challenging year, with budget battles in Washington, D.C., and hiring freezes for some of those who work in the biggest federal agency – the Defense Department.

Officials Suggest Sinking Rat Infested Ship
Stephanie Joyce, KUCB – Unalaska
The stateless drift-netting vessel Bangun Perkasa is under siege in the Port of Dutch Harbor.  Local officials and Alaska Senator Mark Begich are calling for the Coast Guard to scuttle the
boat, even as rat elimination efforts get underway.

State Settles Rural Education Case
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

A settlement has been reached in a 1997 lawsuit alleging the state was neglecting its duty to provide adequate funds for rural schools in the state.   The litigation was brought by Willie Kasayulie of Akiachak and the Center for the Educational Advancement of Alaska’s Children – or CEAAC.

Kodiak Schools Weigh In on NCLB Waivers
Jennfier Canfield, KMXT – Kodiak

The Parnell administration is still weighing whether to apply for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act.  School officials in Kodiak have mixed feelings about the act, but they’re hoping Governor Parnell decides to apply for the waiver.

Alaska Organizations Win USDA Grants
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Three communities in Alaska have received U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Development grants.   Community Facilities Programs Administrator Tammy Trevino announced the recipients of the awards this (Tuesday) morning from Washington, DC.

Anchorage High School Grad Wins Physics Nobel
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

One of today’s Nobel Physics prize winners is a 1985 graduate of Bartlett High school in Anchorage. Brian Schmidt shares the prestigious prize with two other U.S. born scientists. Schmidt now lives in Australia and works for the Australian National University, but he spent his high school years in Anchorage.

Juneau Couple Watch Meteor Show
Casey Kelley, KTOO – Juneau
An unidentified flying object over Juneau Sunday night had one Douglas couple rubbing their eyes in disbelief.

Museum Preserves Knowledge on Local Foods
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

CORRECTION: SOS story
Daysha Eaton, KDLG – Dillingham

In a story that aired yesterday (Monday) about the Pebble Mine and the Save Our Salmon Initiative, we reported that Trout Unlimited was a party to a case earlier this month in which a superior court judge ruled that conservation groups had not provided enough evidence to prove Pebble’s exploratory core holes were already polluting the site.  Trout Unlimited is not a party to that case, but is party to another case concerning Pebble Mine which challenges the State’s 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan.