Alaska News Nightly: October 6, 2011

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Bethel Jury Finds Defendents Guilty in Torture Murder Trial
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Jeffrey Hout, age 47 of Bethel, and Harry Williams, age 33 of Kwethluk, were found guilty today of second degree murder of 19-year-old Benjamin Kaiser of Hooper Bay.

No Bond for Three Men Accused in Bribery Scandal
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, D.C.

The men accused in a massive government contracting bribery case involving Alaska Native Corporation EyakTek are staying behind bars – three of them until trial and the fourth at least through the weekend.  At a hearing in Washington D.C. today (Thursday) the lawyer for EyakTek executive Harold Babb asked for a few more days before making his argument as to why Babb should be released on bond.

Few Studies Track PFD Impact

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The state is sending out nearly 650 thousand Permanent Fund Dividends today. Its the 30th dividend paid to Alaskans. In all that time, there have been very few studies on how Alaskans spend the extra cash and how that spending affects the state’s economy. But retailers say their sales around dividend time take a big jump.

Dividend Checks Pay for Fuel in Rural Alaska
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

In rural Alaska, dividend checks do more than pay for new sofas. Meera Kohler is the President and CEO of the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative or AVEC. Kohler says, many people in village pre-pay their winter electric bills with their PFD. She says the day checks get deposited is the busiest day of the year for AVEC.

Orcas Caught Miles Upriver from Dillingham
Daysha Eaton, KDLG – Dillingham

Three Killer Whales, or Orcas have been spotted between the villages of Ekwok and New Stuyahok, about 60-70 river miles up the Nushagak River from Dillingham.  Scientists from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service say it is not unusual for the whales to head upriver after salmon, but it is odd that they’ve gone so far up this late in the season and that they’re lingering so long.

Plastic Bag Fight Isn’t Over
Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

A Juneau-based nonprofit that aims to curb the use of plastic shopping bags in the Capital City won’t be deterred by voters’ rejection this week (Tuesday) of a citizen’s initiative to tax those bags at certain retailers.

One Newspaper will serve Bristol Bay and Dutch Harbor
Daysha Eaton, KDLG – Dillingham

It’s been just about two months since the residents of Bristol Bay and Dutch Harbor have seen an issue of their community newspapers.  The new owner pushed back the publication
dates of the papers and announced that when they do come out they will be combined into one newspaper.

Conoco May Get Access to NPRA

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The state and Conoco-Phillips are getting federal support for drilling plans in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska – NPRA. Conoco-Phillips has several leases in the area, but has so far been blocked from developing them by the U-S Army Corps of Engineers’ refusing to allow the construction of a bridge over the Colville River.

BC Coal Mine Plan Irks Ketchikan Residents
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan

A Canadian mining company is hoping to launch a major gold mine near the headwaters of a tributary of the Unuk River, which flows into Behm Canal near Ketchikan. Toronto-based Seabridge Gold says the KSM deposit is one of the largest in the world, second only to the proposed Pebble Mine in Western Alaska. Seabridge unveiled its development plan during a public meeting in Ketchikan last (Wednesday) night before a crowd of skeptical residents.

Dive Fisheries see High Prices

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg

Southeast Alaska’s commercial dive fishing seasons are underway this month (October) for red sea urchins, sea cucumbers and geoduck clams. The dive fisheries continue to see
impacts from the region’s expanding population of sea otters.