Alaska News Nightly: March 13, 2012

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Dallas Seavey Nearing Iditarod Finish Line

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage & Anne Hillman, APRN Contributor

Dallas Seavey is on the final stretch to Nome. The Willow musher is likely to capture his first Iditarod win tonight. If he does, he will be the youngest winner in Iditarod history. He turned 25 while out on the trail. Behind Seavey, Aliy Zirkle and Ramey Smyth are battling for second place. Right now, GPS shows Zirkle about seven miles ahead of Smyth.

Senate Finance Committee Opens Oil Tax Hearings

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday opened its hearings on a bill setting up a new oil tax regime.  The bill comes as a small, but new response to the House’s version of tax cuts that passed last year.

Ski Guide Dies In Haines-Area Avalanche

Tara Bicknell, KHNS – Haines

A heli-skiing guide is dead after an avalanche struck a party of six skiers outside of Haines Today.

The avalanche was reported shortly after 11 a.m., as rescuers were in the process of locating two missing skiers caught in the snow. The other skier who was caught, a guided client is clinging to life.

Former EyakTek Exec Admits To Role In Fraud Scheme

Associated Press

A former executive of EyakTek, a subsidiary of the Alaska Native Eyak Corporation is admitting his role in a $20 million government contracting fraud scheme.

Harold F. Babb pleaded guilty in Washington’s federal court Tuesday to charges of bribery and unlawful kickbacks. Prosecutors say Babb is cooperating with their investigation. Babb was fired by Eyak Corporation when the allegations came to light.

Babb and three other men were arrested in October and charged with a scheme to submit fraudulent and inflated invoices for government contracting work. Two of the men were employees of the Army Corps of Engineers, and Babb was the director of contracts for EyakTek which did business with the government.

Prosecutors say the proceeds of the $20 million fraud were spent on personal luxuries, including cars, homes and high-end watches.

New VPSO Class Graduates From Training Academy

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Twenty-eight new Village Public Safety Officers graduated from the Sitka training academy March 9. That’s one of the largest lasses in history. As Angela Denning-Barnes reports from KYUK in Bethel, students completed 10 weeks of intensive training and testing.

Bill Could Expedite New Water, Sewer System In Bethel Schools

Mark Arehart, KYUK – Bethel

Lower Kuskokwim School District buildings in Bethel have had trouble with an outdated water and sewer system all winter.  January saw the coldest average temperature on record and left many pipes frozen. But, a new bill in the legislature may help the district get a new system quicker than expected.

UAF Team Takes First In Clean Snowmobile Challenge

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks won first place at the 13th Annual Clean Snowmobile Challenge last week in Houghton. Michigan.  Students from the US and Canada reengineer stock snowmachines for improved fuel economy, cleaner emissions and noise reduction.