Alaska News Nightly: April 18, 2012

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Three New Charges Announced Against Israel Keyes

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Anchorage today announced three new charges against Israel Keyes for allegedly kidnapping and killing 18-year-old Samantha Koenig. Kevin Feldis, Chief of the criminal division at the Anchorage U.S. Attorney’s Office described the charges in a press conference this afternoon.

“The indictment alleges that Israel Keys abducted Samantha Koenig from the Common Grounds Coffee Stand on Tudor Road on February 1, 2012 and that he took her against his will to his white pick-up truck across the street and that he confined her and intentionally killed her the next morning,” Feldis said.

Investigators say tracked ATM withdrawals by Keyes, through several states before returning him to Alaska. Koenig’s body was found under the ice of Matanuska Lake in early April. The crime of kidnapping and killing Koenig carries a maximum penalty of life in prison or death. Keyes is set to be arraigned in federal court on the charges tomorrow.

Special Session Gets Underway

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The special legislative session got underway Wednesday afternoon with a streamlined agenda. Lawmakers are considering three subjects, an in-state gas line from the North Slope to Southcentral, a bill strengthening the state’s sex crimes lawas,  and a bill rewriting the state’s oil tax regime.

Assembly Appoints New Leaders Amid Ballot Scandal

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The Anchorage Assembly heard emotional public testimony at their regular meeting yesterday evening.  Representatives of the Anchorage chapters of the NAACP and the ACLU, as well as17 voters called on the body to appoint an independent investigator to look into possible voter disenfranchisement during the April 3rd Municipal Election.

Scientists Want To Take Eastern Steller Sea Lion Off Endangered List

Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska

It’s rare to hear good news when it comes to the Endangered Species list. But today, federal scientists announced one species common to Alaska deserves to be taken off the list.

Bethel Court Struggles With Judge Vacancies

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

The Bethel Court House serves more than 50 communities in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. Now, it is struggling with judge vacancies with three out of its four judgeships soon to be empty.

GCI Announces Plans For Faster Internet In YK Delta, Bristol Bay

Mark Arehart, KYUK – Bethel

GCI announced this week it intends to roll out faster Internet plans in 65 communities in the YK Delta and Bristol Bay.  The faster Internet speeds would be realized by switching from satellite based Internet connections to terrestrial lines.

New Books Talks About Alaska Newspaper War

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

They say that history is written by the winners.  That’s certainly the case with a new book by Howard Weaver, the former Managing Editor of the Anchorage Daily News. “Write Hard, Die Free: Dispatches from the Battlefields and Bar-rooms of the Great Alaska Newspaper War” tells of a time when the city of Anchorage was one of the last of its size to have two newspapers in competition.  The Daily News won.

Kikkan Randall Gets Enthusiastic Welcome In Anchorage

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

World Champion cross country skier Kikkan Randall got a heroine’s welcome in her hometown Tuesday.  Anchorage fans lined up for the champ’s autographs at a celebration of her achievements hosted by enthusiastic winter sports fans.