Alaska News Nightly: June 13, 2012

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Closing Arguments Begin In Alaska Militia Trial

The Associated Press

Federal prosecutors began closing statements today in the trial of Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox and his companions.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki says the men were working on establishing another form of government.

The men are charged with conspiring to murder government officials and to possess unregistered weapons, including handguns with silencers and hand grenades.

Skrocki told jurors the evidence over five weeks of testimony shows the men were ready to kill federal law enforcement officials while protecting Cox at a television station appearance and had compiled a list of officials who would have been targeted.

Murkowski Asks Pentagon To Abandon F-16 Movement Plan

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Top Pentagon officials at a Senate budget hearing today were grilled about the plan to move an F-16 squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.  Senator Lisa Murkowski asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to try to get the Air Force to abandon the plan until it was better studied.  Panetta defended the plan as necessary to meet Congressional mandates to reduce spending.  Dempsey said he’d been hearing a lot from Alaska’s Senators about the plan and promised to look into it.

Alaska To Seek No Child Left Behind Waiver

Ariel Van Cleave, KDLG – Dillingham

Alaska’s Department of Education and Early Development is preparing to seek a waiver from provisions of No Child Left Behind.

Rural Villages To Receive State-Of-The-Art Powerhouse

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Alaska’s rural villages are getting help from the most recent technological advances in energy saving power systems. The Alaska Energy Authority hosted a rural energy open house in Anchorage Wednesday to show off its latest services to the bush, among them a state of the art modular powerhouse destined for shipment to Akiak. From the outside, the powerhouse looks like a typical ATCO module, but inside, it looks more like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

Disabled Vets Begin Denali Ascent

Lorien Nettleton, KTNA – Talkeetna

A group of disabled veterans landed on the Kahiltna Glacier Monday to begin their attempt to climb Mount McKinley. The group is part of the Disabled Sports USA’s Wounded Warfighter program, which encourages veterans to overcome physical setbacks to participate in sports at all levels.

A Marine Pilot Takes His Last Aleutian Voyage

Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska

Even though thousands of cargo ships pass through Alaska waters every year, most of that traffic passes through pretty quietly. That’s in part because Alaska requires marine pilots on board many of these vessels to help their captains navigate dangerous situations. The pilots operating out of the Port of Dutch Harbor have a particularly challenging job.

Doyon Awaiting Final Report From Nenana Basin Oil, Gas Field Work

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Doyon, Limited is waiting for the final report from oil and gas field work conducted in the Nenana Basin last winter.  The interior-Alaska native corporation conducted 100 miles worth of seismic work in the basin last winter.  Doyon President and CEO Aaron Schutt says the corporation has not developed a timeline for production yet.

NASA Scientists Speak About Kepler Mission

Wendi Jonassen, APRN – Anchorage

The American Astronomical Society convention landed in Alaska for the first time ever this week. It’s bringing over a thousand scientists and astronomy lovers from all over the world to Anchorage. At a public event last night, NASA scientists from the Kepler Mission spoke about their findings in their quest to discover habitable planets outside earth.

Alaskans Trying New Small-Scale Farming Technology

Rachel Waldholz, KCAW – Sitka

When you think of food in Alaska you might think of king salmon or moose – farming is not really our forte. But some Alaskans are trying to change that – at least on a small scale. In Sitka, you can find two large, transparent plastic tunnels for growing produce, rising from a front yard.