Alaska News Nightly: April 25, 2014
Jury Convicts Alaska Man In Coast Guard Killings
The Associated Press
A federal jury in Alaska has convicted a man of murder in the shooting deaths of two of his co-workers at a Coast Guard communications station on Kodiak Island.
The jury returned its verdict on Friday in the case of 62-year-old James Wells. He was charged with killing Coast Guardsmen Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle in April 2012.
Prosecutors had alleged Wells, a civilian, was unhappy that his position was increasingly irrelevant on the job because of the advancement of the victims.
The jury convicted Wells of six felony charges: two counts each of first-degree murder, murder of a U.S. officer and use of a firearm in a violent crime.
Federal prosecutors said earlier they would not seek the death penalty if he was convicted.
Court Rules In Favor Of Same-Sex Couples In Property Tax Case
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
State Supreme Court on Friday justices decided in favor of two same sex couples in a property tax case that could have wider implications for the state.
Surprise Inspection Finds High Radiation Levels At Acuren Facility
Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer
A testing and inspection company with facilities in Kenai is in trouble with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A surprise inspection of Acuren’s facility earlier this month revealed high levels of radiation outside the building.
Alaska Legislature Gavels Out
Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau
Friday, the Alaska State Legislature gaveled out, five days after they were supposed to. It’s the end to a grueling session that involved legislation on education and a major gasline project,
Three To Try Out For Juneau Symphony Conductor
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Three different conductors will direct the Juneau Symphony next season. They hope to replace Kyle Wylie Pickett, who will lead the Topeka, Kansas Symphony, and the Springfield, Missouri Symphony Orchestra, after 14 years in the capital city.
Shady Grove Oliver, KSTK – Wrangell
Ten years ago, Wrangell was crawling with feral cats. They roamed the streets, getting into trash and nesting in condemned buildings. Now, it’s hard to even find a cat downtown. That dramatic turnaround is due to the hard work of one woman who noticed the problem and decided to fix it. Dolores Klinke runs the St. Frances Animal Rescue, a non-profit that has saved hundreds of strays.
300 Villages: St. Michael
This week, we’re heading to St. Michael, a primarily Yup’ik community of almost 450 people near Nome in western Alaska.
Bobbi Ann Andrews is the mayor of St. Michael.