Alaska News Nightly: September 17, 2007

Former state lawmaker Vic Kohring is working to have the federal corruption case against him dismissed. Plus, Alaska Native leaders react to a recent U.N. declaration supporting indigenous people around the world. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Prosecutors wrap up their corruption case against Kott
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Federal prosecutors finished presenting their political corruption case against former State Representative Pete Kott today.

Kohring aims to file for case dismissal before his corruption trial
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
As the Kott trial rolled along upstairs, downstairs at the Federal courthouse there was a pre-trial hearing for Vic Kohring, another former legislator accused of taking bribes from VECO. The hearing only lasted two hours, but on his way out of the courthouse, Kohring’s lawyer revealed he will be filing a motion to dismiss the entire case against his client — and says he has the grounds to do so.

Democrat Benson requests investigation into Don Young’s Florida earmark
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Democratic Congressional candidate Diane Benson has formally requested a Congressional investigation into Congressman Don Young’s handling of an earmark that resulted in a road project favoring a Florida developer who helped raise money for Young’s campaign.

Canadian minister promoting Arctic gas development to cut gas costs
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Canada’s Northwest Territories’ energy minister was in Anchorage today giving an Arctic gas presentation. Brendan Bell has been visiting U.S. cities talking up a new report that outlines two scenarios — the cost to lower 48 markets with arctic gas and the cost without.

Chart from Brendan Bell’s presentation

Alaska power producers meet in Valdez; discuss renewable energy
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
The Alaska Power Association held its 56th annual meeting last Thursday and Friday in Valdez. The event was hosted by Copper Valley Electric Association. And it drew industry reps, researchers and local and state political leaders.

CORRECTION (20 Sep 2007)
In the original broadcast of this story, we wrongly attributed a quote about the need to invest heavily and immediately in alternative energy in the state. We originally identified the speaker as UAA’s Steve Colt. The speaker in the quote is actually Tony Izzo, CEO of TMI Consulting and former CEO of Enstar. Steve Colt says he doesn’t agree that the state may suffer an economic collapse from rising fuel prices. He says they are a challenge we can deal with, not a death sentence. We regret the error and announced the correction in the September 20, 2007 edition of Alaska News Nightly.

U.N. favors Native people’s rights to self-determination, subsistence
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
The United Nations recently passed a declaration supporting the rights of indigenous people all over the world. Some Native and human rights leaders in Alaska are celebrating the document, saying it gives them international support for tribes’ independent needs.

Tlingit artifact returns to Alaska, met with two-day potlatch
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
A Tlingit headdress taken over a century ago from a shaman’s grave near Angoon returned home this month. It was repatriated from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. during a two-day long potlatch held in Sitka.