Alaska News Nightly: September 24, 2007

The Pete Kott corruption trial draws to a close as the case is handed off to the jury for deliberations. Meanwhile the U.S. Senate funds water projects in Alaska, an interpreter service starts up in Anchorage and an 18-mile-long object whips over Alaskan skies in the interests of science. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Jury takes on Kott corruption case
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
A jury of twelve Alaskans is deliberating the fate of former state legislator Pete Kott. They got the case a little after noon today, after closing arguments.

Senate passes seemingly veto-proof $20 billion water projects bill
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The U.S. Senate today gave final congressional approval to a long-delayed bill authorizing federally-funded water projects around the country. The question now is whether President Bush will follow through with a threat to veto the $20 billion package because he thinks it costs too much.

Barrow’s ‘Next 40 Years’ began over the weekend
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Over the weekend, a forum looking at oil and gas development for the next 40 years wrapped up in Barrow. North Slope Borough mayor Edward Itta says the turn out was excellent, with representation from industry, state and federal government, environmental organizations and local residents. Itta says one of the highlights of the gathering was the discussion between Shell Offshore and forum participants about development in the Beaufort sea.

Stryker training in Fairbanks simulates Iraq — without the heat
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
The climate and culture of Fairbanks are about as far away as you can get from the war zone of Iraq. But soldiers stationed here must train for deployments, so the Army has spent millions of dollars building an area at Fort Wainwright that simulates the war zone. The urban training complex is open to both Alaskan soldiers and foreign forces.

Cruise ship passenger taxes rolling in, more income expected
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The state is well on its way to collecting nearly $50 million in cruise ship passenger taxes this year. But officials are still figuring out how to bring in the state’s portion of onboard gambling earnings.

Valdez monument gets a shave. Literally.
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
The biggest, most photographed monument in Valdez is getting a face lift. Bits of the giant Native American head have already been shaved down to reveal its original pale wood color. The restorer is the same man who sculpted it 26 years ago.

Interpreter center opening in Anchorage
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A new interpreter center has opened its doors in Anchorage. The center will offer a training program for interpreters and provide a referral service to public or private entities that need an interpreter.

18-mile-long object passing over Alaskan skies
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
An unusual object will pass through the sky tonight. The beach ball-sized body and an 18-mile-long tether will be released from a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite as part of a student experiment. One of the project’s mentors, aerospace engineer Tom Tessier in Winnepeg, Manitoba, says the extreme length of tether makes the mission a record-breaker.