Alaska News Nightly: September 25, 2007

A jury has found former lawmaker Pete Kott guilty of bribery, conspiracy and extortion. Plus, a California Congressman introduced a bill today that would clamp down on wolf kills in Alaska. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Kott found guilty on 3 of 4 counts; sentencing in December
David Shurtleff and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Former state legislator Pete Kott has been found guilty of taking bribes from former VECO executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith. He was also convicted on charges of conspiracy and extortion, but acquitted on a charge of wire fraud.

Legislators call for investigation of VECO campaign activities
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Two state Democratic lawmakers sent a letter today to Attorney General Talis Colberg and Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) director Brooke Miles, saying the state should be stepping up to investigate violations of campaign laws by VECO. Representatives Harry Crawford and Les Gara say alleged payment for polls and campaign fundraisers and reimbursing VECO executives for campaign donations would be clear election law violations. Crawford says they rise to criminal conduct that should not be subject to a one year statute of limitations that APOC is required to follow for misconduct going back more than a year.

Congress taking on Alaska’s airborne hunting regulations
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC and Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Critics are taking aim at Alaska’s airborne wolf hunting program again. Today, California Democratic congressman George Miller unveiled what he calls the Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) Act. It would clarify the 35-year-old federal Airborne Hunting Act to clamp down on wolf kills in Alaska.

MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ awarded to Alutiiq Museum director
Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
The 2007 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships were announced today. The awards — which include a five-year grant totaling $500,000 — are sometimes referred to as “Genius Grants.” This year they were handed out to 24 individuals from a broad range of fields. Among the recipients is Sven Haakanson, executive director of Kodiak’s Alutiiq Museum.

Southeast Alaskans looking for regional landfill solution
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Leaders of five Southeast communities have decided to move ahead with plans that could lead to a regional landfill. Local voters will get a say in what officials hope will be a cost-saving operation.

Alaskan prisoners (in Arizona) on lockdown following protest
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
More than 200 Alaskan prisoners refused to go back to their cells in an Arizona prison yesterday afternoon. Their protest led the Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona into “lockdown” mode Monday night. The lockdown continues this evening.

U.S. House hears testimony on global warming effects in Alaska
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The U.S. House Select Committee on Global Warming focused its spotlight today on how climate change is affecting Alaska and the Arctic. Alaskans and other experts were featured at an informal briefing on Capitol Hill. Panel chairman Ed Markey welcomed them and the information they provided.

Traditional Alaska Native healers receive international award
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
This Friday in Washington D.C. an Anchorage based clinic and its director will receive international recognition for their work in bridging cultures and healing patients.

‘Space tether’ experiment fails to fully unreel over Alaska
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A European Space Agency student experiment, visible from Alaska, failed to go off as planned last night. The project involved the release of a small capsule from a satellite.