Alaska News Nightly: August 19, 2008

Senator Ted Stevens is facing a tough primary challenge.  We’ll have a profile of that race. Plus, we’ll look at Ballot Measure 1, the gambling intitiative. Also, studying the decline of the Kittlitz’s Murrelets. And a cool new solar car rolls across Alaska. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Investigation into Monegan firing gets underway

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The legislative investigation into the circumstances surrounding the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan is focusing on complaints Governor Sarah Palin and her staff made about State Trooper Mike Wooten – who had been involved in a divorce case with the Governor’s sister. Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French says the investigator, Steve Branchflower, is looking at whether attempts to get Wooten fired effected the Monegan dismissal.

Ted Stevens faces tough Republican primary

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Ted Stevens is so well known in Alaska that the state’s biggest airport is named for him, and he was declared the Alaskan of the 20th Century (by the Alaskan of the Year Committee)  But now after serving in the U-S Senate for forty years, he’s in the toughest battle of his political life.  His main opponent in next week’s Republican primary election is real-estate developer Dave Cuddy.

Ballot Measure 1: “The gambling initiative”

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The first initiative that voters will see on the primary ballot next week asks them to decide the future of gambling in Alaska.  The measure as written will only clean up some long-standing confusion in regulating the charitable gaming industry. But opponents point to other doors the bill would open.

Uranium sought at Bokan Mountain site
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
Exploratory drilling is under way at the Bokan Mountain mining site on the south end of Prince of Wales Island. Landmark Alaska is hoping to reopen the 50-year-old mine, which it hopes contains sizeable amounts of uranium and rare earth elements.

Studying the decline of the Kittlitz’s Murrelets
Mary Donaldson, KMXT – Kodiak
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey are teaming up to fund a research project aimed at studying a rare coastal bird in Alaska – Kittlitz’s Murrelets.

Solar car zips through Alaska
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The vehicle, built and driven by Marcelo da Luz (LOOZ) of Toronto is headed south after stopping in Fairbanks last week. The journey journey began in Buffalo, New York, 2 months ago.  Since then, DaLuz and his “Power of One” team have covered nearly 6 thousand miles in an effort to break the solar-power distance record of more than 8 thousand miles.

Photographing the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge stretches from islands in the Gulf of Alaska to the end of the Aleutian chain. It’s managed as a resource for Alaskans, though most won’t get to experience it—until now.

Alaskan prepares to meet Presidential candidate Obama
Jenny Canfield, KNBA – Anchorage
An Alaskan is preparing for the rare opportunity to talk to a major presidential candidate. Holly Stebing was studying abroad in Chile when she first heard of Barack Obama. She was inspired to start making small monthly donations to his campaign because of speeches she watched on YouTube.