Alaska News Nightly: November 18, 2008

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich declares victory over Ted Stevens in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race. Plus, the U.S. Senate Republican Conference postpones action against Senator Stevens. Also, the National Park Service places some limits on activities in Denali. And a Kodiak resident is named U.S. Coast Guard Engineer of the Year. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Download Audio (MP3, 30 min)

Begich declares victory in U.S. Senate race
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Democrat Mark Begich today increased his lead over Incumbent Ted Stevens in their race to represent Alaska in the US Senate next year. In Anchorage today, two of his campaign workers kept a close watch as the votes from each district came in. The numbers were recorded on long strips of paper that look a lot like grocery store receipts.

Vote to remove Stevens from US Senate Republican Conference postponed
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Stevens may not be headed back to the Senate in January, but he survived the threat of getting kicked out of the Republican Conference today. A vote was scheduled for this morning on whether to strip Stevens of his place in the Conference, and remove him from committee seats. But the vote was postponed since Stevens’ election results weren’t yet known. Some of his fellow Republicans say they don’t want Stevens in their caucus because he was convicted last month of failure to report gifts on financial disclosure forms.

Consortium looks for natural gas in Nenana area
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A consortium of Alaska investors are teaming with a lower 48 exploration outfit to look for natural gas in the Nenana area. Doyon, Usibelli Coal, and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation are working with Colorado-based energy company Babcock and Brown to drill an exploratory well in the Nenana Basin next summer. Doyon is the largest single investor in the $15 million project.

Juneau Assembly throws bucket of water on 50th Anniversary bonfire
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
Plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of statehood with a huge bonfire in Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley hit a dead end last night. The Juneau Assembly declined to take the steps necessary to make such a large source of wood smoke legal, at least under city law.

Sitka couple arrested on drug and extortion charges
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
A Sitka couple has been arrested on a combination of drug and extortion charges. 48-year-old Jimmie Richardson and his wife, Wendy Jo were apprehended in Sitka last week on a report that they had hired a contract-killer from the lower 48 to murder a relative.

Park Service places limits on some activities in Denali
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
New regulations affecting mountaineering and off-road vehicle use in Denali National Park have been enacted. The National Park Service has placed a 1,500 cap on the number of climbers allowed on Mt. McKinley during the April through August mountaineering season.

Petersburg approves new four-dam pool plan
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Petersburg’s city council is the first of three southeast communities to give its formal approval for the split-up of the four-dam pool power agency. The agency now owns four hydro-electric plants serving communities in the panhandle and southcentral. The plan is for the pool’s southeast towns to form a new regional organization and take over the two public plants that provide them with electricity.

ADFG biologists look past winter to next year’s sockeye season in Bristol Bay
Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham
As Bristol Bay begins to freeze over for the winter, Alaska Fish and Game Biologists are looking ahead to next summer’s Sockeye Salmon fishing season.

Kodiak civilian named Coast Guard Engineer of the Year
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
A civilian working in Kodiak has been named United States Coast Guard Engineer of the Year. Laura Kelly has been a staff civil engineer on the base since 2000.