Alaska News Nightly: January 19, 2009

An impressive number of Alaskans are in Washington, DC to soak up the sights and sounds of Barack Obama’s historic inauguration. Plus, State lawmakers are preparing for the start of the legislative session in Juneau tomorrow. Energy will be a high priority.

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)

No Bush pardon for Stevens; only a few hours left
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
With only about 12 hours left in President George Bush’s term, a pardon for former Senator Ted Stevens is unlikely. The New York Times is reporting Bush commuted two sentences earlier today in his final acts of clemency, without any mention of Stevens.

Thousands of Alaskans in DC for Obama Inauguration
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Alaskans are among the millions of people gathered in Washington, DC for President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. As APRN’s Libby Casey reports, the Alaskans attending range in age, race, beliefs, and backgrounds — but they’re sharing the thrill of witnessing history.

Barrow-based Native dancers representing Alaska at Inauguration
Janelle Everett, KBRW – Barrow
Three performance groups will represent Alaska at the Presidential Inauguration tomorrow, including a Native dance group from Barrow.

Alaska legislators begin session tomorrow
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The legislature is gearing up for this year’s regular session that gets underway tomorrow afternoon at the Capitol in Juneau. Among the questions facing lawmakers this year will be providing energy to Alaskans — in a time when the state’s revenue is dwindling.

Southeast Alaska legislator pushing for more new ferries, faster
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The Alaska Marine Highway System is designing the next generation of state ferries. But it says it’s at least a year away from putting a ship out to bid. One Southeast lawmaker wants action sooner. Representative Peggy Wilson says she’ll introduce legislation calling for three new ferries to be built.

North Dakota Senator pushing for Native/Indian-specific economic stimulus
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
A group of Senators is urging President-elect Barack Obama to include “Indian Country” in his economic recovery plan. North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan (D) has proposed investing more than $3.5 billion of the expected stimulus package in Native American and Alaska Native communities. Both of Alaska’s Senators have signed on to his proposal.

Favorite Craig roadside attraction may be dismantled
Jay Marble, KRBD – Ketchikan
A Craig, Alaska landmark is almost certainly on its way out. For years, a building known as the “Old Blue Float house” has been the subject of tourist photographs and a source of aggravation for the city. But hopes for saving the roadside attraction, are sinking.

Kuskokwim 300 underway; Tustumena 200 delayed
Casey Kelly, KBBI – Homer
After a warm-weather delay, 16 mushers are on the trail of the Kuskokwim 300. The race started yesterday afternoon after being postponed for two days. Denali musher Jeff King is currently in the lead, followed closely by Martin Buser of Big Lake and John Baker of Kotzebue. In all, 12 mushers are out of the Kalskag checkpoint less than 100 miles from the finish line.

The start date of the Tustumena 200 sled dog race on the Kenai Peninsula has been postponed for a week. The race had been scheduled to begin Saturday January 24, but will now start January 31 at 11:00 a.m. Race Executive Director Tami Murray says last week’s warm, rainy weather is the culprit.