Alaska News Nightly: March 19, 2009

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Governor Palin Rejects Stimulus Funds
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The governor today followed through on hints she has made in the past that the federal stimulus package is too restrictive on future state fiscal action. She is producing legislation that would reject nearly half the money the state has been offered.

Report Casts Doubt on Lawmaker’s Ability To Accept Funds
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Even if the legislature does vote to apply for the money, over riding the Governor’s decision, its not clear whether the state will ultimately be able to accept the funding. The federal stimulus bill includes a clause allowing state legislatures to request funding rejected by a Governor. But a non partisan Congressional report released yesterday says the law is vague on the details that would make sure the money would end up in the state.

Begich Hopes Legislature Takes Stimulus Money
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
Senator Mark Begich reacted with disappointment today to the Governor’s decision to reject nearly half the state’s stimulus money. Alaska’s Democratic Senator says he hopes the legislature will take the rest of the stimulus money still on the table, and pointed to education and weatherization programs.

Anchorage Superintendent Angry With Palin’s Decision
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The governor’s rejection of 170-million dollars in education funding caught Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau completely by surprise. An hour later when KSKA’s Len Anderson talked to her, the superintendent was still dumbfounded by Palin’s decision.

Senate Passes Izembek Land Swap–Again
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
For the second time, the U.S. Senate has approved a hefty public lands package that includes a land swap in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. It could increase the size of the Izembek and Alaska Peninsula Wildlife Refuges by more than 61-thousand acres, in exchange for 206 acres sought by the community of King Cove.

Iditarod Finishers Continue to Arrive in Nome
Tim Bidony, APRN – Nome
The action is picking up in Nome at the finish line of the Iditarod. Willow musher Ramey Smyth recorded another top ten finish – the sixth of his Iditarod career – when he claimed ninth place this morning (Thursday).

Iditarod GPS Tracking Gets Good Reviews
Tim Bidony, APRN – Nome
The Iditarod Trail Committee’s “Insider” coverage package is completing its first year of offering paid subscribers a GPS tracking system on the Internet. Every musher in the field was required to carry a GPS transponder this year, after a voluntary test run last year involving about two dozen mushers.

Wildlife Group Sues Over State Predator Control Move
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Defenders of Wildlife is asking the court to stop Fish and Game from shooting wolves from helicopters in the eastern interior. Defender’s Alaska Representative Wade Willis says the state acted illegally when it began shooting wolves from a helicopter in the country between the Yukon River and Alaska Highway over the weekend.

Ghost Haunts Alaska’s Oldest Building
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
Any building that is 200 years old almost certainly has ghost stories associated with it, and Kodiak’s Erskine House, the oldest building in Alaska, is no exception.