Alaska News Nightly: June 17, 2009

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Freed Legislators Face Sentencing Judge
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Former state lawmakers Pete Kott and Vic Kohring are free to travel without asking for permission from a judge. The two were released from federal prison earlier because the Justice Department says their trials were tainted. On Wednesday, they were in the same courtroom, facing the same judge who sentenced them.

New Report Out on Global Warming
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
A new report from the federal government takes a stark look at the current impacts of global warming in the United States. Violent storms, drought and flooding are just a few climate change affects already documented across the country.

Biologists Return to Rat Island to Find Dead Gulls and Eagles
Anne Hillman, KUCB – Unalaska
Rat Island, in the Aluetians, may almost be considered rat-free, but spreading poison there might have had unintended consequences. When biologists returned to the area this summer they didn’t find any live rats, but they did find 186 gulls and 41 dead bald eagles.

Begich Protesting Cuts to Missile Defense Program
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Mark Begich (D) is continuing to press his case for blocking cuts to the missile defense program at Fort Greely in Delta Junction. He questioned top defense officials on Tuesday, including the head of the Missile Defense program at an Armed Services Committee hearing.

Elders Press for Help with Beth Senior Center
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Elders in Bethel arrived in force to the city council’s last meeting to ask the community for help funding the Bethel Senior Center. Bethel’s Native Tribe says high energy costs are eroding services to the area’s oldest population.

Anchorage’s Sexual Orientation Proposal Draws Spirited Debate
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The proposed ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation once again drew hundreds to the Anchorage Assembly and a second night of public testimony.

Ground Broken for New Correctional Center
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
The state broke ground on Wednesday for the new prison at Point MacKenzie.  The Goose Creek Correctional Center is a $240 million project backed by both the state of Alaska and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Anchorage Hosts Special Summer School Program
Suzanna Caldwell, APRN – Anchorage
For the sixth year in a row, the Anchorage School District is hosting a five-week summer school. But it’s not just any summer school; it’s an Indian Education Enrichment Program. Students entering first through eighth grade are taught math, science and reading, but all with a cultural emphasis.