Alaska News Nightly: January 29, 2008

Tonight in Alaska news… Governor Palin says she would not veto a bill to move legislative sessions to Anchorage.  Also, Former Governor Frank Murkowski is back in the state stumping for a gasline project – and the state files an amicus brief to support the Exxon-Valdez plaintiffs. Also, a VPSO task force publishes recommendations for increasing village security.  Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Governor says she would not veto a bill to move legislative session to Anchorage.
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Governor’s comments came in a news conference this afternoon – just after the House State Affairs Committee held a 2-hour hearing on legislation to relocate sessions to Anchorage and repeal the law that requires Alaskans vote on the costs of relocating the capital or the legislature.

Frank Murkowski back in Alaska to promote gasline project

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Associated Press is reporting that former Governor Frank Murkowski is back in the state to promote a gas line project to deliver natural gas from the North Slope to continental US markets. The reports say that he met earlier this week with officials of ConocoPhilips and plans to meet with other North Slope leaseholders – as well as with TransCanada, the state’s choice to develop the project.

State files a “friend of the court” brief in support of Exxon-Valdez plaintiffs

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state of Alaska has now joined with others in support of Exxon Valdez oil spill plaintiffs. Today, the state filed an amicus brief in advance of the US Supreme Court hearing of an appeal of the punitive damages lawsuit against Exxon-Mobil’s responsibility in the 1989 oil spill.

New study sheds light on sexual assaults in Alaska
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
This morning the Alaska State Troopers and the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Justice Center unveiled a new sexual assault study.  The in-depth analysis examined nearly one thousand cases of sexual assaults and sexual abuse of minors reported to the troopers.  KSKA’s Len Anderson reports the study sheds new light on the abusers and the investigators.

Save the whales – again!

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Some members of Congress joined conservationists today in urging the Bush Administration not to cave into efforts by Japan, Norway and Iceland to resume commercial whaling. A campaign called Save The Whales Again! is trying to put public pressure on the Bush Administration in advance of a special International Whaling Commission meeting coming up in March

Whatcom, Washington withdraws from Thomas Bay hydro project

Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Officials with Whatcom county, Washington are pulling out of the permitting process for proposed hydro-electric facilities in Thomas bay, near Petersburg. A private company wants to develop several hydro-plants in the remote bay and sell the power to Canada and the lower 48. The county’s involvement had prompted concerns from the southeast town, where many residents and the city council have objected to the development plan

VPSO task force issues report on village safety
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A task force looking into the need for law enforcement in rural communities has finished its report for the state senate. The Village Public Safety Officer or VPSO task force came up with 6 main recommendations for providing more officers in rural communities and retaining them.

What price a kidney?

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A bill that would allow Nome representative Richard Foster to receive a donated kidney for transplant surgery passed from committee today. The Legislative Ethics Committee determined that the value of a donated kidney is more than the statutory $250 limit for what the law calls a “compassionate gift.” Foster would be in violation of that restriction if he undergoes a transplant.

Being a boxer in Bethel means a whole lot of travel
Kenny Steele, KYUK – Bethel
You probably wouldn’t associate Bethel with boxing– after all, there are no boxing clubs or gyms in the town. So, for one young Bethel man, being a boxer means flying 400 miles to the road system in Anchorage to fight.

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