Alaska News Nightly: July 18, 2008

The legislature returns to work after a 5-day break . Meanwhile a federal court rules against Yup’ik as a historically written language. And a new study finds that Alaska-born babies have a much higher risk of congenital heart disease. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Legislature back at work in Juneau
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The legislature this weekend is finishing up a five-day break with members set to return to their special session dealing with a natural gas pipeline and a package of energy-related measures on Monday. They now face deadlines for all the questions they started with some of them dating back to the beginning of last month.

Court rules against Yup’ik as a historically written language.

Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
A Federal Judge has ruled that Yup’ik is NOT a historically written language. The ruling is part of a lawsuit brought on by Yup’ik elders and tribes against the State of Alaska and the City of Bethel. The ruling by Judge Timothy Burgess could limit the kind of language assistance the state is required to provide.

Alaska babies at higher risk for congenital heart conditions

Weld Royal, KTOO – Juneau
A new study shows babies born in Alaska are at much greater risk for congenital heart conditions, fetal alcohol syndrome, and other major birth defects than infants in the nation as a whole.

Trying to build a fire under Exxon Mobil to pay interest on spill damages

Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
Three state lawmakers went on record this week saying the State of Alaska should file an amicus brief with the U-S Supreme Court, urging the court to order Exxon Mobil to pay interest on the more than 500 million dollar punitive damages judgment handed down last month in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case. But a state’s attorney who has worked on the case ever since the spill thinks it’s a bad idea.

Council calls for censure of Supreme Court justices

Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The Prince Williams Sound Regional Citizens Advisory  Council is calling for the official censure of the 5 members of the U-S Supreme Court who voted to reduce the Exxon Valdez award.

Design released for risk assessment of ship accidents in the Aleutians
Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
After the Selendang Ayu
grounded in 2004, spilling nearly 340,000 gallons of fuel near Unimak Island, a court settlement specified that funds be allocated for a risk assessment of ship accidents and spills in the area. A design for that assessment has now been released.

Looking to coal and biomass to relieve energy problems in interior
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Government and military officials are meeting in Fairbanks to talk about a proposed coal and biomass to energy facility.  The projectbeing managed by the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation or FEDCO, is aimed at relieving the local stress of high oil prices.

Denali climbing season closes

Sue Deyoe, KTNA – Talkeetna
The skies around Talkeetna may quiet down now as climbing season ends.

Teaching the basics of gardening
Laurel Price, KUAC – Fairbanks
It’s high season for agriculture in Alaska, and local produce is abundant, but the operators of one Fairbanks farm are concerned withmore than growing healthy food. They’re also teaching kids about gardening, and giving teenagers meaningful summer work.

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