Alaska News Nightly: April 26, 2012

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Senate Adjourns Special Session

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Governor Parnell last night amended his call for a Special Session – removing the consideration of a bill reducing taxes on the oil industry. Saying the governor does not have the authority to “remove” items from the session – the Senate – less than a half hour ago  –  adjourned the special session.

In-State Gas Line Remains On Legislators’ Radar

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The only item remaining on the Governor’s proclamation for a special session is a bill that would take huge steps toward the construction of an in-state natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska.  It was sponsored by House Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski).

The bill provides money and authority to advance the project to completion without further legislative approval.  Chenault says those assurances are needed to give potential gas shippers confidence in the state’s full support.

Former Non-Profit Head Sentences To Probation For Embezzlement

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

A former Sitka resident will spend three years on probation and pay back money he embezzled from the nonprofit organization he once led.

Judge Ralph Beistline handed down the sentence after 46-year-old Gerald Bigelow pleaded guilty to embezzlement in Anchorage federal court on Wednesday.

The embezzlement nearly ended a four-decade long relationship between a group of Native artists and the National Park Service.

Man Acquitted Of Manslaughter, Homicide Charges

The Associated Press

An Army soldier has been acquitted of manslaughter and homicide charges in the death of a friend during a drunken game of Russian roulette.

Jurors returned not guilty verdicts today for 27-year-old Jacob Brouch. He was found guilty on a weapons misconduct charge.

He was charged in the March 2011 death of 26-year-old Michael McCloskey, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his abdomen.

Prosecutors blamed Brouch for the death for handing McCloskey a gun and a bullet for the game.

The death occurred after they went on a 36-hour drinking binge at Brouch’s home near Anchorage

Municipal Leaders React to Election Commission Report

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Municipal Leaders are reacting to a report by the Election Commission on the April 3 Election. The Commission presented the report at a public meeting late Wednesday. It was critical of the clerk’s role in the election, but said it should be certified.

Alaska Moose Federation Gets $1.5 Million From State

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Alaska Moose Federation, the Anchorage based group aimed at relocating moose from urban to rural areas, has scored a legislative windfall of $1.5 million for additional moose rescue and relocation programs. Some wildlife professionals are critical of the federation’s current, and future, place in wildlife management.

New Research Sheds Light On Mercury Pollution

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Mercury pollution is a growing problem in the Arctic. And new research is offering some insight into how mercury reacts with the sea ice that covers much of the Arctic Ocean. Sandy Steffen is a Physical Scientist with Environment Canada. She studied mercury pollution on the sea ice outside of Barrow and is presenting her work this week at the International Polar Year conference in Montreal.

She says the study was the first to measure the difference between mercury absorption on sea ice and on land.

Native Youth Olympics Start Friday

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

The 2012 Native Youth Olympics, or NYO Games, start Friday and continue over the weekend at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Parents, teachers, and coaches will help some 600 Alaska students, grades 7-12, compete in activities such as the high kick, seal hop, and wrist carry.

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