Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, October 06, 2003

Stevens, Murkowski threaten 'no' vote

WASHINGTON - Alaska's U.S. Senate delegation has pledged to vote against the proposed national energy bill if it does not open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling or provide a tax incentive for a natural gas pipeline from Alaska.

"Lisa Murkowski and I have made it plain," said U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. "We will not vote for the bill unless it contains one or the other or both."

The pledge puts another wrinkle in the endgame as the Republican leadership and President Bush seek to pass the legislation later this month. With a closely divided Senate, every Republican vote could be needed to pass the bill.

But if a conference committee crafting the final bill includes the Alaska items, they could drive away other votes.

"It's going to be a very close vote, so people are scrambling, trying to explain to us why we should go along with this or that, which is sort of what we need," Stevens told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and other media.

Troopers crack down on Fairbanks rollerskiers

FAIRBANKS - Alaska State Troopers are cracking down on rollerskiing, a popular recreational activity in Fairbanks.

The enforcement began last weekend when troopers issued a ticket to a rollerskier for obstructing traffic. The very next day, troopers ordered the University of Alaska Fairbanks cross-country ski team to halt its workout.

"People are rollerskiing on roads all over the country and I've never heard of anything like this," said UAF ski coach Bill McDonnell, who came to Fairbanks from Vermont five years ago. "It's kind of disconcerting, especially when Fairbanks is such a skiing community."

It marked the first time anyone can remember a rollerskier getting a ticket.

"In the 19 years I've been rollerskiing in Fairbanks I've been passed numerous times by troopers or Fairbanks police and not once have I been stopped," said Ken Leary, a 45-year-old elementary school teacher who troopers ticketed on Saturday.

Troopers allege that Leary, who was rollerskiing along Chena Ridge Road with another man, swung his ski pole at a passing car. That car was being driven by Capt. Greg Tanner, detachment commander for Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks.

Ex-governor in hospital with acute nosebleed

ANCHORAGE - Former Alaska Gov. Bill Sheffield was hospitalized Saturday in Anchorage after suffering an unstoppable nosebleed on a business trip to the Caribbean.

Providence Alaska Medical Center would give no details about Sheffield's medical status. A hospital spokeswoman previously said he was in good condition.

Sheffield, 75, said through the hospital that he did not want to be interviewed.

Sheffield served a single term as the state's governor in 1982-86.

Stevens gets millions for Native grants

FAIRBANKS - Sen. Ted Stevens has secured $14.5 million in federal grants for Native education projects in Alaska.

The grants, which are being distributed by the U.S. Department of Education, will help fund a variety of projects, including a compact disc documenting traditional subsistence activities, a new math and science curriculum for village schools and several training programs for rural teachers. Thirty-two projects will split the money.

Stevens, an Alaska Republican, said he pushed for the funding to help boost academic performance among Alaska Native students.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will receive four grants. The largest UAF grant, at $540,000, will create a math and science curriculum for 1,500 seventh- and eighth-grade students in Bering Strait and Yukon River villages.



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