Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2004

KTOO to televise next Senate debate

JUNEAU - The final debate between U.S. Senate candidates Tony Knowles and Sen. Lisa Murkowski will be televised live at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, on KTOO public television.

The debate also will be available by audio on the Internet live at

Michael Carey, host of the public television show Anchorage Edition and the election series Running, will act as moderator for the debate. Panelists Elizabeth Arnold of National Public Radio, Richard Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News and Bill McAllister of public television's Alaska Week, will serve as panelists.

The debate also will be broadcast live by the news cable channel C-SPAN. For more information, contact debate producer Rosemarie Alexander at (907) 463-6440.

Convicted murderer charged in prison killing

ANCHORAGE - A Ketchikan man serving 60 years in prison has been charged with committing Alaska's first murder inside prison walls.

Carl Abuhl, 32, was indicted on charges of strangling his cellmate, Gregory Beaudoin, 26, of Anchorage at Spring Creek Correction Center in August. Alaska State Troopers did not reveal a possible motive.

Abuhl was convicted in 2002 of bludgeoning a man to death with an aluminum baseball bat.

Troopers said Abuhl used pieces of cloth torn from a bed sheet to strangle Beaudoin. He disposed of the pieces of sheet by flushing them down the toilet in his cell, troopers said.

Beaudoin was serving a 60-year sentence for the 1997 stabbing death of his mother, Karen Jensen. Beaudoin was 19 years old at the time of the killing.

Corrections Commissioner Marc Antrim confirmed that Beaudoin's death was the first homicide within Alaska prison walls.

Official: Gas pipeline negotiations intensify

ANCHORAGE - The man heading the state's negotiations with oil companies on terms to build a natural gas pipeline says Alaska officials plan will have a proposal by Friday that includes long-term tax rates and how much the state itself may invest in the line.

Pedro van Meurs said the proposal culminates several months of preliminary talks, which will intensify this week.

Democratic lawmakers on Monday accused the administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski of rushing into a contract with the oil companies as a means of helping the governor's daughter, Lisa Murkowski, retain her seat in the U.S. Senate in next Tuesday's election.

Sen. Murkowski faces Democratic challenger Tony Knowles in the Nov. 2 election.

State officials say a final contract proposal needs to be presented to the Legislature early in the next session, which begins Jan. 10. And Van Meurs said he had agreed with the oil companies to submit the state's proposal by the end of October because he must soon fly to Kuwait to work with other clients.

"I didn't create the timing ... that was the date that Pedro van Meurs set," Gov. Murkowski said. "He set it a really long time ago and nobody really thought about it."

Anchorage mayor: Bring in Canadian drugs

ANCHORAGE - Mayor Mark Begich wants to make prescription drugs from Canada available to 2,800 Anchorage employees, which officials estimate could save between $500,000 and $1 million in health insurance costs.

Federal law prohibits importing prescription medication, but have not pursued legal action against states and cities that do.

The employees eligible for health benefits could start buying less-expensive Canadian drugs during the first six months of next year, city officials said.

About $33 million, or 11 percent of the city's total $309 million budget, pays for health costs, Begich said.

The city is considering sharing some of the savings with employees who buy generic, and possibly Canadian, drugs, said Paul Wiltse, who manages special cost-saving projects for the city.

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