Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2000

Morgan takes lead in House race

ANCHORAGE - Republican incumbent Rep. Carl Morgan of Aniak holds a 78-vote lead in the race for a sprawling Bush district as the winners of Tuesday's election turned their attention to choosing the leaders of the next Legislature.

The lead in the District 36 race had seesawed back and forth between Morgan and Irene Nicholia, the Democrat he ousted by six votes two years ago. Morgan led Nicholia 2,294 to 2,216 with all precincts reporting in District 36. Some absentee and questioned ballots remained to be counted.

The only other race in play was in Anchorage's Senate District K, where Democrat Bettye Davis was leading Republican Terry Martin 6,168 to 5,849. Hundreds of absentee ballots remain to be counted.

If Morgan and Davis both hold on to their lead, Republicans would pick up a seat in the House and lose one in the Senate, maintaining their veto-proof two-thirds majority overall.

GOP Senators were scheduled to meet tonight to try to choose a new Senate president, majority leader and committee assignments. The process could be a struggle between moderate and conservative factions within the often contentious majority. At least three senators Pete Kelly of Fairbanks, Rick Halford of Chugiak and Loren Leman of Anchorage were angling for the job.

The House majority was scheduled to meet Thursday. House Speaker Brian Porter will likely return for a second term, although other leadership positions are less certain. "I've been asked and I've said that if that's what the majority of the folks want that I'd do it," Porter said.

Hospitals warned of billing scam

JUNEAU - A bogus firm is billing hospitals across the country for "emergency services."

Laraine Derr of the Hospital and Nursing Home Association was warned by hospital associations in Ohio and New Jersey that they were "receiving phony invoices to send money to a Post Office box in New York." The invoices are from Starr Heating and Cooling System for $3,907.53, supposedly for "labor and materials for emergency services," Derr said.

"I didn't think it was going to happen in Alaska, but Kodiak and API in Anchorage were hit," Derr said. "They might target clinics as well as hospitals."

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