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3-day celebration planned for Legislature's centennial

Milestone is next month

Posted: February 20, 2013 - 8:49pm  |  Updated: February 21, 2013 - 1:18am

Members of the Alaska Legislative Centennial Commission, a group of lawmakers and public members responsible for planning for the 100th anniversary of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau, reviewed a draft itinerary Thursday for a three-day celebration at the Rockwell restaurant in downtown Juneau next month.

The draft includes breakfast and lunch programs for March 3, March 4 and March 5 at the restaurant, which is located in the former Elks Lodge building — the primary meeting place for the Alaska Territorial Legislature from its inception on March 3, 1913, until the completion of the Alaska State Capitol building in 1931.

Afternoon and evening events on Sunday, March 3, include comments by Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, chairman of the Legislative Centennial Commission; a reenactment of the 1st Territorial Legislature’s convening on March 4, as well as the passage of the bill guaranteeing women’s suffrage in the newly organized territory; and a happy hour program featuring a discussion on the Prohibition era in Alaska.

Many of the programs, according to the draft, will be presented or moderated by former legislators, while the reenactment will be done by actors from Perseverance Theatre in Douglas.

Tim Lamkin, an aide to Stevens, prepared the draft program and presented its contents to the commission.

“We’re trying to build a program here that is of genuine educational value,” Lamkin said.

At Stevens’ prompting to talk about what the centennial will cost, Lamkin said “not much has been spent at all” by the state on event planning.

“We’ve been very concerned about spending any money on any sort of party planning,” said Lamkin. “The owner of Rockwell is picking up a great amount of the expense of this effort, as she’s the one who stands to make money. From her perspective, she’s trying to make money.”

Lamkin said admission will be ticketed, with the proceeds from the tickets going to Rockwell. The restaurant, he said, will be decorated and furnished as a likeness of the 1913 legislative chambers and will feature contemporaneous food and drinks on the menu.

Stevens said he expects the centennial to be “enormous fun.”

“I think that it’s a great plan,” Stevens said.

Terrence Cole, a University of Alaska Fairbanks professor who serves as one of the commission’s public members, agreed.

“Tim has done an amazing job in a short period of time,” Cole said.

Lamkin demurred.

“There were a lot of people involved,” Lamkin said, adding, “I really want to recognize them for the work they put in.”

The commission also looked at a draft version of a comprehensive roster of legislators being prepared by the Legislative Affairs Agency.

Some photographs of presiding officers are missing from the roster, and LAA Executive Director Pamela Varni said staff are looking for more pictures.

Rep. Cathy Muñoz, R-Juneau, whose father, grandfather and grandmother all served in the Legislature, suggested she could contribute some “family photos.”

“I have a number of photos, family photos, from the legislative sessions in the 1940s, 1950s, and I’d be happy to share some of those with you if they might be useful,” Muñoz told Stevens.

Muñoz said to Varni a few minutes later, “The photos that I have are of the full body, so it may not be consistent with your format, but you can certainly look at them and see.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 586-1821 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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