Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2001

Second lift opens at Eaglecrest

JUNEAU - Plumped up with 4 inches of snow received Wednesday, Eaglecrest Ski Area has been able to open a second chairlift, Hooter.

Eaglecrest Business Manager Gary Mendivil said the ski area will also be able to offer beginner skiing lessons starting today.

"If it gets a little colder, we can start making snow. Then we can open the Platter Pull and the tubing hill," Mendivil said. "We are so glad winter has arrived."

On Saturday, Eaglecrest's ski school will begin offering Mighty Mite and Race Rats classes for kids. Call 790-2001 to register.

For cross-country skiers, Eaglecrest's upper loop trail is being set today. Also, a trail at the south end of the Mendenhall Valley's Dredge Lake has been set for skating and classic skiers, although the classic trail is a bit rocky.

Loan forgiveness bill clears hurdle

JUNEAU - A student loan forgiveness bill aimed at teachers cleared its first hurdle in the Legislature on Wednesday.

House Bill 37, which would forgive half an Alaska Student Loan for a graduate who teaches in Alaska five years, passed the House Special Committee on Education. The bill sponsored by Rep. Gary Stevens, a Kodiak Republican, next goes to the House Health and Social Services Committee.

The Alaska Student Loan Corp. estimates the measure would cost the state $170,000 the first year and $850,000 a year after five years.

The Special Committee on Education is still looking at House Bill 43, which would forgive part of a teacher's loans, but only if the teacher went to college in Alaska and taught in a subject area or a geographic area where there's a teacher shortage.

Committee Chairman Con Bunde said the panel will take another look next week at that bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Joe Green, an Anchorage Republican. The Student Loan Corp. hasn't estimated its cost.

Bunde cut off discussion Wednesday of a third student loan bill, but didn't rule out bringing it back. House Bill 54, by Rep. John Davies, a Fairbanks Democrat, would provide a lower interest rate for students who return to Alaska to work.

Bunde said he didn't like the bill because it would take money from the loan corporation. The Student Loan Corp. estimates Davies' measure would cost $250,000 the first year and $4.1 million a year after 15 years.

Kids' services showcased at program

JUNEAU - Healthy Families Juneau, a program of Catholic Community Service, has assembled a community showcase of services suitable for children up to age 3. "Honoring Young Children and Families" is scheduled for 4:30 to 7 p.m. today at Cathedral Hall, 430 Fifth St. It's open to families and legislators.

"It's exciting that so many different organizations are hosting it," said Joy Lyon, Juneau's executive director of the Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children. "We are spread throughout the community, and for any one person who wants to find out about everything, it's a lot of running around. Here we are in one place for one night."

The event, which includes food and music, marks the debut of "In Juneau We Love Kids," a booklet describing new insights into brain development, Lyon said.

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