Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tlingit artist crafts canoe for exhibit at Smithsonian museum

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JUNEAU - A Tlingit artist will make a traditional, cedar canoe for an exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Sealaska Heritage Institute officials say artist Doug (Kevin) Chilton will carve the full-size, Northwest Coast ocean-going dugout canoe in Juneau.

Officials say the plan is to paddle the canoe, scheduled to be finished this year, up the Potomac River to the exhibit. The canoe will become part of the museum's permanent collection.

A ceremony was held in April when the tree for the canoe was felled on Prince of Wales Island.

The project may be watched live online at

University of Alaska Foundation reports good financial year

FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska Foundation officials say they ended the latest fiscal year on a high note.

Officials say the number of donors, the value of gifts and investment returns are up significantly.

Foundation President Mary Rutherford said more than 5,900 individuals, businesses and foundations made charitable gifts totaling more than $20 million. Last year's numbers were 4,700 donors contributing just over $18 million.

The foundation's Consolidated Endowment Fund earned about 18 percent annual return last year, up from 12 percent the previous year.

The fund's market value as of June 30th was $266 million, an increase of $42 million over fiscal year 2006.

Minimum bid for Matanuska Maid dairy is $3.3 million

ANCHORAGE - The minimum bid for the Matanuska Maid Dairy will be $3.35 million, state officials have decided.

The state Creamery Board on Sunday set the price when approving the 71-year-old state-owned dairy for sale.

The dairy has been struggling with its finances in recent years. In July, the losses were $300,000.

The dairy processing facility and property in Anchorage and the company's trademark red-and-white logo will be offered in a sealed-bid process, Creamery Board Chairwoman Kristan Cole said.

Bids are due Dec. 14. The property will be sold "as is," and buyers are required to pay in cash.

Alaska Strykersoldiers to trainwith Indian army

FORT WAINWRIGHT - U.S. Army Alaska is hosting a combined training exercise with the Indian army.

The exercises - called Yudh Abhyas (YOOD' ah-boss) 2007 - will continue through Sept. 24.

About 650 Alaska-based Stryker soldiers will train with about 100 soldiers from India in a variety of military exercises at the Army's Donnelly Training area, near Fort Greely.

Officials say most of the training exercise will involve the unit's Stryker vehicles and will primarily focus on counterinsurgency and anti-terrorism training.

Shareholder may challenge resultsof board election

WASHINGTON - Alaska Air Group on Monday disclosed that shareholder and dissident director nominee Stephen Nieman is considering a challenge of the results of the company's board election.

Nieman said in a letter to Alaska Air Chairman and Chief Executive William S. Ayer that he's lost confidence in the process the company used to conduct the shareholder vote. A copy of the letter was provided in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Nieman, Richard D. Foley, Terry K. Dayton and Carl L. Olson lost their bid to gain director seats on Alaska Air's board, according to a previous SEC filing. The Seattle-based parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air held the election at its annual shareholders meeting June 12.

Nieman also said in his letter that the group asserts that it's their right to request that the company take "the necessary steps to restore confidence in AAG shareholder voting processes and results."

Shares of Alaska Air fell 31 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $23.05 in late afternoon trading Monday.

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