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State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Anchorage airport guards begin inspecting all arriving vehicles

ANCHORAGE - Uniformed airport safety guards began inspecting all vehicles at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Tuesday.

Airport officials said the inspections will affect vehicles that enter the parking lots at the north terminal and the parking garage at the south terminal.

Airport Operations Manager Corky Caldwell said the inspections were not in response to the FBI's latest warning of a possible terrorist attack.

"It is certainly a consideration, but the real bottom line is to ensure that we're in line with the Federal Aviation Administration's emergency directives," Caldwell said.

Caldwell said the inspections will involve opening the trunks of cars and, in some cases, inspecting beneath. The program will continue indefinitely.

Caldwell said the airport conducted such inspections during the Gulf War.

UAF Native language program receives $1 million federal grant

FAIRBANKS - The Native language education program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has received a $1 million, five-year federal grant.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Education is for a program designed to preserve threatened Athabascan languages.

The money will fund two fellowships for students seeking graduate degrees in education with an emphasis on Native language. It will also fund two fellowships for students seeking a bachelor's degree in linguistics, Alaska Native studies, education or another relevant field.

Students can focus on one of seven Athabascan languages at the university's language center. All 11 Athabascan languages are on the verge of extinction, said Patrick Marlow, an assistant professor at the Alaska Native Language Center.

IRS urges people to act quickly to claim returned rebate checks

ANCHORAGE - Nearly 1,100 Alaskans who did not receive their tax rebates are being urged to contact the Internal Revenue Service to claim their checks.

The IRS began issuing the one-time tax rebate checks in July, but some were returned by the postal service as undeliverable, IRS spokeswoman Judy Monahan said Tuesday.

Most of the checks came back because they could not be mailed to the proper taxpayer. That occurs commonly when taxpayers move to a new address or change last names when they get married.

Monahan said people who don't call the IRS by Dec. 5 will have to wait for their rebate money until they file their 2001 income tax returns next year. The total for the returned checks for Alaska taxpayers is approximately $367,700, or an average of $336 per check.

The IRS needs to get the correct information by Dec. 5 to allow time to process the checks before Dec. 31. Federal law prohibits the agency from sending out rebate checks after the end of the year.

"All we need is a good address," said IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti. "As soon as we get the correct address, we'll start the check on its way."

Those people who fail to meet the deadline won't lose their rebate money because they can claim it on their 2001 tax returns.

Nationwide, about 295,000 rebate checks worth about $95 million were returned. They represent only a fraction of 1 percent of the 85 million rebate checks mailed out as part of the 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut signed into law in June by President Bush.

Another 318 regular income tax refund checks for Alaskans were returned as well. Those checks averaged $1,171 each.

People who believe they are due a check can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. Taxpayers can also notify the IRS about a new address by filing Form 8822, which can be downloaded from the agency's Web site.



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