Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, December 09, 2005

State invites online dividend applications

JUNEAU - The application period for the 2006 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend won't begin until Jan. 2, but Alaskans can now get electronic accounts to apply online for the dividend.

"Alaskans who already have a MyAlaska account do not need to set up an account because their MyAlaska account can be used year after year," said Permanent Fund Dividend Division Director Sharon Barton.

Alaskans who do not have the account must send the division a signed document in order to obtain their dividend.

Division staff members are available in the Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau information offices to assist people who need help setting up the MyAlaska account. The information offices will have computers for public use.

To set up a MyAlaska account, a person needs a valid Alaska driver's license or identification card and must have been approved for a dividend in 2005. Alaskans outside of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau can call the division's toll-free number for assistance: (800) 733-8813.

Alaskans can also visit to set up an account.

The division has changed its payment schedule to encourage people to apply online. Alaskans who apply online in January and qualify for direct deposit will receive their dividends Oct. 4. Others who qualify for direct deposit will receive their dividends Oct. 19. Those who choose to be paid by check will receive checks in mid-November.

The 2006 application period is Jan. 2-March 31. The online application will be available at 12:01 a.m. Jan 2. The dividend amount will be announced in September.

City's pump failure prevents fluoridation

JUNEAU - Juneau's drinking water won't be fluoridated for up to five weeks because of a mechanical pump failure, city officials announced.

Water Utility Superintendent Grant Ritter announced Thursday that fluoride will not be added to areawide drinking water with the pump out of commission. Because the pump is too old to repair, the city is in the process of getting a replacement, which is expected to take up to five weeks.

People with questions can call the water utility at 780-6888, he said.

The Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance in 1971 to put fluoride in water, but repealed the decision within a year. The city reinstated the ordinance in the early 1980s and kept fluoridating the drinking water until June of 2003, when it suspended fluoridation to assess the effect of fluoride on the corrosion of copper pipes.

Although the city resumed adding fluoride to the drinking water, residents started debating the necessity of doing so. Mayor Bruce Botelho then appointed a commission to study the issue.

Juneau extension agent named

JUNEAU - A man who worked for almost seven years for the Arizona Cooperative Extension Service has been selected as Juneau's new University of Alaska Fairbanks Extension Service land resources agent.

Timothy Kock will begin Jan. 9, filling the post vacated by Jim Douglas, who retired in June 2004. According to UAF reports, Kock built a program in Arizona that served more than 11,000 youths, including 1,000 in traditional 4H programs. He also has worked in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, promoting agricultural and youth development.

UAF Extension Associate Director William Butler, who chaired the search committee, said Kock was an excellent match for the needs in and around Juneau.

"There are enormous opportunities for collaboration and partnerships in Southeast Alaska to provide the level of extension programming Juneau and the surrounding communities want and deserve," he said.

Iditarod winner faces leukemia

ANCHORAGE - Four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher has left Alaska and her beloved kennel of sled dogs to undergo treatment for cancer, family members said Thursday.

The famed musher was diagnosed late last week with acute myelogenous leukemia, according to her husband, David Monson. Butcher, 50, began treatment Tuesday in Seattle and will continue chemotherapy for several months.

"Susan will fight this as hard as any person can," Monson said in a written statement.

He said the family is looking for a compatible bone marrow donor.

In 1986, Butcher became the second woman to win the grueling 1,100 mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome.

She followed up the win with victories in 1987, 1988 and 1990 and finished in the top four through 1993. The race has no separate fields for men and women.

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