Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, December 11, 2006

UAS dean earns spot at science foundation

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JUNEAU - Brendan Kelly, UAS dean of arts and sciences and vice provost of research, will begin a new assignment in January at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Kelly will take over as the program director for Arctic biology in the Office of Polar Programs. This prestigious appointment will span the International Polar Year.

"These are exciting times for Arctic research," said Kelly. "I look forward to contributing to national efforts to understand our climate and to participate in the International Polar Year."

Kelly will be "on loan" to NSF for two years through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, which allows agencies to share scholars' experience and expertise before returning them to their home institution with new knowledge and experience.

Kelly will help shape Arctic research for the United States as part of an international effort to learn more about the Polar Regions.

Military identifies killed paratroopers

ANCHORAGE - The military on Sunday released the identities of two Fort Richardson paratroopers who were killed last week by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

They are Army Staff Sgt. Henry W. Linck, 23, of Manhattan, Kansas, and Army Specialist Micah S. Gifford, 27, of Redding, Calif.

Two other paratroopers were seriously hurt in the same blast Thursday night while on patrol in Baghdad.

All four soldiers were assigned to the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, spokesman Maj. Kirk Gohlke said.

The injured paratroopers were taken to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq for treatment.

Gohlke said the deaths and injuries are the first casualties involving the airborne brigade, whose 3,500 paratroopers left Alaska in the fall for a yearlong tour in Iraq.

Alaska Native charter school gets go-ahead

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Natives say high dropout rates and low test scores are proof that the different learning style and culture of Anchorage public schools aren't working for Native students.

These arguments, put forth by a group of parents, teachers and elders, helped convince the school board to give unanimous approval for an Alaska Native charter school.

Native children today "have become an MTV, bling-bling generation, and that's not the way of our people," said Liana Engebretson, an Athabascan and Tlingit mother. "A school like this would be so great to turn that around, and start to teach our children who they are, where they came from, and who their ancestors are."

The Alaska Native Cultural Charter School could open by fall 2007 if founders can secure site and at least 150 students.

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