Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2007

1,300 troops will be reassigned to Alaska

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FORT RICHARDSON - The U.S. Army says more than 1,300 troops will be assigned to Alaska under an extensive plan to increase the size of the Army.

Overall, the Army wants to grow by 74,000 soldiers. Part of the plan includes moving one brigade from Fort Irwin, Calif., to Fort Richardson in 2010.

U.S. Army spokesman Capt. Richard Hyde says moving this unit alone will account for nearly half the overall 1,300-soldier increase for Alaska.

The remainder will come mostly from adding several smaller units to the state's two largest forts.

By 2013, Hyde says Alaska will be home to almost 15,000 soldiers, relatively balanced between Fort Richardson in Anchorage and Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks.

City forwards $4,500 grant to bike program

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly forwarded a $4,500 grant to the Zach Gordon Youth Center community bike program this week.

The program provides a fleet of 20 bikes to Juneau youth in much the same way libraries loan books, said Mike Meersman, teen advocate.

"As long as we know who has the bike, they can take it home," he said.

The grant comes from a Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Steps to a Healthier Southeast Alaska program.

The center has five smaller bikes for children and 15 teen-sized bicycles. The formula is simple, riding bikes is a healthy activity, Meersman said.

In addition to the bike fleet, the teen center has a repair shop where youths can gain skills to maintain the bikes, Meersman said.

During the next few months, while bike riding is slow, the shop will be busy painting the bikes blue with the help of local youths.

Fire destroys Selawik church

SELAWIK - A city official says fire has destroyed the Friend's Church in Selawik.

The fire started in the furnace area early Thursday morning, when temperatures were about 50 below when the wind chill was factored in.

City Administrator Roger Clark says there were no injuries in the fire.

He also says two homes next to the church were not damaged.

Clark says the church's Christmas Eve program and Christmas feast are scheduled to still be held next week, likely at the school gym.

Selawik, with about 1,000 residents, is located about 100 miles southwest of Kotzebue.

Bethel Native Corp. announces dividend

BETHEL - Bethel Native Corp. has announced a 2007 dividend for shareholders.

The Bethel-based Native village corporation says stockholders will receive dividends of $2.20 per share or $220 for a typical stockholder with 100 shares.

The company's chief executive, Ana Hoffman, says the corporation has paid an annual dividend since 1987. She says the company has distributed $3.8 million in that time.

The company is a real estate developer and land manager throughout Alaska.

Its subsidiaries are involved in various fields, including construction, environmental remediation and engineering in Alaska and outside the state.

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