Monthly Archives: February 2012

Iditarod Sled Dog Race Starts March 3

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual sled dog team race across Alaska. Mushers and a team of 12-16 dogs (of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the finish line) cover over 1,049 miles in 9–15 days from Anchorage to Nome.

The race begins on the first Saturday in March. The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams but evolved into today’s highly competitive race. The current fastest winning time record was set in 2011 by John Baker with a time of 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds.

Teams frequently race through blizzards causing whiteout conditions, sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds which can cause the wind chill to reach −100 °F (−73 °C). A ceremonial start occurs in the city of Anchorage and is followed by the official restart in Willow, a city in the south central region of the state. The restart was originally in Wasilla, but because of too little snow, the restart was permanently moved to Willow in 2008. The trail runs from Willow up the Rainy Pass of the Alaska Range into the sparsely populated interior, and then along the shore of the Bering Sea, finally reaching Nome in western Alaska. The trail is through a harsh landscape of tundra and spruce forests, over hills and mountain passes, and across rivers. While the start in Anchorage is in the middle of a large urban center, most of the route passes through widely separated towns and villages, and small Athabaskan and Inupiat settlements. The Iditarod is regarded as a symbolic link to the early history of the state and is connected to many traditions commemorating the legacy of dog mushing.

The race is the most popular sporting event in Alaska, and the top mushers and their teams of dogs are local celebrities; this popularity is credited with the resurgence of recreational mushing in the state since the 1970s. While the yearly field of more than fifty mushers and about a thousand dogs is still largely Alaskan, competitors from fourteen countries have completed the event including the Swiss Martin Buser, who became the first international winner in 1992.

The Iditarod received more attention outside of the state after the 1985 victory of Libby Riddles, a long shot who became the first woman to win the race. Susan Butcher became the second woman to win the race and went on to dominate for half a decade. Print and television journalists and crowds of spectators attend the ceremonial start at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and D Street in Anchorage and in smaller numbers at the checkpoints along the trail.

Excerpts are from Wikipedia. For more information click here

For complete coverage and information on the Iditarod see their website.

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IRS Tax Forms Have Arrived at the Community Library

The new shipment of IRS forms and booklets has arrived at the Delta Library. Most forms are also available to copy from a reproducible notebook, or online at irs.org.

PFD forms and booklets are also available or you can file online quickly and easily using a library computer or your laptop over the wifi connection.

The library is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 – 6 and open late on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 8.

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Extension Agent Candidates to Make Presentations

CONTACT: Debbie Carter, Extension information officer, 907-474-5406; dscarter@alaska.edu

Fairbanks, Alaska – The top four candidates for Cooperative Extension’s Tanana District agriculture and horticulture agent will make community presentations this week and next.

The finalists and their presentation dates are Steven Seefeldt, March 1; Toby Day, March 6; Heidi Rader, March 7; and Mike Emers, March 8. The presentations will begin at 10 a.m. at the Tanana District office at 724 27th Ave., at the rear of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank building.

The candidates will highlight their experience with community education and their vision for agriculture and horticulture Extension in the Tanana District and at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. A question-and-answer session will follow each 45-minute presentation.

Seefeldt is a research agronomist for the Agricultural Research Service in Fairbanks. Toby Day is the Extension horticulture associate specialist and the master gardener coordinator for Montana State University Extension. Heidi Rader is the tribes Extension educator for UAF Cooperative Extension and the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and Emers is the owner of Rosie Creek Farm, a 40-acre organic farm near Fairbanks.

The public may participate at videoconference sites at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and in Delta Junction. The first three presentations will be at 307 O’Neill Building on West Ridge and the final presentation will be at 245 O’Neill. The Delta Junction site is at the Delta Career Advancement Center.

Parties may also participate by audio conference, by calling 800-893-8850 and entering the PIN 5711553. Audio participants are asked to call in by 9:55 a.m.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Milan Shipka, Extension livestock specialist and search committee chair, at 474-7429 or via e-mail at mpskipka@alaska.edu.

ON THE WEB: www.uaf.edu/ces

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Public Workshop for Proposed Animal Care Standards (Birds)

Birds Workshop Agenda
Submitted by Rebecca, Colvin

March 6, 2011, 3:30 – 5 PM

Scope of Workshop:

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss specific animal care standards for birds, including poultry and pet birds.

Agenda (allotted times are approximate):

1.      Introductions, ground rules, and scope of workshop. 5 min

2.      OPEN Item:  Housing and cage standards. Pet birds live longer lives than most poultry and the many varieties of species.  Their needs may differ from domestic poultry.  Comments will be taken on cage size requirements pet birds (as opposed to poultry).   One example of another state’s regulations for pet birds is listed below for participants to consider.  20 min

b. bird Cages. Primary enclosures for birds (cages) shall be maintained in good repair and constructed of metal or other water resistant material which can be cleaned and sanitized.

(1) Minimum Space Requirements

a)    The cage must be large enough to provide full body extension without contact with the confines. The cage must be wide enough in at least one direction to accommodate completely stretched wings.

b)    A single well-placed perch may be adequate for Psittacines ie., the bird can stand completely upright on the perch without having the head contact the ceiling of the cage and at the same time not having the tail contact the floor or grate. For those species, such as Finches, Canaries, etc. that prefer flying or jumping to climbing, two perches, one at each end of the cage, must be provided. Perches must be strategically placed to prevent droppings from contaminating other birds and the birds’ food and water and to also prevent the bird’s tail from coming into contact with the food and water.

c)    Minimum space requirements for multiple birds housed temporarily depends on the calculated Housing Density Factor and the overall length of the bird as measured from the tip of the tail to the top of the head.

The following calculation will be used to determine the number of birds that can be housed in a given cage:

L x W x H ÷ Density Factor = total length of birds permitted.

Total length of birds permitted ÷ length of bird = number of birds allowed in that size cage.

Housing Density Factor Table:
Species: Each bird’s overall length (in.)       Density Factor
Finch   3                                                                 60
Parakeet 8                                                             50
Cockatiel  9-12                                                      60
Cockatiel-type     9-12 (heavier body)              75
Amazon        13-24                                               325
Cockatoo     25-35                                               800
Macaw        34-45                                                1400

Cage measurements are based on the actual living space and do not include T-stands or perches attached to the outside of the cage or the space below the cage grate.

d)    For birds housed over 60 days, the Density Factor should be doubled for birds 12 inches in overall length or less. For birds housed over 90 days, the Density Factor shall be doubled for birds 12 inches in overall length or less.

e)    All cage accessories (ladders, toys, perches, etc.) made of unsealed wood shall be cleaned daily and replaced as often as necessary to maintain sanitary conditions

3.      OPEN Item:  Separate set of standards for pet birds.  At the last meeting, several participants suggested that a separate set of standards for pet birds might be warranted.  The DEC has reviewed many other state regulations and they are typically written to address poultry operations.  Comments are welcome on possible separate standards and how they might differ from the first draft of “poultry oriented” standards.  Any examples of specific rules from other states or regions that participants would like to discuss could be helpful. 20 min

4.      OPEN Item:  Lack of shelter.  Previous comments described problems with birds not being provided adequate shelter from cold.  The poultry and general care standards section of the draft do not yet contain specific verbiage on bird shelter.  One possible approach is to generally require protection from hypothermia, hyperthermia, precipitation, and snow, etc.  Comments are welcome on this topic.    15 min

5.      OPEN Item:  Transportation.  Previous comments and questions discussed general safety during transportation, expected mortality rates for large shipments, and carrier construction to prevent escape.  The Code of Federal Regulations contains no transportation welfare requirements for birds.  It only addresses quarantine facilities.  Other state regulations have been reviewed and a few specifics have been found.  Examples are listed below.  Comments on these approaches and others are welcome.  15 min

·         The density in poultry conveyances must allow the birds to rest at the same time without being forced to rest on top of each other.

·         Subd. 3. Transportation. Birds may be transported only in containers constructed of a smooth, durable material. Containers must:

(a) be suitable for the species being shipped;

(b) be constructed to prevent escape or chewing of the container by the bird that may be injurious to the health of the bird;

(c) have ventilation on only one side to prevent cross drafts;

(d) provide enough space for the bird to stand up, turn around, and obtain necessary food, water, and roosting space;

(e) have fresh food and water available to the bird at all times if the shipping period exceeds four hours.

·         (For all animals):

603-015-0055 Animals in Transit

1)      Pet animals when required to be shipped in crates shall be transported in crates constructed of a smooth, durable material which is easily cleaned and shall:

a.      Have a solid floor which may have a false bottom;

b.      Be so constructed as to provide maximum safety for the particular animal or animals being transported;

c.       Have openings on two sides to assure adequate ventilation;

d.      Crates shall be so constructed that food or water may be put through a small-type door without removing the animal from the crate in order that caretakers may feed and water when required;

e.      Care and feeding instructions should be written out by the shipper and attached to the crate. Other precautions in handling the animal should also be given in case it becomes necessary to move the animal from the crate.

2)      In all cases the crates shall be large enough to provide space for the pet animals to lie down in extended position and to allow ease of movement when standing or turning around. When the temperature is over 85 degrees F., increased space shall be provided to within reason.

3)      The crate shall be cleaned before use for each trip.

4)      Food and water containers shall be cleaned and sanitized before each trip.

5)      If bedding is used it shall be clean, dry, and dust free.

6)      The person or persons responsible for the welfare of the pet animal or animals while in transit shall:

a.      Offer the pet animal food at least once every 24 hours;

b.      Offer all pet animals water at 12 hour intervals at least, except that water shall be offered at four-hour intervals when the temperature reaches 90 degrees F. or above;

c.       Inspect each pet animal at four-hour intervals or oftener.

6.      Open forum for comments on other bird related topics. 10 min

7.      Closing remarks by DEC. 5 min

Ground Rules:

·         Stay on topic.

·         The moderator will select participants to have the floor to speak.  Please do not interrupt a person speaking.

·         State your comments as concisely as possible. There is a time limit of 3 minutes per speaker, although the moderator may allow longer comments when deemed necessary.  After you have spoken, DEC representatives may ask questions that can be answered immediately or may request further information be sent to them later.

·         Be respectful of other participants’ opinions.  It is permissible to voice support for something that another speaker has said; however, in general, the moderator will ask that people giving public comment try not to repeat what may have already been stated by other participants, particularly when stating reasoning behind a position on an issue.

·         Silence cell phones. Take all phone conversations outside.

Workshop Location/Call Information:

All interested Alaska residents are invited to attend workshops by telephone at 1-800-315-6338 (use pass code 8213 when prompted) or in person at the State Environmental Health Laboratory at 5251 Dr. MLK, Jr. Ave, Anchorage, AK, 99507.  If you are unable to attend meetings, feel free to submit your comments to us in writing via mail or email jay.fuller@alaska.gov.

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Photo of the day February 28

A combination of moon setting and sun rising over the Alaska Range, an ever changing never the same winter morning to look forward to. Photo Courtesy Fronty Parker

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Former Delta Resident Ben Grossmann Wins Academy Award

Ben Grossmann, 34, son of Dawn and Bruce Grossmann won an Academy Award Sunday night for Outstanding Visual Effects for his work on Martin Scorsese’s film “Hugo.”

Ben, a homeschooler, who grew up here in Delta and attended UAF at age 16, has been in Los Angeles since 2001 working in Visual Effects in TV and feature films. He won an Emmy in 2006 for his work on the Sci-Fi mini series. “The Triangle.”

Ben moved to Delta when he was 4 and lived in a cabin off Spengler Rd with no TV for most of his childhood. He worked as a photographer for the News Miner and the Associate Press while in college and then with Fox TV in Fairbanks until moving to the big city.

He has previously worked with Scorsese on “Shutter Island” and small feature productions as well as “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Sin City” and “Spy Kids 2.”

Ben tries to get back home as often as possible to relax and hopes to bring his wife Ariane, their year old daughter Scarlet and the newest member of the family, Oscar, back to Delta Junction for a visit soon.

Submission of article and photos: Dawn Grossmann

 

 

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Photo of the day February 27

Sunrise on February 18, seen from the Anchorage VA Medical Center.
Photo Courtesy Liz Breuker

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Weekly Gas Updates

Alaska, February 27- Average retail gasoline prices in Alaska have risen 16.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $4.15/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 11.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.64/g, according to gasoline price website AlaskaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Alaska during the past week, prices yesterday were 46.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 23.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 26.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 29.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

“2012 is looking increasingly like 2008,” said Gregg Laskoski, Senior Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy.com. “Gasoline prices are climbing aggressively as speculation drives crude oil higher; and once again, it’s an election year. But this time its the volatility in the Middle East that has everyone wondering ‘How high is up?’,” he added.

About AlaskaGasPrices.com
GasBuddy operates AlaskaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.

For more local information, methodology, or gasoline related questions, contact:

Patrick DeHaan Senior Petroleum Analyst, GasBuddy.com Chicago, IL
E-mail: pdehaan@gasbuddy.com 773-644-1427

Gregg Laskoski Senior Petroleum Analyst, GasBuddy.com Tampa, FL
E-mail: glaskoski@gasbuddy.com 813-436-9422

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Photo of the day February 25

This beautiful male pine grosbeak has been hanging around my feeder for the last couple of weeks. Photo Courtesy Julie Parker

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Photo of the day February 24

A beautiful winter time photo shared by Carol Dufendach

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Photo of the day February 23

Sunset Hand over mountains.  Photo Courtesy Jay Bruce

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2012 Harley Davidson (HOG) Bike Show

The Harley Owners Group is bringing spring early this year!  Join us at the Bentley Mall in Fairbanks,  March 2nd through the 4th and see the hottest iron horses in the frozen north!

If you would like to enter your bike in the show, contact Joe Humphreys at (907)750-6612.

 

 

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Fort Greely Movies

Friday, Feb 24 – War Horse – 7pm – (PG-13)
Saturday, Feb 25 – Joyful Noise – 7pm – (PG-13)

War Horse – Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, “War Horse” begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets-British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter-before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land. The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse-an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. “War Horse” is one of the great stories of friendship and war.   Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence. 146 minutes

Joyful Noise – The small town of Pacashau, Georgia, has fallen on hard times, but the people are counting on the Divinity Church Choir to lift their spirits by winning the National Joyful Noise Competition. The choir has always known how to sing in harmony, but the discord between its two leading ladies now threatens to tear them apart. Vi Rose Hill, stubbornly wants to stick with their tried-and-true traditional style, while the fiery G.G. Sparrow thinks tried-and-true translates to tired-and-old. If these two strong-willed women can overcome their differences and find a common voice, they and their choir-may make the most joyful noise of all.  Rated PG-13 for some language including a sexual reference. 118 minutes

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2012 Delta Farm Forum

You are invited to attend the 2012 Delta Farm Forum

Set for Saturday, February 25th at the Delta High School small gymnasium. This day-long event begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. with a potluck around noon. We have scheduled an assortment of speakers and expecting a good crowd.

This would be an excellent opportunity for you to meet a variety of Delta producers as well as other professionals from around the State. Traditionally, about 100+ people attend, and the potluck luncheon is always a treat. Please review the agenda for detailed information.

Please share this information with anyone you feel would be interested in attending.

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Phil Kaspari Agricultural Extension Agent

Agenda:

Saturday, February 25, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Delta Junction, Alaska Delta High School Small Gymnasium

Welcome Speaker  Charlie Knight – Retired – UAF Associate Professor & Division of Agriculture Northern Regional Manager – Fairbanks

Barley Biofuel Project Bryce Wrigley – Manager –  Salcha-­Delta Soil & Water Conservation District – Delta

NRCS Update  State Conservationist Bob Jones – Natural Resources Conservation Service – Palmer

Potato Late Blight Bill Campbell – Agronomist – Plant Material Center – Palmer

Break

Food Processing Regulations Kate Idzorek – Foods Research Technician – UAF Cooperative Extension Service – Fairbanks Lorinda Lhotka – Environmental Health Officer – DEC – Fairbanks  Jason Hoke – Executive Director – Copper Valley Development Association, Inc.

Potluck Luncheon – Guests are asked to follow this schedule when choosing a dish: A–F = Vegetable or Fruit         G–L = Desserts         M–R = Pasta or Rice       S–Z = Salads Main meat dishes, scalloped potatoes and dinner rolls will be provided through donations.

Division of Agriculture – Activities and Updates Director Franci Havemeister – Palmer

Heritage Hogs and Other Stuff Brandy McLean – Owner – Triple McLean Farms – Delta

Marketability of Peonies Carolyn Chapin – Marketing and Sales – Polar Peonies, LLC – Fairbanks

Break

Salcha-­‐Delta Soil and Water Conservation District Rex Wrigley – Chair SDSWCD     -  Annual Report     – 2011 Cooperator of the Year

2011 Cooperator of Year – Delta TBA

The 2012 Delta Farm Forum is co-sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service (UAF CES), Delta District, 895-4215, and the Salcha-Delta Soil and Water Conservation District (SDSWCD,) 895-6279. Both are located in the Jarvis Office Center in Delta Junction.

Vendor booths will be set up in the hallway with a variety of information available.

Published by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. The University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution.

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Alaska Gas Price Alert – Prices likely to increase sharply

Chicago, IL February 22- Motorists should be aware of the likelihood of a sharp rise in gasoline prices in the next few days and through the weekend in Alaska. “I expect stations to increase prices as much as 5-20 cents per gallon by the conclusion of the weekend with some stations starting to raise prices immediately,” says Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst.

DeHaan warns that a refinery fire in Washington state is boosting prices significantly throughout the entire West Coast region, and rising spot prices in Great Lakes area is boosting prices 30-45 cents per gallon today in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky. Prices have also been reportedly rising fast in New England, Florida, and areas of the East Coast.

Gregg Laskoski, Petroleum Analyst also cites the refinery fire in Washington for an expected jump in California, saying “prices across the State of California already made significant advances in the prior seven days, and with the refinery fire, motorists should expect prices to rise in similar fashion as last February when the Libyan situation unfolded.”

About AlaskaGasPrices.com

GasBuddy operates AlaskaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.

For more local information, methodology, or gasoline related questions, contact:

Patrick DeHaan Senior Petroleum Analyst, GasBuddy.com Chicago, IL E-mail: pdehaan@gasbuddy.com 773-644-1427

Gregg Laskoski Senior Petroleum Analyst, GasBuddy.com Tampa, FL E-mail: glaskoski@gasbuddy.com 813-436-9422

Jason Toews Co-founder, GasBuddy.com Minneapolis, MN E-mail: jtoews@gasbuddy.com 612-875-2766

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Photo of the day February 22

The midday sun, seen from the rest stop just north of Fort Greely (2-9-2012)
Photo Courtesy Liz Breuker

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Boy Scouts Raising Money

Hello Delta & Fort Greely, I have Boy Scouts that are raising money to attend a once-in-a-lifetime Scout Encampment in July.

Part of the experience is that the boys earn their own money to attend.

My boys have asked me to help a little with a “Leap to Succeed” box luncheon. The lunch will be on February 29th (Leap Day), they will be serving beef brisket, garlic mashed potatoes, baked beans, a homemade roll & brownie for $10.00.

Pre orders are requested, please call me at 803-2002  to get your tickets.

Pick up at CAC or some delivery.

A Great lunch at a Great price for a Great cause!
Thank you!

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Delta Junior Varisty Basketball Photo

Delta junior varsity playing Nenana. Delta 72 – Nenana 22. All the delta teams won their games that weekend. The player with the ball is Larry Sparks’ son Austin and Al & Darlene Chaffin’s grandson. He took the ball all the way down the court and scored. Photo Courtesy Darlene Chaffin

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Public Workshop for Livestock

Public Workshop for Proposed Animal Care Standards

Livestock Workshop Agenda
February 27, 2012, 3:30 – 5 PM

Scope of Workshop:

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss specific animal care standards for all livestock, including cattle, swine, small ruminants, elk, reindeer, llamas, zoo animals, etc. Poultry are not included in this meeting.

Agenda (allotted times are approximate):

1. Introductions, ground rules, and scope of workshop. (5 min)

2. Open Items from previous meetings:

A. In Alaska statute 11.61.140 (Cruelty to animals. A person commits cruelty to animals if the person 1) knowingly inflicts severe and prolonged physical pain or suffering on an animal; ….), is the word “person” an individual or can it be an entity?

How do the statutes apply to wildlife, what excludes wildlife? Informational (5 min): State Attorney General informal opinion is below:

In short, “person” means a natural person and, when appropriate, an organization, government, or governmental instrumentality.[1] An “organization is defined as a legal entity, including a corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, joint stock company, foundation, institution, government, society, union, club, church, or any other group of persons organized for any purpose.[2]

DEC Comment: The proposed regulations are not intended to apply to free ranging wildlife, only domestic animals and captive wildlife. We will ensure that their application is clear under statute. (OPEN)

B. What constitutes “reasonable medical care” (as required by statute)? State Attorney General informal opinion is below:

There is no statutory or regulatory definition relating to animals in Alaska. Again it is suggested that checking other state provisions or model statutes and regulations would help define this. This is a judgment call. What would a reasonable person be expected to do to keep the animal healthy?

For informational purposes, reasonable care as a test of liability for negligence is the degree of care that a prudent and competent person engaged in the same line of business or endeavor would exercise under similar conditions. In these circumstances, a “reasonableness” standard could be defined as using the degree of care, skill, and diligence which is used by ordinarily careful animal caretakers in the same or similar circumstances in his or similar community. Or more simply stated a “standard of conduct that a reasonable person would follow in the same situation.”

DEC Comment: The first draft of the regulations makes no attempt to further define “reasonable medical care”. “Reasonable medical care” is written in statute. We do have the authority to further define the term in regulation; however, in review of other states’ regulations we have not seen more specific language that we feel might be useful. Examples of other states’ rules include:

I. “cannot fail to provide licensed veterinary or other appropriate medical care in cases of obvious, serious illness or injury.”

II. “cannot fail to provide necessary medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result.”

III. “Must ensure that necessary and standard veterinary care is provided in a timely matter.”

Questions/Comments (10 Min)

C. Some animals may not be in top condition all year. For instance, a breeding bull (especially notable in bison, elk and reindeer) may lose a significant amount of weight during fall breeding season, and then afterward it stays thin during the winter. This is physiologically normal for him and may not be something within the control of the producer.

DEC Comment: The draft already has language to allow for such situations in the general standards. It would seem awkward and potentially too restrictive to get very specific for any particular species of diversified livestock, due to individual animal and environmental variations; however, specific suggestions for improvement of the language will be considered. Comments (5 min)

D. Skip a Day Feeding of Pigs: The first draft requires daily feeding. One producer pointed out that some people practice skip day feeding of mature pigs as a weight management tool.

The Clemson University Extension Service guidance for swine feeding states:

· Limit Feeding Gilts and Sows – Limit feeding to 4 to 6 pounds per day in the breeding herd is a MUST for maximum reproductive efficiency. Start replacement gilts on a limited feeding program at 180 to 200 pounds. Gestation rations normally work well for this purpose.

· Feeding Bulky or Fibrous Feeds – A form of limit feeding may be used to lower the energy content of the ration. Bulky rations will usually not reduce the feed cost and, in many cases, they will cost more since the cost per pound is about the same and the sow will eat more of the bulky ration. Overfeeding as well as underfeeding the brood sow will reduce litter size, reduce sow performance, and decrease profits.

· Skip-Day or Interval Feeding – Skip-day or interval feeding of brood sows and gilts is another method of limit feeding. The breeding herd is allowed access to self-feeders for 2 to 12 hours every second or third day. Under a third day feeding system, the gilts will eat approximately 12 pounds of feed, or 4 pounds for each day, and the sows around 15 pounds, or 5 pounds for each day. The amount of feed can be controlled by the length of time the gilts or sows are left on the self-feeders. Research shows that reproductive performance is essentially the same with either skip-day feeding or daily feeding a limited amount by hand. However, there is greater stress on fences and equipment with the skip-day method.

The recommended code of practice for pigs by the Canadian Food and Agriculture committee states that skip a day feeding of grains should be supplemented by roughage on alternate days.

Very little information is available on “skip a day” feeding. It may be that the practice is decreasing. The American Veterinary Medical Association has no policy statement or information on it. Some animal welfare organizations have statements against the practice. Some market organizations do not allow it. They do not say why they oppose it. Presumably, opposition to the practice must be based on people feeling that the pigs should not feel whatever level of hunger they may feel during that off day without food. This seems to be a minor issue because no other state rules have been found that expressly forbid the practice. Some producers in Alaska may be using this management practice.

Comments (5 Min)

E. Rest stops while in transit: The draft has a requirement of 28 consecutive hours for feeding/watering/offloading of cattle. Participants pointed out that it can be difficult to find a spot to stop and offload in Canada; therefore, this time frame should be lengthened.

DEC Comment: The 28 hour rule is consistent with U.S. Federal standards and other states. This issue has been raised in other workshops also. Of course it would be difficult to even drive for 28 hours straight in Alaska. We will research how such a rule would need to be viewed by the legal system, and whether the clock would start ticking when a person crossed the border into Alaska or might include time spent on Canadian roadways. Canada has its own rules for transportation and does have designated rest stops for livestock haulers. Alaska does not, and although it could be easy enough to pull off a road and let a horse out to move around, the same cannot be said for swine or cattle.

Awaiting opinion from State Attorney General Office.

F. Allowance for snow as animal’s water intake. Informational (10 min)

Previous discussions centered on the fact that water availability can vary and that many animals (particularly open range livestock) can do fine with only access to snow. The topic was also explored in the horse meeting. As drafted, the regulation says:

· “all animals must have daily access to water in sufficient quantity and quality to satisfy the animal’s physiologic needs as evidenced by the animal’s hydration status”

This verbiage does not disallow use of snow. No other states’ rules specifically address this issue. All just use the term “water”. Of course, snow becomes water once it gets ingested.

The Department of Law (DOL) does not feel that it is necessary to further define water in the actual body of the regulation. The DEC can provide an explanation of the intent in our formal response to public comment when the regulations are adopted. This would serve as a further interpretation that the court system would look to on the issue. (OPEN)

Comments/Questions (5 min)

3. Open Forum (30 minutes)

4. Closing questions and remarks by DEC. (15 min)

Ground Rules:

· Stay on topic.

· The moderator will select participants to have the floor to speak. Please do not interrupt a person speaking.

· State your comments as concisely as possible. There is a time limit of 3 minutes per speaker, although the moderator may allow longer comments when deemed necessary. After you have spoken, DEC representatives may ask questions that can be answered immediately or may request further information be sent to them later.

· Be respectful of other participants’ opinions. It is permissible to voice support for something that another speaker has said; however, in general, the moderator will ask that people giving public comment try not to repeat what may have already been stated by other participants, particularly when stating reasoning behind a position on an issue.

· Silence cell phones. Take all phone conversations outside.

Workshop Location/Call Information:

All interested Alaska residents are invited to attend workshops by telephone at 1-800-315-6338 (use pass code 8213 when prompted) or in person at the State Environmental Health Laboratory at 5251 Dr. MLK, Jr. Ave, Anchorage, AK, 99507. If you are unable to attend meetings, feel free to submit your comments to us in writing via mail or email jay.fuller@alaska.gov.

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Photo of the day February 20

Last spring while walking around I thought that I had found a dinosaur egg. But, upon picking it up and turning it over, I found a sticker that read, “Spaghetti squash”. Photo courtesy Barbara Tharp.

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Weekly Gas Updates

Alaska, February 19- Average retail gasoline prices in Alaska have risen 6.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $4.01/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 4.5 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.51/g, according to gasoline price website AlaskaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Alaska during the past week, prices yesterday were 32.3 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 8.2 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 17.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 35.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

“Gasoline prices have perked up a bit in the last week,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “As we continue to move towards warmer weather, gasoline prices will follow, with prices accelerating higher at a faster pace come late March into April, so if motorists think this is bad, they should really hold on to their chairs,” DeHaan said.

About AlaskaGasPrices.com
GasBuddy operates AlaskaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.

For more local information, methodology, or gasoline related questions, contact:

Patrick DeHaan Senior Petroleum Analyst,
GasBuddy.com Chicago, IL
E-mail: pdehaan@gasbuddy.com
773-644-1427

Gregg Laskoski Senior Petroleum Analyst,
GasBuddy.com Tampa, FL
E-mail: glaskoski@gasbuddy.com
813-436-9422

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Photo of the day February 18

This is a photo of Hugh Neff, the colorful musher from Tok, on his way to Whitehorse to win the 2012 Yukon Quest sled dog race. Photo by Steve Thomas

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Photo of the day February 17

“Taken around 7:30 PM on Valentine’s Night ~ The aurora put on quite the show on February 14th, and with warm temperatures and the show beginning early in the evening, many were able to enjoy it.” Photo Sebastian Saarloos

Posted in Photo, Sebastian Saarloos | 1 Comment

Public Workshop for Dogs

Public Workshop for Proposed Animal Care Standards
Dogs Workshop Agenda
February 23, 2012, 3:30 – 5 PM

Scope of Workshop:

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss specific animal care standards for dogs, including household pets and sled dogs.  The goal of today’s meeting is to gather public comments on newer revised wording for shelter and environment, including sanitation.  Red font indicates explanatory comments or specific questions the DEC has for participants.

Agenda (allotted times are approximate):

1.      Introductions, ground rules, and scope of workshop. 5 min

2.      Open items from last month

·         Shelter (10 min):  various aspects of shelter requirements were discussed last month.  See the discussion below. There are two possible directions to take with shelter:

1.      General verbiage that leaves the decision strictly up to the veterinarian as to whether the animal has adequate living conditions.  The problem with this approach is that vets may have differing opinions on the matter or may be unsure.  The complexity of the discussion on shelter and confinement shows the challenge of defining what is adequate but also points out the difficulties in applying verbiage that is specific enough yet flexible enough to minimize confusion.  Most other states and localities tend to have such general descriptions of an adequate environment; however, they do not necessarily have the veterinarian’s opinion clause as is required by Alaska statute.
2.      More specific verbiage that defines objective criteria to assist in decision making.  The challenge with this approach is to make it fit as many situations as possible, yet still be understandable and clear for the investigators.  It is simply inhumane to keep an animal in too small of an area for the majority of its life.  Sanitation is necessarily linked to living space.  In general, we believe that a minimum living area requirement is needed to establish a threshold, so that people know what the limit is, rather than have that be decided by the subjective determination of any one veterinarian.  Without any specific rule, a citizen could be in trouble and not even have any way to know it.  Dimensions of a pen or length of a tether can easily be measured for enforcement.  A larger area of confinement provides the animal a better opportunity to get out of its own excrement. Defining adequate shelter is a more complex issue, and may lend itself to a more “end point measured” approach, such as evidence of hypothermia.  Unfortunately, this approach might not be as effective at preventing animals from abuse, because they would have to be suffering, or worse, dead for the owner to be in violation.

DEC Comment: The DEC has reviewed other state rules.  Some specifically state that natural shelter can be utilized.  None were found that expressly prohibited natural shelter.  Generally, they require “adequate” protection from the elements without further definition.  The rules regarding cage confinement situations tend to get into more specific detail about shelter, but they are focused on indoor cage rearing operations.  Some states prescribe exercise allowances for dogs kept in close confinement.

Further comments on shelter are welcomed at this time.

·         Sanitation (15 min):  Sanitation was discussed at length last month.  Pros and cons of various possible approaches were explored.  If we adopt a rule that is general, as has been drafted already or something like one of the other proposed wordings, then the burden of the decision of what is “too much excrement” rests strictly on the veterinarian’s subjective judgment, without any further guidance.  The complexity of the discussion points out the distinct possibility of an accused individual using another vet’s opinion to argue successfully in court that they in fact were not failing to maintain the good health and safety of the animal.  The high burden of proof of “beyond a reasonable doubt” makes it seem less likely that a prosecutor might actually take on such a case.  A more objective measurement might help define for a vet and a court what is the limit.  It might even be difficult to prove in court that excrement caused the skin disease, as was proposed initially.

-  The State Attorney General’s office was consulted on this issue.  Their recommendation on “how much could be too much?” is that the DEC should consult other federal and state rules for possible approaches to wording.  Regardless of the wording of the regulation, this issue is going to be a judgment call by the DEC or other veterinarian.

-   Other states’ rules were reviewed. Most have general statements about healthy environments, “excessive” buildup, not causing disease, clean and sanitary, etc.  Some require daily cleaning.  These are typically for dogs confined to cages.  Two slightly more specific approaches are listed below for participants to comment on:

 

#1. “Hard surfaces with which the dogs or cats come in contact must be spot-cleaned daily and sanitized to prevent accumulation of excreta and reduce disease hazards. Floors made of dirt, absorbent bedding, sand, gravel, grass, or other similar material must be raked or spot-cleaned with sufficient frequency to ensure all animals the freedom to avoid contact with excreta. Contaminated material must be replaced whenever this raking and spot-cleaning is not sufficient to prevent or eliminate odors, insects, pests, or vermin infestation.”

#2.  An animal owner or custodian shall maintain all areas, where an animal is kept and to which it has access, in a clean and sanitary condition and free from objectionable odor.

·         Body Condition Scoring: Informational. (5 min).  The Purina Dog Body Condition Scoring System was discussed last month as a method for determination of starvation or malnutrition.  The DEC has not found any alternative illustrations for dog body condition scoring, or any other similar systems.  The Purina Company has been contacted to see if their chart may be utilized as a reference.  In general, we like the idea of the chart.  It gives dog owners, law enforcement, and veterinarians an idea of what is acceptable.  We and the other vets who have participated do not feel that it would score any type of healthy dog as unacceptable.  The chart itself would be utilized by the veterinarian, so they would still be able to utilize their professional judgment in any questionable situation.

·         Temporary Shelters: Informational. (5 min):  Possible differences in living space minimums or specific sanitation requirements might be appropriate for temporary shelters.  Temporary shelters are not defined.  This item will be addressed in a future meeting.

·         Tethering in open bed pick-up trucks (15 min): The State Attorney General opinion is that the state law against loose objects does not include animals.  So, if we want to prohibit dogs from riding loose in the back of trucks, it must be done through these regulations.

Public Comments are welcomed

3.      Tethering (20 min):  Proposals regarding tethering were presented by participants at the last meeting.  They included:

i.       “No person may cause an animal to be hitched, tied or fastened by any rope, chain or cord that is directly tied around the animal’s neck or to a choke collar. “

ii.       “tethers used to confine dogs must incorporate a separate, non-constrictive, flat collar of durable, ¾ inch or wider material.”  DEC Note: We aren’t sure if this is bigger than a Chihuahua needs, but a flat, non-metal collar makes sense.

iii.      “The actual restraint around an animal’s neck should not be metal chain.  (It causes nasty skin infections, especially in the summer time.  It should be leather or fabric construction.)”

iv.      “Regarding dogs kept on chains, I would HIGHLY recommend either adopting the same square footage requirement as for dogs kept in pens, or specifying that tethers for dogs must consist of a central tether point offering a full circle (360 degrees) of motion.  Otherwise, people WILL attach chains to the sides of buildings, barns, junked cars, fences or other structure that cuts the space available to the dog by 50%.”

DEC:  Participants are welcomed to comment on these ideas.  We need to hear more about what types of systems people are using and why and how they work.

4.      Open Forum/New Topics: 10 min

5.      Closing questions and remarks by DEC. 5 min

Ground Rules:

·         Stay on topic.

·         The moderator will select participants to have the floor to speak.  Please do not interrupt a person speaking.

·         State your comments as concisely as possible. There is a time limit of 3 minutes per speaker, although the moderator may allow longer comments when deemed necessary.  After you have spoken, DEC representatives may ask questions that can be answered immediately or may request further information be sent to them later.

·         Be respectful of other participants’ opinions.  It is permissible to voice support for something that another speaker has said; however, in general, the moderator will ask that people giving public comment try not to repeat what may have already been stated by other participants, particularly when stating reasoning behind a position on an issue.

·         Silence cell phones. Take all phone conversations outside.

Workshop Location/Call Information:

All interested Alaska residents are invited to attend workshops by telephone at 1-800-315-6338 (use pass code 8213 when prompted) or in person at the State Environmental Health Laboratory at 5251 Dr. MLK, Jr. Ave, Anchorage, AK, 99507.  If you are unable to attend meetings, feel free to submit your comments to us in writing via mail or email jay.fuller@alaska.gov.

See our website at: http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/vet/AnimalCareWorkshop.html for previous workshop minutes and the most recent working draft of the proposed regulations.

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BBB Email Phishing Scam Surfaces Again

Another Round of Counterfeit BBB Complaint Notice Emails Target Businesses

Anchorage, Alaska – Feb. 17, 2012 – The scam that fraudulently uses Better Business Bureau’s name will not die. Reports indicate that businesses are, once again, receiving emails from impostors claiming to represent BBB. Senders state that complaints have been filed and that recipients must click on enclosed links or provide other personal information to address the complaints.

This is a scam. The enclosed links may contain viruses and malware that could damage computers and place identities at risk.

Scan BBB emails for typos; obvious grammatical errors are an indication that emails are counterfeit. Check the senders’ email addresses; complaint notices are generated by local BBBs and not from the Council of Better Business Bureaus—or CBBB. Hover the mouse cursor over enclosed links; beware if Web addresses do not reflect bbb.org.

Tip: Copy and paste enclosed links directly into text editors that do not support HTML—such as Notepad—and the direct links will be shown.

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington reminds businesses that—while BBB does send complaint notices by mail, email and fax—the best way to verify the legitimacy of any official-looking correspondence is to immediately contact the local BBB office.

For more details, read CBBB’s press release: New Scam Uses BBB.org Email Address

Report scams at bbb.org/scam/report-a-scam and forward suspicious emails to phishing@council.bbb.org.

Adam Harkness, Alaska Public Relations Manager: 907.644.5202 | pr@thebbb.org
Niki Horace, V.P. of Marketing and Public Relations: 206.676.4187

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Obituary ~ Linda Ferrell

Linda Ferrell passed away surrounded by family and friends in Mc Minnville Oregon on February 11, 2012.

Linda Kaye Magers was born to Glen and Ava Magers in McMinnville Oregon on November 28, 1948.

Linda was welcomed by siblings Forrest, Glenva, Marilyn, Howard, Vern and Allen.

Linda graduated from Willamina High School and went on to study at Chemeketa Community College. Armed with knowledge and a big heart she dedicated her life to nursing those in need and caring for children.

A marriage to Larry Smith gave her three blessings. Joseph Smith, Tater (Troy) Smith and Leanne Smith. Linda raised her kids in the Willamina area making sure they grew up surrounded by life long friends and family that helped nurture them along the way. In the later years of her life Linda doted on her grandchildren and travelled to Alaska and Illinois to make sure she was a part of their lives.

Linda enjoyed watching the grandkids play and teaching them to sew, knit, crochet and bead among other crafts.

Linda became ill with cancer and though she faught hard she lost her battle and was welcomed into heaven by her parents, Glen and Ava Magers; brother Forrest Magers and son Tater (Troy) Smith. Linda is survived by five siblings; Glenva Clark, Marilyn Rosenbalm, Howard Magers, Vern Magers and Allen Magers. Children Joseph and Trena Smith of Palmer Alaska.  Leanne and Anthony Cripps of Delta Junction Alaska. Grandchildren Krystal, Krystina, Kate, Brandy, Lia, Gabrielle, Joseph Jr., Troy, Chris, Josh and great grandson Jayden.

A celebration of life was held Feb. 12th at Marilyn Rosenbalm’s home in Willamina Oregon.

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Photo of the day February 16

The top four Polar Bear Plunge winners: Gregg Wojcik, Delta Greely School District – first place; John Cavedo, Cold Regions Test Center – fourth place; Lolita Smith, Clearwater Lodge – 3rd place; and Barb Tharp, awesome Delta citizen and chamber supporter – 2nd place.  Photo Courtesy Brenda Peterson

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Alaskan Cowboy Country Singer Doug Briney

Doug Briney, the up-and-coming country artist from Alaska, has hired publicity firm, MTS Management to handle his debut CD release, “It’s All Country.”  The CD is scheduled for release on March 9, 2012, with the first single being released to radio as a preview.

MTS Management, the firm behind Bryan Cole (“Pride And the Passion”, “Love Doesn’t Live Here”) as well as metal guitarist, Xander Demos (“Guitarcadia) will be in charge of all aspects of the publicity and promotion of Mr. Briney’s music, including all press requests for interviews and reviews, consulting and social media marketing.  The debut single, “More Than Just a Farm” will be promoted initially to internet radio and internationally through Triplestrand promotions.

Doug Briney, the Northern Cowboy, is a two-time finalist in the KBear Country Idol competition in Anchorage, Alaska.  His warm baritone voice and delivery have been compared to Toby Keith and Trace Adkins, among others.  For more information, please visit www.dougbriney.com.

About MTS Management: MTS Management is a full service artist management company, specializing in publicity and promotions, social media marketing and artist management for the independent artist. Clients include country artists Doug Briney and Bryan Cole, and metal guitarist, Xander Demos. www.mtsmanagement.vpweb.com

Doug is also available for interviews, so please contact me to schedule. I would also be happy to send you the mp3s for his CD for review. Thank you!

– Michael Stover MTS Management Perfect Vision Records michaelstover@perfectvisionent.com
www.bryancolemusic.com
www.xanderdemos.com
www.dougbriney.com
412-445-5282

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North Haven Wins Coveted National Award

Pictured Left to Right, Ivan Bolden, Chief of Public Private Initiatives, U.S. Army, LTG Michael Ferriter, Commander of Installation Management Command (IMCOM), Chuck Downham, Project Director for North Haven, Cyndi Larson, Chief of RCI Housing, Chris Anderson, Director of Property Management for North Haven, CSM Donald Felt, U.S. Army Garrison. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army, cleared for release

Professional Housing Association Awards North Haven Project of the Year

Fairbanks, AK. – January 10, 2012 – North Haven recently was honored with a national award during the Professional Housing Management Association’s annual professional development seminar.  The Professional Housing Management Association has named North Haven, “2011 Top U.S. Army Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) Project.”

“Receiving the 2011 RCI Top Residential Project of the Year Award is an incredible achievement for North Haven as we approach the anniversary of our third year of operation,” said Chuck Downham, Project Director of North Haven.  “We are providing an exceptional living experience for our Soldiers and their Families in one of the most challenging climatic environments in the military.”

The announcement was made at the annual Professional Housing Management Association (PHMA) and Military Housing and Lodging Institute (MHLI) Professional Development event held in San Diego the first week of February. The event offers networking and education for military housing and lodging professionals.  The vision of PHMA is, “To serve as a catalyst in inspiring housing professionals and their organizations to build and revitalize for the future and to provide quality communities for all the members of the armed forces and their Families.”

Accepting the award was Cyndi Larson, Fort Wainwright and Fort Greely Chief of RCI Housing, Chuck Downham, Project Director, and Chris Anderson, Director of Property Management.  “This is very exciting.  Exciting and humbling,” said Anderson.  “Our team comes to work every day for one reason and that is to take care of our residents.”

Presenting the award was LTG Michael Ferriter, Commander of Installation Management Command (IMCOM), Ivan Bolden, Chief, Public Private Initiatives at the U.S. Army, and CSM Donald Felt, U. S. Army Garrison.

This military service award recognizes a housing team whose collective actions enhanced the living experiences of Soldiers and their Families through significant management accomplishments, including property management, maintenance management, project management and development. North Haven achieved industry leadership with its emphasis on resident services programs, community integration and support, commitment to safety, innovative resident communication, environmental sustainability, and a focus on resident feedback.  “We have the best team and it is a privilege to work with each and every one of them,” said Larson.  “Lend Lease, Winn Residential, and the RCI team members have established a collaborative team to overcome the challenges of the project.”

Downham emphasized the exceptional team work that resulted in acknowledgement as the top RCI project in the nation for 2011, “We have formed a strong partnership with the Army and share a common commitment to provide quality homes and communities for our Soldiers and their Families.”  North Haven’s vision is to provide, “Premier living for today’s military Families,” as they navigate their great Alaska journey.

About North Haven

Through the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, the U.S. Army formed a 50 year partnership with Lend Lease to finance, develop, build, renovate and maintain the posts 1,800 homes on Forts Wainwright and Greely.  The partnership is known as North Haven Communities.  North Haven is dedicated to creating welcoming, safe communities that positively influence the way our Service Members and their Families live.  North Haven is also committed to positively contributing to the local and regional economy by working with small businesses, relying on local resources and hiring local people.  North Haven adheres to best practices in safety, energy-efficient construction, and sustainability.

About Lend Lease

Lend Lease is a leading global real estate service business, having developed, constructed and managed real estate assets around the world for more than 50 years.  Listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, the Lend Lease Group operates in 30 countries on six continents with a significant presence in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

In the United States, Lend Lease’s public partnership business is the nation’s leader in public/private community development. With a focus on creating sustainable value, Lend Lease creates communities that regenerate our environment, enrich people’s lives and foster economic growth.  Lend Lease has worked extensively with the Department of Defense through the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI), a program that provides for the transfer of military housing assets to private sector companies. With over 40,000 residential units, 192 apartments and 8,000 hotel rooms in its portfolio, Lend Lease will finance, develop, build, renovate and operate these sites for at least 50 years.

Betsy Woolley
North Haven Communications Coordinator

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Fort Greely Movies

Friday, Feb 17 – Adventures Of The Tin – 7pm (PG-13)
Saturday, Feb 18 – Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – 7pm (PG-13)

Adventures of The Tin – The unquenchably curious young reporter Tintin and his fiercely loyal dog Snowy as they discover a model ship carrying an explosive secret. Drawn into a centuries-old mystery, Tintin finds himself in the sightlines of Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine a diabolical villain who believes Tintin has stolen priceless treasure tied to dastardly pirate named Red Rackham. But with the help of his dog Snowy, the salty, cantankerous Captain Haddock and the bumbling detectives Thompson & Thompson, Tintin will travel half the world, outwitting and outrunning his enemies in a breathless chase to find the final resting place of The Unicorn, a shipwreck that may hold the key to fast fortune, and a ancient curse. Based on the series of books The Adventures of Tintin by Herge Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking. 107 minutes

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – After he is framed for the death of several colleagues and falsely branded a traitor, a secret agent embarks on a daring scheme to clear his name in this spy adventure. Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence. 133 Minutes

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Photo of the day February 15

These are some of my tiny feathered friends I’ve been feeding all winter.
Photo Courtesy Gayle Parsons

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Photo of the day February 14

Another beautiful addition to the 2012 Festival of Lights. Thank you Sam Vose for sharing your ice art with our community.  Photos Courtesy Randi Owen

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Public Workshop for Proposed Animal Care Standards (Horses)

Horses Workshop Agenda
February 21, 2012, 3:30 – 5 PM

All interested Alaska residents are invited to attend workshops by telephone at 1-800-315-6338 (use pass code 8213 when prompted) or in person at the State Environmental Health Laboratory at 5251 Dr. MLK, Jr. Ave, Anchorage, AK, 99507.  All meetings will be from 3:30 to 5:00 PM.  If you are unable to attend meetings, feel free to submit your comments to us in writing via mail or email jay.fuller@alaska.gov.

Scope of Workshop:

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss animal care standards for horses.  The overall goal for this meeting is for DEC to hear further comment on issues discussed at the previous meeting and to hear general comments on the draft version of the regulations.  Agenda (allotted times are approximate):

1.      Introductions, ground rules, and scope of workshop. 5 min
2.      Open items from last meeting on horses:

·         Shelter.  Various aspects of shelter were discussed.  The entire possible spectrum of living spaces, from open range to very close pen confinement, were explored.  Here are three conceptual approaches used by other states.  Participants are asked to comment on these.  Which do they like best and/or least and why?  30 min

·         Shelter Approach #1:

i.      Shelter must be available for horses in cases of extreme weather conditions. (This does not prescribe a structure)

ii.      Any enclosure where a horse is primarily kept shall be of sufficient size to enable the horse to comfortably stand up, turn around and lie down.

iii.      The minimum ceiling height of a structure must be one foot above the horse’s head when held at its highest level.

iv.      All enclosures and shelters must be free of hazards that may cause injury to confined horses.  (Or:  buildings, premises, and conveyances used in conjunction with equines shall be kept free of sharp objects, protrusions, or other materials that are likely to cause injury.)

v.      Excessive feces, urine, mud, or other waste products must not accumulate within the housing enclosures or to the extent that these cause unhealthy conditions.

vi.      Ventilation in enclosed areas must be sufficient to control excessive ambient temperature and prevent the accumulation of toxic gases, such as ammonia.

vii.      Horses confined to minimal enclosed areas must have access to adequate exercise area.  Confined is defined as being housed within the designated space continually, without free access to a paddock, turnout, or other exercise area.

·         Shelter Approach #2:

i.      The minimum ceiling height of a shelter must be six inches higher than the top of the ears when head is at highest level.

ii.      A 12’ X 12’ stall is the minimum size of a primary enclosure for an adult horse.

·         Shelter Approach #3:

i.      All housing systems must meet the following requirements:

1.      Must provide a clean and safe environment that promotes the health, welfare and performance of equines at all stages of their lives;

2.      Have a stocking density that allows for all equines to easily lie down at the same time in a normal resting posture and be able to easily stand back up at all stages of production, and in addition all animals must be able to access feed and water without excessive competition;

3.      Must provide access to facilities or natural features that provide reasonable protection from adverse weather conditions and predators;

4.      Enclosures, including fencing, must be designed and maintained so as to minimize injury and provide for the safety of humans and other animals;

5.      Environmental management must be designed to control parasite infestation and minimize insect infestations;

ii.      Indoor housing systems must meet the following requirements:

1.      If stalls are used, they must be cleaned and replenished regularly with clean, good quality and absorbent bedding; and,

2.      If confined in a stall, the responsible party must provide access for exercise unless medically prohibited.

iii.      Outdoor housing systems must meet the following requirements:

1.      Must seek to minimize prolonged exposure to adverse environmental conditions that compromise the animal’s health and safety; and,

2.      If open lots are used, they must be maintained to promote proper drainage away from resting areas and feed and water.

iv.      Tack and/or harness must fit properly and be well maintained so as to minimize the potential for injuries.

·         Water:  Possible approaches to providing for adequate water were discussed.  Hydration status as judged by a veterinarian is an obvious endpoint standard, but it does not give any specific guidance for owners or actionable criteria for law enforcement.  Hard frozen ice alone may not be accessible enough to maintain hydration.   Most other states simply have general rules that adequate water must be provided.  Although continuous access is preferred, twice daily is the most common minimum required frequency.  The DEC requests further comments on water availability.   Ideas for general approach or specific language are welcome.  The Department of Law makes final determinations of whether exact language is enforceable and consistent with statute; however, DEC defines and explains the intent.  15 min

·         Hoof care:  The first draft requires “routine hoof care” be provided.  “Routine” needs to be defined.    10 min  Possible hoof care approaches include:

i.      All horses must receive proper foot care to maintain hooves in a functional condition.

ii.      The horse should receive adequate hoof care to allow the horse to stand in a normal posture and move at all gaits without discomfort.  Some health and hoof problems (such as heaves or founder) in horses, particularly those that are longstanding, may not be resolvable, but this should be determined by veterinary exam.

Participants are asked to comment on these approaches.

3.      Open forum.  Possible topics could be Body Condition Scoring or transportation.  20 min

4.      Closing questions and remarks by DEC. 10 min

Ground Rules:

·         Stay on topic.

·         The moderator will select participants to have the floor to speak.  Please do not interrupt a person speaking.

·         State your comments as concisely as possible. There is a time limit of 3 minutes per speaker, 6although the moderator may allow longer comments when deemed necessary.  After you have spoken, DEC representatives may ask questions that can be answered immediately or may request further information be sent to them later.

·         Be respectful of other participants’ opinions.  It is permissible to voice support for something that another speaker has said; however, in general, the moderator will ask that people giving public comment try not to repeat what may have already been stated by other participants, particularly when stating reasoning behind a position on an issue.

·         Silence cell phones. Take all phone conversations outside.

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New FSA Help for Alaska Beginning Farmers

(Palmer, AK – Feb. 10, 2012) – The Alaska USDA Farm Service Agency is working harder than ever to assist new farmers and ranchers to succeed. FSA State Executive Director Danny Consenstein recently unveiled a new Land Contract Guarantee Program and several other tools designed to help beginning farmers and ranchers build the foundation for a successful career in agriculture.   “New farmers face many challenges, like obtaining land for example,” said Consenstein. “FSA is going to provide new options to help them to work through this challenging start-up issue.” Peak land values, tight commercial credit, minimal credit history and less collateral make it difficult for new and smaller farmers in Alaska to get a commercial business loan right now.

The Land Contract Guarantee Program provides a new approach for landowners willing to sell and finance a land purchase to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer. The national program offers two options, one that guarantees up to three annual installment payments on the contract and one that guarantees 90% of the unpaid principal of the contract. Guarantees can be used in the purchase of land for up to $500,000.

“Alaska growers represent all walks of life, a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, and all different ages,” notes Consenstein.  “This new program will work well for beginning and minority growers in our state and we encourage producers to visit with us to see if they qualify and how it could fit their needs,” he said. Find FSA loan information, disaster assistance programs and other helpful programs at www.fsa.usda.gov.

Another new change to the agency’s lending rules for new producers is to allow more flexibility in the minimum experience requirement. Under the new rule, FSA loan officers are now allowed to consider all prior farming experience, including on-the-job training and formal education when determining eligibility for FSA Farm Operating and Ownership Loans.  To qualify for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loan Program, applicants must have a minimum level of agricultural experience, but not more than 10 years operating a farm or ranch.  Consenstein also recommends that people considering a farming career should visit a new USDA website www.start2farm.gov  to learn more about USDA and FSA programs for beginning farmers and ranchers.

Alaska FSA’s support for Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers is evident in the high level of minority and new farmer participation generated through staff outreach into the community. In 2011, 78% of all FSA farm loans in Alaska were made to socially disadvantaged farmers/ranchers and beginning producers.

For more information about these and other USDA programs, you can always call or visit your nearest USDA Farm Service Agency office.

United States Dept. of Agriculture
Farm Service Agency
Danny Consenstein
(907)761-7738
Danny.consenstein@ak.usda.gov

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BBB Love is in the Air and on Social Media

Anchorage, Alaska – Feb. 14, 2012 – On Valentine’s Day, people often take a moment to express admiration for loved ones; Better Business Bureau would like to take a moment to express appreciation for businesses and consumers. BBB offers marketplace love through social media.

Facebook: Unfortunately, there is no “Love” button on Facebook, but there is a “Like” button—click it. Find a trustworthy organization, network with businesses and stay current on BBB press releases. facebook.com/BBBNews4u

Twitter: A little bird told BBB that people who follow us on Twitter stay well-informed on marketplace issues. Become BBB’s “Tweet-heart.”  twitter.com/BBBNews4u

Google+: BBB is excited to announce its newest social media presence on Google+. Add BBB to your circles to enjoy updates in a whole new way.  gplus.to/BBBNews4u

LinkedIn: Join BBB’s LinkedIn professional network for company updates.

BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington shows love all year long; fall head-over-heels for marketplace news and consumer tips on social media and bbb.org.

Adam Harkness, Alaska Public Relations Manager: 907.644.5202 | pr@thebbb.org
Niki Horace, V.P. of Marketing and Public Relations: 206.676.4187

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Photo of the day February 13

 Photos Courtesy Randi Owen

2012 Festival of Lights fireworks display.  We had high winds, but that didn’t stop the community from coming out and enjoying the spectacular display of lights.  Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring this successful event again this year.

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Fairbanks Symphony with Rosenthal, Bailey, Zilberkant

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brahms Tragic Overture Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello Beethoven Coriolanus Overture Beethoven Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano

Tickets for all concerts can be purchased by calling the Symphony Office at (907) 474-5733, visiting the FSO Website at www.FairbanksSymphony.org or by visiting the Symphony Office in the Fine Arts Complex at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The symphony office hours are from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

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Fairbanks Concert Association Presents The New Shanghai Circus

Sunday, February 26 4 PM – Hering Auditorium

Considered to be China’s most celebrated acrobatic company, the performers of the New Shanghai Circus have stunned audiences everywhere they perform. Celebrating the exotic wonders of China while showcasing dramatic interpretation of ancient dances, the show combines extraordinary and inventive feats of strength and skill, control and balance.

Bring your family to the show that presents a line-up of favorite acts such as Diablo (Chinese Yo-Yo), Bicycle Tricks, Pole Climbing, Plates Spinning, Human Top, Chair Stack and more!

“The audience should take a nerve pill before they come to the show” – Audience member.

To purchase tickets: http://www.fairbanksconcert.org/tickets Phone: (907) 474-8081 email: info@fairbanksconcert.org Our physical address is 794 University Avenue.

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MEDDAC- AK Bassett Army Community Hospital

MEDDAC-AK Bassett Army Community Hospital, Ft. Wainwright, AK – Bassett Army Community Hospital Emergency Department received the Department of Defense’s 2011 Patient Safety Award for the patient safety initiative, “Fixing the Unfixable Through the Power of TeamSTEPPS.” The award was officially presented at the Military Health Conference in Washington D.C. on February 2.

TeamSTEPPS is a Department of Defense system of team training and communication techniques used to engage 100 percent of a department’s staff. Vivian Smith, Bassett Emergency Room chief, implemented the system giving the staff tools to identify and correct safety issues for patients. As a result, Bassett has a nationally recognized team with the correct tools to ensure patient safety while giving first rate care.

Public Affairs Office
Ft. Wainright, AK  99703
Brandy Ostanik
(907)361-5091 or (907)590-8877

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Weekly Gas Updates

Alaska, February 13- Average retail gasoline prices in Alaska have risen 1.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.94/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.47/g, according to gasoline price website AlaskaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Alaska during the past week, prices yesterday were 38.3 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 0.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 12.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 34.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

“Retail gasoline prices have continued to slowly rise across a majority of the United States,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “With the exception of one state- Wyoming- all states are seeing their gasoline prices averaging over $3/gallon again, with some of the largest cities- New York City and Los Angeles closing in on $4/gallon,” DeHaan said.

About AlaskaGasPrices.com
GasBuddy operates AlaskaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.

For more local information, methodology, or gasoline related questions, contact:
Patrick DeHaan Senior Petroleum Analyst,
GasBuddy.com Chicago, IL
E-mail: pdehaan@gasbuddy.com
773-644-1427

Gregg Laskoski Senior Petroleum Analyst,
GasBuddy.com Tampa, FL
E-mail: glaskoski@gasbuddy.com
813-436-9422

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