{News Briefs}

Alaska student loan program expands           

So far a running success, the Alaska student loan program is planned to expand into the Alaska Advantage program. Governor Tony Knowles introduced to the legislation a plan that uses federally guaranteed student loans to provide borrowers with lower interest rates with less risk to the state. The Alaska Advantage program builds on the success of Alaska's student loan program over the last few years. This bill will create a one-stop financial aid information center and financial opportunity, guaranty the lowest possible borrowing rates, streamline aid delivery, and reduce financial risk to the state through the federal guarantee. Alaska Advantage will also offer expanded options for borrowers with special needs in loan repayment. Currently the state is serving over 90,000 Alaska student loan customers with $615 million in loans.


University of Alaska and T. Rowe Price announce College Savings Plan

The University of Alaska and T. Rowe Price Associates, one of the nation's largest managers of no-load mutual funds, today announced an expanded college savings program that will provide Alaskans with more flexibility and substantial tax benefits to help families save for a college education.

The new University of Alaska College Savings Plan, which becomes effective in May, incorporates the existing Advance College Tuition (ACT) program and offers a number of additional features.

Alaska Rep. Lisa Murkowski, one of the original sponsors of the legislation that created the program said, "This program provides parents, grandparents, or anyone else the opportunity to financially prepare for a child's college education and obtain valuable tax benefits at the same time."

The full value of an account can be applied toward college expenses at the University of Alaska or any eligible college or vocational school in the country. In addition, the ACT program, with its UA Tuition Value Guarantee, will continue to enable those who send their children to the University of Alaska the opportunity to virtually lock-in future UA college tuition at today's cost.

Participants can invest in excess of $200,000 for a student's college education starting with as little as $250 (or $50 each month through systematic payments). Investments grow tax-deferred and when withdrawn for college expenses, earnings are taxed at the child's tax rate. Participants can choose from a host of investment portfolios managed by T. Rowe Price.

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For more information about the College Savings Plan, residents should call the university at 1-800-478-0003. T. Rowe Price will also be managing a national version of the Alaska plan under the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan name. This plan will also be available for contributions by early May 2001.

congratulations from UPD to UAA graduates


Annual alumni awards nominations sought

Created in 1986, the Alumni & Friends Achievement Awards honor alumni, faculty, staff, students and volunteers who have contributed their time, efforts and creativity to the promotion of UAA, the State of Alaska or the communities in which they live. To nominate a person for any of the following awards; attach a description of your nominee and how this person has served the university or community and attach two letters of recommendation supporting your nominee. Categories include: Alumna/Alumnus of the Year, Alumni Recognition Medal, Community Service Award, University Service Award, Distinguished Teaching Award, Staff Award for Excellence and the Student Spirit Award.

Award winners will be recognized at a special luncheon hosted by the UAA Alumni Association in the UAA Lucy Cuddy Dining Room on Thursday, April 19, 2001. Nominations are due March 30, 2001.

For nomination forms, contact Suzette Mashburn 786-1941.


Bookstore and USUAA want your poetry, essays

Start preparing now for the 2nd Annual Poetry Celebration! The UAA Campus Bookstore will be hosting a poetry celebration Monday, April 2, from 4:30-6:30pm. Come and read your original and/or favorite poems. Everyone is invited to attend! Complimentary refreshments will be served. For more information contact Rachel at 786-4759.

USUAA (Union of Students) is holding two email essay contests this semester. The first will be held on Friday, March 23 at 12:30 p.m. and the second will be held on Friday, April 6th at 10:00a.m. Two winners will be selected for each contest for a total of four winners. A prize of $250 will be awarded to each winner. Participants must be current students with 3 or more units, and may sign up at the Union of Students office in the Campus Center 228. Please encourage all eligible students to participate. Call USUAA at 786-1205 for more information.


Help UA get a killer image and logo by entering contest

University of Alaska is introducing a new logo and brand image campaign. The objective of this initiative is to build a foundation of credibility and quality for UA as a whole, on which the local campuses can build upon in recruitment efforts.

The campaign is designed to communicate the University's promise to Alaskans:

UA offers students of all levels and needs a first-choice, cost effective higher education option.

For Alaska, UA is an economic engine, bringing resources, out-of-state dollars and jobs into the state.


UA serves as the center of research, history and cultural enrichment for Alaska

The campaign was launched statewide on March 11. It includes television and newspaper advertising as well as a public radio sponsorship. You can view the TV spots and download tiff and jpeg images for print and web usage by visiting the Web site: http://www.alaska.edu/opa/logo

"We believe this is an important, positive move and one that will benefit the local campuses by increasing public awareness of the University of Alaska,” said Bob Miller, Director of Public Affairs for the university in a recent release.


2001 Virginia Retzlaff Memorial Scholarship

Anchorage Legal Secretaries Association (ALSA), a chapter of NALS, the association for legal professionals, plans to award $3,000 in scholarships during 2001 for courses in the legal support profession-legal secretarial skills, computer information and office systems, NALS Educational Institute, ALSA continuing legal education, or NALS continuing legal education. Applicants should be serious about entering or remaining in the legal support profession.

Applications must be postmarked or received by April 10, 2001.

Further information is located on ALSA's website:http://www.aklsa.org.


Bingo! Tudor Road bingo wins national award

Tudor Road Bingo Center was named one of the Top Ten Bingo Halls for 2000 in Bingo Manager Magazine. The magazine accepted nominations from establishments across North America and selected halls that displayed exceptional and unique qualities. The bingo halls selected ranged from a small bingo hall in Redding, California seating 250 to a large bingo hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin seating 2000 patrons. The winners were featured in the November 2000 issue of Bingo Manager Magazine and were not selected in any specific order. Many feel that bingo gaming is a positive factor in the support of valuable non-profit organizations and charities. Tudor Road Bingo Center has been in business for eight years and has given almost $5,000,000 to Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Alaska Special Olympics, Akeela, Inc. and more than 20 other Anchorage area non-profits.


Free hemp in Alaska urges community to speak out           

According to Free Hemp in Alaska advocates, assembly members have recently taken action to unfairly prevent legitimate businesspeople from conducting their business by immorally seizing their property and threatening fines against them as individuals for `distribution of marijuana paraphernalia.' Free Hemp in Alaska contends that the enforcement of this law denies access of so-called `paraphernalia' to recognized medical marijuana patients and infringes on your personal liberties. The Free Hemp agency encourages members of the community to call each of the assembly members and to attend their meetings to express their concern on this issue. Assembly meetings take place on Tuesdays, 5-11:30 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers room 108 at the Loussac Library, 3600 Denali. For more information visit http://www.freehempinak.org or call 278-4367.


It's a boulder, it's a rock, it's Alaska's largest gold nugget

A gold nugget the size of a coconut is now on display in the Alaska Gallery of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. The nugget is called “Alaska's Centennial Nugget” because it was discovered in 1998, the 100th anniversary of the Gold Rush. It was found in the Ruby Mining District in Interior Alaska as Barry Clay luckily nudged it with the tip of his bulldozer. The nugget weighs 294.10 troy ounces and is 3-5% quartz. A nugget of this size is 100 times more rare than a 5-carat diamond. The nugget on loan from Hope and Barry Clay will remain on display in the Anchorage Museum of History and Art at 121 W. 7th Avenue at least through April 10, 2001. Admission to the Museum is for youth 6-17 with a $2 donation suggested, $6.50 for adults 18-64, and $6 for adults 65 and older. Persons who experience a disability and need special assistance are encouraged to contact the Museum Education Department at 343-6187.


City-Wide career and job fair scheduled at UAA on April 7

The 2001 City-Wide Career/Job Fair will be held at the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus Center on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair is a collaborative effort between UAA, Anchorage School District, and Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. This is the first time these three groups have come together to match employers with potential employees. A few of the specific employers interviewing at the fair include IBM, Providence Alaska Medical Center, NANA, CIRI, BP, National Bank of Alaska, Alaska Airlines, FedEx, New York Life, Associated Builders and Contractors, the U.S. military, Alyeska Pipeline, Carrs/Safeway, Regal Alaskan, and the House of Harley. The fair is open to all who are interested in finding permanent or summer jobs, making educational, apprenticeship or vocational plans, learning about scholarship information or simply exploring new careers. Admission and parking are free; for additional information call UAA Campus Life at 786-1215.


People mover keeps the people moving

Anchorage residents and visitors rode People Mover buses in greater numbers in 2000 than in any of the previous fourteen years. More than 3.3 million passenger trips were recorded last year, a figure approximately 60,000 greater than 1999 – rider figures increased to their highest level since 1986. A portion of the increase in riders may be attributed to a free ride month in January 2000, although 1999 had two free ride months (November and December). The three-month free ride promotion was a portion of the Care About Air campaign cosponsored by People Mover, State of Alaska Environmental Conservation and the Municipal Health Department. A federal air quality grant was used to provide the free bus service during the months of November, Dec. 1999 and Jan. 2000. The grant reimbursed People Mover for lost fares.


Kelly bill extends program for mentally ill

Senator Pete Kelly introduced legislation this week to extend a program that provides treatment for mentally ill Alaskans. The Designated Evaluation and Treatment Program, created in the spring of 1999, provides treatment through local hospitals for people who are in mental crisis and have nowhere else to go. These individuals are working poor people who have no insurance or Medicaid coverage, who cannot afford hospitalization and who meet certain eligibility requirements. The Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities has designated eight local community hospitals as evaluation facilities providing 72-hour psychiatric evaluations, and two as treatment facilities providing up to 30 days of treatment. The division pays for care provided by the hospitals on a payer of last resort basis. Up to 250 receive hospital services reimbursed through this program each year. "This assistance has been available since 1978, but the eligibility criteria were vague and open to individual interpretation," said Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks). "That's why I sponsored Senate Bill 97 two years ago, to clarify the criteria and create the program as it exists today. But the bill includes a sunset clause that will end the program on July 1, 2001 and return it to the state it was in before."


Theresa Obermeyer vocalizes for husband to practice law

Theresa Obermeyer is dramatically vocalizing her concern for her husband to be able to practice law in an animated and eccentric manner. United States. Supreme Court Case Thomas S. Obermeyer Attorney v. Alaska Bar Association was filed on Jan. 23, 2001 regarding a 17-year effort to obtain Alaska law license. Thomas has failed the Alaska Bar Association exam 26 times but did end up becoming licensed in the state of Missouri on April 27, 1990, a state which Alaska has reciprocity. On March 5, 2001 Thomas was admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court. Theresa Obermeyer continues to fight for her husband's integrity to practice law in the state of Alaska.


Coaches tab UAA's Kirk for All-West Region First Team

University of Alaska Anchorage point guard, Ed Kirk, received his fourth major postseason award when he was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches' Division II All-West Region First Team. The announcement was made late Wednesday night at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Bakersfield, California. Kirk led the 16-team Pac West in scoring 21.7 points per game and 5.9 assists per game, has already received Third Team Daktronics All-America Third Team, Pac West Player of the Year and Datronics all-region awards. A senior, from Dallas, Texas, Kirk scored in double figures in every game this season and had three 10-assist showings as UAA went 19-8 and won the Pac West Conference's Pacific Division title. He was twice named Pac West Player of the Week and was voted to the All-Tournament Team at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout for the second time in his career. His 19.8 point per game average ranks fourth all-time at UAA, and he finished ninth on the all-time assist list despite playing just 47 career games. Kirk is now one of 80 all-region honorees from the nation's eight regions eligible for NABC All-America honors. Those awards will be announced after the conclusion of the Elite Eight.


UAA Athletic Director announces hockey coach reassignment

UAA Athletic Director Dr. Steve Cobb announced on Friday that Dean Talafous has been reassigned and will no longer be coaching at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Cobb did not specify why after the negotiations they reassigned Talafous, or despite any disagreements on his reassignment following the five year tenure.

“You don't run college athletic programs on public opinion polls,” Cobb said.

The search for a new coach was said to be an immediate measure to insure the continuance of the hockey program. According to Cobb, the poll of candidates is speculated to be large.

When asked what they were looking for in a new coach, Cobb said, “Integrity is number one, we want people who are goal orientated and someone who will help young men grow.”

The Athletic Program plans to appoint a committee next week for the nation wide search for a head hockey coach.