Time Was 3/1/12

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 20:00
15 years ago in the Star…
Beetle outbreak reaches epidemic levels

A report by the U.S. Forest Service detailing spruce bark beetle damage in the Eagle River and Eklutna areas showed the areas were among the hardest-hit in the state, according to a story on the front page of the March 6, 1997 Alaska Star.

According to the story, the Forest Service said the Eagle River Valley had seen the area of trees infested by the pesky insects grow from 2,300 acres in 1996 to about 5,800 acres in ’97 — a 250 percent increase.

In Eklutna, the numbers were even worse, with the infestation mapped at 8,900 acres in 1997 compared to 2,000 acres the previous year.

Integrated Pest Management Technician Michael Fastabend said unusually dry conditions had helped the beetles spread to epidemic levels.

“What’s happened to our population here is that they’ve turned this corner, and there are no geological conditions that are turning them back,” Fastabend told the Star.


Senator seeks land lottery

A bill sponsored by Sen. Robin Taylor in the Alaska Legislature proposed creating a new program that would enter every Alaskan eligible for a Permanent Fund Dividend into a lottery to give away roughly 1 million acres of state land each year. Under Taylor’s proposal, winners would get a chunk of land no smaller than five acres, and would be required to stake and survey — and pay relevant property taxes — on lottery land.

Taylor wanted the winners to be selected from the pool of PFD applicants.

“We would order the computer over at the Permanent Fund Dividend office to do a random selection for winners,” Taylor said.


Mustang greats cap friendly rivalry

UAA senior David Vallieres and Colorado College sophomore Brian Swanson shared a sentimental moment on the ice when the Seawolves faced the Tigers in UAA’s final regular season game at Sullivan Arena.

Vallieres and Swanson starred for the CHS team that won its first state championship in 1991, and Swanson helped the squad to a second title in 1992.

“Dave and I have known each other for a while,” Swanson said.

After facing each other for the final time as collegians, the standout athletes reminisced about their time as Mustangs.

“He and I in high school hung out so much it was ridiculous,” Vallieres told the Star. “There was one year where I thought I was living at his house just because we were over at his rink all the time. He’s kind of like a little brother to me.”

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