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February 17, 2008 to February 28, 2008[edit]


During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the "Great Race of Mercy", 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic. Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is still one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City's Central Park. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease.

The sled dog was the primary means of transportation and communication in sub-arctic communities around the world, and the race became both the last great hurrah and the most famous event in the history of mushing, before first aircraft in the 1930s and then the snowmobile in the 1960s drove the dog sled almost into extinction. The resurgence of recreational mushing in Alaska since the 1970s is a direct result of the tremendous popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which honors the history of dog mushing with many traditions that commemorate the serum run.

February 1, 2008 to February 17, 2008[edit]

Ted Stevens.jpg

Ted Stevens (born November 18, 1923) is the senior United States Senator from Alaska. As the longest serving Republican in the Senate, Stevens served as President pro tempore from January 3, 2003, to January 3, 2007.

Stevens has had a six-decade career of government service, beginning with his service in World War II. In the 1950s, he held senior positions in the Eisenhower Interior Department. He has served continuously in the Senate since December 1968. When the 110th Congress convened and Democrats took control of the chamber, he was replaced as President pro tem by Robert Byrd, and thus took Byrd's previous honorary role of "President pro tempore emeritus".

Stevens is currently under investigation by the FBI and IRS for possible corruption based on his relationship with an oil service company executive.

January 12, 2008 to January 31, 2008[edit]

Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act, first page of the bill.

The Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act of 1956 (Public Law 84-830) was an Act of Congress passed to improve mental health care in the United States territory of Alaska. It became the focus of a major political controversy after opponents nicknamed it the "Siberia Bill" and denounced it as being part of a communist plot to hospitalize and brainwash Americans. Campaigners asserted that it was part of an international Jewish, Roman Catholic or psychiatric conspiracy intended to establish United Nations-run concentration camps in the United States.

The legislation in its original form was sponsored by the Democratic Party, but after it ran into opposition it was eventually rescued by the conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater. Under Goldwater's sponsorship, a version of the legislation without the commitment provisions that were the target of intense opposition from a variety of far-right, anti-Communist and fringe religious groups was passed by the United States Senate.

December 30, 2007 to January 11, 2008[edit]

2003 Iditarod start in Anchorage - Aliy Zirkle.jpg

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, usually just called the "Iditarod", is an annual sled dog race in Alaska, where mushers and teams of dogs cover about 1,151 miles (1,853 km) in eight to fifteen days. The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams, evolving into the highly competitive race it is today. The current fastest winning time record was set in 2002 by Martin Buser with a time of 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes, and 2 seconds.

Frequently teams race through blizzards causing whiteout conditions, and sub-zero weather and gale-force winds which can cause the wind chill to reach -100 °F (-75 °C). The trail runs through the U.S. state of Alaska. A ceremonial start occurs in the city of Anchorage and is followed by the official restart in Wasilla, a city in the south central region of the state. The trail proceeds from Wasilla 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 teams cross a harsh but starkly beautiful landscape under the canopy of the Northern Lights, through 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 Inuit 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.

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December 15, 2007 to December 29, 2007[edit]


The History of Alaska dates back to the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period (around 12,000 BC), when Asiatic groups crossed the Bering Land Bridge into what is now western Alaska. At the time of European contact by the Russian explorers, the area was populated by Alaska Native groups. The name "Alaska" derives from the Aleut word alaxsxaq, meaning "mainland" (literally, "the object toward which the action of the sea is directed").

The first European contact with Alaska occurred in the 1741, when Vitus Bering led an expedition for the Russian Navy aboard the St. Peter. After his crew returned to Russia bearing sea otter pelts judged to be the finest fur in the world, small associations of fur traders began to sail from the shores of Siberia towards the Aleutian islands. The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1784, and the Russian-America Company carried out expanded colonization program during the early to mid-1800s. Despite these efforts, the Russians never fully colonized Alaska, and the colony was never very profitable. William H. Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State, engineered the Alaskan purchase in 1867 for $7.2 million.

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December 1, 2006 to December 14, 2007[edit]

Alaska locator.png

Alaska (/əˈlæskə/; Russian: Аляска) is a state in the United States of America, in the extreme northwest portion of the North American continent. It is the largest U.S. state by area (by a substantial margin), and one of the wealthiest and most racially diverse.

The area that became Alaska was purchased from Russian interests on March 30, 1867. The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized territory in 1912 and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959. The name "Alaska" is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning "the mainland", or more literally "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed".

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November 16, 2007 to November 30, 2007[edit]

Mike Gravel.jpg

Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel (IPA: /gɹəˈvɛl/) (born May 13, 1930), is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, having served for two terms, from 1969 to 1981. He is primarily known for his efforts in ending the draft following the Vietnam War and for having put the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971. He is currently a candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

Gravel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to French-Canadian immigrant parents, Marie Bourassa and Alphonse Gravel, a painting contractor. There, he was raised in a working class neighborhood and educated in parochial schools as a Roman Catholic, attending Assumption College Preparatory School. He has a sister, Marguerite, who became a nun.

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November 2, 2007 to November 15, 2007[edit]


The Exxon Valdez oil spill is considered one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters ever to occur at sea. As significant as the Exxon Valdez spill was, it ranks well down on the list of the world's largest oil spills in terms of volume released. However, Prince William Sound's remote location (accessible only by helicopter and boat) made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response. The region is a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals, and sea birds.

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October 18, 2007 to November 1, 2007[edit]

Mount Juneau Alaska.jpg

Juneau, Alaska is the capital of the U.S. state of Alaska. The municipality unified in 1970 when the City of Juneau merged with the City of Douglas and the surrounding borough to form the current home rule municipality.

The area of Juneau is larger than that of Rhode Island or Delaware and almost as large as the two states combined. Juneau is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and across the channel from Douglas Island. As of the 2000 census, the City and Borough had a population of 30,711. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 population estimate for the City and Borough was 30,987.[1] Juneau's only power utility is Alaska Electric Light & Power.

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  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference popest2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).