Alaska Air National Guardsmen deploy to Afghanistan
More than 180 citizen-Airmen of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176 Wing departed from Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson for Afghanistan on Memorial Day in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The largest 176 Wing deployment since 2003, the Airmen are primarily maintenance crews from and rescue personnel. In Afghanistan, the rescuers will pursue their primary wartime mission of combat search-and-rescue. This often involves challenging casualty-evacuation missions and flying into “hot” combat zones. The maintenance crews will support this work by keeping the rescuers’ planes and helicopters flight-ready. The Airmen departed over the course of several days. The largest single group of deployers left on Memorial Day.
SHI awards $410,000 in scholarships
Sealaska Heritage Institute has awarded almost $410,000 in scholarships to Sealaska shareholders and descendants. The awards, funded mostly by Sealaska, will help students pursuing graduate and undergraduate degrees and voc-tech training for the 2012-2013 school year. A portion also will fund language and culture studies. The scholarships for university and voc-tech studies went to 327 Alaska Natives. Another 140 students are expected to participate in the institute’s language and culture workshops. SHI also made the third-ever Judson L. Brown Leadership Award to Tory Shultz, who is pursuing a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in early childhood. This $5,000 award comes from a separate endowment established in 2006.
Bristol Bay Native Corp. purchases Mission Lodge
Bristol Bay Native Corp. has purchased Mission Lodge on the shores of Lake Aleknagik in Bristol Bay. BBNC purchased the lodge on May 10 and seasonal operations begin on June 15. BBNC has made investing within the Bristol Bay region a priority and has set goals to do so over the next five years. The purchase of Mission Lodge is BBNC’s first major investment within the region since the sale of Peter Pan Seafoods in 1979, and it brings BBNC back into the tourism industry.
New Chugach tours pair rail travel with glacier trekking
A selection of new tour offerings from the Alaska Railroad and local guide service Ascending Path will allow Alaska visitors to pair glacier hiking and ice climbing with rail travel. Guests board the Glacier Discovery Train in Anchorage, Girdwood, Whittier or Portage for the glacier-based tours. Hikers meet their guides on the train and exit at the Alaska Railroad’s Spencer Whistle Stop in the Chugach National Forest. Three trips will be available this summer.
Alaska Growth Capital announces first 2012 North Slope Marketplace winners
Lela’s Store and Tundraberry have won Alaska Growth Capital’s 2012 North Slope Marketplace, where North Slope residents may compete for funding to start or expand local businesses. Both businesses won the maximum amount of $25,000. Lela’s Store, owned by Lela Ahgook of Anaktuvuk Pass, provides groceries and supplies. Tundraberry, owned by Joni Edwardsen of Barrow, produces traditional and contemporary Iñupiaq artwork. Both promote positive Iñupiaq values.