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Some new faces spiced up Sunday's long-track speedskating races at Cuddy Midtown Park.

Sean Bourque of Fairbanks won the men's 500- and 1,000-meter pack-style races, and Alex Mahoney, a UAA skier from Alberta, won the 1,500-meter race.

Bourque outdueled Mahoney by .26 of a second to take the 500-meter victory.

Anna Rix won all three women's races.

Men

500 meters -- 1) Sean Bourque 44.30; 2) Alex Mahoney 44.56; 3) Adam Verrier 48.50; 4) Peter Haeussler 51.40; 5) John Mucha 56.92; 6) Chuck Hansell 1:00.84; 7. Peter Stiasny 1:09.15

1,000 meters -- 1) Bourque 1:35.64; 2) Verrier 1:42.74; 3) Haeussler 1:47.62; 4) Mucha 2:07.12; 5) Hansell 2:15.50...

Alaska Dispatch News

The World Nordic Ski Championships saved its worst for last.

Skiing in slow, soft tracks during wet falling snow, Anchorage's Erik Bjornsen endured 50 kilometers of classic-technique racing to place 43rd in the final race of the championships in Falun, Sweden.

Noah Hoffman of Colorado was the only other American finisher, placing 31st after hanging with the lead pack for 40 kilometers.

Norway's Petter Northug earned his fourth gold medal of the championships by outsprinting Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic. Bauer was the only skier to stop at the 40-K exchange to get a pair of freshly waxed skis.

A press release from the U.S. Ski Team called conditions "extremely tough."...

Alaska Dispatch News

The North Slope village of Kaktovik, on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, is recovering from a Saturday night blizzard that packed frozen, hurricane-force winds and sent dumpsters tumbling like dice, residents said.

“It was the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Flora Rexford, who has lived in Kaktovik all her life. “Dumpsters were flying around.”

National Weather Service meteorologists say they don’t know exactly how strong Saturday’s winds were -- because weather equipment broke during the storm.

“We don’t have any hard data,” said Fairbanks NWS lead meteorologist Cary Freeman. High winds likely disabled the equipment, he said.

“We think the wind broke it.”...

Michelle Theriault Boots

A couple of juniors stole the show on Senior Day for the UAA gymnastics team Sunday afternoon at the Alaska Airlines Center.

One of them, junior M'Rcy Matsunami of Omaha, Nebraska, became the second gymnast in school history to hit the 39-point mark in the all-around to help the Seawolves to their best team score of the season and a victory over Centenary College.

But as impressive as Matsunami's score of 39.025 was, the feat accomplished by junior Stefany Bryan of Seattle is perhaps more noteworthy...

Alaska Dispatch News

Over the years I have observed fewer and fewer kids playing outdoors in Anchorage and outlying areas. But it wasn’t until a business trip to west Chicago several years ago that something really struck home. It was a beautiful Sunday in May, and I spent the afternoon walking through vacant parks and baseball diamonds. These were real baseball diamonds with backstops, dug outs, smoothly-raked infields, mown grassy outfields and perimeter fences -- not the rough, gravel lots we played in as children in Seward.

But there was no one there. “Where are all the kids?” I almost uttered out loud.

When we were kids we would have thought we’d gone to heaven to have ball fields like this...

Frank E. Baker

In Alaska Dispatch News on Feb. 5 my friend Professor Emeritus Steve Haycox invokes the justly famous Harry V. Jaffa -- my beloved teacher -- to buttress the claim that the federal government has the right to do what it has recently done with Alaskan lands. I had the privilege of discussing state-national relations with Harry for many years, and discussed the case of Alaska with him as recently as last October in his living room in California, on his 96th birthday. His mind was still as sharp as ever and his spirit was still firm...

Dr. Forrest A. Nabors

FAIRBANKS -- A blind dog who wandered away from her Ester, Alaska, home during a cold snap has been reunited with her owner.

The 11-year-old Labrador retriever named Madera ventured away from home on Feb. 6, when the temperature dipped to 40 degrees below zero.

Her owner, Ed Davis, said he didn't expect to find her alive. "My best hope was to walk those trails and look for a track that might be hers," he said. "My best hope was to find a frozen dog."

A man riding a bike accompanied by a bell-wearing dog located Madera in the woods last week, about a half-mile from the Davis' home, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported . Madera let out a whine when she heard the dog's bell...

Associated Press

Just to the north of Alaska's largest city, the true hard men and women of the Iditarod Trail on Sunday headed north from the old port of Knik in a race against time and weather. Out ahead of them somewhere, Bill Merchant, the organizer of the Iditarod Trail Invitational, was pushing a trail up Rainy Pass and through this year's supposedly impassable Dalzell Gorge, which is passable because almost anything in Alaska is passable for the fit, skilled and determined. Behind Merchant, the Iditarod charge was to be led by a gang of fat-tire bikers who, with a little luck, might well set a record on the 350-miles of trail over the Alaska Range to McGrath in the Interior....

Craig Medred

Marijuana legalization took effect Tuesday in Alaska, and a last week the Unalaska City Council voted to amend city ordinances to reflect the new reality, though with tight restrictions on public use.

The council voted 6-0 in a special meeting Friday morning, Feb. 20, to have the new rules in effect when legalization arrived a few days later. The new rules set $100 fines for smoking pot in public and for consumption by persons under 21 years of age...

Jim Paulin

High over Southeast Alaska last August, 82-year-old Bill Bunten was flying blind.

The retired bank president from Topeka, Kansas, realized after leaving Ketchikan that the weather en route to Juneau was worse than he expected. Bunten dropped from 8,000 feet to 7,000 to lose the ice forming on the wings of his Piper Comanche. The autopilot wasn't working and the engine sounded choppy. Suddenly, the small plane’s heading indicator and compass started spinning. Bunten remembered a note on his map about possible navigational problems in the area.

Now he was in the clouds and struggling to get his bearings without the two instruments he needed to do just that...

Zaz Hollander

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