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LT. GOVERNOR'S REPORT

Loren Leman
State of Alaska Lt. Governor

Juneau, AK
Mar. 9, 2006

GAMES RELEASE SPIRIT:
After three years of planning, fundraising, construction and coordination, the Kenai Peninsula Arctic Winter Games began on Sunday with a spectacular opening ceremony, capped by the lighting of the cauldron by Alaskan Olympic bronze medalist Rosie Fletcher. I am proud of our Kenai Peninsula hosts as well as the 380 athletes who comprise Team Alaska. My family and I watched volleyball, basketball, badminton, table tennis and snowshoe racing between my Monday morning meeting with government leaders and an evening awards presentation by the AWG International Committee. The Games are a great display of international cooperation, living up to their 2006 theme: Release the Spirit Within.

GOING TO THE DOGS:
The dogs stayed outside and mushers were the celebrities at the Iditarod kick-off banquet last Thursday evening at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Carolyn and I sat with longtime friend and AOGCC Commissioner John Norman, who honored artist Bill Devine with the Founders Award. Saturday morning, Carolyn, our daughters and I were on a packed 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage for the ceremonial start of this year’s race. You can get race updates at www.iditarod.com.

A CHALLENGE MET:
97 graduates of the Alaska Military Youth Academy tossed their hats Thursday at the conclusion of graduation at Buckner Physical Fitness Center on Fort Richardson. More than five months of training in a rigorous military environment had a positive effect on these at-risk students. I enjoyed congratulating and encouraging the graduates, who heard inspiring messages from Brig. Gen. (ret.) George Cannelos and Adj. Gen. Craig Campbell. The United Service Organizations (USO) recently recognized the Academy for helping develop job skills.

BY THE NUMBERS:
At the MATHCOUNTS statewide competition at Romig Middle School in Anchorage on Saturday, students put their math and reasoning skills to the test. I tried matching wits with some of the brightest 6th to 8th graders in our State in the final challenge rounds! Before distributing awards I shared a few words with the competitors, encouraging them to keep math fun and be role models for other students. Congratulations to Romig, Goldenview, Dzantik’i Heeni, and Gruening Middle Schools for finishing first through fourth.

CARING FOR KIDS:
We have tremendous challenges in Alaska, as elsewhere, with young adults who believe no one cares for them. Young Life is an organization working to help these young people by bringing caring adults into their world. Carolyn and I heard an update on their activities in Alaska at a banquet Tuesday evening. It was a great opportunity for me to encourage them in their mentoring of young adults. This effort is another example of how we can together encourage and support young people through sometimes difficult years.

BEST OF THE BLUE:
The best and the brightest of the 11th Air Force were in the spotlight at an awards ceremony last Friday night on Elmendorf AFB. The Airman of the Year is SrA Jenny Tull; NCO of the Year is SSgt Dana Brossard; SNCO of the Year is MSgt Michael Bridges; 1Sgt of the Year is MSgt George Walsh; and CGO of the Year is Cpt Adam Roberts. Congratulations to all 15 nominees!

ABSENTEE MINDED:
Voters’ personal information will be better protected thanks to a new law requiring absentee ballot request forms to be pre-approved and returned directly to the Division of Elections when completed. I suggested these changes to fix a problem that surfaced in the 2004 election. Senator Gene Therriault sponsored the legislation, and on Monday, Governor Murkowski signed Senate Bill 36 into law.

TAKING THE INITIATIVE:
On Monday I certified two initiatives that met the requirements for signatures. The first is a 90-day session limit; and the second a gas reserves tax. Both will appear on the General Election ballot in November unless the Legislature enacts laws that are substantially similar.

PAYING DIVIDENDS:
The deadline for applying for your PFD is the end of this month! Apply online.

FAREWELL VI REDINGTON:
A woman some have called “the mother of the Iditarod” succumbed to cancer and died on Saturday while watching the ceremonial start of the race she loved. Joe and Vi Redington will always be known for their support of the Iditarod and love of Alaska. They were a joy to know.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
The Arctic Winter Games continue through Saturday in Homer, Kenai, Soldotna, Seward and Girdwood. On Saturday morning I will be joining Governor Murkowski at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, held at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. Call 566-1916 if you need tickets. Next week I will be in Fairbanks and Juneau.


Please share this report with interested friends and family. To subscribe or unsubscribe please visit the subscription page . If you have questions or comments please email me at Lt_Governor@gov.state.ak.us You can also reach me at (907) 465-3520 or 269-7460, or write to: Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman, PO Box 110015, Juneau, AK 99811-0015. Visit my web site: ltgov.state.ak.us.

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