The 2010 Permanent Fund Dividend applications will be mailed to only 24 percent of the people who filed for a dividend in 2009.
That’s because the state is trying to economize the process and moving toward the day when it will be entirely online. About 76 percent of Alaskans filed online this year and are likely to do so again in 2010. So it makes little sense to mail hundreds of thousands of applications that won’t be used.
But the paper applications are not going away yet. Anyone who filed by mail in 2009 is supposed to get a paper application in the mail, along with “an introduction to the new process,” the PFD office said. A postcard reminder will be mailed to every mailbox in the state.
For those who want a paper application and don’t get one in the mail, they will be available at the dividend information office at 1005 Cushman St., the Legislative Information Office at 1291 Sadler Way, Suite 308, the Noel Wien Library and the Tanana Chiefs Conference building at 201 First Ave., Suite 300.
FIREWORKS ON TAP: In addition to the 20th annual Sparktacular Thursday at 8 p.m. on the West Ridge of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, there will be a fireworks display in the Goldstream Valley at 10 p.m. at the Ken Kunkel Community Center and park near Ivory Jack’s Restaurant.
The Goldstream Valley Lions Club is sponsoring the 10 p.m. event, which will include a bonfire and other activities starting at about 8 p.m.
To help cover the cost, the Lions could use some donations. These can be given to volunteers during the event. Or you can mail donations to the Goldstream Valley Lions Club, 2591 A Goldstream Road, Fairbanks, 99709.
IN THE RUNNING: Truck driver Sam Little, also known as “Singing Sam,” has joined the field of Republican contestants for governor. Little, who came to Alaska during the pipeline and wrote such tunes as “Kamikaze Trail,” about the haul road, is from Tok.
SNOWFLAKE DROP: The giant snowflake is in place and ready to fall.
The first Snowflake Drop is set to take place on New Year’s Eve in North Pole, with the countdown starting 30 seconds before midnight.
The New Year will be welcomed as the snowflake declines on a 40-foot pole in the North Pole Ice Park.
The Plexiglas snowflake, which is festooned with Christmas lights, has been hoisted to the top of a 40-foot pole. The pole is attached to a flatbed trailer and the snowflake is held up by a winch and cable.
In the final seconds of 2009, the winch cable will be extended and the snowflake will fall.
Admission to the ice park will be half price that evening from 9 p.m. to after midnight. The cost will be $3 for adults and $2 for kids. This will be a no-alcohol family event, the organizers said.
There will be warming fires, concessions and other attractions that night at the park.
FEED THE DUCKS: Volunteer Marv Hassebroek believes more than 300 mallards decided to stay put on the open section of the Chena River this winter. He did his best to discourage people from feeding the animals until mid-November to encourage the ducks to migrate.
The number that refused to become snowbirds is down this year, which is good, but there are still hundreds that don’t have any natural source of winter food.
“There is quite a population that remains and we are devoted to keeping them fed with good, healthy grain products through the winter,” he wrote on behalf of “Feed the Ducks.”
“We all enjoy them and it just isn’t right to let them starve and then freeze to death,” said Hassebroek, a dedicated member of the duck patrol.
Feed the Ducks is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so all donations are tax deductible. Hassebroek said every penny donated goes to buy food. He also said anyone who wants to help carry the food is welcome to give him a call at 456-3066.
It takes about three five-gallon pails per day of grain to feed the animals, which gather on the river near the Carlson Center at feeding time.
If you want to help, send contributions to: Feed the Ducks, 518 Slater Drive, Fairbanks, 99701.