10 YEARS AGO

May 25, 2010 — Fairbanks Memorial Hospital touted its new $14 million heart center Monday with a grand opening and tours of the 12,747-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility.

The Harry and Sally Porter Heart Center opened in February and offers a variety of services, such as angioplasty, that were unavailable in Fairbanks before 2007.

The new facility has three cardiologists, a conference room where doctors can discuss cases with colleagues anywhere in the world, a rehab center on par with local athletic facilities and technology galore.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospital officials estimate Fairbanks heart patients will see a 2 to 3 percent better chance of survival because of the new and enhanced services at the Porter heart center.

25 YEARS AGO

May 25, 1995 — ANCHORAGE — Each year thousands of spectacled eiders appear on Alaska’s western and northern edges. For a couple of summer months they feed and breed on the bountiful river deltas, coastal plains and marshy tundra. Then they vanish.

Exactly where the threatened sea ducks spend their winters has long been one of the great mysteries of the avian world. But now biologists appear to have cracked the case, thanks to technology, diligence and a heaping measure of luck.

In late winter federal biologists Bill Larned and Greg Balogh found an estimated 140,000 spectacled eiders — perhaps virtually the entire world’s population — living in small holes in the ice of the frozen Bering Sea more than 100 miles off Alaska. It was the first time that large flocks had been seen during the winter.

From a distance the concentration of eiders looked like a series of dark smudges on a white canvas, said Larned, who spotted them on an aerial survey. But closer, he could see individual birds packed in tight to keep warm in 20-below-zero temperatures.

“It was very unexpected,” Larned said of the discovery." The remoteness, the surrounding miles and miles of unbroken ice, the absence of other life, and then you had all these birds. It was stunning, very striking.”

In all 22 flocks were seen in the area, the largest estimated at 30,000 to 50,000 birds, he said.

50 YEARS AGO

May 25, 1970 — The Great Tanana Raft Race is history — at least for another year.

A total of 396 rafts with approximately 2,000 persons signed to shove off at 6 a.m. Saturday in the raft classic.

The volume of rafts was about all the Tanana River could handle. In fact, it was probably the greatest collection of people in the oddest crafts that any river in the world has ever seen.

After the first few rafts into Nenana Saturday afternoon times and positions were simply relative. Relative to the neighboring raft that was sharing that stretch of river, that is.

Of course, there was a winner as there has to be someone leading the pack. This year's winner was the appropriately named "Worm Germ," a paddle wheel contraption with six men manning the pedals to turn the wheel and one to bark orders and steer. Raft 59, co-sponsored by Davis Log Mill and Dick and Don's Texaco breezed into Nenana in a time of eight hours and 11 minutes. This raft was the third version of the craft. The first year was with the same paddle wheel on four barrels. Last year with three peddles, the raft came in second. Doubling the peddlers to six, the Worm Germ never saw another raft after the second bend in the river and won going away, as they, say in racing circles. On board the raft were Capt. Harold Hahn, Larry Schneider, Herb Newman, Earl Hahn, Arlo Wells, Dick Cook and Lue Hahn.

Second was the Discovery 2 1/2 captained by Jim Binkley Jr. This was a muscle-powered craft with six paddlers and one helmsman. They had a time of 8:58. Also aboard were Skip and John Binkley, Bill Larry, Byron Wilner, Ron Schleppegrell and Denny Wohlgemuth in raft 232.

75 YEARS AGO

May 25, 1945 — Fire swept through the Lacey Street Hotel last night damaging 20 of the 28 rooms, and causing an estimated loss of $7,000 to $10,000 according to figures given by Mrs. T. J. McDonald.

The fire started in Fred Gustafson's room when a lighted cigarette fell from his hand into a waste paper basket near the bed after he had fallen asleep. The ignited paper spread the fire to the wall and ceiling of his room.

It was discovered by Katherine McGuire, hat check girl at a local night club, upon her return from work at 1:45 this morning. On going to her room on the second floor she saw the flaming ceiling and ran to Mrs. McDonald's room. Miss McGuire then returned to the second floor and knocked at all room doors shouting "fire." She aroused the hotel patrons.

When the Fire Department arrived the ceiling of the second story and attic were a mass of flames and three hose line were run from Second and Lacey Street hydrants.