10 YEARS AGO

Oct. 18, 2008 — ANCHORAGE — The beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet are endangered and require additional protection to survive, the government declared Friday, contradicting Gov. Sarah Palin who has questioned whether the distinctive white whales are actually declining.

It was the Republican’s vice-presidential candidate’s second environmental slap from Washington this year. She has asked federal courts to overturn an Interior Department decision declaring polar bears threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The government on Friday put a portion of the whales on the endangered list, rejecting Palin’s argument that it lacked scientific evidence to do so. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said a decade-long recovery program had failed to ensure the whales’ survival. 

25 YEARS AGO

Oct. 18, 1993 — ANCHORAGE — Antarctic explorer Norman Vaughan has little time to reminisce about the glory days, 65 years ago, when he dropped out of Harvard, learned to mush dogs and traveled to Antarctica’s blank interior with Adm. Richard Byrd.

Instead he is busy in his one-room log cabin in Talkeetna, training dogs and working the telephone, trying to raise the last $150,000 toward a 500-mile, $1.5-million expedition that will take him and a 22-dog team back to Antarctica in time for his 88th birthday.

“We will go,” said Vaughan, who plans an Oct. 25 departure for his five-person team. “You have to have something to shoot for.”

50 YEARS AGO

Oct. 18, 1968 — “Oct. 16, 1968, 3:18 hours, John Doe called in to report the theft of his vehicle from the parking lot. Stated that the doors were unlocked and that the keys were left on the sun visor.”

The notation is a familiar one on the city police summary board, and a similar complaint appears just as often in the Alaska State Trooper news releases. And the complaint is coming in more often, according to Assistant Police Chief Robert Sundburg.

In a year 336 cars have been stolen from the Fairbanks area (including outlying areas as far as Tok) Sundburg reported, of which 210 were within the city.

75 YEARS AGO

Oct. 18, 1943 —  A suggestion that pleas for aid in relieving the housing shortage in Fairbanks might receive favorable attention in Washington if they were made persistently enough was given to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce at its weekly meeting today by Desla S. Bennion, president of the Northwestern States Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Mr. Bennion, visiting Alaska to coordinate his church’s program of aid for service men of that faith, said he based his suggestion on developments he has observed in other war boom centers, notably Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.

Vanport, a new city built near Portland for war workers has 40,000 population, and new housing has been provided for about 60,000 at Vancouver, which normally has a population of 15,000. 

“I believe Fairbanks is entitled to more housing facilities and think you will get what you need if you holler loud enough,” said Mr. Bennion.