People's Choice Award: Vote for your favorite costume

With the entry deadline past in our 3rd Annual Dog Blog Howllll-oween Costume Contest, it's now up to our elite panel of judges to determine the winner of the $50 gift certificate donated by Paw Prince, which will be announced on Halloween Day.

In the meantime, vote for your favorite to receive the People's Choice Award by midnight Friday.

There's no prize for that, just the satisfaction that comes from peer adulation. ;)

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Read first: How to use this page to post reviews

This page contains reviews of plays and other theatrical productions in Alaska and elsewhere. Click on a review to read it.

If you wish to post a review, click here, or return to the previous page and click on "Post new forum topic."

No one will edit your review; you're responsible for your own written language. Reviews will be removed some time after the show has closed.

Please use this service as it is intended and be sure to observe the ADN online rules of conduct.

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Tax credits could help small businesses provide health coverage

New Report: Tax Credits Could Help up to 3.2 Million Small Businesses Provide Health Coverage for Their 19 Million Workers

Affordable Care Act Program Helps Small Businesses Offer Benefits and Compete Against Larger Companies for Best Talent

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Alaska Peninsula wolves are seafood connoisseurs

Alaska Peninsula wolves dine on an assortment of seafood when they’re short of fresh meat, according to federal biologist Dominique Watts of the Alaska Peninsula and Becharof National Wildlife Refuges.

Preliminary analysis of hair of about 40 wolves, along with aerial observations, indicate wolves sometimes feed on salmon, seal, whale and walrus carcasses.

Watts published his finding in the journal Wildlife Biology.

The amount of salmon consumed by wolves surprised him.

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Almost balmy January for Anchorage

January weather in Anchorage proved — well, pretty normal.

And while it may not have felt that way, the first month of the year was a little warmer than usual. The average high temperature of 23.1 degrees was about a degree warmer than normal, according to the National Weather Service. But the average low of 12.5 degrees was a balmy 3.2 degrees warmer than typical.

There was a yawning 57-degree gap between the warmest temperature of the month, 45 degrees, and the coldest, minus-12. Neither was close to the records of 56 degrees (1934) and minus-35 (1947).

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Company fixing avalanche beacon problems

Backcountry Access, a leading manufacturer of avalanche beacons, shovels, probes, snow study equipment, and avalanche airbags, is offering free software updates on its Tracker2 beacon after malfunctions were reported by the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Backcountry Access suspects the beacons were reacting to static electricity discharge in the pockets of users. After the discharge, the beacon would reboot and freeze — a serious problem if your life is depending on it.

This update prevents the Tracker2 from entering reprogramming mode if there is an interruption to the power supply.

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Paycheck depends on the sled-dog race

Look no further than Big Lake musher Jake Berkowitz to see the value of running the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

Berkowitz had a disappointing run to finish 10th in the 300-miler from Bethel to Aniak and back. Despite that, he earned a $3,000 check — nearly as much as the $5,500 he earned for winning the just-as-tough Copper Basin 300 earlier in the month.

Berkowitz wasn’t the only musher profiting from the Kusko’s $100,000 purse, the richest in middle-distance racing.

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Not all caribou herds rebounding

News last week that the Porcupine caribou herd was growing was welcomed by Alaska and Canadian biologists.

Too bad that’s not happening everywhere.

Of the 22 northland herds monitored by CARMA (the CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network), eight are declining:
• Bathurst: 31,900 as of 2009.
• Beverly: Very few as of 2008.
• George River: 74,100 as of 2010.
• Qamanirjuaq: 345,000 as of 2008.
• Sundrun: 28,500 as of 2002.
• Taimyr: 750,000 asof 2003.
• Yana Indigurka: 34,000 as of 2002.

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Is it the dogs or the musher?

Think sled-dog racing depends entirely on the animals, no matter who’s driving?

Think again.

Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King retired from the Last Great Race after finishing third in March. Tired of three decades of winter chill, he headed to the Lower 48.

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Holiday gifts that could save a life

The U.S. Coast Guard is suggesting last-minute holiday shoppers consider gifts that could deliver the ultimate payoff — saving the recipient’s life.

“The Coast Guard reminds Alaskans that being prepared is essential in our unforgiving waters,” says a press release from the agency.

Items worth considering:

• Marine GPS navigation system;
• 406 Mhz EPIRB, which may be the only way to call for help in remote areas. Be sure to register it after purchase;
• Coast Guard approved life jacket;
• Hand-held VHF marine radio;
• Boater safety course;

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Cruise ship visitors get fishing option

Southcentral anglers may see a little more competition at some of their fishing holes next summer.

One of Alaska’s largest cruise operators will begin offering customers 14-day packages that fishing trips. One package will put cruising anglers on the upper Kenai River. Another will head to the Talkeetna River for various salmon species, rainbow trout and grayling. Two others are in Southeast.

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Baker launching another Iditarod bid

A few more mushers have signed up for Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, boosting the field past the 50-team mark.

The biggest new name is John Baker of Kotzebue, the third-place finisher this March who’s also the Kuskokwim 300 defending champion. Baker’s finish equalled his best-ever 2002 Iditarod. All together, Baker has only been out of the top-10 only three times in 14 Iditarods.

Baker led last year out of Ophir, midway through the 1,100-mile race to Nome, before encountering trouble. Here’s the account from Daily News Iditarod reporter Kyle Hopkins from Ruby:

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Arrow slays giant grizzly near Unalakleet

Alaska connections are all over the Boone and Crockett Club’s 27th Big Game Awards, released last month. The 12th edition of the club’s awards book — the first appeared in 1932 — covers 2008-09.

Among the highlights:

• Craig Spencer’s moose taken in the Selawick Hills in 2008 topped the list with score of 247 5/8 and a spread of nearly 68 inches.

• Bowhunter Rodney Debais’s grizzly bear, taken along the Unalakleet River in 2009 scored 27 3/16, with a skull width of 10 3/8 inches. It, too, topped the list.

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Let there be light (on nordic trails)

Some nighttime skiers on Anchorage’s lighted trail system got a bit of surprise last week when lights illuminating the Hillside trails near the Abbott Road parking lot went dark about 9:30 p.m.

Anchorage skier Dave Ward considered himself lucky.

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Nordic skiers rejoice

The recent snowfall has provided Anchorage nordic skiers with good early-season conditions.

Skiers at Kincaid Park, which received a heavier dump than other parts of town, report good to excellent conditions. No need for rock skis anymore — though tunnels pose a problem.

Hillside and Bartlett conditions are also good — with the groomers getting many attaboys from skiers. In the BLM Campbell Tract at Bicentennial Park, the groomed trails include: Viewpoint, Moose Meadow, Rovers Run, Birch Knob, Airstrip, Moose Track, Lynx, Coyote, Lore Road to Homestead to Abbott Loop.

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12-year-old tells tale of grizzly attack

When 12-year-old Justin Schutter, a Seward Middle School student, headed off to school before dawn on Tuesday, everything seemed normal. But it turned into a morning he won’t soon forget.

“I walked down to the bus stop and I remember hearing twigs crunch as I was walking by.

“It was dark, really dark.

“I was closer to the bus stop than my house when I got a sense something was wrong. Then I heard her — not really growling but huffing. I sort of had the idea what it was.”

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Will we see $100 lift tickets soon? Not here

While ski resorts in the Lower 48 inch inexorably closer to the mythic $100 lift ticket, Alyeska Ski Resort and Arctic Valley are holding the line on ticket prices this winter.

Just like last year, an Alyeska single-day adult pass is $55 this season, with a $5 rechargeable access card needed. Weather permitting, the new Alyeska Superpipe, which debuted in the middle of last winter, should be open all season.

Arctic Valley has a $99 single membership that allows skiers to get $19 day passes anytime — or they could pay $299 up front and ski free all winter.

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Nordic skiers finally have enough snow up high

Snow coating the front range of the Chugach Mountains Friday morning meant one thing to winter-starved skiers — their season of choice had arrived.

“Skiing is good at Glen Alps,” reported Alaska Winter Stars coach Jan Buron on the website Cross Country Alaska. “Some 5-6 inches.”

Meanwhile, Mark Strabel was grooming at Hatcher Pass Friday afternoon.

“I will try to groom the building loop trails at Independence Mine area,” said Strabel, a director of the Mat-Su Ski Club. “They will take some time to set up, but they should be good for Saturday.”

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Winter distance races filling up fast

Grass remains green and not a speck of snow has graced the lowlands of Southcentral, but winter distance athletes dreaming of a long, tough push in February better act soon.

Both the Little Su 50K and Susitna 100 begin Feb. 19, and race organizer Rita Wade says that about 80 bikers, skiers and runners have already signed up for the shorter race, which begins at the Point Mackenzie General Store. The field, which typically fills up well before race day, is limited to 125 racers.

And when it’s full, it’s full — no substitutions, no wait lists.

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Elk season opens on Afognak

Elk: Hunters on Afognak Island can pursue cow Roosevelt elk like these beginning Saturday.Elk: Hunters on Afognak Island can pursue cow Roosevelt elk like these beginning Saturday.

Hunting for cow elk on most of Afognak Island opens today. Kodiak, Shuyak, and Ban islands are also included in this opening.

Elk were transplanted in Alaska during the last century, starting with eight Roosevelt elk calves that arrived on Afognak in 1929 from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.

Much larger than deer or caribou, bulls can weigh up to 1,300 pounds; cows are smaller.

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