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Stay home. Save the expense of a trip to Alaska. The Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., says it's sending protesters to the Alaska Native Heritage Center on June 1.

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1/5/2013
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You could be the 75,000th to sign up.

And who knows what number you'd be if you made a donation, too.

The application period for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend opened Tuesday, and 66,413 Alaskans had applied by deadline Friday. The filing deadline is March 31.

For those who wish, all or part of a dividend can be directed to one or more Alaska charities through the fund's Pick.Click.Give. opportunity. A total of 471 choices are available, 11 of them from Ketchikan.

Volunteer boards and conservatively paid administrators operate most of this community's nonprofits, which are signed up for Pick.Click.Give.

The Ketchikan list speaks for itself:

Community Connections, First City Council on Cancer, First City Homeless Services, First City Players, Ketchikan Humane Society, Ketchikan Pioneers Home Foundation, Ketchikan Youth Initiatives, Love INC, PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation, Rainbird Community Broadcasting, and Women in Safe Homes.

The pickclickgive.org website lists not only Ketchikan's nonprofits, but all of those throughout the state participating in the dividend program. By selecting "organizations" and the letter of the alphabet that corresponds with the name of a nonprofit, the basic information about each is available. All of the nonprofits represent an emergency, humanitarian, arts and culture, health, community, youth and education or animal-focused charity.

It's easy and worthwhile to apply for the annual dividend. Only a few, but important, rules apply. The dividend program is open only to Alaskans, who, if they leave the state for more than 180 days a year, must demonstrate not only their intention, but the commitment, to retaining Alaska residency. Other rules can be found, along with answers to a multitude of questions, online at www.pfd.state.ak.us.

Applying online is easy through the pfd website. For those who prefer a paper application, one can be acquired by visiting the Legislative Information Office, 1900 First Ave., Suite 310 (third floor of the old White Cliff school building, which now also houses Ketchikan Gateway Borough offices), or the Ketchikan Public Library, 1110 Copper Ridge Lane.

The dividend program allows Alaskans who wish to make donations the opportunity in the time it takes to click a mouse. For some, the dividends are critical to supplementing their income, paying for vacations, saving for high-level education, and similar expenses. Even with these important needs, some still might decide to share.

Clearly, Alaskans are generous. At least 23,000 Alaskans donated through Pick.Click.Give for a total of more than $2.2 million in 2012. It's the 4 percent of dividend recipients who have the means and like this mechanism and/or the selection of organizations participating. Others give in other ways and to other nonprofits.

The dividend program, including its donation component, do well for Alaska and Alaskans. As a recipient or participant in the program, it might be time — if you haven't already — to visit the state's Permanent Fund Dividend Division website and look at all of the program details. Every imaginable PFD question has an answer on the site.

After the March sign-up deadline, it will be six months before the dividend checks or automatic bank deposits are released by the state. That's plenty of time to become better informed about Alaskans' wisest and best-performing investment.