ALASKA: The Ice Lottery

"A channel has just opened up!" cried the excited announcer on station KFRV. "There's a four-foot ice jam across the river! My prediction now is it'll go tomorrow. A big chunk just broke loose below the radio shack! That's the way it starts. Stand by—if anything happens, we'll be back on the air."

What the announcer was reporting from his eyewitness perch to intent listeners all over Alaska was not an impending natural disaster, but the Alaskan equivalent of the Irish Sweepstakes: the yearly pool on when the ice would break up in the Tanana River at the little town...

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