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AK: Amazon in the Arctic

Black Friday kicks off the rush of holiday shopping, and its also given rise to a fraternal twin of sorts, Cyber Monday. But there’s one place you might not expect online retail to be turning into a fact of life: Bush Alaska.

November 28, 2014
Photographer James Norman shared this picture of eagles along the Chilkat River. (Photo by James Norman)

AK: Eagles Up Close

Each fall, thousands of bald eagles flock to a stretch of the Chilkat River about 20 miles north of Haines. The birds fly there for a late chum salmon run. It’s thought to be the largest gathering of eagles in the world. Dozens of people travel to witness the raptors each year, filling up almost every hotel room in Haines.

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November 21, 2014
Heather Powell, Education Director at the Sitka Native Education Program, poses with some young dancers after the Naa Kahídi Dancers' 20th anniversary performance at the Sheet'ká Ḵwáan Naa Kahídi. "We are giving them an opportunity to have a sense of pride, a sense of community," said Powell.

AK: Tlingit Dance

Dancing can be a celebration, an expression of joy or sorrow, or a way to tell a story. For one man in Sitka, it’s a way to teach people about his Native culture and values, and to carry on his tradition. With elders in the community growing older or already gone, he says it’s his responsibility to learn and pass along the teachings to the younger generation so they grow up proud to be Tlingit.

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November 14, 2014
Dr. Donna Chester operates the da Vinci robot during surgery. (Photo by Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage)

AK: High Tech Surgery

Surgeons these days have a lot of futuristic tools at their disposal in the operating room. They use robots, high definition cameras and special dyes to help them complete complicated procedures. And you don’t have to travel to big cities in the Lower 48 to find the most up to date operating room technology.

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November 7, 2014
The Art of the Murder Mystery

The Art of the Murder Mystery

Today: murder. Don’t worry, nobody’s actually getting killed. This week we’re planning a murder mystery party. And for it, I’ve enlisted Elisa Hitchcock and Kimberly Gray. They’ve been hosting murder mystery parties for more than 20 years.

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October 30, 2014
Taylor White is the aquarium manager at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Since sea star wasting disease hit Sitka a month ago, the aquarium has lost 35 sea stars and now, only two remain in the touch tanks.

AK: Sea Star Mystery

A trip to the coast usually means you’re going to see sea stars, but a mysterious disease is killing them along the West Coast. There had been a few reports of sick sea stars in Alaska, but recently in Sitka, the first mass die offs in the state were detected. Scientists in Sitka are tracking the progress.

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October 24, 2014
AK: Looking Inside

AK: Looking Inside

On AK we often travel to wild and strange places and meet the people who live there. Today’s journey is no different, except the place is inside each of us. Earlier this year Sitka had a tarot card reader in residence. The Tarot, it turns out, is mystical — but not magic. Like professional therapy, it’s really about looking into a mirror, as tarot skeptic Robert Woolsey discovers.

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October 17, 2014
(Photo by Anne Hillman, KSKA - Anchorage)

AK: Bodybuilding

The sport is usually associated with steroids, spray tans and bizarrely bulging muscles, but for some competitors in Alaska, drug-free bodybuilding isn’t about vanity, it’s about therapy.

After 24 years as an Army Ranger and a grueling tour in Afghanistan, Frank Loomis retired, joined the police and started having a mid-life crisis. His solution? Start training with Mr. Alaska. KSKA’s Anne Hillman followed Loomis from training to his first masters level competition.

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October 10, 2014
Voices of Glacier Bay: An Adventure in Sound

Voices of Glacier Bay: An Adventure in Sound

Alaska writers and naturalists Richard Nelson and Hank Lentfer are nearing the end of a two-year project recording the “Voices of Glacier Bay.” The project is a collaboration between Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, University of Alaska Southeast and Cornell University, which houses the world’s largest collection of natural sounds. Nelson and Lentfer hope to change how others experience the world through a dimension beyond what we can see. They want us to listen and listen closely.

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October 3, 2014
Greg Nothstine is second from left. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage)

AK: Alaska Native Dancing Tradition

Over the past several decades, there’s been a renaissance in Alaska Native traditional dancing. KNBA’s Joaqlin Estus recently visited with one of the founders of an Inupiaq dance group in Anchorage, who told her about his personal journey toward tradition.

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September 26, 2014

AK: Going Green

In business the general rule is cut costs and raise revenue wherever possible. A company in Homer partially ignores this tenet to provide compostable and recyclable products to environmentally conscious businesses. For Loopy Lupine and its customers, the trade off is a fair one in favor of a smaller carbon footprint.

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September 12, 2014
AK: US Army Rangers Train In Alaska’s Rugged Interior

AK: US Army Rangers Train In Alaska’s Rugged Interior

In a forested area outside of Fairbanks, the U.S. Army operates a remote facility where it trains military servicemen and women in cold, mountainous environments. It’s called the Northern Warfare Training Center. And in August, they hosted an elite unit of Army Rangers.

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September 5, 2014
Haines Songwriter Dreams Big, Courts Her Inspiration’s Ear

Haines Songwriter Dreams Big, Courts Her Inspiration’s Ear

It’s hard not to dream big among the tall mountains and wild sea in Southeast Alaska – especially in Haines where Christy Tengs serves dreamers and misfits alike in her family’s downtown institution, the Pioneer Bar and Bamboo Room. Even she has a dream – to meet the famous person who has inspired her and propelled her to become a star in her hometown.

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August 29, 2014
Juneau Entrepreneurs Bring Basil To the Masses

Juneau Entrepreneurs Bring Basil To the Masses

Its prime time for gardens in Alaska and there are plenty of plants and veggies that thrive this far north. Basil, though, is not one of them – it needs more heat and sun – two things that are especially hard to find in the Southeast rainforest of Juneau. But two local guys have figured out a unique way to bring basil to the masses.

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August 22, 2014
(Alexandra Gutierrez/APRN)

AK: A Kinder, Gentler Militia? Alaska’s Movement Rebrands

In 2011, members of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. The trial of their leader, Schaeffer Cox, continually made headlines in the years that followed, most of them bad. Now, other militia groups in the state are trying to show a different side to the movement.

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August 15, 2014
(Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins)

AK: Farming off the Grid.

It’s peak season for farmer’s markets across the country right now. Food is typically grown in a rural setting. But one Southeast Alaskan couple is taking that to the extreme. They live in a completely off-the-grid location in a place without cell phone coverage or roads. And they have to be inventive to get the produce to market.

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August 8, 2014
(Photo by Jeannette Lee)

AK: Moving On

The director of the largest refugee assistance program in Alaska is leaving after more than a decade, just as the program is being threatened by a federal budget crisis in Washington.

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August 1, 2014
(Photo by Emily Files, KRBD - Ketchikan)

AK: Welding

There are more than 100 people employed at Ketchikan’s Vigor Industrial Shipyard. Out of all of them, Cat Wong might have the most unusual story about how she got there. The 25-year-old is a pipe fitter and welder. She was born in the U.S., but grew up with her family in Singapore. When she was 21, Cat made an unusual choice, and moved to Ketchikan.

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July 25, 2014
Ricky Tagaban holds a Chilkat headband he made. (Photo by Annie Bartholomew, KTOO - Juneau)

AK: Weaving

It has long been forbidden for men to weave in the Chilkat tradition, but Tlingit artist Ricky Tagaban is an exception. Using techniques practiced for thousands of years, Tagaban creates his trademark iPhone bags, hair clips, and head bands, putting a modern spin on an ancient tradition.

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July 18, 2014
Naturalist Steve Merli shares a little known fact - a bear has never been documented harming a person that’s in a group of five or more. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

AK: Bear Aware

For naturalist Steve Merli, bear education isn’t just about staying alive. The way he sees it, knowing how to behave in bear country allows Alaskans to explore wilderness more deeply.

Merli works with Discovery Southeast, a Juneau organization that connects kids with nature programs.

Earlier this month, KTOO’s Lisa Phu joined campers for a lesson that had some questioning their assumptions about bear encounters.

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July 11, 2014