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AK: A 12-Year-Old Ambassador

AK: A 12-Year-Old Ambassador

Imagine you arrive in a world where it rains all year round, and daylight swings from 17 hours in summertime to a paltry six in winter. And you’re only seven years old. That’s the situation Jasmine Molina found herself when she first got to Sitka, over 5,000 miles from her native city of Manila in the Philippines. Sitka’s Filipino population has grown substantially in the past five years, but there remains no formal system to help new students transition to school. That is, until Jasmine came to town.

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May 22, 2015
AK: Biking a Century

AK: Biking a Century

Have you ever thought about biking one hundred miles in one go? KSKA’s Anne Hillman did, so she signed up for the Clean Air Challenge. It’s a bike ride the American Lung Association hosts every year to raise money for education and research on lung disease. At first Anne was in it more for the challenge of the ride than for the cause. But then something happened along the way.

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May 15, 2015
(Photo via http://www.thesamuraimusher.com)

AK: Samurai Musher

If you didn’t hear the rendition of the Alaska Flag Song by a Japanese choral ensemble last week at Anchorage’s Alaska Performing Arts Center, you missed something special. The finale of the musical play, “Samurai Musher” brought the audience to its feet to sing along with the cast.  The play told the story of Japanese musher Jujiro Wada, and although the curtain has come down on the play, Wada’s story is still unfolding.

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May 8, 2015
AK: A Forgotten Boat

AK: A Forgotten Boat

A group in Kodiak recently completed an Alutiiq boat that was last seen in the mid-19th century. Alutiiq people once used the angyaq to travel over long distances and through rough seas. It’s an open boat, like a dory, with a flat bottom and bulbous bow.

The artist leading the effort says the boat builders aren’t just recreating the past. They’re reviving a piece of Alutiiq history for use now and in the future.

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May 1, 2015
AK: The Sitka Sentinel Remains A Family Affair

AK: The Sitka Sentinel Remains A Family Affair

The Sitka Sentinel celebrated its 75th anniversary last year without much fanfare. As many newspapers in big cities have folded or turned into online only operations, the Sentinel steadily churns out five issues a week. The paper is owned and edited by Thad and Sandy Poulson, reporters who arrived in 1969 and are determined to keep the press running.

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April 24, 2015
AK: An Artist On A Quest To Bring Otter To The Runway

AK: An Artist On A Quest To Bring Otter To The Runway

This spring, Sitka artist Peter Williams took a trip to New York City, to show his work during fashion week. A designer and marine mammal hunter, Williams makes everything from hats to earrings from sea otter and sealskin. He’s been trying to break into the lucrative fashion world for years, and he’s got a larger goal in mind – bringing Alaska Native designs to luxury buyers worldwide. Williams says that one way to save a traditional art form, is to create a market for it.

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April 17, 2015
AK: Exploring Identity

AK: Exploring Identity

More than 90 languages are spoken in Anchorage. And one resident is trying to learn – and teach – about every single one as part of a new podcast. KSKA’s Anne Hillman found out the project comes from his desire to discover the diversity of his own background.

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April 10, 2015
AK: Resetting The Stage

AK: Resetting The Stage

Ricci Adan is a performing artist in Juneau. Locals know her as an actor, dance teacher and choreographer, most recently of Perseverance Theatre’s “Chicago.”

What people may not know is that in 1981, her husband Richard Adan was killed – stabbed on the streets of New York City by a released convict who was a protégé of Pulitzer Prize winning writer Norman Mailer.

The murder trial was highly publicized. But, Adan is just beginning to tell her side of the story.

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April 3, 2015
AK: The Middle Ages

AK: The Middle Ages

Feasts, jousting, and medieval dress are just your average afternoon for members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Participants are dedicated to researching and recreating the arts and culture of pre-17th century Europe. KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver joined the Alaska contingent for its annual Bi-Baronial Collegium in Wasilla and reports it’s about values, family, and finding a place to fit in.

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March 27, 2015
(Courtesy Samuel Johns)

AK: Hip-Hop Message Encouraging Drug-Free Lifestyle Resonating With Dillingham Youth

Samuel Johns grew up in the community of Copper Center surrounded by drugs and alcohol. After years of struggling with alcoholism, he is now sober and trying to make it as a musician who blends Athabascan culture with modern hip hop. Johns is traveling to villages across the state to perform and talk about living a drug free life. And it’s a message that seems to be resonating with kids in Dillingham.

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March 20, 2015
Libby Bakalar, aka “One Hot Mess,” striking her rap pose. (Photo courtesy Libby Bakalar)

“One Hot Mess” Gets National Attention

There are a bazillion blogs these days but what does it take to write one people will actually read? Juneau writer Libby Bakalar has figured out the formula with her blog “One Hot Mess.” Bakalar mixes it up when she writes- using humor, self-deprecation, social media and even a Stephen Colbert-like character to connect with her audience. Her most-read post, titled “Alaska Airlines-to-English Dictionary,” received more than 8,000 hits, and the blog is getting national attention too. Boston’s Women in Comedy Festival has asked Bakalar to submit to their blog.

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March 13, 2015
Aliy Zirkle heads out of Willow at the start of the 2014 Iditarod. Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage.

AK: Women Who Mush

This year 78 mushers are signed up to drive dog teams in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, but only a third of them are women. In the Yukon Quest, only 3 of 26 mushers who started this year were women. Despite the small numbers, many are up-and-coming mushers who are redefining what it means to run dogs.

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March 6, 2015
(Photo by Amanda Compton)

AK: Tracking Halibut

Pacific halibut are one of Alaska’s most valuable fish, but we know surprisingly little about what happens to the species during an important time in their life – their spawning period. Amanda Compton caught up with a study in Glacier Bay focused on just how halibut spawn using a special type of tracking equipment.

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February 20, 2015
James Hoagland learned the art of wig making while performing as a drag queen for eight years. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

From Frozen To Cover Girl, Drag Queen Style Hinges On Hair

James Hoagland is in the business of wigs. Not just your ordinary costume and fashion wigs – his are specifically for drag queens. He spends hours styling hair and stitching it into wig caps. Last year, he sold 300 mostly to clients in the Lower 48 and internationally.

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February 13, 2015

Climate Change, Weather Variability Challenge Yukon Quest Personnel, Mushers

The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race starts Saturday. For more than 30 years, the race course has followed an old Gold Rush era trail that took advantage of the frozen Yukon River. But recently, there have been places where the river hasn’t frozen up. That’s starting to raise question about the impacts of climate change on Alaska’s state sport.

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February 5, 2015
Curling stone. (Photo by Shady Grove Oliver, KBBI - Homer)

AK: Curling

A warmer winter has pushed many Homer residents inside the local ice rink, looking for a blast of cold air and a good winter sport. And curling seems to be just the ticket. It’s a centuries old game that can be played by people young and old, highly athletic or not, by rookies and experienced players alike. KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver stopped by an open curling night at the rink to find out just what attracts new people to this unique sport and keeps them coming back.

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January 30, 2015
Alaska Air Guardsman Capt. Johh Romspert, a 212th Rescue Squadron combat rescue officer, prepares to be lowered via hoist out of an HH-60 Pave Hawk Helicopter during a training mission held near Mount Susitna Dec. 16. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Balinda O’Neal)

AK: Rescue Training

In 2014, Alaska’s Air National Guard rescued more than 90 people. They picked up individuals from downed aircrafts, snow machines that fell through ice, and lost hikers in the wilderness.

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January 23, 2015
Members of Unalaska's Holy Ascension Cathedral congregation spin traditional stars for Russian Christmas, or Slaaviq, which took place last week.  (Photo by Annie Ropeik, KUCB - Unalaska)

AK: Starring

Last week’s Russian Christmas in Unalaska looked a little different than elsewhere in the state. Over the years, the town has evolved from a Native village into an industrial hub. Now, it has miles of roads and thousands of residents from countless different faiths.

So the little congregation of the oldest Russian Orthodox Church on the continent has had to evolve, too. KUCB’s Annie Ropeik has more on how their Slaaviq has become a community celebration.

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January 16, 2015
(Photo by Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage)

AK: The Art Of Medicine

Physicians spend a lot of time thinking about how to fix the human body. A group of young doctors in Anchorage recently had the chance to draw it instead. They are all overworked, over tired interns-midway through their first year of residency. But they spent a morning in an intro to drawing class in an effort to get them to think more creatively about their careers.

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January 9, 2015

AK Essay: Barenaked

Nude is what is it is called. Nude is artsy and sophisticated. But when I crumpled onto the small wooden platform, I was just plain old naked. And then when I crawled the several feet between me and my robe, I was even more naked.

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January 9, 2015