Menu Schedule Links

Town Square 49

Skating at Portage (Photo by Neil O'Donnell)

’Tis the Season to Discover the Unobtrusive Aesthetician

I just began the somewhat daunting task of writing a dissertation on the art of Winston Churchill. However for my townsquare49.org columns I get to be less academic when writing about international art exhibitions and master artists. For variety, I decided to seek out quiet artisans in my neighborhood; amongst all of us lurks what I refer to as the Unobtrusive Aesthetician. As art critic Jerry Saltz says, “In the end it all comes down to… a life lived in art.”

Read more

December 1, 2014

Twenty Weeks Through The Heart Of Alaska

It is a very remarkable fact that a region under a civilized government for more than a century should remain so completely unknown as the vast territory drained by the Copper, Tanana and Koyukuk Rivers.

Read more

December 1, 2014
The Mitzvah Mall Returns to Anchorage

The Mitzvah Mall Returns to Anchorage

Congregation Beth Sholom is again hosting Anchorage’s annual “Mitzvah Mall.” (Mitzvah is Hebrew for commandment and we are commanded to do good deeds) Think of this as a “bizarre bazaar.” There is a room filled with booths, but the “vendors” are nonprofit organizations. Instead of buying more material gifts, shoppers can donate to non-profit organizations on behalf of friends, family or others on their holiday gift list. They give a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.

Read more

December 1, 2014

Northern Lab Cranked Out The Quirky And Creative

Scientists who worked for the Arctic Aeromedical Laboratory from the late 1940s to the 1960s cranked out dozens of quirky and sometimes controversial publications in its two decades of existence. Developed during the Cold War to “solve the severe environmental problems of men living and working in the Arctic.”

Read more

November 29, 2014

Zig-Zag Chevron Hat — A Free Knitting Pattern

Today I decided to try fair isle again by designing something simple — zig zags. I’ve included the chart and the row-by-row instructions. I recommend knitting the patterned portion in a place with little distraction and possibly without other people. I end up counting out loud “knit one, knit two, knit three, knit two,” etc. so I don’t get lost in the pattern. It’s not difficult, but requires a fair amount of focus.

Read more

November 26, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Capers, Walnuts, and Anchovies

The Best.  It’s a bold statement, right?  To say something is the BEST you’ve ever tasted.  People throw the phrase around too loosely and apply it to things that simply don’t deserve such high praise.  “This is the best corn dog I have EVER tasted!” “Have you tried this burger! Best burger ever!” “OMG, this cheese may be the BEST CHEESE EVER.”  And we all know that the chances of that corn dog, burger, or piece of cheese being the BEST EVER are pretty slim.

Read more

November 25, 2014
Alaska Native Medical Center launches new health campaign through photos

Alaska Native Medical Center launches new health campaign through photos

The Alaska Native Community represents long traditions related to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. For many years, men, women and children had to be strong and agile to hunt, fish, gather, build and travel in extreme conditions. Relationships were necessary and prioritized, as we often depended on each other to survive.

November 24, 2014
The Idle Hour Country Club

The Idle Hour Country Club

idle-hour

It’s been years since I was at The Idle Hour, an upscale supper club that began life in 1938 with white tablecloths and floor to ceiling windows that overlooked spectacular sunsets and the silvery Lake Spenard. In that romantic setting, I had an almost proposal over lobster and prime rib that left me with fond, if embarrassed, memories.

Read More

November 6, 2014
Richard Estes, Central Savings (1975)

Art is Comfort Food in the Age of Ebola

Richard Estes, Central Savings (1975)

It was time to hug our East Coast kids and see some fall art. Husband Dave and I flew to DC for a weekend of soccer starring our grands, Tess (8) and Kai (6). Late October in Alaska is not conducive to outdoor activities but soccer fields adjacent to George Washington’s Potomac home were still verdant with parents decked out in polar fleece cheered for their toddling players who often put the ball into the wrong goal—to grandparents it’s all love.

Read more

November 3, 2014

Live Video: The Annual Polar Bear Migration In Churchill, Manitoba

Catch a glimpse of the annual polar bear migration in Churchill, Manitoba, brought to you by Explore.org, the philanthropic media organization and division of the Annenberg Foundation.

November 3, 2014
Old-Fashioned Navy Bean & Ham Soup

Old-Fashioned Navy Bean & Ham Soup

bean-and-ham-1

Fall in Alaska is that glorious 3 days of the year where the leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow and orange, there’s a distinct smell of sour cranberries and wood smoke lingering in the air, and the Chugach mountains look like they’re on fire with all the brilliant red of the dwarf birch and blueberry bushes.

October 20, 2014

Instead of Golfing, Vacation with the Environment

Recently I met up with Jay Sargent, a former high school classmate, and discovered that not only does she still love horses, she now loves dolphins – enough to go on vacation with them.

Read more

October 1, 2014

Why Was Interior Alaska Green During The Last Ice Age?

Foraker-and-Denali-web

During our planet’s most recent cold period, a slab of ice smothered Manhattan. Canada looked like Antarctica but with no protruding mountains. When the last glacial maximum peaked about 20,000 years ago, most of the continent — from the Arctic Ocean to the Missouri River — slept under a blanket of white.

September 29, 2014

Counting Salmon for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Nuyakuk Cabin, 1962. © Jean McLane

It was June, 1962, and I was in Anchorage, living temporarily at Terry D’s, waiting for July. Then I would fly to Dillingham to begin a temporary summer life as a salmon counter for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Read More

September 9, 2014
Adventure Within Range

Adventure Within Range

Adventure within Range from ATMI on Vimeo.

Alaska Teen Media producers Barae and Aviva Hirsch explored Hope with U.S. Olympic Skier Holly Brooks. Brooks explains why she loves to train in the Chugach National Forest.

September 4, 2014
Bounty, Pilfered, by Pam Longobardi.

Taking Granddaughter, Averyl, to the Anchorage Museum was beyond Priceless

Bounty, Pilfered, by Pam Longobardi.

My daughter Jenn’s 20th wedding anniversary coincided with Labor Day. So my husband, Dave, and I adopted Averyl for the weekend which included an afternoon at the Anchorage Museum. The three of us headed for the exhibition Gyre–The Plastic Ocean.

September 3, 2014
Forager’s Delight: Blueberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

Forager’s Delight: Blueberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

wild-alaska-blueberry-cornm

I have a massive issue when it comes to foraging. Some would call it my gift. Others (like my berry-picking friends) would call it my curse. You see, deep in the incomprehensible double-helix thingy of my DNA structure, I have an unmistakable gene for hunting and gathering. I love it.

August 28, 2014
Friendly’s Fried Clams Go Down Nicely With Art

Friendly’s Fried Clams Go Down Nicely With Art

jean-august-1

As Jerry Seinfeld says, buying fruit is a gamble—so are some art trips. In mid-July I headed to Providence, Rhode Island to take my art-philosophy Ph.D. orals. My husband, Dave, came along so he could eat tons of lobster and give me hugs. Happily, I passed – though going before academics is scary, even if you’ve studied hours and hours. Stay tuned as it’s going to be fun to report on my project: The Art of Winston Churchill.

Read more

August 15, 2014

Barrow Youth Study Lemmings And Endangered Species

Young Barrow scientists study lemmings and endangered species. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There is an increasing effort in Alaska to engage youth in hands-on scientific activities.

One group of teens is collecting data way up in Barrow.

Read more.

July 17, 2014

Lesser Sandhill Cranes: Feeding the Colt

Feeding a colt (that’s a baby crane) is a full time job. These Lesser Sandhill Cranes are finding leeches, worms, snails, fish, and other invertebrates in the mud.

More.

July 16, 2014