For the last three years, while the rest of the country was in recession, Alaska maintained some sense of normalcy. When I moved here in the early 1990s, the state had just begun to recover from the recession of the late 80's. What I heard then and since is that in Alaska, we do OK when the Lower 48 is in recession, but when they recover, it's our turn. I am not sure if that is a fact or a myth, but many of our leading citizens believe it is so. Who am I to question? When the market crashed in 2008, we published a series of articles on how to survive a bad economy. To date we have not been as challenged as nonprofits down south, but the last few years have not been easy, even for us. Alaska’s nonprofits had to adjust to decreased support from foundations and corporations – those donations most affected by a recession. Read more.
Two miles from land across the frozen Chukchi Sea, the ocean ice is constantly breaking up and reforming, creating ridges of fragmented ice. We had heard that the bowhead whale was out near the point, three miles west of the village of Point Hope. But once out there, we saw few signs of activity. Read more.
On April 1, 1946, the sea floor ruptured just south of Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands. Seawater displaced by the giant earthquake sent a 100-foot wave into the Scotch Cape lighthouse on Unimak, destroying the concrete structure and killing the five men inside. They never knew what hit them in the 2 a.m. darkness. Read more
I am standing in Red Square. The pentagonal luminescent Ruby Stars glitter on top of five Kremlin towers, each an enormous jewel in the black night sky. In front of me is St. Basil’s Cathedral. It takes my breath away and is by far the most vibrant and enchanting building I have ever seen. Read more.
Beneath a sky of stars and hazy aurora, the heat of an October day shimmers upward. The next morning, leaves, moss and tundra plants are woven into a carpet of white frost; a skin of ice creeps over the surface of lakes. Alaska is freezing once again, responding to the planet’s nod away from the sun and signaling one of the biggest changes of the year. Northern plants in these parts are standing at the ready, prepared for a long season of doing nothing. Read more.
While some relax rafting or playing 18 holes of golf, I spent a portion of my summer on campus. When not writing essays for Town Square 49, or painting with acrylics, I attend low-residency PhD classes at The Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. This program allows students to absorb classical philosophy while never getting out of their pajamas. Read more.
Back to the food. I've lost track of how many friends are resolving to drop a few pounds this year. A little less candy, a few more carrots. In that spirit, this dish of roasted cauliflower and broccoli, topped with crunchy, lemony, cheesy panko breadcrumbs is about as close as you get to wanting seconds when it comes to veggies. Read more
A couple of summers ago, David Tomeo was exploring a creekbed in Denali National Park, preparing for a field seminar on the park’s dinosaurs he would help lead a few weeks later. With a trained eye for the impressions dinosaurs pressed into mud millions of years ago, Tomeo walked to a large boulder in the middle of a landslide. Right in the center of it, a four-toed track stood out. Read more.
There's a new kind of dinosaur out there, and it lived in Alaska. Its bones, long turned to stone, are part of a cliff in northern Alaska. That's where dinosaur-hunter Tony Fiorillo brushed dirt away from a portion of its massive skull something that most of us would mistake for a rock. Read more.
“I packed one suit, two shirts and two ties,” Dad said to Mom the night before he left Portland. He had accepted a job with the Bureau of Land Management in Anchorage and needed to be presentable for work, but had little room in the old Plymouth for much of anything in addition to camping equipment, food, fishing gear and his beloved guns. Read more.
Tora Thynes was born in Norway and emigrated to the U.S. as a young girl, sponsored by her aunt. In this interview, she tells Heidi Lee about life in Norway during the German Occupation of WW II, and watching warships from both sides of the conflict come into the fjord near her village. She also tells about fishing in Petersburg with her husband Pete on the sailboat/troller he named after her and about her many trips to Norway with her family.
One thing Juneau does well is seafood. In my opinion, Alaska’s ocean bounty is second to none. As I was browsing the offerings at a fantastic local shop, Jerry’s Meats and Seafoods, I came across a package of smoked Alaska black cod. While wild Alaska salmon hogs most of the spotlight (and justifiably so), black cod is the unsung hero of Alaskan seafood. Rich, meaty, and incredibly tasty, it might actually be my favorite Alaskan fish. Read more
When I was a little girl, my father promised me a trip to the racetrack when I turned twenty-one, which never occurred as he suddenly died. Fast forward forty years and I’ve been researching the lower East Side of the late nineteenth century and discovering that off-track betting was the poor man’s stock market. So, I finally made my trip to Belmont Park, named for a Rothschild cousin, who moved to America to manage family holdings. Read more.
Got your hippety-hop on, this morning? You’ll sure need it to get anywhere in the 49th state, lately. There’s more snow than most of us have seen in a long time, and aside from shoveling it all into an enormous cone-shaped configuration in the front yard, one activity in particular comes to mind – snowshoeing. Way more fun, too.
The weather has been warm and beautiful, the days are getting noticeably longer, and the snow is slowly melting. These are all wonderful things, but this year the sure sign of spring at Woodside Gardens is goose eggs! Gerdie has laid 3 eggs so far this season, and it has me excited for the year to come. Read more.
This simple crocheted headband is my best-selling product. I sell out of it at Bella Boutique every holiday season. You can’t go wrong — it’s colorful and has a huge flower on it. I also love embellishing the back of the headband with a vintage button. Read more
On Tuesday, November 20, Anchorage’s Fourth Avenue stars in Chuck’s Eat the Street on The Cooking Channel. Here’s a behind the scenes look at why the show came to Alaska and what Chuck Hughes, the show’s host, thinks about Anchorage. Read more.