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Contributed by Jeff Kase Icicle Double 2017 December 30-31, 2017 – 10AM What are you doing after Christmas and before New Year’s? The Mat Su Ski Club (MSSC) is scheduled to host a 2-day Nordic ski event on December 30th and 31st. Both days of the Icicle Double will have 30K, 10K and 5K distances available for skiers to participate in. Saturday will be conducted in the classic technique, and Sunday will be conducted in the skate technique. The end of December is a good time of year to hold a ski race. Many of us will have some extra days off work or school during this time of year, which means that we will have more time for skiing. All those holiday cookies you love to eat will provide you with the energy you need to stay warm and ski lots during this time of year. An early-season race on your schedule will be a good opportunity to practice your preevent routine, and see how your body reacts to a race situation. If you plan to bring in the new year at a costume party, the Icicle Double is a good place to test out people’s reaction to your costume. Does your New Year’s resolution involve getting more exercise and skiing more? The Icicle Double is scheduled to be conducted at Government Peak Recreation Area (GPRA), which is located about an hour from Anchorage at the base of Hatcher Pass in the Mat-Su Valley. There might be 30 people or there might be 130 people ready to go when you get to the start line. One thing for sure is that the crowd will be diverse. Multigenerational families with kids in backpacks, kids on hand-medowns, adolescent high schoolers, caring parents and grumpy

grandparents line up next to each other at the start. Solo recreational skiers, college team members, dedicated master skiers and elite professional racers make up the front of the pack. Do you have what it takes to finish the course, or do you have what it takes to make the podium? Over the summer, the MSSC constructed 5K of new homologated (wider and steeper) trails at GPRA. The stadium is bigger. The climb out of the stadium is impressive. The climb up to the finish is decisive. If the Valley gets enough snow, then the Icicle Double will incorporate these new trails with our existing trail system to make a 10K loop, which means a 3-lap course for the 30K event. If you sign up for the 10K, then every minute will be on a different part of the trail. Lap courses are good for spectating, and they allow the participant to become familiar with the course. Too many laps and things get confusing. Three laps provide just the right mix of new and predictable. Will there be enough snow to use the new trails? At the end of the second day, there will be an awards ceremony and snacks in the warm chalet. The sponsors for the raffle are pouring in, which means your chances of leaving with good memories and swag are increasing. There will be cash prizes for the top three men and women for 30K overall - $300 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three men and women overall in the 10K and 5K divisions. Do you need a new t-shirt or water bottle? We are very proud of our growing trail system, and want to share them with you. Thank you to the wonderful community support in the form of prizes, money and participation. “It’s a great day to be a skier!”









children they are caring for. Pump Up the Kids is another program that helps provide gifts donated for older youth in foster care. The ChugiakEagle River Senior Center Knit Witz donated beautiful handmade scarves, gloves, hats and afghans for the upcoming holiday party for children in foster care. In addition, Valley Business Machines on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway and Krazy Moose Sandwich Shop in Wasilla are collecting gifts for foster children. Contributed by Betsy Woodin, Alaska Center for Resource Families

additional $250 gift card. What a wonderful group of students!

Amazing Grace Academy is a Seventh-day Adventist K-12th grade school located in Palmer. Every year, the students collect money to shop for holiday gifts for children in foster care. They bought $1100 worth of toys, and Target donated an

In addition, we have several other local organizations we are working with, that help provide holiday gifts for children in foster care. Mari Jo Parks and the Special Santa Program at Alaska Family Services help foster parents with gifts for the foster

Contributed by Summer Carrington At this time of year, we are all getting ready for the holidays and festivities. Our lives are consumed of decorating, big meals and buying gifts. But many are not able to participate in such luxuries and just need things to make life better and more bearable. These are families who are going through hard times not due to any fault of their own, but the economy and job losses. This time of year being winter, it is even harder, let alone Christmas. Staying warm, having enough for baby and little ones to dress them and also keep warm, for little kids to have toys to play with, family to have shoes and clothing, curtains and bedding, books to read... The list goes on... You will most likely find it here. Items change as donations come in; so with one visit, you may not find what you need, but the next one you just might.

Contributed by Kate Thoden, Chair of Christmas Friendship Dinner Christmas Friendship Dinner 12/25/2017 – 10AM Menard Sports Center 1001 S Clapp St. Wasilla FREE Event The Mat-Su Valley’s annual Christmas Friendship Dinner will be held again this year, and you are cordially invited to attend it at the Curtis D. Menard Sports Center on Clapp Road, Wasilla, Alaska on Christmas Day, December 25, 2017 from 10:00am to 3:00pm! All are welcome to volunteer, donate and join in sharing food, entertainment, hope, joy and fellowship on Christmas Day! All volunteers, donations and participants are sincerely appreciated! Please come! CFD volunteers meet every Saturday until Christmas at 9:00 am at the Curtis D. Menard Sports Center. As

Please show these businesses how much you appreciate their generosity by visiting them and making a donation for the holidays. If you would like information about how to help children in foster care, please contact Alaska Center for Resource Families at 376-4678, or visit our website,

The Closet is run by volunteers who donate their time to work hard to provide this service to the community. It is not a free building, so rent is due each and every month.

for a good cause. I go there most of the time for others in need and help them out. But once in a while, I do it for me and my family, which I am very grateful for.

The problem is that donations for rent are slow and many months covered by only a few that carry the whole burden. Many people come each and every week and load up bag after bag, yet not once donate a single dollar to keep the place running. That hurts everyone. If things don’t change with donation help, this wonder place will possibly have to close its doors. The volunteers are wonderful, caring people with big hearts and carry much of the load.

So if you have a need, come on out and see what they have. Remember to help out, especially this time of year when the need is at its highest. Bring your gently-used items you no longer need to the front door during business hours. Let your love spread to others. Open Wednesdays only, from 11am to 1pm, winter hours. Non-Profit Organization (907) 775-3238. 2955 S Big Lake Rd. Big Lake, Alaska 99652

So please, if you come and enjoy the free items please at least drop off a dollar or more to show you care and appreciate what the volunteers do. It will help everyone if we all do this each month. I do a tithe first of every month. This is money set aside just for the Closet, and I never miss the money because I know it is going

a volunteer, you may enjoy many different roles, for any length of time - a few hours, days or all year ‘round! Food Prep/Cleanup, Decorating/ Building/Creating, Transportation, Security, Candyland Elves, Entertainers... Donations may be mailed to Christmas Friendship Dinner, Suite 210, Century Plaza, Wasilla, AK 99654, or you can visit the website, www., to process your donation online. Homebound Valley residents may request meal(s) for themselves and for their families. To request meal(s) to be delivered to your home or to schedule transportation to the event on Christmas day, please fill out and submit a meal/transportation request form online at Click on the meetings & docs tab on the upper/right-hand corner and select the form to open and print. (Directions to submit the form are

found at the top of the form.) All are welcome to volunteer and attend this year’s dinner! Please contact the CFD with any questions you may have. The CFD Volunteer and Event telephone number is (907) 354-6115, and the CFD email is Thank you Mat-Su for another chance to celebrate this Christmas with our own Christmas Friendship Dinner! With a warm welcome from the Christmas Friendship Dinner Steering Committee.


Contributed by Carol Norton Lipgloss & Leadership Business Summit 2018 2/17/2018 - 9AM Alaska Businesswomen’s Network Glenn Massay Theater 8295 E College Dr. Palmer Tickets: FREE Vendor Market, $10 each for group of 10+, $15 Early Bird Discount Join the Alaska Businesswomen’s Network, Mat-Su Chapter, at the Glenn Massay Theater on February 17, 2018 for their annual signature event, Lipgloss and Leadership Business Summit! This event is a professional enrichment and education opportunity through 20-minute presentations by professional women. Tickets to attend the phenomenal speaking portion in the theater are available online at akbizsummit2018. The talks also feature fun giveaways and prizes. Fifteen dollar early bird pricing is available until December 31st and includes a free gift. Bulk tickets available through Tammy Gray at 907.982.8744. A great gift for the woman in your life, co-workers and employees! Local businesses generously sponsoring the event include The Gathering Place, Espresso Café, Megan Freeman Photography and Sheena Draine-Individual AdvoCare Representative. The lobby will feature a free vendor market for shopping and connecting with local professional womenowned businesses. Be The Match Donor Registry will also be on-site accepting new donor registrants. Speakers, with one exception, are local, successful, professional women, generously sharing their time and expertise. • Believe it and Fly High by Antiqua Lisha of YOU University: Antiqua Lisha is dedicated to helping you feel great about caring for yourself, time management and fulfilling dreams. Her signature method of self-care is so much more than a program, she helps you master your six personal power zones and create a life you


love so you feel confident, centered and on track in each area of your life. Her holistic trainings have been featured on ABC, NBC and FOX and awarded as one of America’s Premier experts in self-care. Her message is “YOU are your greatest asset.” • Finding Your Wings: 3 Tactics to Overcome Your Fear of Starting a Business by Danielle Tate, Author of Elegant Entrepreneur: Through additional sponsorships by The Gathering Place, Carleson Services Drywall & Paint and Encore Events, national speaker, Danielle Tate, is also presenting. Danielle is the founder of a multi-million dollar company and the successful author of Elegant Entrepreneur. Danielle will present Finding Your Wings: 3 Tactics to Overcome Your Fear of Starting a Business. • Don’t Let Your Dreams Die, Be Who You Are by Hillary Saffran of My Biz Mama: Hillary Saffran is a career fulfillment coach and owner of She is a firm believer that making a living should not be one of mere survival, but a way to feel greatly rewarded by helping others while using your talents and passions. She also is an author, speaker and entertainer, and is delighted to share her presentation again this year in the popular Lip Gloss & Leadership Summit. • Flowers for Full Bloom Living by Misty VanderWeele, All Dahlia’d Up: Misty VanderWeele, is a farmer florist and flower intuitive at All Dahlia’d Up Flower Farm. She, along with the help of her friends and family, grows cut flowers on a little over 1/8 of an acre in Palmer. Since the opening of ADU in 2014, Misty now knows there really is such a thing as flower power. She has come to learn and experience firsthand that flowers have meaning and contain intimate healing messages for us to live a full bloom life. Her mission is simple: to bloom and share the miracle and vibrancy


of life one flower at a time. And she believes that flowers are always a good idea - especially locally-grown Alaska flowers. • A Mother’s Meditations: Teachings of the Heart by Shelly Jacobs, Local Author: Shelly has been living, working and loving here in the Valley for over 20 years. She has a master’s degree in psychology, and works as a practicing psychotherapist and an adjunct professor at Mat Su College. Shelly is a long-time practitioner of Vipassana Meditation. She is happily and meaningfully married to her husband, Michael, and is the mother of two beautiful boys and two slightly neurotic dogs. • Let’s Talk: Living a Vision Life by Tracy Roesch (Alaska Tracy): Better known as Alaska Tracy, Tracy thrives off inspiring others and helping them grow individually and as a business; helping bring in the growth and profit of their dreams. Through web tools, she coaches, consults and teaches workshops on vision boarding. Twenty plus years of marketing and business ownership, overcoming obstacles, challenges and accomplishment developed the roots that ground her today. She is her best self when learning new material, meeting others and working hard for success; then raising the bar. • The Colors of Transformation by Winona Benson, Nourished Health Coaching Services: Winona Benson is a nutrition educator and health coach. Winona holds certifications in plant-based nutrition, cooking, exercise and nutrition education and nearly a decade of experience. Winona teaches how to incorporate healthy foods, affordable cooking and general nutrition. Her expertise helps empower people to make changes in their daily routines. Her love for energized living, wholesome foods and pursuit of balance and harmony helps others make small changes in health and lifestyle that last a lifetime! Follow event updates on Facebook!

HEALTH & COMMUNITY Contributed by Dori Cranmore R.N., All About Herbs Lavender has over 450 different varieties and 39 species. Lavender is so popular, it inspired the name of an actual color. The true or common variety, Lavandula angustifolia, is grown at extremely high altitudes and can have a little different, much stronger aroma, mainly because it contains no camphor. Many of the other varieties are hybrid. Those are generally referred to as Lavandin or lavandula x intermedia. If you are using lavender for medicinal purposes, many say Lavandula angustifoilia is the best quality because of the purity. The name, lavender, comes from lavare, which is the Latin word for wash or

Contributed by Carol Montgomery, Mat-Su Zero Waste Coalition Plastic Bag Committee Did you know that reindeer die from eating plastic bags? Hopefully Santa is on top of this and will watch his reindeer closely. But seriously, Christmas is a time for children, and it was children, third graders in fact, who first alerted us to the fact that real life reindeer and caribou right here in the Valley were eating plastic bags. On a field trip to the recycling center, they told us they saw Dr. Collins at the Matanuska Experiment Farm pull nine plastic bags out of one of his research caribou. The reaction of those children started us on a mission to learn more about the hazards of plastic bags. Since then we’ve learned of necropsyconfirmed deaths of multiple reindeer at several local farms, as well as other wildlife deaths in other

Contributed by Matt Steele We have lost the ability to communicate. In our society, it is far easier to become offended than to have dialogue with people around us. Personally, I place part of the blame on social media. With the advent of this phenomenon, it has become immeasurably easy to become shallow in day to day life. With a few finger flicks on a phone or a few clicks on a computer, anyone can easily become a voyeur, and it is truly easy to forget

bathe. It is one of the few essential oils that can be used topically without dilution. Lavender was used in Europe as an antiseptic and also to keep insects away when they had no windows and shared living space with livestock. To this day, lavender is still used to keep moths, flies and mosquitoes away. It is extremely popular as an herb for sachets or dream pillows. Lavender has been used medicinally for centuries as a remedy for many different things:

• Headaches: Rub essential oil into the temples and inhale from cupped hands. • Cuts: Dropping lavender oil on a cut helps stop bleeding, cleans a wound and kills bacteria. • Minor Burns: Put 2-3 drops of lavender oil on a minor burn to help decrease pain and scarring. Mix with 100% emu oil for best results. • Bug Bites: Helps ease the itch and swelling of mosquito bites and bee stings, and to reduce the swelling, pain and itching.

parts of the state, including a musk ox calf near Nome and a sea turtle at the sea life center in Seward. These were all confirmed deaths due to plastic bag obstruction. Now Dr. Collins is also finding plastic bags in his research moose: videos/1831841250477734/. Necropsies are expensive and rarely done, and so these confirmed cases are likely representative of a much larger problem. People have told us they have lost horses and dogs due to plastic bag obstruction. Flimsy plastic shopping bags are a particular problem in the Valley because they catch every bit of wind, flying out of dumpsters, trash cans and the landfill. They blow away when they are being loaded onto garbage trucks. We all hate the mess they create. It’s shameful, and it hurts our image as a pristine tourist destination. What’s even worse is all that unsightly litter will get blown or washed into our waterways and eventually the ocean, where it will break down into small particles called microplastics. Plankton eat these microplastic particles, and salmon eat the plankton. In fact, a study of plankton in coastal British Columbia estimated that returning adult salmon were ingesting up to 91 microplastic particles/day.

that what is presented is not always what is real. Rather than allow this to be a rant against the modern era, I will say here that I believe that the cause and the cure are one and the same regarding our inability to converse. I love social media. It’s fun, it’s easy and it’s an effective way to convey a message to a large audience. Just like any tool, when used appropriately it can be of wonderful advantage. I use several different apps in both my work and personal life. I have a very spread out and diverse range of people in my circle. Sharing pictures of my kids and my aviation experiences is now easier



• Sleep Aid: A couple drops on the pillow can help ease a busy mind into dreamland. For children that have trouble relaxing into sleep, try adding two to four drops of the essential oil into the bedtime bath or rub on the bottom of the feet.

favorite is adding them to short bread.

• Calming: Rub 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your cupped palms, inhale to help calm the mind. Then, rub on the feet, temples and wrists for an immediate calming effect on the body.

Dori Cranmore R.N. is the owner of All About Herbs, Inc. in Wasilla, Alaska. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disease.

It can be used safely in pregnancy, on newborns and elderly. Using extensively on the skin may have a drying effect and continuous inhaling or diffusing can cause restlessness.

• Eczema / Dermatitis: Mix several drops of lavender oil with coconut oil and use topically on eczema and dermatitis. • Nausea or Motion Sickness: Place a drop of lavender oil on the end of the tongue, behind the ears or around the navel. • Dandruff: Rub several drops of lavender oil into the scalp. • Cold Sores: Put a drop of lavender oil on a cold sore. • Baking: Lavender buds can also be used quite nicely in cooking. My

publication/278041328_Ingestion_of_ Microplastics_by_Zooplankton_in_the_ Northeast_Pacific_Ocean. We don’t know yet what effects this plastic contamination has on human health. The research is still in its infancy. But the amount of plastic in the ocean is growing at an alarming rate. By 2050, it is estimated that the oceans could have more plastic by weight than fish. In the Mat-Su alone, we are contributing over 20 million bags every year to this problem. The Plastic Bag Committee has found strong community support in the Valley for regulation to address the plastic bag problem. Last February, we stood in front of Carrs, Fred Meyers and Walmart to ask your opinion. We then continued our poll on Survey Monkey. Of the1500 residents who responded, 65% favored some regulation to reduce or eliminate plastic grocery bags. Members of the Plastic Bag Committee have spoken to community councils, chambers of commerce, rotary clubs, Kiwanis and many other community groups to raise awareness of the plastic bag problem. We have received support from every group we have spoken to. These groups and individuals contributed $3500 to our campaign, which we used for radio ads and purchasing bags to hand out. You may have seen us handing out free reusable shopping bags at Fred Meyers and Carrs/Safeway in November. Barb Doty started the conversation with a proposed borough ordinance of a five cent excise tax on plastic bags. People

than it has ever been in the history of mankind. Just like so many things in life, there is good mixed in with the bad. The world is more than screendimensional. I have character, I have private moments, I have thoughts that I don’t share and I have internal conflicts that I keep to myself on a sometimes moment to moment basis. This depth is what rounds me out as a human being. I am not my online posts. My online posts are a product of me. This is the crux which we find ourselves against. Because we are wired as a species for efficient gratification, we are drawn towards the online friendships of others. It is much easier to form online relationships than the effort it takes to

expressed opposition to a tax, so Wasilla Mayor Cottle has instead proposed an ordinance to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. The Zero Waste Coalition Plastic Bag Committee supports this ordinance as an important step to get a handle on this growing problem. It’s hard to make a case against the ordinance. Those who oppose government regulations will find that this ordinance is the minimal amount of regulation needed to address a big problem. The ordinance does not place a fee on plastic bags and bans only the flimsy fly-away bags that are less than 2.25 milliliters thick. Stores will still give bags to customers, so no one will be inconvenienced. If a store chooses to use plastic, the bags will be a better quality, won’t fall apart on you, won’t require double bagging and will be suitable for reuse. These bags are less likely to get loose in the wind and hopefully, will be reused by customers next time they go shopping. Cordova enacted a similar bag ban last year. They are a fishing community, so they know what’s at stake. I think everyone in the Mat Su will breath a sigh of relief when, hopefully in the not too distant future, breakup will come and we won’t have to cringe when we look up at the trees and the brush by the side of the road. Let’s work together to keep our Valley beautiful and our wildlife healthy and abundant. Let’s do it for our children. Please show your support for Ordinance 17-24, a ban on single-use plastic grocery bags.

maintain them in real life. Over time, the longer we disengage from dialogue, the harder it is to re-engage back into it. We forget how to have civil conversations. We forget how to love and listen. We forget how to communicate. It seems quite silly when put in writing, but I can’t think of a time in recent memory where any two adults in my life who hold opposing views were able to hold a civil and unemotional conversation. Every instance that comes to memory ended with one of the adults being overcome with emotions and forcing an end to the debate. Not only is this unhealthy, it is antiintellectual. CONTINUES ON PAGE 5 >

COMMUNITY Contributed by Sofia Fouquet It is quickly turning to the time of year when Alaskan residents can channel their holiday goodwill into an easy act of philanthropy: giving to their favorite non-profits through Pick.Click.Give. Mat-Valley residents gave to 65 Valleybased organizations in 2017, totaling over $175,000 in donations! The top earning non-profits in 2017 were Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue from Palmer with $39,850 in donations, MY House from Wasilla with $11,575 and the Mat-Su Food Bank, aka Food Pantry of Wasilla Food4Kids, in Wasilla with $11,425. Both Mat-Su Senior Services and Friends of the Palmer Public Library received additional funding from the Double Your Dividend sweepstakes,

Contributed by Eva Cohnen-Brown What is Kiwanis, you may be wondering? No, it’s not an animal, vegetable or mineral, but an international service organization that was founded in 1915 by businessmen in Detroit, Michigan. The name’s origin is from the Native American language from that region, “Nunc Kee-wanis,” which means, “We trade.” While the first years were focused on business networking, the goal for most of the last hundred years has been service, especially service

Contributed by Paula Nance Mat-Su Sertoma Club’s annual scholarship season is in full swing! There are three scholarship categories: Summer Camp, International Studies and University. Two of the scholarships are still open for application. This year, the Club is excited to announce Noah White as the successful recipient of the 2018 Summer Camp Scholarship. Noah is a sophomore at Colony High School and is on the wrestling team. He loves mountain biking, four-wheeling, music and anything athletic! Mat-Su Sertoma Club covers the cost of the camp session and

Contributed by Mike Coons, President of Alaska Chapter AMAC Meetings: 1/13/2018 – 1:30PM Wasilla Senior Center & 2/13/2018 – 1:30PM Chugach Senior Center My name is Mike Coons, and I am the president of the Alaska Chapter to the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). I write to inform those Alaskan mature citizens that AMAC is alive and well in Alaska, and we had our first meeting in November. Then



This is a sad scenario. When people are unable to separate emotion from the ability to rationalize, they become closed to thoughts that are in opposition to their preconceived concepts. Then they lose the ability to learn. This is the state of political and social discourse in the world, and it doesn’t just end with hurt feelings. I


which awarded five Pick.Click.Give. recipients an additional dividend to give to Pick.Click.Give. non-profits of their choice. Anyone can be a philanthropist, and Pick.Click.Give. makes it easy. When you file for your Permanent Fund Dividend online, simply choose to Pick. Click.Give. You can share your dividend in $25 increments with non-profits locally or across the state. For more information or to learn more about non-profits in your area, head to • • • • • • •

Big Lake Library Advocates The Last Frontier Honor Flight Inc Alaska WildBird Rehabilitation Center Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue Alaska Farmland Trust Radio Free Palmer (Big Cabbage Radio) Mat-Su Senior Services

to children. Kiwanis has clubs in over 80 countries around the world, and is present in every state in the U.S. Locally, the Kiwanis Club of Palmer was formed in August 1949, and has been continuously active in the Mat-Su Borough ever since. It is a member of Kiwanis International within the Pacific Northwest District and Alaska-Yukon Division. Our goal is to work for a better quality of life for the citizens of our community, state, nation and world. While achieving these goals, we have a great deal of fun and fellowship. Please consider joining our group in order to participate in many worthwhile projects, as well as enjoying the camaraderie and satisfaction of helping your community.

airfare. At birth, Noah had normal hearing. However, he began losing his hearing sometime after his 1st birthday. At age 3, he was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss – the ski slope form (from developing PPHN after delivery). He is deaf at high frequency, but has almost normal hearing at low frequency. The family moved from Wasilla to St. Louis when Noah was 5 years old to enroll him in a deaf oral school. There he received direct teaching, language processing training and attended

our second on December 2nd, 2017. We had over 80 people attend our first meeting and a strong desire for a solid, conservative senior voice organization. Our second meeting was not as large, but still over 30, despite inclement weather and road conditions. In attendance for December’s meeting were Senator Shelley Hughes and Andy Evans, chief of staff for Representative DeLena Johnson. They spoke briefly on upcoming legislation and issues that impact us. As Chapter-supporting representatives, they are going to keep us informed, especially when it

am incredibly nervous about putting a sticker on my car that aligns myself with any social or political cause. Doing so has the possibility of endangering myself and my family, but it also “alienates” customers and friends since so few people retain the possibility of having civil conversation and respect an opposing view. Tempers flare and emotions run deep, and violence is all too common over concepts and opinions today. Everyone should

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Valley Community for Recycling Mat-Su Ski Club Alaska Bible College Birchtree Parents Guild Inc Alaska Family Services Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers United Way of Mat-Su MATSAR Search and Rescue Valley Hospice Resources STOP the Overpopulation of Pets Friends of the Palmer Public Library Musk Ox Farm Matanuska Valley Sportsmen Inc. Mat-Su Concert Band Inc. Palmer Museum of History and Art Set Free Alaska Inc. Academy Charter School Mat Su Schools Foundation Co-Occurring Disorders Institute Inc. Alaska Animal Advocates Castle Mountain Coalition Victory Ministries of Alaska Inc. Friends of the Sutton Library Jessica Stevens Community Foundation KTNA Talkeetna Friends of the Talkeetna Library Susitna River Coalition Denali Arts Council Northern Susitna Institute Sunshine Community Health Center

Some ongoing projects include:

• Giving dictionaries to all 3rd graders in the Mat-Su Borough • Presenting awards to outstanding 8th grade students • Sponsoring key clubs at Colony and Palmer High Schools • Awarding Key Club Scholarships • Sponsoring K-Kids at Sherrod Elementary School • Assembling and donating fleece blankets to The Children’s Place • Offering Little League Scholarships • Purchasing, fitting and donating kids’ bicycle helmets at Colony Days Our club meetings are held weekly on Tuesdays at Turkey Red Restaurant in the Event Room at 550 S. Alaska Street, Palmer. We have a variety of interesting

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Talkeetna Historical Society MY House MatSu Food Bank aka Food Pantry of Wasilla Food4Kids Alaska Equine Rescue The Children’s Place CCS Early Learning Valley Performing Arts Family Promise Mat Su Nugen’s Ranch HeartReach Center Wasilla Area Seniors Inc. Frontline Mission Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Habitat For Humanity Mat-Su Mat-Su Trails Council Inc. Alaska’s Healing Hearts The TEARS Foundation PillowsforKidsFoundation Valley Residential Services Matanuska Susitna Orchestra Valley Charities Jr Iditarod Committee Inc. Onward and Upward Financial Reality Foundation STRIDE Therapeutic Riding Blood N Fire Willow Public Library

speakers, representing local volunteer and business groups. Some of our recent presenters have come from Wilderness Medics, Crisis Response Canines, and HeartReach Center. The first two Tuesdays of each month are lunch meetings, held from 12:00pm1:00pm. The last two Tuesdays of each month are evening meetings, held from 6:00pm-7:00pm. Meetings are open to everyone, and you don’t have to be a member to attend. For more information, please check out our Facebook site, Kiwanis Club of Palmer Alaska, and the Kiwanis homepage at

private schools through the 9th grade. The family always wanted to come “home”, and moved back to Alaska this fall. Noah is thrilled to be in Alaska, and is very active. Music is one of his favorite things, and he is self-taught on the piano, guitar and drums.

overcome challenges that he has faced.

Noah wrote an essay, “What is important about your identity as a deaf or hard of hearing person in a diverse world?” He has a desire to help bring understanding to those around who are not hearing impaired.

The Plunge is scheduled for February 17, 2018 at the Mat-Su Resort/ Everett’s, and is one of the Valley’s great winter events to attend.

Through a lack of understanding, people are fearful; and only through self-acceptance, has he been able

concerns Alaska’s mature citizens. If you are interested in attending future meetings, the next one will be January 13th, 2018 at 1:30p.m. at Wasilla Senior Center’s dining room. In February on the 13th, we will be at the Chugiak Senior Center at 11a.m. From there on, our meetings will be held on the second Saturday of each month. We will be alternating locations between Wasilla Senior Center (1:30p.m.) and Chugach Senior Center (11a.m.). We will be doing our best to keep the meetings to one hour in length. Although we are working out the bugs, the meetings will be available through live broadcast

strive to move past that, or at a minimum learn to compartmentalize the emotional response. Our society is in dire need of debate and open conversation. Because I have never been a fan of writing about problems without solutions, I think the answer is quite blunt. If something offends you, it is your responsibility alone to reconcile that within yourself. If you find yourself

The Mat-Su Sertoma Club was founded in 2009. Many Valley residents are familiar with the annual event that we coordinate – The MatSu Plunge “The Original Valley Dip!”.

Registration is now open! Come support Noah for the trip of a lifetime! Check out all of Mat-Su Sertoma Club’s events and activities at

online through the link, www., for those who cannot attend in person. The Alaska Chapter of AMAC is a strong advocate for conservative principles and values. It extends an invite to all mature citizens that are looking for a means and a way to express their views, ideas and concerns to each other, to our Congressional Delegation and to our State Legislature/Governor in a meaningful way. Remember: The more voices we have, the better impact we have on issues that concerns us, our state and our nation. Please address your questions or concerns to myself, President Mike Coons, at mcoons@

in opposition to someone else’s point of view, I challenge you to talk and to listen. Ask questions and engage on a meaningful level. Lastly, I encourage you to embrace the ability to “meet” so many people online, but get to know the person on the other side of the screen rather than who their online persona is. You might find yourself surprised.

COMMUNITY & OPINION ACCOMMODATIONS Houston Lodge Marketplace…. 892-5124 Sunset View Resort ........ 892-8595 ADULT PIANO LESSONS Hitchcock Piano Studio ........ 745-3134 APPAREL All Seasons Clothing ........ 357-0123 D’s Tuxedo ........ 707-6585 Mimi’s Closet ........ 376-2661 ART & CRAFTS Artists Uncorked… 982-2675 Shane Lamb Gallery… 746-3343 The Gallery ........ 745-1420 BOOKSTORE Fireside Books ........ 745-2665 A Black Sheep Shop ......... 376-8198 CAFÉ & COFFEE Alaska Artisan Coffee ........ 745-5543 Espresso Café ........ 376-5282 Gathering Grounds ........ 376-4404 Vagabond Blue……..745-2233 COOKWARE All I Saw Cookware ........ 376-3177 CREATIVE ENTERTAINMENT Artists Uncorked ........ 982-2675 EDUCATION Learning Essentials ........ 357-3990 FLOWERS & GIFTS Flower Flingers ........ 745-5550 FOOTWEAR Northern Comfort ........ 376-5403 HEALTH & WELLNESS All About Herbs ........ 376-8327 Invest in Yourself Fitness .... 830-6072 HOME DÉCOR Cover Ups Designs ........ 746-4739 PIZZA Humdingers Pizza ........ 745-7499 PRINT SERVICES The UPS Store ........ 376-6245 RADIO 95.5 The Pass ........ 631-0877


Contributed by Major Mike Dryden, USAR Retired

A call to our congressional delegation is needed to extend this proposal to all veterans.

The holiday season is a joyous and festive time of the year for most folks. But some in our community won’t feel celebratory due to depression. Be it because of long-term illness, the loss of a spouse or worse a child, the loneliness of the holidays could be the tipping point for someone considering ending their life.

Thank goodness, the VA is recognizing PTSD as an illness that is just as real as a visible injury to one’s body, and that PTSD’s onset may be delayed for decades. Sometimes the body heals much faster than the mind. This disorder is often overlooked by the family and friends of a WWll, Korean or Vietnam War-era veteran because the illness is often masked by antisocial behavior, alcohol and illegal or prescription drug abuse. These symptoms are often recognized and treated while the underlying cause is not.

September was National Suicide Prevention month, but the holiday season is a particularly vulnerable time for our relatives and neighbors who are going through a bout of depression. It’s an alarming and disturbing fact, but older veterans have a higher suicide rate than the public, including returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. In fact, veterans over 50 years of age have a 70 percent higher suicide rate than the non-veteran general population. According to Tom Berger, executive director of the Vietnam Veterans of America National Health Council and a Vietnam Navy veteran, “You know, ‘We’re just old guys, and we’re going to die, so why pay much attention to them( us)?’ That’s the feeling that some of our members have.” Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., the first Iraq War combat veteran to serve in the Senate, introduced one of the omnibus bills that contained an extension from five to fifteen years in which a veteran could qualify for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) benefits from the VA. But only veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would be eligible for the 15-year extension deadline. Although the shooting at Fort Hood reignited the national debate over the surge of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ suicides, older veterans have been largely overlooked in the conversation.

REPAIR, RESTORATION Comtronics ........ 373-2669 Steve’s Toyostove…. 376-9276 SMOKE SHOPS Alaska Pipe Dreams ........ 746-1500 Light It Up Head Shop…. 745-5483 SPECIALTY GIFTS Alaska Midnite Scents ........ 357-7364 THRIFT SHOPS Red Barn Thrift Store ........ 745-5050 Steam Driven Boutique ........ 376-4404 Turn-A-Leaf Thrift Stores ........ 376-5708 Willow Rose Thrift Store ......... 495-ROSE TOYS Just Imagine Toys ........ 357-1543 Learning Essentials .......... 357-3990

Contributed by Jessica Wright Do you remember, in the two towers of The Lord of Rings movie, Gandalf asked King Theoden to fight the Orcs? At first, Theoden rejected the idea because he was afraid that he would lose a great number of his people in the battle. Later, he changed his mind because he knew he had no choice, but fight for their survival. It has been 15 years, since I watched this movie in the theater. I still remember seeing how terrified they were and how they finally gathered their courage to fight their enemies. This battle occurred even though orcs were beyond human and super violent. This idea taught me three things: 1) The war between good and evil continues even in this day. 2) We may not want to fight, but our enemies do. 3) The only way we can survive is to fight back against our enemies. Believe it or not, there is a war between our state government and the people of Alaska right now. Where do I start? SB 91 took away Alaskans’ “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” basic rights, by allowing criminals walk away unpunished. SB 26, so called “Reconstructed PFD”, tries to permit the state government to have the access to the PFD fund, which means our PFD will permanently disappear. Governor Walker, along with his legislature friends, robbed Alaskans by capping the PFD in 2016 and 2017. The same legislature also gave permission to leaving funds for Governor Walker

1/21/2018 – 6PM Valley Interfaith Action Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

The good news is many resources are at your disposal if you just ask. The VA’s updated suicide information last year showed a decrease in the suicide rate for middle-aged male veterans who use VA healthcare, compared with an increase for the same age group of veterans who don’t. This finding is not a small detail.


The Veterans Crisis Line connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential tollfree hotline, online chat or text. To speak with a responder by phone, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. To chat online, go to www. To text with a responder, send a text message to 838255. These confidential support options are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Veterans who are homeless can get help finding mental healthcare at a drop-in veterans center, or by contacting the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4243838 or by visiting the VA’s Homeless Veterans website at homeless. VA Community Living Centers (CLCs) for veterans are available in some areas for veterans needing temporary assisted care until they can return home or find placement in a nursing home.

Robert Bossarte, who co-authored the VA study, said that despite initial worries that older veterans wouldn’t use the Veterans Crisis Line, the opposite has proven true. Most of the calls came from the over-50 age group of veterans.

For more information, visit or call: • vamentalhealthgroup.asp • VA Benefits Information: 1-800-827-1000 • VA Medical Information: 1-800-353-7574

A booklet, “The Guide to VA Mental Health Services for Veterans and Families,” is available from the VA. Some of the services outlined in this guide are the improved focus on recovery, a coordinated mental health treatment program, a coordinator for the mental health treatment in primary care, around-the-clock services (see below) and family and couple services. This guide and other veterans’ services are available for download and pdf printing at the website, and toll-free telephone numbers for other services are in the phonebook under “Veteran Administration”.

Many valuable mental health services are available to all veterans, but the veteran, their family or a very good friend must initiate the process.

to start his pet-project (natural gas pipeline), and later to sign a contract of understanding to make a deal with China. The state government claims we are in fiscal crisis, yet we raised the state employees pay and benefits, expanded Medicaid and created false revenue narratives. Alaska has the most extensive and expansive form of this type of coverage. In 2016, the national average of state expenditure per capita is $6,385, and Alaska topped the nation. It spends nearly three times more than the national average at $17,529. Some argued that the cost of living in Alaska is higher, but look at Hawaii, only slightly above average at $8,715.

Alaskans want Governor Walker and state legislature to: 1) keep their dirty hands off the PFD 2) cut state budget, 3) make criminals accountable, 4) cut extensive medical/welfare programs, 5) stop using PFD and taxes as scare tactics 6) stop any and all government waste 7) stop negotiating with China with our mineral rights, because of when we lose and they win in non-revenueproducing state-funded projects.

According to our state government, to pay for these expenses is to surrender our PFD and pay more taxes and unwanted government management and user fees. The answer for our governor is to tax or fee us to death. In 2017, the state budget increased by $665 million. That’s the amount they withheld from Alaskan’s PFD last year. Just like Venezuela, Alaska is turning into a social state. Just like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, we have Bill Walker and his Legislature/Supreme Court buddies, who rule against people’s will. When looking at political undertones, all you have to do is look at the money. Consider how special interests outside of our government are quietly donating money to campaigns that make our PFD fund their pet projects. Even though they have a federal grant, they want state money. When a company decides to take no risks other than collude to take our PFD, then there is a big problem. These are enemies foreign and domestic to our PFD rights, and Walker is supported by and supporting them.

And on a personal note, I would like to thank all the medical staff at JBER’s ER and MSU for the wonderful care I’ve received this year. Thanks again. Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous new year. Here’s to your good mental health. Until next month, Mike is RTB, out.

This is the reason why Governor Walker and the majority of state legislature fail to listen to the people: Because they don’t have Alaskans’ best interest in mind, they fail to see eye to eye with the rest of the Alaskans. They have so much greed in their heart, that they fail to comprehend how the Alaskans’ struggle. It’s up to us to decide who’s in charge of our state next year. Do we want the same corrupted people back in the office, or do we want people who actually listen to us to represent us? We need to highlight those who are running in our districts, who have taken from us what is ours through legislation - the very mineral rights we hold in common. This election of 2018 is going to be critical for us because if we are wise and united, we can throw these corrupted politicians out. So Alaskans, “What say we? Are you going to join the fight for our beloved state, or watch these same special interest-promoting people get elected because you neglect your civil duty to protect the common tradition of our shared values? Freedom or bondage? Prosperity or destitution? You decide.”

together in the Mat-Su. A potluck reception will follow, bring a dish to share. Open to the community. All are welcome! Join us for an evening of music and prayer, uniting faithful voices

For more information about the event, contact Kelly Marciales

marciales.kelly@gmail. com or call VIA at (907) 230-1006. Located at 501 E Bogard Rd. Wasilla FREE Event

FAITH & COMMUNITY Contributed by Wes Keller Are you afraid of anything? You likely are, whether you care to admit it or not. Fear is perhaps the most universal fault and affliction in the human race. A lot of bad behavior comes from being influenced and driven by fear! We often act, or fail to act, because of an entire spectrum of threats we fear, including hunger, loneliness, rejection, humiliation, disease, poverty, death... Even the most “fearless” people I have known, admit they are too often victims of their own fears. Using myself as an example, there are times when I speak and shouldn’t or when I don’t speak and I should, because of fear of ridicule or rejection. We all have fears, and through the process of maturing, we must learn to deal with them or we squander the opportunity we all have to be free from them. It is not intuitive, but it is futile to seek peace and rest by working hard to annihilate tenacious fear. The only “work” we can do is to accept and unwrap the gift of peace, and realize we are incapable of making it for ourselves. Sometimes it is easier to deny or push through a fear because denial is easier than the cure. Amazingly, peace is available to all of us... at any time... in any circumstance, just for the taking! If you don’t believe this, consider stories of people who seem to have “irrational” peace in terrible circumstances (jail, sickness, isolation, needs...). We know peace is attainable because we observe some who have found it. On the other hand, there are those who seem to live and die with no peace at all – continual tragedies with no happy ending. Like love and joy, peace is not a commodity. None of them can be bought or sold even though we often try with counterfeit cures. Personal peace is a priceless gift. Peace is free, yet ironically it will cost you everything. In particular, it will cost every ounce of your pride. For some, the price – the surrender of autonomy – is considered too much. We are indeed utterly free to decide individually if the price of owning peace is worth it or not.

Contributed by Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain Christmas is a celebration of God’s love. God is love. Man is sinful and corrupt. From Genesis 3 ‘til now, the only way of making reconciliation is a blood sacrifice. God made the first blood sacrifice in the Garden of Eden, when He clothed Adam and Eve. Israel sacrificial system covered their sin, but it was never permanent. 4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5) It was God’s love for His creation that caused Him to send Jesus to be the one-time sacrifice for our sin. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17) For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)


Christmas is the marvelous announcement that peace has been made available to every person on Earth. But each person has to make their own choice to accept this freeto-all-with-the-highest-cost-ever gift. Those who do choose this gift contribute much to society! Those who have inner peace are fun to be around. They laugh easily and a lot, they rarely grumble or gossip, they don’t get offended easily and often are the first to help and encourage people with hurts. If anyone wants peace, the source is proclaimed in the Christmas message, hidden behind our frenzied celebrations. If you doubt me, research for yourself the real meaning of Christmas, and you will find the only thing between you and peace is your choice to “buy in” or not. Several thousand years ago, a child’s birth was proclaimed by angels who proclaimed the child’s name to be the Prince of Peace! “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth...” (Luke 2:14) Even long before that first Christmas, He was named as the Prince of Peace. “And He will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) You can find countless scriptures confirming that God the Father has provided peace for every person in the world. He proclaimed this gift through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. He also revealed how to get peace, “[They have] perfect peace, those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” (Isaiah 26:3) Many have a visceral reaction to the name of Jesus Christ; sadly, this reaction obscures the best ever Christmas present - peace. If you are newly interested in peace, listen and actually consider the words of traditional Christmas carols. At the very least, consider this quote from Dr. Seuss’ well-known, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. ‘What if Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?’” Merry Christmas to you, and may you find peace this Christmas season. Wes Keller |

It was all about the salvation of men and women. God has a book in which the names of all those who have trusted Christ are written. One day this book will be opened and those names not found in it will be cast into the lake of fire. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15) God expressed His to love to us by sending Jesus. What will we do this Christmas for Him? Step back and take time to remember why Jesus came. What can you do for others during this Christmas season? God loved us. What does the Bible say about love? 4 Love suffereth long and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Love never faileth. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Love others this year. If you know God’s love, share it with others. If you are not saved, this would be a perfect time to accept God’s provision for your sin. Want to know more? Call me at 907-715-4001

Contributed by David P. Ley, President of Alaska Bible College There once was a lady named Youme who fell madly in love with a man named Due Ty. They were married in such joy and expectation - they were going to grow old together! Youme loved Du so much that there was nothing she would not do for him. After a few years, Youme became really discouraged. It seemed no matter how hard she tried to do what Du Ty demanded, it was never enough. Youme just could not seem to please Mr. Du Ty, so they came up with a plan. Each morning, Du Ty would make a list of what Youme was to do for the day. Now that Youme knew what Du Ty wanted, she was sure she would be able to please him! My, how she tried! She worked so hard to get everything done, but you know how life is at times. Du Ty would come home, and something wasn’t just right. Well, you know what I mean! Tired, discouraged and depressed, Youme found that she was starting to hate those lists that her husband gave her. She just felt like a failure all the time, but she was a person of her word. She was committed to Du Ty until the day he died! Yet where was the joy, the expectation, the love? This marriage dream had turned into nightmare of fear and drudgery. As the time of life passed on, Due Ty passed on as we all must do someday.

Contributed by Vic Kohring Being thankful and grateful to others is a reflection of one’s character, but also part of being a Christian. The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians should have a Christ-like attitude and act with selflessness and humility in our interactions with others. I’ve always tried to follow this principal. As a legislator, I sent out literally hundreds of cards, notes and letters through the years and made probably thousands of calls, thanking people for their support. During my campaigns for election, I made a point of placing thank you posters on all my large highway signs as another form of appreciation. The posters began a trend among local politicians that became a common practice until recent years. My biggest expression of gratitude was to stand along the Parks or Glenn Highways greetings motorists with a large, illuminated thank you sign after each election. The Parks/Main Street intersection in downtown Wasilla was my favorite. Going out before the public after an election was the most difficult because by then I was usually physically and mentally exhausted from months of campaigning. To go out one final time was the hardest, as I preferred to stay home and crash. But it was important that people knew how I sincerely valued their support at the polls. Most politicians grab your vote and run, and once the campaign is over, you seldom hear from them again until the next election season when they’re once more pleading for your vote. I was determined to be different. While in the legislature, my staff and I helped literally thousands of people through the years on a variety of concerns. Interestingly, very few ever said thanks. Seldom a word. But helping was the right thing to do and my main reason for being in office, so I have no regrets. After I left the legislature and was no longer in a position of influence, the vast majority of these people abandoned


Youme grieved as most spouses do, yet in some guilt-ridden way she felt relieved. A few years later, she met a man named Greg Ace, and that’s what he was - a real ace. He loved her for who she was and not for what she did. Youme wanted to spend forever with G.R. (that’s what she loved to call him). They were married with such joy and expectation. Life for Youme with G.R. Ace was filled with laughter and hope. She loved doing things for him. She always felt that he was blessed to have her as his wife. Such love and acceptance gave her an enthusiasm for her work as a wife. One day as she was cleaning out her desk, she discov-ered one of those old lists from Mr. Du Ty. It seemed funny to her how she had almost forgotten her old life with its fear and drudgery. But what shocked her most was her discovery that every-thing that Du Ty had written on that old list, all the things he wanted her to do that she could never seem to do, she was doing all the time in her new marriage to Mr. G.R. Ace! Hope the point of this story is clear to you Is our relationship with Christ a thing to do? Or is it built on His deep love for us The biblical truth that He is gracious. So let duty die its death on the cross, Crucified with Christ at such a high cost. Live in His love - the lists He’s replaced With obeying joyfully by His amazing grace.

me. Most notable were my former legislative colleagues, lobbyists and constituents. But it was to be expected. Thankfulness is a prominent biblical theme. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says that one should, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The Gospel of Luke speaks of Jesus healing a group of five lepers, but only one showed gratitude afterward. Chapter 17 says, “When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back. He praised God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” The story of the lepers reminds me of the 1998 campaign. While waving at cars the day after the November election at the intersection of Parks and Main with a big thank you sign lit by a floodlight off a generator in below zero weather, a local attorney and Christian man parked his car and walked up to me. I was a little nervous seeing a stranger walking briskly toward me in the dark. But he explained that my presence on the highway reminded him of the five lepers healed by Jesus. He was impressed that I was the only politician to take time after the election to say thanks to the voting public, the same as the healed leper. To be compared with the story in Luke was extra special and one of the highlights of my years in office. Being thankful is part of being humble, which unfortunately is a rare trait among politicians. Matthew 23:12 says that, “…he that humbles himself shall be exalted,” and James 4:10, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up.” When a person expresses gratitude, it changes their focus from being selfish and self-centered. Moreover, research shows that those who regularly practice such expressions of kindness and compassion toward others are more positive, happier and healthier, and have a greater sense of well-being. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that to be content in life, you should, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously.” We should all live by these words.


POLITICS / OPINION Contributed by Edie Grunwald Alaska is upside down when it comes to public safety. The criminals come first and everybody else is last. Check out our legislature’s voting records on SB 91. Did you know Alaska has judges whom allow violent criminals out of jail during the judicial process?

Contributed by Mike Dryden, Wasilla City Council Member The holiday season has arrived, and we all are busy preparing for this special time of the year. The wheels of city government slow down a little this time of the year, but don’t stop. Some of the highlights on the Council’s agenda this month and January 2018, which may be found at the City of Wasilla website, are the numerous youth and not so young activities at the wonderful city library. More details are online and at the library’s reception area. The staff at the library have something going on for the kids every week, so please visit the city’s newest attraction. The Curtis Menard Memorial Sports Complex has its popular indoor walking

Contributed by Bonnye Matthews I grew up as a child in a military family (USAF). I had parents who insisted that we children love God, respect law, use reason as we interacted with others, learn to swim, learn self-defense and prepare to succeed in life and to give to (not take from) the world we live in as worthy citizens should. Nowhere was there a “me” mentality. I grew and learned and finally in the 60s, I entered the workforce, loving to work. There, I discovered sexual harassment in varied, always surprising expression. There was no real workplace protection then. You learned to do it yourself. I learned to laugh with derision if someone exposed himself, saying with volume, “Oh, for Pete’s sake, put that away. I know what a penis looks like!” (Back then, nobody said penis out loud, certainly not in the workplace. I didn’t hesitate to be painfully clinical. If they continued trying to block me or fail to stop the idiocy, I’d move to comments on the testicles with more volume.) I could stop anyone groping me in a variety of ways, having self-defense training behind me. I have hurt people.

Here is the link for SB 91: Detail/29?Root=SB91 - Review who supported it. Actions speak louder than words. SB 54 is not the answer. It is a weak gap-filler, which is better than nothing. What needs to happen? Repeal SB91 and enact smaller, manageable laws to address specific, positive changes in the best interest of the law-abiding citizens. It’s called public safety. Here is the link to the AK Judges: htm - Up different cases for judgments (note the presiding judge). When it’s


time to vote, be sure to vote, “Yes, retain.” or “No, do not retain.” based on their judgements. For example, recently in the Mat-Su, an alleged kidnapper and rapist had been released to a custodian (his parents). He left the custodian’s house and committed some of the same criminal acts to the same victim! On the heels of this case, a judge released an alleged murderer out to his parents. We need judges to judge with public safety in mind – first and foremost. Apparently, the trend is to be compassionate towards criminals. How about compassion for the victims? Due


process is already on steroids; now, it seems the victims and the public don’t count for much. There is a perception that many actions and inactions within the judicial system reflect a culture of indifference. Here are a few ideas to make a difference: Engage, learn and share; write letters/emails to any applicable representative and community leaders; attend community meetings and attend court hearings; hit social media and when it comes time to vote, vote! We have an amazing state, amazing opportunities and amazing people. Public safety must be a priority.

plastic bag ban for Wasilla. More input from the public is needed on the proposed ban, so we can make an informed decision. A personal visit to the council meetings would be great, but an email will serve the same purpose. Several routine housekeeping items will be addressed like intradepartmental funds transfers and proclamations by the mayor.

My email address is mdryden@

As always, the public is invited to express their opinion in the public arena. Seasoned visitors have been known to avail themselves of all of the opportunities on the agenda. The number of opportunities to speak for three minutes ranges from three to as many as there are items discussed in the meeting.

Until next month, be safe and wellinformed, and God bless America.

The main item on the December 11th and the January 8th agenda is the first and second readings of a proposed

As I have stated in the past, your participation in your city council meetings is the grassroots of American democracy as envisioned by the Founders. The city council will let you opine without regards to your address. All input is welcomed and considered.

Editor’s Note: This article will be published after the December 11th meeting. However, the minutes are presently available at

You think a man would complain about being hurt by a female he was harassing? Not on his life back then. In any new workplace, I learned to let some people know in incidental ways that I’d had martial arts training. Word got around quickly. I’m sure it saved me a lot.

senators go after Al Franken, telling him to resign. I am an Independent. I think I never want to be part of the GOP or Democratic Party. Democrats took advantage of Representative John Conyers of the House while he was in the hospital, insisting he resign due to allegations of sexual harassment. He did. The guy is 88 years old. He’s not up to fighting with a mob.

process? Ye gods! Are you perfect? The answer is, “No.” Slow down, people, and think. You are doing to him what you claim he did to his accusers, ignoring his rights. And then, there’s Roy Moore. No doubt there are others, not to mention the US President.

I learned to be loud if someone was out of order - always lady-like, but in a loud voice that was well-modulated without screeching. I could speak with militaryorder authority, raising that internal chi.

Here’s what I see: Both the GOP and the Democratic Party are acting like fascists. Yeah, fascists. Yeah, both parties. Is it emotion? I’m not sure. Whatever the cause, it’s not appropriate. The USA citizen has a treasured right called due process. I never actually turned anyone in for sexual harassment, because I took care of it myself. Toward the end of my working career, I saw sexual harassment become part of workplace protection. It lived a short life and died. Sexual harassment returned to life. Now it raises its head again. I would, however, have fought to the death to assure my own harassers their right to due process if they had the need. It is the proper way for Americans to proceed.

program again. The fees are posted on our city’s website. Get fit and outlive your detractors. You owe it to yourself. Many special events are on the agenda at the center, so check it out. Regular council meetings are scheduled for December 11, 2017 and January 8, 2018, at 6PM or 1800 hours for you military types. Many holidaythemed events are scheduled and are too numerous to cover. December and January’s regular agenda items include reports from all department heads, a spokesperson for the Friends of the Library and a report covering student activities from Katelyn Boswell, a student attending Wasilla High School. An update on activities at WASI rounds out our regular reports.

If someone was going to play power with me, I would not be silent. I’d stop it the quickest way possible depending on the person. I learned to project my voice in college. I could address a group of >1,000 without a microphone easily. I was an exceptional worker because I loved my work. I was the quintessential self-actualizer. I never had a manager that I didn’t make look a lot better than he or she looked prior to my working there. Frankly, on a performance appraisal in the Navy, there was a comment I never forgot. “She has two warts: (1) She is always over prepared and (2) she cannot be intimidated.” I included my past here, so you can understand where I’m coming from as I watch a group of democratic

On December 6, 2017, a large number of senators attacked Al Franken, telling him to resign. Senators, who do you think you are? Have you forgotten the rule of law? Do you not know that you have just tried him and delivered the verdict and sentence without due

In closing, let me wish each of you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas season and a wonderful new year. 2018 looks to be a great year for Wasilla, Alaska and the nation, so let’s be thankful and joyous that we live in such a great place.

Author’s Note: The above column represents, unless otherwise noted, the opinions of Mike Dryden and not necessarily the City of Wasilla or any other organization with which he is associated.

There is an ethics oversight for due process in Congress. Nobody has a right to demand Franken, Moore or anyone else resign without due process. Rep. Conyers really was shafted. If we are to remain a nation of law, we must put all potential perpetrators through due process. All of them. Regardless of what they did. And senators, get hold of yourselves and stop depriving people of due process. It is utterly unbecoming, not to mention unconstitutional. This is still the USA. We have a right to due process. Whoever would deny it to anyone - regardless of suspected crime - is rightly suspected of fascism in my eyes, certainly of failure to uphold the Constitution you swore to uphold. Bonnye Matthews: Educator, Trainer, Personnel Management Specialist/Evaluator, Regional Performance Management Expert, Manager, Regional Organizational Auditor of Federal Agencies for Efficiency and Effectiveness in Mission Accomplishment, Management Development Manager, Author of prehistoric fiction on the peopling of the Americas before the conclusion of the last Ice Age glaciation, now occupied writing a children’s book, Arctic Dinosaurs in Alaska: Stories for Children.



According to Legislative Finance, $582 million out of the $1.9 billion is due to the reduction to Alaskans’ PFD checks last year. Calling on all Alaskans! If you don’t read anything else political between now and the next legislative session in January, please bear through the numbers and read this piece. You will be shocked, but you also will be wellequipped to answer the questions above.

Contributed by Senator Shelley Hughes What does it all mean? Where are we? Egads! If we’ve really cut 44% (we haven’t), then we must be down to bare bones (no, we aren’t). Consider this: Although our state has unique challenges, it is larger than the state of Idaho, has fewer local governments chipping in, and yet our per capita spending is four times that of Idaho. You read that right: four times. The truth is, we can still make reductions without sacrificing excellent, essential services and in doing so, avoid asking Alaskans to pull hard-earned dollars from their wallets to pay for inefficiencies and nice, but unnecessary programs.

Contributed by Emi Webb I am a proud mother of two amazing and beautiful children. I am a fantastic mother, actually. I am a stay-at-home mom who homeschools my two youngsters and douses them in ageappropriate curriculum. I relish in their growth, and I am downright fierce in my protection of my kids. I am also pro-choice. The fact of the matter is, I view the choice to become a parent to be a vital one to the health of children. I view it vital that children are wanted and loved. I care about the upbringing of a child. I am outraged when I hear of a child falling victim to a tragic

So back to that 44%. The governor has touted that 44% has been cut, but you should know that this claim doesn’t at all tell the true story. It just refers to one category of funding (unrestricted general funds or UGF), doesn’t account for increases in other funding categories, includes capital dollars (that were extremely generous a few years ago) and also includes a one-time $3 billion payment into the retirement system. Obviously, the 44% claim is very misleading.

$508.6 million is due to the reduction in what we’re paying to small companies, the little guys, for oil tax credits owed to them by the state.

What most of us care about is the yearafter-year operating budget – the total annual cost of the daily operations of all the departments. Perhaps you’ve heard another claim of the governor: that “total state spending on the operating budget has been cut $1.9 billion since fiscal year 2015 – a 27 percent decrease in three years.” Let’s look at this closely. Twenty-seven percent sure sounds like a lot.

So what makes up the difference between the $1.1 and the $1.9 billion? On the surface, it sounds like a solid $790.6 million decrease in spending for agency operations over three years. Is there a catch? I’m afraid there is.

What makes up that $1.9 billion in cuts, that 27 percent? Operational dollars to programs and to the departments? Hardly.

event at the hands of a caregiver. I am heartbroken for the women who are given no choice in their parenting. My eldest is an unplanned child. I readily admit that. My husband and I conceived her in college while we were broke, often starving and struggling. I was on birth control and we used a condom. We did everything right. We were great students who also liked to blow off steam somewhat recklessly, as college students often do. We were living together, but had been together barely a year. Certainly we were serious and talking marriage after graduation, but nothing prepared me to spend my 21st birthday knocked up with an unplanned baby.

Those two items totaling about $1.1 billion were not hardcore reductions to programs and departments, but were actually cutbacks to Alaskans and to small businesses. Not a penny of the $1.1 billion required any belttightening in state offices or to state services.

The truth is that this $790.6 million less in UGF spending is offset by an increase of $450.6 million in spending in other funding categories (federal, designated and other) in the operating budget. So the real decrease in agency operations spending over those three years? $340 million. Let that sink in. Not

Still, I never once felt trapped into parenthood. Initially, when I first found out I was pregnant, I planned an abortion. My partner and I were terrified. It was planned for a couple weeks out and then we started soulsearching. We came to the decision before the end of those two weeks that we wanted my daughter. We wanted to raise her. We wanted to have her and cherish her and see her grow into an amazing child and adult. In those two weeks, we thought deeply, laughed, cried and made plan after plan. We quickly had to get our lives together. We went onto welfare. We just recently were able to ease our way off. I was blessed with support and an amazing community. If I hadn’t had that community, I would have been lost. I was privileged with the ability to access


$1.9 billion. $340 million. This equates to less than a three percent reduction* in the overall state budget over three years. Not 44%, not 27%, just 3%. Now let that sink in too. Less than three percent over three years. We need honesty and transparency, not spin, when we talk about the budget. Here’s some straight talk: Politicians who lead the public to think programs and departments have been cut to bare bones are simply trying to convince you that we can’t cut anymore, that it’s time to tax you, time also to take half your PFD this year and a greater share of it in the future. Please know that I’m not one of them. I’ll be #telling_it_like_it_is every chance I get for your benefit. So be sure to like and follow my senator page on Facebook. *The 340 million dollars equates to a 3.4% reduction to the operating budget. Senator Shelley Hughes, District F - Serving Chugiak, Peters Creek, Eklutna, Fairview Loop, Butte, Lazy Mountain, Gateway and Palmer.

a community like that and access to critical welfare to get us into a healthy environment for our child. Community factored into my choice. And I feel like my choice to become a parent is what made me so committed to my babies. I believe that being able to make the personal choice to have a child carried and brought to life within my body is a vital decision that no woman takes lightly and is essential to her freedom. It is wrong to take it away. It is not about the fetus, often aborted before the vital organs are completed in utero. To take away abortion is solely to attack women’s freedom to make essential life decisions for themselves. For the sake of the children and the lives of the mothers, being allowed to choose is vital to the health of families.


Contributed by Gretchen Holt, Animal Care Dispatcher at Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter Stewart is just over 5 years old. He is a big fella weighing in at over 80 pounds. He is all muscle and will need an owner who can train him and won’t be pulled over while doing so. Enthusiasm could be his middle name, He is always happy and ready to go, go, go… We would not recommend that he go to a home with cats or small animals. Nor would he be good around small children. We don’t think that he’d hurt children on purpose, but his size and lack of ability to control his himself would probably end with the little ones toppled over and trampled.


Contributed by Gretchen Holt, Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter

Contributed by Gretchen Holt, Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter

He is a neutered gray tabby, with lovely green/yellow eyes. He can be a bit reserved and is generally a quiet cat.

Drago is a very sweet and truly beautiful cat. He has cream-colored fur touched with orange and lovely, blue eyes.

Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter 907-746-5500

Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter 907-746-5500

Contributed by Gretchen Holt, Animal Care Dispatcher at Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter

Stewart is a happy, loving dog who will make a wonderful companion for some lucky person.

We can tell Duke he hasn’t had the socialization and experiences that develop a sense of confidence, because when in new surroundings he can be nervous and come off aggressive. But once he knows his place and people he is a real lovebug!

Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter 907-746-5500

Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter 907-746-5500


Contributed by Kelleigh Orthmann, M.S., Clear Creek Cat Rescue Mera is a beautiful and independent little lady. She can be shy of new people, but once she trusts you, she loves to cuddle and be pet. Her favorite game is throwing around a toy from paw to paw. Her most amusing quality is that she likes water, and would willingly jump into a full bathtub. She loves to take naps and likes to be around her adult family members, but does not do well with children or other pets. She would be the perfect companion for someone who is looking for a friend to watch TV with. She will need a safe yard to go outside when summer comes. Clear Creek Cat Rescue (907) 980-8898


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COMMUNITY Contributed by Marilyn Bennett I read with interest a story in the Anchorage Daily News on December 4th. The story was about an Alaskan family that goes to New York City every year to sell Christmas trees. This Nikiski couple work as commercial fishermen in the summer and then travel down to New York City in November and come back to Alaska in January. They have been doing this for years and at first drove the ALCAN Highway, but now prefer to go by plane. It was inspiring to read about the entrepreneurial spirit that is so much a part of the hardy people of Alaska. However, the story got me to thinking on a different track. I remember as

a child that my uncle would go out in the woods in northern Minnesota and cut down a tree to send to his dirt-poor relatives in North Dakota. As you know, there are no trees in most of North Dakota. My uncle would take the tree down to the train station and the engineers on the train would deliver the tree for free, because it was for Christmas. The sharing of the tree represented to me the true spirit of Christmas. In those days, just having a tree was very special. We would string popcorn and cranberries to wrap around the tree and make fun decorations to add to the few store-bought bulbs. The lights in those days burnt out on a regular basis, but the frustration of finding the bad bulb was rewarded by how beautiful the lighted tree looked.


Some businesses starting putting up fancy fake trees at that time and they were a wonder to behold, but only the rich could afford one of those fancy fake trees in their homes. How times change. Now New Yorkers pay $140.00 to $300.00 for a real tree, while poor people pull out their old fake tree from its box. Or they can buy a nice fake tree at one of the neighborhood thrift stores for very little. Odd how things change. This switch from the poor having real trees and rich having fake trees to the opposite today is not a good or bad thing. But it is an interesting thing. Have a merry Christmas, and don’t forget to trim the tree.


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Contributed by Kelleigh Orthmann, M.S., Clear Creek Cat Rescue

Contributed by Kelleigh Orthmann, M.S., Clear Creek Cat Rescue

Contributed by Kelleigh Orthmann, M.S., Clear Creek Cat Rescue

Kira is a lovely green-eyed girl in ebony. Sleek and elegant, she is short haired and always looks neat. Kira is a sweet, smart girl who loves her people but is also independent.

Gizmo is a beautiful boy. He is golden with little white tippy toes, a lush coat, and a magnificent ruff. He is maybe about 3 years old. Gizmo has probably been a stray most, if not all, of his life.

Grace is a great cat. She spent the first month hiding under a bed, only coming out at night. It turns out she likes people, a lot; especially ones that feed her.

Clear Creek Cat Rescue (907) 980-8898

Clear Creek Cat Rescue (907) 980-8898

Clear Creek Cat Rescue (907) 980-8898

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COMMUNITY & EVENTS Contributed by Melvin L. Sage-EL II 16th Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1/15/2018 – 1PM Mat-Su MLK Jr. Foundation Palmer Senior Center 1132 S Chugach St. Palmer FREE Event Please join us at the Palmer Senior Center on January 15, 2018 at 1pm for our annual celebration honoring Dr. King’ legacy. The event is free and open to the public. Our keynote speaker is Mr. Cal Williams, a Vietnam veteran who has worked tirelessly for over 50 years for equality and diversity throughout Alaska and the United States.



Additionally, we have participation from some of our local schools and elected officials. We are conducting a silent auction and selling MLK t-shirts to aid in our fundraising efforts. The Mat-Su MLK Jr. Foundation began as a grassroots organization in 2002, and grew to become a 501(c)(3) organization in 2006. Our mission: to strengthen the Mat-Su Borough community by unifying diverse cultures, ethnicities and faiths through events and educational opportunities.

• Establish and sustain a permanent endowment for an annual scholarship fund

For additional information about the Foundation and donations, contact Mr. Melvin Sage-EL at 232-5201.

Our goals are: • Convene an annual event to celebrate the legacy of Rev. (Dr.) King • Educate the MSB community on the importance of embracing diversity

Our fundraising goal this year is $5,000. Since 2009, we have awarded $8,000 to nine deserving students from Valley high schools. This year, we are awarding a $2,000 scholarship.

For information on the scholarship please contact Ms. Cheryl Puryear at (907) 354-5702. The Alaska AARP is a sponsor of the Mat-Su MLK Jr. Foundation.

Rachel Lynn Mallard was last seen on 11/01/17 at about 1356 hours walking on South Alaska Street in Palmer. She wears glasses and is believed to be dressed in pants and a jacket. If you have any info about Mallards whereabouts, please contact Sgt. Hammons with the Palmer Police Department at 907-745-4811 and reference case number 17-5967.

Contributed by Lee Henrikson, Radio Free Palmer Big Cabbage Radio Listeners… If you listen to the station on your smart phone, get our new (free, of course) web-based app at www. It’s available now and easily saves as an app right on your phone.

Our current KVRF app, available from Google Play and the Apple Store, will be retired on December 31, 2017. Meeting streams (like the Assembly, School Board and Palmer City Council) will only be available on our website. You can listen to the radio on your phone with the new app or with the “Listen Now” button on the website.

The People's Paper December 2017  
The People's Paper December 2017  

The People's Paper & Make A Scene Magazine, A Locally-Owned Newspaper