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Contributed by Ben Rowell March is my favorite winter month. The days are getting longer, the temperature is rising and it’s prime time for most outdoor winter activities. But March also means our long winter will soon be over, and for many Alaskans like me, that means one thing – fishing season. During winter, we prepare for this time, hunched under task lamps in garages, spare rooms and kitchen tables, by tying tens and even hundreds of flies. It’s a hobby that requires patience, attention to detail

and creativity. The flies are made of feathers and synthetic material designed to mimic smolt, sculpin and leeches.They come in all colors and patterns, and at the end of winter, a fly fisher can amass quite an arsenal. My wife recently remarked, “You sure do have a lot of flies. You should go fishing more so you lose some.” Those are words I thought I’d never hear. Shortly after break up begins, MatSu fly fishers will migrate to stream banks to intercept resident fish species, such as trout and grayling, just as the fish

Warrior Transition Unit on JBER, I have seen firsthand how detrimental putting a Band-Aid over a bullet hole can be for our veterans, especially those with harsh conditions of PTSD, complications of conversion into civilian life and family issues.” said Bodey Turner, Chief Operations Officer with Valor Corp. and retired U.S. Army Combat Medic who witnessed the pitfalls of military transition.



Three Bears Alaska employs over 500 employees at nine locations in Alaska. Since 1980, they have generously donated to numerous Alaskans, local schools and nonprofit organizations.

Three Bears Alaska announces its partnership with Valor Corp. to support veterans with donation boxes at its KGB, Palmer 4-Corners, Meadow Lakes, Big Lake and Chugiak stores.





The Valor Corp. mission is to provide sustained life improvement and empower Alaska’s veterans by providing basic needs such as new construction of single-family homes, ADA access and renovations to existing homes and personal rate rentals as building blocks towards lifelong progression. Valor also provides job placement, onsite training and veteran-to-veteran camaraderie, including licensed psychological therapy to engage in at participants’ own will. “Temporary assistance and momentary distractions from debilitating and restrictive trauma do not solve the problems our veterans endure. After personally serving in the US Army for 23 years, inclusive of just under four years as the First Sergeant (1SG) Alpha Company

“We are honored to partner with Valor Corp. in the Valley and Chugiak to benefit Alaska’s veterans,” said Jim Kolb, Marketing Director for Three Bears and a decorated U.S. Marine combat veteran who served two tours of duty in the Middle East in Afghanistan and Iraq. “Three Bears is committed to supporting this worthwhile organization and will be providing donation change boxes in all of its Valley and Anchorage stores so patrons can assist veterans in need.” “It’s an honor to have Three Bears choose our charity on behalf of Alaskan veterans, to support and benefit the advocacy. All of the funds raised via the Three Bears donation boxes will be allocated towards the construction costs of Valor’s Community and Rehabilitation Center. Three Bears will also be carrying our coffee in its Valley stores called ‘Tactical Compound’ roasted fresh by Alaskan Artisan Coffee, with proceeds from every bag dedicated to Valor Corp.” added Turner.







long-term fish health. Reduce these health effects by keeping the mouth and gills fully submerged in the water as much as possible during handling. For photographs, keep the fish in the water. If a fish is momentarily taken out of the water, keep it as close to the water as possible and fully submerge it between pictures to give it a quick breather. 

are migrating from main branches of rivers to tributaries. We’ll try to entice a skinny, calorie-starved trout into eating our flies to log our first catch of the season. For most of the fishing I do, aside for salmon, I practice catch and release. My joy of fishing comes from the metronomic art of casting, absorbing the quiet in absence of everyday urban noises and just being outside. And of course, I love landing beautiful fish, big and small (but I really like the big ones). This year, I’ll be making a greater effort

By MaLane Harbour, MTN Solutions, Inc The weekend of March 10, 11 and 12 presented Big Lake with the kind of weather that sends hope to Alaskans that summer is around the corner. With 67 miles of shoreline, Big Lake was the perfect match for this tournament, as it’s known for being a recreational area for both summer and winter activities. From the time Carlos Gomez, Director of the Scotty Gomez Foundation, confirmed the 2017 event to be held in Big Lake – his goal was to put money in the hands of locals, “I wanted the valley residents to get behind this and I wanted them to benefit from our foundation hosting this event in their backyard.” Local radio was bought, ads were purchased and many other locals were brought into the planning of this massive three-day tournament. After all was said and done – Gomez found the community to go above and beyond in supporting this event. From the Big Lake Lions Club hosting the massive firework show Saturday night to Sockeye Asphalt spending days removing snow and clearing space for

to handle our resident species with much greater care than I have in the past. While I like to think released fish swim away unharmed, I haven’t always felt confident that the fish would live long after it’s been returned to the water. To increase the survival rate of released fish, I’ll be following these three principles from Keepemwet Fishing during the upcoming season:

Eliminate Contact with Dry Surfaces Contact with dry surfaces can remove protective slime and make fish more susceptible to diseases. Additionally, if placed on a dry surface, there is an increased likelihood that a fish could injure itself by thrashing around on streamside rocks or the bottom of the boat.   To eliminate contact with dry surfaces, try to land fish in the water, wet your hands prior to handling fish and hold fish in or slightly above the water, away from dry or hard surfaces.

Minimize Air Exposure Holding a fish out of the water prevents recovery and can lead to death if done for too long. Even shorter durations can have serious effects on short-term and

Reduce Handling Handling a fish too much can also remove slime and cause internal injuries or death. Over-handling can be caused by not being prepared when the fight

the rinks and parking – everyone that came on to this event, put forth great efforts to make it the beginning of something amazing! Matanuska Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) took on the massive task of running the parking lot, which 100 percent of all the proceeds went to their organization. Highlights from the event included a red carpet experience with Scotty Gomez courtesy of Newcity Entertainment, teams traveling from as far as Boston and Orlando, H3 Reggae concert sponsored by Three Bears, the firework show hosted by Big Lake Lions Club and Sockeye Asphalt, visitors from Alaska Avalanche Sled Team, 100,000 Alaska Airlines miles given away courtesy of Robert Yundt Homes, a puck shoot hosted by Burkeshore Marina and the overall experience. Andrew Labayo from Boston, Massachusetts described this pond tournament as “the best one” he’s been to because of “great conditions, great talent and overall goodtime.” For more information on how to get involved with next year’s tournament, contact us at alaskapondhockey@

is over. Minimize handling and help fish return to the water more quickly by using barbless hooks (they slip out easier) and rubber nets (they remove less slime), and have tools easily accessible. For example, I keep forceps on a lanyard worn around my neck so I can grab them quickly instead of fumbling through my backpack. I recently read a study by the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit at the University of Alaska Fairbanks claiming nearly 45% of rainbow trout in Willow and Montana Creeks have deformities such as cross bite, scars, dysfunctional eyes and lesions likely due to catch and release anglers. By following Keepemwet’s principles, we can all do our part to improve the health and population of our resident fish. I may end this season with fewer grip-ngrin type photos, but I think I’ll practice taking more creative, one of kind shots like the ones posted on Instagram’s hashtag #keepemwet. Ben Rowell lives in Wasilla, Alaska and hosts the International Fly Fishing Festival in Palmer and Anchorage. For more information about fly fishing in the MatSu Valley, visit




Contributed by Edie Grunwald DG Signs, The MTA Sports Center, The UPS Store in Palmer, Three Bears Alaska, and Alaskans from Kenai to Anchorage to JBER, Eagle River and Chugiak to the Mat-Su and all the way to North Pole…. What do they have in common? These local businesses along with individuals, families and agencies have compassion and truly prove that we can come together. On November 13, 2016, our son, David Grunwald, 16 years old, did not return home. We looked on the roads in case he slid off or was in an accident; we made calls. The Alaska State Troopers helped us. DG Signs made banners and lit up their sign at the Trunk Rd exit on the Parks Hwy: MISSING. Then: REWARD. MTA Sports Center on the Palmer-Wasilla Hwy lit their sign up: MISSING. Then: JUSTICE for DAVID. The UPS Store in Palmer printed hundreds of flyers at no cost. Three Bears donated hand warmers and snacks. Hundreds of people searched for David in the bitter cold. Alaska Investigation Agency helped pro-bono and Guardian Search and Investigation, a non-profit, helped. Victims for Justice, a nonprofit helped out. MAT+SAR K9 searched. The D12s flew their drone for hours and hours, searching for David and coordinated the reward money from generous National Guard retirees. People on horses, with dogs, on ATVs searched. Our local media, KTVA, KTUU, ADN, The People’s Paper, The Frontiersman and kept David in the news. The Alaska State Troopers worked the case and found David on Dec 2, 2016.

Ben and I, David’s parents, thank all of you so much. You have touched our hearts and given us faith. So many people that we didn’t know, friends, co-workers and family reached out during the search period. We all wanted to find David alive. We hoped and we prayed. David became everyone’s “Our David”. Love to you all.

HEALTH & WELLNESS Baby & Children’s Fair 4/8/2017 – 10AM Mat-Su Regional Medical Center 2500 S Woodworth Loop, Palmer FREE Event

Nurturing New Beginnings and Wellness in the Wonder Years is the theme of this year’s fair, according to Alan Craft, MatSu Regional’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations. The annual health event features vendor giveaways, raffles, free hearing and vision screenings, free car seat checks, parenting advice, health education and games for children – including a bounce house and healthy snacks. This year’s fair features a Community Baby Shower that includes a gift pack of baby-essential items for the first 100 families who are either expecting a child or have a child less than twelve months of age. The shower is sponsored by ROCK Mat-Su (Raising Our Children’ with Kindness) and the Mat-Su Health Foundation.

Mat-Su Regional Medical Center will host its annual free Baby and Children’s Fair on Saturday, April 8th from 10am2PM at its main campus in Palmer.

“Mat-Su Regional is extremely excited to be partnering with ROCK Mat-Su and the Mat-Su Health Foundation to sponsor the community baby shower,” Craft said. “They have developed a


wonderful gift concept for new parents, and we’re pleased to be able to support their effort.” “This is a great community event that draws a huge crowd. It’s one of the ways Mat-Su Regional proactively supports wellness and preventive care,” Craft said. “Last year’s fair featured more than forty healthcare, safety and educational service providers, and more than 500 people attended the event. This year’s event will feature more interactive, educational games for children.” For families seeking a pediatrician or family doctor, there will be several community providers and medical clinics at the event. For those expecting a baby or considering starting a family, the hospital’s maternity team will be conducting tours of the Family Birthing Center, which features hotel-like private birthing suites. In addition to the baby shower, there will also be a drawing for a bicycle and kid trailer. utensils with your sole! 3. Keep refilling your jar with salt and water when it runs low. It lasts indefinitely.

Contributed by Dori Cranmore RN All salt is not created equal! About 250 million years ago, at the base of the Himalayan mountain range, there were crystallized sea salt beds covered with lava. Because this salt was covered in snow and ice it was protected from modern day pollution and preserved in an untouched, pristine environment. Many people believe that this pink salt is the purest salt that can be found on the planet. What is so impressive about Himalayan salt is that it contains the same 84 trace minerals and elements that are found in the human body. The minerals are in colloidal form, which means that they are small enough for our cells to

Contributed by Dr. Tara Workman, Chiropractic Physician Yes, chiropractic adjustments can alleviate your knee, ankle or hip pain. There are several factors that can cause pain to the knees and must be corrected in order to prevent damage to the joint and surrounding tissues. Chiropractic adjustments help misaligned knee and ankle joints to allow them to track properly as you move throughout the day. I often get asked by patients, “Why do my knees go out of alignment?” There are many different reasons why your knees can misalign. Knee pain is commonly caused by muscle imbalances and

easily absorb them. The fact that it is less refined gives much less sodium per serving than regular table salt. When Himalayan salt dissolves in water, it results in a concentrated, electrically charged matrix of the 84 trace minerals in the salt. The ionic salt and trace minerals nourish each cell in your body. This is called Salt Sole. How to make Salt Sole: 1. Fill a glass jar about 1/4 of the way with Himalayan salt, either ground or in chunks. Fill up with filtered water. Add a plastic lid (not metal!), shake and let sit overnight. You should always have some undissolved salt in the jar, this means the water is fully saturated. Add more salt if needed. 2. In the morning, take 1 tsp. of sole, mixed into some room temperature water, upon waking. Never use metal

structural misalignment around the hip, knee and ankle joints brought on by poor posture, overuse and repetitive stress and physical trauma. Many researchers believe that the knee is the most complex joint in the human body. It is also the most imperfect joint and easily injured. One of the most common causes of knee injury is extra body weight. The knees provide support to the entire upper body and excessive pressure and strain can cause painful injuries. While athletes often injure their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the menisci, through twisting, pivoting and cutting motions that stress the knee joints, older people may suffer from knee injuries simply through the

Common table salt is stripped of the majority of its minerals with the exception of sodium and chloride. It is then bleached and has synthetic iodine added with anti-caking agents. The result of consuming common table salt is excess fluid in the body tissue, holding on to toxins which contributes to cellulite, excess uric acid (gout), arthritis, high blood pressure and kidney or gallbladder stones. Some of the benefits that you can expect to enjoy by consuming Himalayan salt in place of regular table salt include: • Supports healthy lungs and respiratory function. • Promotes a stable PH balance within the cells. • Reduces the signs of aging. • Promotes healthy sleep patterns. • Increases libido, balancing hormones.

degenerative wear and tear of life. A chiropractor can restore alignment to displaced structures in the knee and other linked structures that might also be affected by dysfunction in the knee, such as the ankle, hip or lower back. Chiropractic treatments are most effective when combined with complementary corrective exercise. Chiropractic adjustments of the hips, spine and patello-femoral joint can help to mobilize the joints back into the proper alignment for your body. This can alleviate joint stress, reduce inflammation and facilitate healing of the joint and surrounding soft tissue. When combined with corrective exercises that complement and reinforce your adjustments, treatment can be very effective. Chiropractic adjustments, massage and therapeutic exercises are typically used to accomplish this goal of helping the joint function properly by increasing

For more information, visit the hospital’s website at The hospital is located at 2500 S. Woodworth Loop in Palmer. Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is a 74-bed state-of-the-art healthcare facility that provides advanced surgical service, including robotics and anterior approach hip replacement, cardiac care, intensive and general medical care, emergency services, the state’s only epilepsy monitoring program, diagnostic imaging, a sleep lab, an urgent care center and is home to the Family Birthing Center. The hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Top Performer for Key Quality Measures award for three consecutive years, being recognized for excellence in heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, immunizations and surgical care. Mat-Su Regional is also a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care, recognizing its expertise in delivering safe and cost-effective maternity care. Mat-Su Regional is owned in part by physicians. • Prevents muscle cramps. • Increases hydration. • Strengthen bones. • Detoxifies the body of heavy metals. • Aids in vascular health. • In a neti pot, it can help with seasonal allergies and sinus infections. Himalayan salt lamps have to be the most amazing of all. They are made from salt crystal rock formed by nature and mined about 300 ft. underground in mines in Asia and Europe. Each lamp is unique and many are hand carved. When heated they produce negative ions into the air helping remove toxic electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s). They are perfect to have next to computers and TVs, and can make a great night light for infants and children. Since they come in so many shapes and sizes, many keep a Himalayan salt lamp in every room. Information is for educational use only and not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Find Himalayan salt and lamps at All About Herbs,Inc in Wasilla, 376-8327.

flexibility. When your knees are sore it can help to save your knees from more damage and even surgery when you are adjusted regularly. Many people mistakenly believe that chiropractors just work on necks and backs. While it’s true that your chiropractic team at Altair Chiropractic is uniquely qualified to treat the spine, any joint in your body can benefit from chiropractic care. If you’re suffering from pain in your knees, even if you’ve been told by your physician that there’s nothing that can be done for you, you may be able to find relief through chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is safe, natural and perfectly complementary with other forms of medical care. Why suffer with knee pain if you don’t have to? Your chiropractic team at Altair Chiropractic can help you get back on track today.

HEALTH & COMMUNITY Contributed by Robin Minard The Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) has published the findings of its 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The report, “Health Is Where We Live, Learn, Work and Play,” identified the top factors that affect the health of local residents: transportation, social connection and support, income, education and information, and housing. “This Community Health Needs Assessment was specifically designed to frame health status in the context of how where we live, learn, work and play affects our health,” said MSHF Executive Director, Elizabeth Ripley. “One of the things that we know is that you can map the health of a population by zip code. In other words, where you

Contributed by K.T. McKee Radio Free Palmer Annual Meeting 4/1/2017 – 2PM Radio Free Palmer

Turkey Red 550 S Alaska St, Palmer FREE Event

In this era of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” how do we determine what the truth is when faced with news reports from various sources? Attend this year’s annual meeting of the Valley’s only membersupported community radio station, Radio Free Palmer, on April 1st at Turkey Red. You might just come away with a better understanding of this recent conundrum. Alaska Public Radio Network News Director, Lori Townsend, will help navigate these confusing waters as this year’s guest speaker. The meeting, which includes members voting on candidates for four RFP Board seats, will be held 2pm-4pm and also features

live is one of the greatest determinants of your health. It impacts the decisions you make about your own personal health. This knowledge can help guide the development and implementation of strategies to create a healthier community.” The assessment included the voices of more than 1,100 Mat-Su residents from all walks of life and from throughout Mat-Su’s vast geography. Information from focus groups, stakeholder group interviews, surveys and interviews were combined with data from numerous qualitative and quantitative sources to complete the report.


have knowledge of resources available to us (information) and whether we experience a strong sense of community (social connection and support). The next step is for the Foundation to work with its partner, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, to draft an implementation plan based on the four goals identified by the assessment: Transportation: All Mat-Su residents have transportation to work, healthcare appointments, school and community activities, and other opportunities that affect the quality of their lives.

Examples of how where we live, learn, work and play impacts our health include whether we have access to medical care (transportation) and can afford to pay for it (income), whether we feel safe (housing), our access to education, including early childhood education, whether we

Social Connection and Support: MatSu is a community where all residents feel supported by and connected to family, friends, neighbors and the broader community.

snacks provided by Turkey Red. There is no cost to attend and everyone will have an opportunity to either become a member or renew their memberships. Only members can vote in the election. Donations to the nonprofit station are always appreciated.

NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News, as well as producing many other documentaries and productions.

Townsend has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than eighteen years. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of eleven as the park announcer of the fastpitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She was the co-founder and former editor of a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists, and worked for seven years at a tribal station of a Wisconsin Reservation. Radio brought her back to Alaska, where she worked as a broadcast trainer for native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. She then helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company, Native Voice Communications, with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya.

Income and Housing: Mat-Su has economic opportunities that allow

Aside from Townsend’s lively presentation and discussion, Big Cabbage Radio members and others are encouraged to attend this meeting to keep up with recent happenings and plans for the future. “Attendees can expect to receive a report about the station’s activities over the past year, as well as next year’s strategic direction,” RFP CEO Mike Chmielewski said. “They can expect to be heard when giving feedback and recommendations. Attendees also will have a chance to interact with the DJs and volunteers who make the station work.” Helping RFP run as smoothly as possible is its Board of Directors. This year, members will be voting on whether to allow Board Members Gina Davis, Kenni Psenak Linden and Joseph Davis to continue serving for another three-year term. Ms. Davis, comptroller

Overall, AHF client profile closely represents the demographics of our state. Contributed by Betty Rieth Alaska Health Fair, Inc. is a 37-year-old non-profit organization. Alaska Health Fair was founded on the dream of a physician who believed that the road to longevity rests in healthy lifestyles, which develop, in part, through education and screenings. AHF’s mission is to promote statewide health education and preventative screenings. Our vision is optimal health for all Alaskans. Our core purpose is to promote health and wellness and save lives. Our health fairs offer free health education, free screenings and the most affordable comprehensive blood tests in Alaska. We deliver around 100 health fairs annually statewide - in larger communities like Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Bethel, Wasilla and also in around 30 smaller communities. We also deliver around 25 worksite health fairs for big and small employers from a variety of industries including oil and gas, financial services, transportation and non-profits. No other state has a dedicated nonprofit like Alaska Health Fair to provide affordable blood tests, free health screenings and free health education

on important topics on such a grand scale. It’s all possible because of support from Alaska communities, organizations and hundreds of medical and non-medical volunteers. 10,000 to 20,000 people attend our events each year. Our attendance numbers are growing; last spring and fall, we added around 1,000 new clients. Who attends AHF health fairs and what people think about AHF events? The following stats are taken from our surveys that we conduct after each event: • 95% of health fair attendees plan to follow up with a doctor if they learn of a health condition through screenings and tests received at AHF events. • 59% report they have health insurance. Additional 23% are covered through Medicaid/Medicare. • 89% report that after attending the Health Fair, they gained a better understanding of some ways they can have healthier behaviors. Demographically speaking, Alaska Health Fair events attract people of all backgrounds. Most of our clients are financially independent, highly educated and interested in their health.

Medical Community, Local Nonprofits, Volunteers, Volunteer Health Educators: We work with hundreds of medical professionals and representatives of local non-profits, educational institutions, state agencies and other organizations that volunteer thousands of hours at our events and come to our health fairs as exhibitors, health educators and volunteers. AHF has a staff of just four full-time employees, working from two offices (located in Anchorage and Fairbanks), and heavily relies on volunteers and volunteer site coordinators to organize and deliver health fairs. Exhibitor space is always free at AHF health fairs, and local organizations can educate in their communities on important health topics and help people discover locallyavailable support and services. Why do people come to AHF Health Fairs? Health education and affordable blood tests are the main reasons. We work with PAML, one of the top ranking laboratories in the nation and a leader in innovation, to offer the most affordable comprehensive blood tests in Alaska. Our most popular comprehensive blood chemistry panel consists of 27 panels and costs just $45. People can

residents to have a level of income that supports a healthy lifestyle and provides for safe and affordable housing. Education and Information: Mat-Su is a community that supports education for residents and provides full access to information needed to promote health, wellness and quality of life. The full 158-page 2016 Mat-Su Community Health Needs Assessment is available at Contributors to the project included Alaska Mental Health Trust, CCS Early Learning, Chickaloon Village, Identity Alaska, Knik Tribal Council, Mat-Su Health Services, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, Sunshine Community Health Center. The project was led by Dr. Melissa Kemberling of the MSHF with assistance from Strategy Solutions, Inc.

for the City of Palmer, has been working as the board’s treasurer. Ms. Psenak Linden, an active community member, has been working as secretary. Mr. Davis, head of the Glacier View Community Council, has his own radio program in the mountains near his home called “Glacier Review.” Former board member, Becky Stoppa, will be vying to fill a one-year seat left vacant by departing former Board Vice President, John Robertson. In the next year, the Board and RFP volunteers will be working hard to improve the organization even more. “We plan to extend our ability to cover remote events beyond our coverage of meetings and the Alaska State Fair to Friday Flings and other events at the Palmer Depot,” Chmielewski said. “Programming is being developed to cover health topics and issues of interest to seniors.” For more information or other questions about Radio Free Palmer in general, please call 907-745-8951 or

save hundreds of dollars when they do a comprehensive women’s or men’s wellness package with AHF. We are a non-profit, and our pricing virtually has not changed since 2003. Current health fair schedule and additional information are available at, or simply call our office at (907) 278-0234. On Worksite Wellness Implementing worksite wellness programs has many benefits for employers, big or small: • Attracting talented workers • Reducing absenteeism, improving productivity • Improving employee morale • Reducing turnover We offer worksite health fairs and tailor them to help meet client organization’s wellness goals. In partnership with other leading agencies, AHF can offer affordable in-depth training for staff and management on a variety of worksite wellness topics. Most employers that we work with elect to sponsor our comprehensive blood tests for their employees. Employers can also send their staff to our office in Anchorage for affordable blood tests. AHF health fairs are turn-key solutions, and we encourage interested organizations to give us a call at 907-278-0234.

HEALTH / COMMUNITY Contributed by Eddie Ezelle, Mat-Su Food Bank “The words ‘working poor’ ought to be an oxymoron. The idea that you can work full time and still be poor in this society is a real crime,” says Roger Weisberg, filmmaker of the PBS documentary, Waging a Living. This phrase “working poor” is used more and more to describe a situation in which a family works one or more jobs and still cannot get ahead. They are employed, but poverty is a daily struggle. The 2010 US Census Bureau counts 21 million Americans as “working poor”. The ever-increasing cost of living has outpaced the working poor’s income.


The cost of living has gone up 67% since 1990, while the minimum wage has increased only 21%. (2010 US Census Bureau). Have we moved the needle in a good way? Comparing the census information I could, we ranked 39th in 2010 for food and housing, in 2014 we only rose to 38th with inflation, we were 48th in 2010 and 49th in 2014. As we increase in population and jobs, we also increase in families looking for jobs and needing help to stay ahead. Our only seeming indicator that we are moving forward is in the fact that the numbers are very close over the fouryear period exampled. Here in Alaska, a large portion of our food clients are working poor. The Hunger Study in 2010 said approximately 45% of Alaskan food

pantry clients had at least one adult working in their household. As Paul Watson, Food Stamp Outreach Coordinator for the Alaska Food Coalition in 2010 said, “A majority of new clients are employed. A lot of these are two-earner families with no benefits. They are working hard, but not making it. It’s the American Dream shattered: work hard, but don’t succeed.” You may wonder why I quote from a 2010 census. It is because it is still, if not more, relevant today in 2017. This is a scary thought. We are one of, if not the wealthiest, nations in the world and we have so many Americans (read Alaskans) in this situation. Today, 1 in 3 children living in the Mat Su are considered living in poverty. That’s enough kids to fill the Curtis Menard Center 1 ½ times. It is why we have the Food4Kids program working hard to supply good, wholesome food

reached deeper into their pockets to help. I think this helps explain why donors are being so generous this year.” PRESS RELEASE Following a slower than normal start for Alaska’s premiere charitable giving campaign, Pick.Click.Give. is experiencing an increase in giving in the average pledge amount per donor. “People across the state are literally coming out to support local philanthropy,” said Pick.Click.Give Manager, Sofia Fouquet. “Alaskans in the Chilkat Valley, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Sitka, Seward, Petersburg and Anchorage have held rallies to raise awareness of Pick.Click.Give. and the role non-profits serve in their communities. We are definitely seeing results from those grassroots efforts in pledge growth during the past month.”

Contributed by Debra McGhan Dr. Gabriel Wolken and Katreen Wikstrom Jones are on a mission to amass an army of backcountry riders. Their goal is to solve the mystery of how much water is stored in the snowpack. Wolken and Wikstrom Jones work for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys with the Climate and Cryosphere Hazards Program. “Predicting and understanding variability in water run-off is important because of the effects it has on snow avalanche hazards, water resources, ecology, fisheries, tourism and the impacts of a changing climate”, explains Wikstrom Jones. “The remote sensing tools and models we are using today are only wellinformed estimates,” she said. “In order to validate the data, we must have ground truth points which will require measuring snow depths across vast, complex terrain, and this requires a huge effort that we cannot do alone. This is where our recruited citizen scientists army comes into play.” The “army” will be made up of citizen scientists just like you; ordinary people who are out recreating, traveling, working and living in backcountry regions of Alaska. Under the guidance of lead scientists, Wolken and Wikstrom Jones, the citizen scientists will provide the key to achieving this lofty goal of measuring the depth of snow across a broad swath of Alaska.

By the end of January, the average pledge per donor was $95.45 and the average pledge per gift (each gift represents the amount a donor spends per non-profit organization) was around $58.66. As we rush into our first full week of March, dollars per donor sits at $102.57 and dollars per gift comes in at $61.21. The current average pledge per donor has increased nearly $5 from this time in 2015, which has been the most successful Pick.Click.Give. campaign on record. “When the economy dips, we see demands on non-profits rise,” said Katie St. John, Alaska Community Foundation’s Director of Programs & Grants. “And when demands on nonprofits rise, Alaskans have traditionally

“We really want to encourage Alaskans who can just do $25 to do so,” said St. John. “We often hear the reason people don’t give is because they don’t think their smaller gift can have an impact and that is absolutely not true. Small gifts add up, and the value of establishing a relationship with an organization that provides important services in your community pays dividends for years into the future.” Based on the number of filers from 2016, about 40% of Alaskans have yet to file online for their permanent fund dividend. If each Alaskan yet to file made a $25 donation through Pick. Click.Give, nearly $7 million would be raised for non-profits in March alone. “We know that’s overly ambitious,” said


to children in our own backyard. At the MatSu Food Bank, we are committed to working toward a day when no child goes hungry. In the last few years, we have helped supply other agencies with 243,000 lbs. of food. Some has gone to Fairbanks and Kenai in cooperation with those food banks. We work with farmers, cooperative extensions, churches, civic groups along with many others and individuals such as you. Any food collected by us is transported and stored by the MatSu Food Bank here in the Valley, and shared with other agencies free of any charges or fees. It’s one reason we ask for your support. In this time of tighter economics, it is especially difficult for our working poor. And please don’t forget to Pick. Click.Give. or visit us at

Fouquet. “But it does show you what’s possible if we all work together.” Alaskans have until March 31st to file online for the permanent fund dividend. As of March 6th, 385,946 Alaskans have pledged $1,847,450. Although overall numbers are down from the first week of March in 2016, we are seeing an upward trend in giving. 4.7% of Alaskans who have filed for their PFD have chosen to Pick.Click. Give. in 2017. Alaskan may choose to make a contribution even after filing for their PFD by clicking the green ‘Add or Change your Pick.Click.Give. Donation’ button at This year Pick.Click.Give. has 667 participating non-profits focusing on the following causes: Youth and Education, Emergency, Humanitarian, Animals, Arts and Culture, Health and Community.

“There is often a disconnect between communities and the work scientists do,” said Wikstrom Jones. “We want to reach out and get as many people as possible involved. By contributing information that will help us find critical answers, this project will be a great way to get people directly connected with science.” The formal name for the project is NASA Citizen Science Community Snow Observations (NASA CSO). This is a collaborative effort between the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, University of Washington State, Oregon State University and United States Geological Survey and in partnership with Mountain Hub. Citizen science volunteers are asked to probe snow depths and take photos of the snow surface, and then log this data into an online app known as The Mountain Hub app is free for download and makes it easy to contribute valuable information. Mountain Hub is the brainchild of a group of students from MIT who were interested in building and sharing a body of knowledge across the globe. Black Diamond has also stepped into sweeten the task by donating an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe you can win for participating. Additional prizes will also be up for grabs as the program and army grows in the future. The way it works is you log into and create a profile so you get credit for the submission. Then when a measurement is logged in Mountain Hub, the app tags the geographical location of the measurement, even when there is no cellphone reception. Once you’re back

in range, the project collaborators will then have access to all of these data points and will use this information to verify the snow depths they receive from modeled snow distributions based on aerial and satellite remote sensing surveys. Wikstrom Jones stresses the fact that it doesn’t matter if you travel on skis, snowboard, dog sled or on a snowmachine, as long as you pause during the day, pull out your probe and make a measurement in the snow and then upload to the Mountain Hub app, you’ll be contributing. “All contributions matter, no matter how small,” she said. “So even one probe strike report is valuable. “A remote sensing derived image without ground-truth points is like a tent tarp without tent poles!” explained Wikstrom Jones. “Without real data measured on the ground, we cannot validate the image (secure the tent). The more probe strikes you put in the ground and submit to Mountain Hub, the better we can identify error areas and make sure that the remote sensing products give us an accurate estimate

of snow distribution.” She said they don’t want this task to be a burden on anyone, but rather a fun, engaging way to advance science to benefit communities and give participants a chance to win some cool, valuable prizes. Snow represents one of the biggest gaps in scientists’ understanding of Earth›s water resources. With enough citizen scientists participating, this project will help fill in some major holes. Understanding and measuring the impacts this stored water has on the environment is the only way we can predict, plan and prepare for what will ultimately result from weather and a changing climate. You can learn more or join the army by contacting Wikstrom Jones at www. She and Wolken will be in Thompson Pass (Near Valdez) March 17th-20th and at other spring events around the state sharing information and getting folks recruited. View more stories from Debra McGhan at www. or call 907-982-0332.


VETERANS/POLITICS Contributed by Major Mike Dryden, USAR Retired As an older veteran, the last thing on your mind might be a home refinancing plan. You may have paid off your house and are basking in the lifelong dream of finally having no mortgage payment. Spending money on house payments are for the younger folks, right? Well, I want you to consider some salient points for pulling some cash out of the old homestead. First, interest rates are at an all-time low. With a little shopping, you should be able to find a VA lender offering rates on a 30-year fixed as low as 3.5%. If you are receiving any VA disability income, the lender may not charge you any processing fees. With your equity, you could refinance with no out of pocket upfront cost. As with all financial manners, do your due diligence. I am not a professional financial advisor, but I do play one in this article and at several local coffee shop locations. You may have several personal reasons for considering a refi at this late stage of life. Personally, I like spending the kid’s inheritance and just leaving them with your everlasting love and affection for the many years of joy they brought. Too hard on the kiddie, you say? Well, on a worst case basis, let’s explore some possible outcomes to having lots of equity in your abode. For a lot of seniors, pensions and Social Security haven’t kept up with inflation. Add to the mix, the shrinking value of the dollar, you find yourself strapped for cash at the end of the month. Owning no money on your home is every family’s dream, but not using that equity to pay down high-interest credit cards (many with interest rates as high as 30% with Draconian late penalties) and deferring your home’s upkeep isn’t wise.

Next good reason is that you can’t take it with you. I have been looking for a way to pad my ascend (or descend; the jury is still out) into the afterlife, but still haven’t found one. Personally, if I could pick my way to check out, it would revolve around falling off a bar stool in Bangkok and hitting my head after laughing at a joke. Sorry, but I can’t seem to rise above my Army helicopter pilot days. However, reality has shown me that one minute you are heading to Wallyworld to check out the clearance section and BANG, you slip on the steps and break a hip. Depending on your overall health and living situation, you could have just entered the world of long-term care. Even worst, you have a stroke, survive but are unable to live at home. Medicare doesn’t cover LTC stays, but Medicaid does. Yes, you heard it right. The premium you are still paying out of your retirement from social security doesn’t cover you in your time of need. But if you just got off the boat from a third world country, just released from jail or a teenager who has just realized that she should have paid better attention in sex ed class instead of giggling, you are covered. Welcome to 21st century America. With LTC facilities monthly rates ranging from $4000 to $28000 depending on the level of care, how long can you pay this amount out of pocket? For most of us, it ain’t long. At that point, you are on Medicaid until you die. Good deal, you say but your heirs will find out Uncle Sam will reach into the casket and your pockets to get reimbursed for their generosity. Remember the phrase,“Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch?” The government will be paid back first for the funds spent by you using Medicaid. For most families, this means you will get very little out of your parent’s estate. This payback policy doesn’t apply to all the people just added to the Medicaid roles as a result of Medicaid expansion. For these folks, there does exist a free ride.

I don’t know about you, but my family comes before Uncle Sam. The point that’s lost in the national discussion is that social security is not funded by the US government. No, it is funded by employees and employers. If you receive a W-2, then your employer has contributed dollar for dollar to your account. If you are self-employed, then you have paid the full ride. What the US Congress has done is siphon our contributions and diverted them to the general fund. They have replaced cash with US government bonds, 2.5 trillion dollars worth of the lowest yielding instruments on the market. Are you surprised? We, the working people, are the nation’s largest creditor, not China or Japan. Social Security should not be called an entitlement. It’s a deferred retirement plan funded by the workers and businesses. More employers have gone to jail and been fined for not paying their FICA than evading income taxes. Let’s reserve the term entitlements for Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, WIC, earned income tax credits and the endless list of programs for the socially and economically disadvantaged segment of our society. By now, you may be seeing some advantages for pulling equity out of your estate and giving it to you grandchildren. This strategy is good estate planning and not anything untoward. Unless you are part of the .00001 percent of the population (and I am very liberal with that figure) that believes government can spend your money better than you, then die broke and enjoy yourself. Life is not a dress rehearsal. I bet now falling off a bar stool in Bangkok sounds pretty good, eh? For now, Major Mike is pulling pitch and getting above the small arms fire en route to Far North Fubar Farm.

ACCOMMODATIONS Houston Lodge Marketplace…. 892-5124 Sunset View Resort ........ 892-8595 ADULT PIANO LESSONS Hitchcock Piano Studio ........ 745-3134 ALCOHOL DETECTION Alcohol Detection Services…. 677-7300 APPAREL All Seasons Clothing ........ 357-0123 CW Tack ........ 376-2668 D’s Tuxedo ........ 707-6585 Mimi’s Closet ........ 376-2661 ART & CRAFTS Shane Lamb Gallery… 746-3343 The Gallery ........ 745-1420 BOOKSTORE Fireside Books ........ 745-2665 CAFÉ & COFFEE Alaska Artisan Coffee ........ 745-5543 Espresso Café ........ 376-5282 Gathering Grounds ........ 376-4404 Vagabond Blue……..745-2233 CANDY Monica’s Confection ... 315-3999 CHINESE FOOD/ASIAN FOOD Kings Asian Buffet ........ 357-9977 COOKWARE All I Saw Cookware ........ 376-3177 CREATIVE ENTERTAINMENT Artists Uncorked ........ 982-2675 EDUCATION Learning Essentials ........ 357-3990 FLOWERS & GIFTS Charlotte’s Flowers ........ 745-5550 FOOTWEAR Northern Comfort ........ 376-5403 HEALTH & WELLNESS All About Herbs ........ 376-8327 HOME DÉCOR Cover Ups Designs ........ 746-4739 JEWELRY L Forge Jewelry ........ 232-9866

Contributed by Carrielee Dunphy I would like to thank all of the helpers, donors and participants that were involved in the benefit dinner held for Bud and Kathy Smyth. Your hearts are as large as this great land we live in and your generosity is amazing. The Smyths were extremely grateful and send their love and thanks to you all. Thank you to our cooks, Billy and daughter Cheryl, who spent days cooking spaghetti. Becca, Ramey, Ava, Banyon, Corrine, Lynn, Kari, Bonnie, Anthony and Ceyera all helped make this a success by cooking, cleaning

PIZZA Humdingers Pizza ........ 745-7499

and setting up the dining area. Thank you also to the Big Lake Lions Club for letting us use the Lions Rec Center.

PRINT SERVICES The UPS Store ........ 376-6245

Our contributors were amazing, Special thanks goes out to I CHARR Mat Su and Fairbanks chapters, Ivory Jacks from Fairbanks, Aurora Lions Club, Barb and Raymie Reddington, Mark Agree, Underdog Feeds, the Behnke family, Fireside Books in Palmer, John Ace, Shelley Gill, Jaimie High, Marilyn Mapes, Bonnie Church, Northern Lights Media, Papoose Milling and Dan Seavy,

RADIO 95.5 The Pass ........ 631-0877 REPAIR, RESTORATION Comtronics ........ 373-2669 Steve’s Toyostove…. 376-9276 RELAXATION The Tub House & Tanning….. 376-8827 SALONS Hello Darlin Salon.… 373-3307 Light It Up Head Shop…. 745-5483

If I missed anyone, please accept my apologies.

SMOKE SHOPS Alaska Pipe Dreams ........ 746-1500

Thank you again everyone for all your help. Happy Trails.

SPECIALTY GIFTS Alaska Midnite Scents ........ 357-7364

was granted that patent two years later on Aug. 17, 1965. Contributed by Paul Johnson I’m old enough to remember the tactics used to ban cigarette smoking from hospitals, grocery stores, airplanes and eventually restaurants and bars. That’s why Alaska Quit Line/Breathe Free Mat Su’s attack on vaping looks so familiar; they are the same tactics, “Not Safe! - Dangerous Chemicals! - Harm to Others! - Save the Children!” The problem is that AQL/BFMS are wrong on every account. I’ve covered that ground in

previous articles. Vaping is not smoking, period. It may look like smoking, particularly if the vaper is using a “cig-a-like”, a personal vaporizer that looks like a traditional cigarette. That’s the perception. The majority of vapers abandon these early on or never uses them to begin with. It’s old, unsatisfying technology. How old? In 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert filed for a U.S. patent (US3200819 A) for a smokeless non tobacco cigarette and

When Mr. Gilbert was asked in a 2013 interview why the design wasn’t put into production, his reply was, “Those I showed it to could have done it, but they chose to wait for the patent to expire and then filed their own versions. I showed it to chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies and tobacco companies and they did what they did to try to protect their markets.” So, when AQL /BFMS and the FDA or Surgeon General tells you, “They haven’t been around long enough to understand


THRIFT SHOPS Red Barn Thrift Store ........ 745-5050 Steam Driven Boutique ........ 376-4404 Turn-A-Leaf Thrift Stores ........ 376-5708 TOYS Just Imagine Toys ........ 357-1543



Contributed by Brandi Kinney, MY House Contributed by Brandy Graham The annual Ocean Luncheon, hosted by the Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS), was swimming with activity at Evangelo’s in Wasilla on Thursday, February 23rd. The crowd was bristling full of community and business leaders showing their enthusiastic commitment and support to the recycling center for the upcoming year. The amazing attendees and sponsors include: • BP • Friends of Janet Kincaid • Alaska Waste • WestRock Recycling • Susitna Energy • ALPAR • Walmart • MEA • Hub International • MVFCU • First National Bank • Mat-Su Health Foundation • MTA • Alaska USA FCU • Renewable Energy Systems • Knik Tribal Council • F-E Contracting

The VCRS started back in 1998 as a quarterly recycling one-stop grass roots effort to encourage recycling and to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste going into our landfill. Today it has blossomed into a fully functioning non-profit recycling facility that kept over 1600 tons of materials out of our landfill last year alone! As our valley community continues to grow and expand, so will the need to reduce the amount of waste entering the landfill, making our VCRS an even more crucial and invaluable asset to our community. VCRS has several key strategies that help to make a difference.

Our Strategies: OCEAN

• Opportunity: Provide easily accessible opportunities to recycle. • Community: Promote and maintain a sense of community. • Education: Educate community re: reduce, reuse and recycle. • Advocacy: Advocate for public policies that support reducing, reusing and recycling. • Non-profit: Provide a comprehensive reliable recycling program to our community, putting our profits back into our program as a public service non-profit organization.

VCRS also shared their new mission statement and vision for the future, which were unveiled in October of 2016. Our new vision is to establish the Mat-Su Borough as a model zero landfill community. And our new mission is to operate a cutting edge Resource Recovery and Training Park while educating, training and fostering partnerships to reduce, reuse and recycle for the long term good of all. Because the recycling center’s capacity has grown, recycling is reaching exciting new places in the Valley. At the Talkeetna, Willow, Big Lake, and now Sutton waste transfer sites, there are roll-offs for recycling available to receive materials when local community volunteers are on site. As we look to the future, the more we recycle the cleaner our communities will be and the more we can keep out of the costly landfill. Remember, there is no away. A special thank you to all sponsors, hosts and guests for your continued support. Together we are turning it around!

The Hunting Ground Viewing 4/14/2017 – 5PM Gathering Grounds Café 300 N Willow St. Wasilla FREE Event

These rates make Alaska the highest ranked state for sexual assault in the nation at 3 times the national average.

Due to graphic content, we do ask that no one under the age of sixteen attend this viewing. In addition to this viewing, we will be hosting a community conversation on what we as individuals, a community and a state can do to prevent sexual assault and help our victims heal.

These numbers need to change and the time is now! Please join MY House at Gathering Grounds

Please feel free to contact Brandi Kinney at (907) 373-4357 for further information about this event.

Contributed by Betsy Woodin

enjoy snacks and fun activities together. During the summer we meet outdoors and have BBQs and picnics when weather allows.

Did you know in the state of Alaska, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men experience sexual?

Thanks to the volunteers that helped the children at the Mat-Su Grandparent Support Group make beautiful sugared Easter Eggs and Baskets and to Tonya Storm for knitting hats for the group. The local Grandparent Support Group is part of the Volunteers of America Grandfamilies Program and collaborates with the Wasilla Alaska Center for Resource Families. They meet twice a month at the Community Room next to Turn-a-Leaf Thrift Store in Wasilla.


Contributed by Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain

encouraged to reach out and “mend the fence”.

Reconciliation Day is a special day to patch relationships and to make amends. Its intention is to re-establish relationships between family, friends and couples.

For those considering a reconciliation, the old saying is, “It’s never too late.” But, that is not true. Someday, it could be too late. So, please use today to begin your reconciliation.

Life is too short to hold a grudge between those we love.

We also need to be reconciled to God.

Contributed by Vic Kohring As a pro-development, conservative legislator in the 90s and early 2000s, one of my highest priorities was to create jobs for my constituents. With Alaska being a resource-rich state, it made sense to emphasize developing the state’s natural bounty to build our economy and add good paying jobs to the workforce. Instead of low-paying service industry jobs in a restaurant or box store that barely exceed minimum wage, why not high-paying ones in places like the North Slope, the Seward Peninsula at the Red Dog lead and zinc mine or in the interior at the Fort Knox gold mine outside Fairbanks? I was often criticized by the left and their friends in the fake news media for being too tight with the oil and gas industry. Even the feds targeted me after setting up their crooked little scheme as part of the Polar Pen investigation a decade ago, where they engaged in massive cheating to take down a sitting lawmaker. My political career may have taken a major hit thanks to unscrupulous government lawyers, but in hindsight I have zero

For more information call Rozann the local coordinator at 376-7322 or Betsy at ACRF 376-4678.

The 1st Friday meeting is at 10:30AM12PM for adults only to plan activities. The 2nd Saturday meeting is from 1PM-3PM and the adults and kids


Estranged couples may find today to be an opportunity to work out their problems. People who have had a “falling out” with family members are

Café on April 14th from 5pm-8pm for our 2nd annual viewing of The Hunting Grounds. This documentary outlines sexual assault on college campuses, expanding on how college administration and society fails to hold the rapists/assailants accountable.

The Bible says, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). We owe a debt that we cannot pay.

regrets for aggressively working to drill more wells and produce more oil and gas to generate wealth for the state’s treasury and create jobs so people could support their families. I’m proud of backing legislation, including bills I sponsored such as House Bill 69, which spurred development by streamlining overbearing regulations in oil and gas regions including Cook Inlet, here in the Valley and on the Slope. Keeping tax rates reasonable to establish incentives for the industry to invest here was a focus too. I’m proud of establishing a reputation in Juneau as one of the staunchest supporters of oil and gas with a track record to back it up. As the legislature’s Oil & Gas Committee chairman for five years, I helped lead an effort to keep the industry vibrant and growing. Measures were put in place to encourage production of heavyily viscous oil and hydrocarbons in marginal, low yield and high risk fields. Simplifying the permitting process made it easier for coal bed gas drilling in the Mat-Su, much to the consternation of the “Friends (Enemies?) of Mat-Su,” a radical, lockeverything-up environmental group.

The wages of which is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus Christ came to earth to shed His perfect, sinless blood for my sin and the sins of all mankind. He paid our sin debt. To be reconciled to God, we must accept what God did for us.

This is how God reconciled us to Himself. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

“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.” (John 3:16) When we accept God’s payment for our sin through atoning blood of Jesus, the Bible tells us that we become new creatures in Christ. “Therefore if any

The result has been greater exploration and the discovery of more oil and gas. Repsol, for example, just announced the biggest onshore U.S. oil discovery in thirty years in Alaska. While supporting resource development, I also kept a close eye on the environment, recognizing its importance and the need to protect it. We must extract resources carefully while keeping our land, air and water clean and pollution free as much as possible. In other words, a balance must be achieved. Rampant development that leaves in its wake fouled land and water serves no purpose as we’ve seen in countries like Russia and China. Nor does carelessly managing existing resources have a place. I was horrified by the Exxon-Valdez oil spill that devastated our shorelines and killed birds and marine life en masse. But at the same time, we must not overreact by locking up our state and turn it into a big park where everything looks pretty, but little wealth and few jobs exist. The pendulum must not shift too far one way or the other. From a Christian perspective, protecting the earth is important. The Bible says in Psalm 24:1 that the fullness of the earth is for those who dwell in it. That includes protecting it.

May I encourage you to be reconciled to God today! Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain 907 715-4001

It also states in Revelation 11:18 that those who destroy the earth will not go unpunished. Therefore it’s biblical that we care for our planet. Moreover, it’s simply logical to protect our land, water and air, vital to life and the health of earth’s occupants. Use our resources wisely, but do not waste, pillage and pollute. It’s common sense. I’ve been an avid outdoorsman most of my life. I’ve hunted and fished, shot moose, dipnetted salmon, trapped mink and cut down many a tree in my day. I love to hike. The Butte and Lazy Mountain are favorites. And I’m not embarrassed to admit I enjoy wildflowers, bird watching, picking berries and a beautiful sunset reflecting off Pioneer Peak uninhibited by hazy, polluted air. Our leaders in Juneau and Washington should know that there’s nothing shameful about being proenvironment, even as a Republican. Nor is it contradictory. As they go great guns trying to prove how “conservative” and mow-downthe-trees pro-development they are to win votes and impress big donors, there’s no reason to fear publicly supporting protecting the environment as if politically incorrect. Besides, it’s right in the eyes of God.

POLITICS / OPINION Contributed by Representative Lora Reinbold The governor, some in the legislature and even some prominent Alaskans don’t believe Alaska has a spending problem. They say that Alaska has a revenue problem and argue that Alaska needs to implement more revenue options, i.e. taking your money to fuel big government. Their tired refrain is simply to argue, “You can’t cut your way to prosperity.” On the contrary, we all know that you can’t spend your way to prosperity! Missing from all of the budget discussions is a data driven conversation about what constitutes a reasonable or normal level of government expenditure. The private sector uses “benchmarking”, a comparison to competitors in the same industry, to understand competitiveness and drive business performance. Businesses often conduct benchmarking of their operating costs to streamline operations. The data needed for benchmarking Alaska government spending against other states is readily available, and published by the US Census Bureau ( The most recent data is for fiscal year

Contributed by Wes Keller The origin of taxes predates recorded history. Taxes are as natural to any community as breathing. When we must live together, we make rules applying to all and incurring a government cost. Typically, we learn to tolerate this element of authority as external to our God-given autonomy; some even learn to comply cheerfully and ante up. Grudgingly, we usually submit as we learn to appreciate the benefits of law and order. Some fixate on making sure they get their share of whatever taxes may buy. Others seem to feel a calling to spend the revenue on behalf of others. Still others develop a god-complex and try to rule with the revenue! In any case, taxes are as “sure as death” - ultimately because humans cannot abide community without rules. The Alaska Permanent Fund investment earnings is exempt from these considerations because it is not available to spend as more tax revenue!

2014 (FY14). The data is enlightening, to say the least. In 2014, Alaska’s total expenditure (capital and operating cost, excluding permanent fund expenditures), was 2.3 times the national average ($14,960 vs $6,390 per capita) and Alaska has the highest per capita spending of any state in the nation. To put that in context, that’s eight $1000 permanent fund dividends for each Alaskan above the national average, every year! Granted, the state has made progress cutting the capital budget, which was 5.4 times the national average in FY14 ($1,780 vs $330 per capita). However, looking at the operating budget, the budget that funds daily operations of state government, the State of Alaska spends 2.4 times the national average ($8,070 vs $3,340 per capita) and again is number one in the nation. It’s unlikely that this has changed much since FY14, simply because our total agency operating budgets have been reduced by less than 1% percent since FY14 (Source: https://www.omb.alaska. gov, Agency Operations, Enacted Budgets). Some will certainly argue, that you can’t make that comparison because Alaska is different. Alaska is bigger, Alaska is colder, Alaska is x, y and z. Well that certainly is true to some extent, but the data, nonetheless, shows a troubling trend of exceptionally high

government infrastructure and services in a vast new land with staggering natural resource wealth. “We the People” authorized the taking (taxing) a full 75% of whatever the state government can get out of our vast, invaluable supply of natural resources! The experiment produced unprecedented prosperity, until now. This experiment has now also put us in the era of unsustainable budgets. “Unsustainable” is a clinical, technical word in academia and means we are absurdly heading to bankruptcy! We still own staggering natural resource wealth! The time has come for the state sovereigns (we the people) to re-analyze and clarify in a vetted, statewide vote, this ‘tax system’ experiment! Fortunately, our founders and subsequent lawmakers anticipated the sins of big government and did not make 100% of our natural resource wealth tax revenue. They wisely put the remaining 25% of the PF out of the reach of traditional tax spending. Unfortunately, an ‘elite group’ of the governor, state employees, contractors, welfare recipients and too many legislators propose to use some or all of the restricted money - as if there were no difference.

An educated and thoughtful Alaskan should be profoundly grateful that our state government, as defined in the Alaska Constitution, honors and protects human equality and inherent individual rights and freedom. However, the Alaska Constitution also instituted a queer and unique twist to the definition of tax! Our Alaska tax system is a radical tax experiment our founders (a few of whom are still alive) agreed to when they (we) ratified our constitution.

They fail to remember that the 25% is not theirs to spend. Why else did the founders bother to restrict it? It is foolishness to assume this portion of assets are reserved to indemnify anyone who may later benefit from state spending! It must require another statewide vote to spend this money, unless the sovereigns roll over and play dead or let any government funded program, including the courts, make the decision. This is why the lawsuit is dangerous! (You can see more of my thoughts on this at quack-idealists/.)

Our tax system was instituted partly because of the challenge of a relatively small population affording the needed

We have managed our wealth so poorly that we now really are headed over the

the long term effects,” or “It’s not about protecting the status quo, our positions or the money,” consider these facts. Unfortunately, this is also where the term “E-Cig” originated adding to the perception that vaping is a cigarette and it is smoking. Modern vapor products bear little if any resemblance to a cigarette, but still satisfy the hand to mouth and vapor exhalation habit that reforming and reformed smokers enjoy. It’s also one reason P.V.s or mods are 60% more successful tobacco harm reduction products than OTC NRTs. (Public Health England 19 Aug. 2015) I note this perception issue not only to demonstrate AQL/BFMS’s lack of understanding of the products they are trying to demonize, but to also point out to all of the anti-smoking people that they are taking advantage of your


prejudice. It’s a “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” approach, which is exactly why they are using the same tactics they did to eliminate virtually all public smoking. They are not just fear mongering smokers into not even giving vaping a chance to save their own lives, they are taking advantage of your prejudice to imply vaping is just as bad as or worse than smoking, even though many other countries around the world recognize the personal and public health benefits of tobacco harm reduction through vaping. The persecution begins when the FDA, local health organizations and the enemies of their enemies’ team up to proclaim that their methods and ideology are the only solution, eliminating the American value of freedom of choice and condemning millions to tobacco related illness and death.

spending in the state of Alaska. The census data also identifies spending by government function. Comparison of per capita spending for five of the larger government functions is shown in the accompanying chart. Nearly every function is multiples of the national average and at or near the top of the nation in rank for spending. For example, the chart illustrates that Alaska spends 5.3 times the national average on administration, 1.7 times the national average on public welfare and 2.0 times the national average on education.

simply have a tax and spend mentality and insist that government knows best and can spend your money on what’s important. For many it’s simply easier to “go along, to get along”, and pass the bill for big government to the taxpayers and the next generation. I vehemently oppose this solution. We must cut our operating budget and strive to align with national norms in government spending before we ask the people to hand over their hard earned money. And it’s time to have an honest conversation and some serious analysis about the state of our budget.

We have operated in a mode of free money, big bank accounts and unbridled spending for too many years. The result is big budgets that we can’t afford.

We need some professional benchmarking and some honest discussion about where rational cuts in state government spending can be made.

The unfortunate circumstance is that many in state government either don’t understand the problem or don’t have the fortitude, nor the leadership to address the problem. And others

It’s time for the public to get involved and tell government that you get your house in order before you pass “revenue options”, to tax the private sector and spend our savings.

cliff. The investment earnings need to be distributed to the people as “cold, hard cash” and then taxed back by the Legislature statutorily! The hatred of the electorate for taxes provides the proper check to cabal spending! Spending is the issue and we need debate to ensure:

Alaskans have already authorized more spending per capita than any other state. With this in mind, it is incredibly troubling to admit our well-funded education, health, infrastructure and public safety programs still get poor grades when compared with other states! Having too much “easy money” has not served the state well. We cannot let ourselves be ruined by more of it!

• • •

There is indeed a crisis. Any new tax (like spending of PF earnings) is kept minimal and temporary. All tax revenue is spent carefully and wisely… Or else!

Don’t be fooled! According to 2016 Legislative calculations, the $10 billion in PF earnings is enough to pay $4000 dividends for about ten years and still have a $2 billion cushion in the account. If you are uncomfortable with me calling the 75% of our natural resources “tax revenue”, consider Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition of tax: “A rate or sum of money assessed on the person or property of a citizen by government, for the use of the nation or state. Taxes in free governments, are usually laid upon the property of citizens according to their income, or the value of their estates. Tax is a term of general import, including almost every species of imposition on persons or property for supplying the public treasury, as tolls, tribute, subsidy, excise, impost or customs. But more generally, tax is limited to the sum laid upon polls, lands, houses, horses, cattle, professions and occupations. So we speak of a land tax, a window tax, a tax on carriages, etc. Taxes are annual or perpetual.” ( Dictionary/tax) According to this definition, with checks and balances, taxes can actually be palatable! They enable us to do things that could/would not be done by individual Alaskans or private businesses. Generous, noble

That brings me to AQL excitedly trotting out the Surgeon General’s press release in last month’s issue of this paper and the secondhand smoke ads that have shown up periodically. Like AQL and the anti-tobacco general public, the S.G. is being used as a shill by the FDA. The FDA in turn is primarily funded by big pharmaceutical companies. I draw your attention to this PBS article: (www. prescription/hazard/independent.html) Even President Trump noted in an interview on 1-11-17 that, “Big Pharma” has way too many lobbyists and representatives, and we need to rein them in.” As for the secondhand smoke issue, vaping is actually the solution. Exhaled vapor has less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than ambient indoor air and no carbon monoxide (CO2) whatsoever. The question becomes, why would the FDA, national and local

Protect permanent fund earnings to only be for distribution as personal property investment dividends; then prepare yourself for a fair fight to keep taxes reasonable. The Tax Poem Tax his land, tax his bed, tax the table at which he’s fed. Tax his oil, tax his gold, tax it before it can be sold. Tax his work, tax his play, tax his permanent fund before he has a say! Tax his profits, tax his savings, tax to stop any misbehaving. Tax his tobacco, tax his drink, tax him double if he tries to think. Tax his cigars, tax his beers, if he cries, then tax his tears. Tax his car, tax his gas or find other ways to tax his ass. When he hollers never fret, just sell him on another government safety net. Tax him till he’s good and sore. Don’t worry, there’s always plenty more. Then tax his coffin, tax his grave, tax the sod in which he’s laid. Put these words upon his tomb, “Taxes drove me to my doom…” When he’s gone, do not relax, it’s time to get the inheritance tax. (Edited variation of The Tax Poem, found at Wes Keller

HHS’ intentionally drive smokers away from something that is at least 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco, has a 60% higher success rate than their OTC NRTs, and poses no threat to bystanders, as proven by other enlightened countries around the world? The answer is twofold. First, because it’s a way for reforming and reformed smokers to have their cake and eat it too, being able to enjoy their nicotine (the same nicotine that is in their “approved” NRTs) which has been proven to be no more addictive or harmful than the caffeine in your coffee or energy drink, without the harm of burning anything. Second and more importantly, the countries that do embrace the benefits of vaping aren’t in the pockets of Big Tobacco or Big Pharma. The FDA and state governments are, through the tobacco master settlement and funding from Big Pharma.

PETS & ANIMALS Contributed by Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates You would never guess that Vanna is six years old! This energetic girl is as animated and silly as a young puppy. Vanna loves people, but would be more successful in a home that doesn’t have young children, simply because of her excitability.

With training, she may overcome this fear. Vanna is house trained, knows basic commands and is very food motivated, making any further training likely to be easy. To learn more about Vanna, please call Angie at 841-3173 or email Alaska Animal Advocates at


Contributed by Kelleigh Orthmann Honeylemon is a gorgeous fellow in a lush orange coat. He’s a big boy (the pic is deceptive), and is about three years old. Honeylemon is a quiet, sweet gentle boy. He loves to be loved by his people. He does fine with other nice cats, but is a little overwhelmed at this foster home with lots of felines greeting him. He seems fine with the mellow dog as well.

Sadly, Vanna had some bad experiences as a younger dog and is therefore frightened of other dogs.

Contributed by Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates

take your dog to the vet immediately if he has eaten something toxic or has other health concerns.

dog with watery diarrhea by giving him unflavored Pedialyte, to replace lost electrolytes.

Diarrhea is no fun, for you or your dog. For the record, diarrhea is loose, liquid bowel movements. It can also involve blood or mucus and be accompanied by dehydration, fever, vomiting or loss of appetite.

Home remedies will not help with worms, giardia or coccidia. These issues will require medical care. Do not make the mistake of using a home remedy to address a more serious underlying problem. Puppies can become dehydrated quickly and a natural remedy is not adequate for a more serious illness.

Offer your dog a bland diet after the fasting period - such as boiled (skinless) chicken or hamburger meat (fat drained) and rice Adding plain yogurt or cottage cheese will promote “good” bacteria in your dog’s bowels.

Diarrhea can be caused by something as simple as a change in diet or a more serious health related problem. Causes can include food intolerance, allergies, ingestion of poison, spoiled food or a foreign body, bacterial or viral infections, parasites or worms, colitis, kidney or liver disease, cancer and more. Even stress can create havoc on your dog’s intestinal tract. Be sure to


If your dog has diarrhea, having him fast - removing food for approximately 24 hours - will often allow his system to settle. Puppies should not fast for more than 12 hours and consult your vet for dogs with medical conditions such as diabetes. Provide hydration for your

Also, boiled or scrambled eggs without spices, are fairly easy on the system. Continue to feed this to your dog until the diarrhea has stopped. You can reintroduce your dog’s regular food on a gradual basis, continuing to monitor his stool. Dogs who have diarrhea or are vomiting can be given Pepto-Bismol

approximately every six hours. Give him one milliliter for every ten pounds of weight. Also Kaopectate, at a dose of .05-0.1 milligrams per pound, every eight hours. Remember, not all dogs will respond to these home remedies in the same manner. If your dog has diarrhea for two or more days, take him to the vet. Know when you are in unknown territory. Your dog’s health is more important than your efforts to handle the problem yourself.

COMMUNITY Get Growing! Contributed by Jennifer Castro, Alaska Grown It’s a little too early to begin most of your starter seeds, but there are several things you can start doing now to prepare for a successful growing season. 1. Acquire Supplemental Lighting Even though we are getting more daylight in Alaska, it is still not enough right now for most of our seeds. We recommend that you add supplemental lighting into your indoor growing space until you are ready to

Contributed by Kaitlin M. Rock Alaska Chicks Co. Vintage Home Market April 1-2, 2017 Saturday @9AM, Sunday @11AM Alaska Chicks Company Alaska State Fairgrounds 2075 Glenn Hwy, Palmer Cost: $3 Saturday, FREE Sunday Alaska Chicks Co.’s Vintage Home Market Show just keeps getting more exciting! We need two buildings (Raven Hall and Hoskins Exhibits) to make

Contributed by Joan Klapperich 4/6/2017 – 3PM Interior Baseball Lions Club Menard Sports Center 1001 S Clapp St, Wasilla Spring back into ball season with this instructional clinic taught by accomplished players and coaches! This clinic is open to boys and girls, grades 7-12. Participants must provide their own gear, wear appropriate clothing and bring a water bottle, etc. Check out these short biographies of the featured players and coaches: Bobby Bell first signed with the California Angels’ minor league team, the Palm Spring Angels, in 1986 as a catcher and third baseman. He played three seasons, primarily playing catcher. After Bobby’s career as a player, he spent ten years as a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins Organization. In 2013, Bobby managed for Miami’s Gulf Coast League team.

transplant your seeds outside. 2. Order Your Seeds Make sure you get your seed orders in soon so you will have them in time for our growing season. If you plan on planting vegetables, make sure you order enough seeds for fast-growing produce such as lettuce and spinach which can usually be planted multiple times during the summer. 3. Create a Planting Timeline Depending on what you are growing, some seeds and varieties grow faster than others - in some cases by months apart. Sort your starter seeds by their germination and maturity dates. Ones that take longer (70+ days), you’ll want to start in April.

room for numerous amazing vendors this year and on top of that, the show will be held in tandem with the first annual Food Truck Festival, featuring some of the tastiest foods in Alaska! Trucks will be parked outside and will serve everything from ribs (The Rib Cage,) to reindeer sausage (Yeti Dogs,) to cute and tasty cupcakes (Kastle’s Kreations.) In addition to the outdoor food trucks, there will be local food vendors inside the buildings. Local Palmer girls,

Lauren Haeger was a part of the ISF Junior World Champion team in 2011. She spent the past four seasons as a right-handed pitcher for the Florida Gators, ending her college career with a 73-12 record including a 1.71 ERA and 500+ strikeouts. Lauren’s seventy-three wins coupled with seventy-one career home runs makes her and Babe Ruth the only players in NCAA or Major League Baseball history with 70+ home runs and win 70+ games in a career. In 2015, she was the NFA First Team All-American, USA Softball National Collegiate Plier of the Year, SEC Pitcher of the Year and the WCWS Most Outstanding Player. Lauren is now playing for NPF Texas Charge. Joe LeFebre played ball at Easter Oregon University where he later coached. He also coached Paradise Valley Community College as well as at several other colleges. Joe was the head coach of Moon Valley High School in Phoenix, Arizona from


4. Design and Plan Your Seed Starting Space We suggest putting any of your seed starters near a south facing window so they can get as much natural daylight as possible.


If you have any questions regarding variety information or general production practices, please reach out to your local extension service or the PMC at 907-745-4469.

Determine what you are going to initially plant your seeds in. You can use anything from an egg carton to a yogurt cup to an actual seed starting kit which are available at your local gardening stores. What plants grow well in Alaska? Leafy greens, spinach, kale, carrots and broccoli do very well in most regions of our state. Corn, peppers and tomatoes grow well in a greenhouse environment.

Sweetie Pie Fried Pies, will be deep frying their handmade pies at the show and serving them fresh and warm. A new vendor, Happiness Ice Cream and Frozen Custard, will be selling Alaska Grown custard and ice cream made with fresh local milk, cream and eggs!

the opportunity to learn tips and tricks from these incredible ladies!

Also new to the show this year, 2 Chicks & A Toolbelt will be flying up from the lower 48 to demonstrate and sell their line of chalk paint, Chalky Chicks.

We will have vendors in both Raven Hall and the Hoskins building, doors open Saturday from 9AM-6PM and Sunday 11AM-5PM.

This paint is amazing for breathing new life into old furniture. Don’t miss

Don’t miss it!

1995-1998 compiling 117 wins. Joe has been a Pro Scout for many years, currently for the New York Yankees. Kylee Lahners was drafted 10th in the second round in 2015 by the Dallas Charge where she is in her 3rd season playing outfield. In her first year, she earned a perfect fielding record, and in 2016 she had a .245 batting average with eight homeruns. As a Washington Husky, she played infield and was the third all-time in Husky softball history with fifty-four career home runs. She was named first team 2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention, 2013 second team All-Pac-12, All-Pacific Region, 2014 third team All-American by the NFCA, first team All-Pac-12; 2015 NFCA Division I All-Pacific Region second-team pick, first team AllPac 12. In additions to playing for the Texas Charge, she is coaching a Firecrackers softball team in California. For more information please contact Dave Hall (907) 388-2496 or Tamara Finley (360) 640-1240

Join us April 1st and 2nd at the Alaska State Fairgrounds for the Alaska Chicks Co. Vintage Home Market Show and Food Truck Fest!

COMMUNITY Contributed by Deb Blaylock 2017 Alaska State Master Gardeners Conference 4/22/2017 – 8AM Mat-Su Master Gardeners Palmer Train Depot 610 S Valley Way, Palmer Cost: $80 Early Bird Registration, $100 Regular Registration The Mat-Su Master Gardeners Association is proud to sponsor the 2017 Alaska State Master Gardeners Conference. We have an exciting and full slate of speakers, programs and vendors that are sure to titillate your gardening senses!

• • • • • •


Craig Smith – USDA-NRCS Karen Ross – The Foundation for Functional Fermented Food Rob Brown – Flattop Farm Cindee Karns – Alaskan Cold Climate Permaculture Institute Jan Newman – Grow Palmer Stephen Brown – UAF Cooperative Extension Service

There will be vendors on-site selling a variety of items. There are door prizes galore with drawings throughout the conference for these goodies! Early Bird Registration is $80 through March 31st. On April 1st, registration is $100 per person.

Lunch is included with a delicious variety of soups and salads provided by Turkey Red.

Registration is limited to the first 100 people. Cancellation Policy: a full refund will be applied until April 15th.


Visit the Mat-Su Master Gardeners Association webpage for more conference information and registration details at www. or email matsumastergardeners@

• •

Key Note Speaker: Marion Owen – Author, Gardener and Photographer Ellen VandeVisse – Mat-Su Borough Solid Waste Division


Contributed by Linda Myers-Steele

awarded to Grow Palmer.

One of the many purposes of the Valley Garden Club is to award grants on a yearly basis. Grant awards of up to $1,000 are available for projects that beautify or benefit the Mat-Su Community.

Funds were used for relocating the apple trees, rhubarb and strawberries from their old site to the permanent new site along the walkway next to the Palmer Depot. This is part of a larger scale project to establish new raised beds along the walkway for growing free edible foods to the public.

During 2016, the grants went to the Big Lake Belles for their ongoing beautification of Jordan Lake Park next to the Big Lake Library. The money was spent for improving soil and planting annuals, perennials and herbs in the Children’s Garden area, as well as installing two large barrel planters and a lilac tree at the viewing platform. A grant was also awarded to Camp Maranatha to install grass and raised flowerbeds in the common areas. The camp is used year round, hosting 45 different groups’ meetings, retreats and various camps. It is located out by Horseshoe Lake. And a grant was

Applications are open for Mat-Su Valley projects. Applicants must be 501(c)3 non-profits or public entities. Applications available online at, requested via email to or by mail. Valley Garden Club, Attention: Grant Committee, PO Box 871244, Wasilla, AK 99687. Applications must be received by April 7, 2017. Grants to be awarded the end of April.

The People's Paper March 2017  
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