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Eric Engman/News-Miner


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

John Wagner/News-Miner

Paul Ransom, left, looks back to keep an eye on a sled carrying an ice auger as he and his son, Paul Ransom Jr., 11, depart from a three-hour ice fishing expedition at their usual spot on Chena Lakes on a sunny in January in North Pole.

Welcome to Fairbanks: It’s going to get cold By CHRIS FREIBERG There’s only one definite thing a newcomer to Fairbanks can expect. “I can guarantee it’s going to get cold at some point,” said Jim Brader, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Just how cold it will get, however, is anyone’s guess. Temperatures can swing

wildly during a Fairbanks winter, reaching 40 below zero one week and hitting 40 above the next. On average, Fairbanks sees eight days per year that are 40 below or colder. The bright side, though, is that despite the bitter cold temperatures, the wind speed only averages about 2 mph. “Walking gives you more of a wind chill than the wind,” Brader said.

The Interior also averages 70 inches of snowfall in the winter. Fairbanks was well below that average last year. The first thing a newcomer to Fairbanks will want is warm clothes to get through the winter. John Castes, a manager at Big Ray’s for 18 years who has been nicknamed “the boot guru,” recommends a good pair of boots above all else. Castes says that the ground

can feel a lot colder than the air, but if your feet are warm, the rest of you will stay a lot warmer. “If you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, you’re going to need a warmer boot,” he said, noting that the prices of a good pair range between $50 and $150. But even if you plan on staying in a nice warm car for most of your travels this winter, there are certain things to

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take into account. First of all is that if the temperature dips into single digits, it’s a good idea to plug your car in if you don’t have a heated garage to store it in. Otherwise vehicles just don’t want to start when the temperature gets below zero. Sgt. Robert Thompson of the Fairbanks police department also suggests studded tires when you hit the open road. “It’s a cheap insurance policy,” he said. Because low temperatures can hurt vehicles, it’s a good idea to always carry a charged cell phone to call for help if you get stalled. And if you’re driving out of town far from police or tow services, it’s a good idea to keep extra blankets and warm clothing in the car. “At 40 below, cars cool down real fast,” Thompson said. Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Be sure to prep your pets for winter By REBA LEAN Dogs, cats and other pets face a difficult season. People who might be worried about whether or not their car will last through the cold or if their pipes will freeze should also consider their pets that normally spend time outdoors. Dr. Val Stuve at Aurora Animal Clinic can think of many issues pet owners face with winter approaching. Cats that normally spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer eating mice and voles should get checked for worms, and the same goes for dogs. Stuve said that there are new topical medicines that make it easy to remove parasites. Antifreeze for cars is a major attractant for animals; it’s sweet taste is hard to ignore but is extremely dangerous to consume. Pets can end up with kidney blockage, which is difficult to both

diagnose and treat. Owners should be aware, especially if they’re located further away from town, that winter is trapping season. Animals that get caught in traps can have severe loss of circulation to their extremities, creating a huge risk of frostbite. Sometimes amputation is the only option. Outdoor dogs need adequate housing and extra nutrition. Stuve recommends that when checking a dog’s weight by feeling its ribs, check without gloves on. “You should be able to barely feel the ribs,” he said. If fingers can fit between the ribs, the dog is most likely malnourished. While outdoor pets are the major concern for pet owners, indoor pets need a little extra consideration in the winter months, as well. Fall is the best time to help the animals prepare for the real onslaught of cold. At Blue Ribbon Grooming in Fairbanks, Beverly May

has winter preparation for pets down to a science. She has noticed that a lot of people bring their pets in for a shedless treatment in the fall. “Shedding can be an issue when you have your pet inside more,” she explained. May also said that people tend to be more concerned with pet odor with the presence of their animals inside more often, so she often has customers who want a cleaning. “You want them more pleasant to be with,” she said. On top of shedding and odor, owners should be concerned with their pets’ nail lengths. Nails tend to grow better during the winter months, when the rocks and dirt that normally keep the length

Get out and enjoy Alaska’s winter sun — you need it By REBA LEAN Cabin fever can become an epidemic in Fairbanks’ winter months. As the hours of sunlight dwindle, people’s energy tends to drain along with it. The darkness can confuse your brains into believing you’re tired all the time. Sometimes, the effect can have even more serious consequences. Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms include lethargy and overeating. People’s sleeping schedules can be thrown off and their moods worsened because of it. Sharon Hollansbe at the University of Alaska Fairbanks encounters a lot of students with depression issues. Many of them know that the lack of light during winter months affects their mood, while others are unclear why they feel depressed. In some cases, Hollansbe recommends those students check out a lightbox that is said to simulate sunlight and help improve moods. Please see SUNLIGHT, Page 4

Please see PETS, Page 4




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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010 Eric Engman/News-Miner

PETS: Warm

“There’s a hand in there somewhere,” they joke as Oregon Coast Culinary Institute’s Joshua Kang, left, grinds out a hand while using his partner, Joshua Johnson, right, as a hand model during the World Ice Art Championships at the Ice Alaska Ice Park. Taking in the ice park is a great way to catch a dose of that rare winter sun that’s still important to your physical and mental health.

Continued from Page 3

down have disappeared underneath snow. May advises pet owners to keep their pets’ regular appointments with groomers. Some people believe that letting their pet’s hair grow out in the cold months will keep them warmer but May disagrees. Houses are normally kept at warmer temperatures in winter, and come January and 40 below temperatures, pets whose hair has grown out and become matted need help, and shaving is often the only way to fix the situation. Pets walking away with a thin coat of fur in the coldest time of year is not a smart solution. Giving an indoor or outdoor pet an extra thought this season could make it much more comfortable or even save its life. Many cold-weather informational brochures are available at local veterinary offices.

SUN: Lack of sun can take toll on emotional health much motivation sometimes when they’re depressed.” She also recommends getShe notes that any exercise ting outside while there is is important for students, but daylight, but, “there is not it is hard to tell for sure whether the small amount of daylight outdoors helps her T URORA KILAND patients. Jamie Marschner, president of Alaska Skijoring and Pulk Association thinks it is important to get as much Continued from Page 3

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sunlight as possible in the winter. “I make a point to get out between 10 and 2 every day,” she said. As a result, she believes it helps ward off the symptoms of S.A.D. She notices the effect darkness has on people in the area, including her husband. She says if people don’t get their daily dosage of sun, they tend to dislike Fairbanks and move after just a couple years. One way to make sure to get some sunlight in a day is to use lunch breaks to head outside. An hour-long lunch

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break in the height of Fairbanks’ winter sun is perfect for a short walk or chilly run. If more time is available, set up a schedule and force yourself to catch some rays each day. At Running Club North’s website, information on running in cold weather mentions “when the city and surrounding low areas are blanketed with ice fog, it’s a psychological lift to run in the hills where you can at least see (but not feel) the sun.” Breaking free from cabin fever may mean extreme temps, but it also may give you a better chance of avoiding depression.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

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The Woodway would like to thank the Fairbanks, North Pole and surrounding communities for their continued loyalty over the last 32 years. The community has continued to grow and change over the past few decades, and The Woodway has striven to adapt, improve and diversify to meet our customer’s needs. In the last few years there have been all sorts of stores opening and closing that have sold different types of heating appliances. The Woodway welcomes competition as it helps us to assess what we do more critically and enables us to offer the community even more.

This last year has offered us the opportunity to help people take advantage of the Federal Tax Credit which enables a homeowner the ability to save up to $1500.00 on a qualifying wood or pellet stove. On top of this, the Borough is spearheading a Woodstove Changeout Program by incentivizing eligible residents to upgrade their older woodstoves to cleaner burning appliances. These newer stoves not only assist in cleaning up our air, these units also help people to burn up to a third less firewood than their older stoves did. (For more information on the Borough program, please call 459-1312).


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Another exciting opportunity that has made its way to Fairbanks is the opening of a local pellet mill. The mill enables The Woodway to offer appliances that use a locally made, renewable fuel as an economical alternative way to heat their homes. We are excited to introduce the Enviro pellet stoves that are not only extremely quiet, but they have the ability to burn lower grade pellets which cost less, allowing people to save even more money on their heating bills. The Woodway small engine shop has expanded to cover everything from lawn mowers and chainsaws to ice augers and snow blowers, and with an average turn around time of 3 days, we service what we sell! Don’t forget The Woodway also has local pottery and art that is displayed throughout the year and new artists are featured along with refreshments throughout the winter months on First Fridays. We also offer our “Light the Fire” classes free of charge on Saturday mornings where folks can come in and ask questions and learn how to start a fire properly and operate their stove as efficiently as they can. The Woodway would again like to thank the community for its trust over the years and look forward to keeping interior Alaska warm for many winters to come.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Winter clubs are a great way to stay active John Wagner /News-Miner

By REBA LEAN What is your interest? Dog mushing? Skiing? Biking in the ice fog? There’s a club for that. In the city of Fairbanks, believe it or not, many people have the same issue. They’re new, and they don’t know how to get started with fun, outdoor winter activities. Clubs are always a good place to start. Organized groups tend to have several people who are relatively good at what they do, and are able to help out beginners. Running Club North is a pack of avid runners who don’t quit when temps drop. They are affiliated with Road Runners Club of America. Each winter, RCN’s Tracey Martinson hosts “Fahrenheit be Darned” every Wednesday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Center, regardless of temperature. The runners can be found wearing

Anthony Parent, 15, launches off a jump while snowboarding just before sunset with friends on a slope below the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

frosty facemasks and a lot of layers. One offshoot of RCN is Snowshoe Fairbanks, although leader Chad Carroll says, “it’s not really a club.” The snowshoers have weekly training runs on Tuesday evenings. Carroll suggests runners bring a headlamp, but as far as snowshoes go, there are usually

plenty of extras. Information on snowshoe events can be found at For Carroll, snowshoe running is a more convenient way to get a jog in when it’s cold and icy. He started in 2005. “I was tired of trying to run on the roads in the winter time,” he said. “You can go on any snowmachine trail. I’ve

bership meeting. Not long after, on Nov. 21, the Beginners Clinic starts at Alaska Feed Company with a classroom session. ASPA President Jamie Marschner says skijoring is relatively easy, but “it helps if you know how to ski.” Skiers don’t even really need a special breed of dog. Marschner has seen Alaskan huskies, St. Bernards and Golden Retrievers on the trails. She usually takes out her two Siberian Huskies. When going for speed, some skiers take fast, long-legged dogs. With those guys, “If you fall down, you can get dragged,” Marschner said. Race, training and trail information can be found at For a list of all sorts of clubs in the Fairbanks area, head to the public library or check out the library’s club search engine at

made many trails around my house.” Skiing also is big in Fairbanks. When people are ready for a little more excitement on the runners, adding a dog or two or three might help. Beginners are welcome to join the Alaska Skijoring and Pulk Contact staff writer Reba Lean at Association on Oct. 27 at the Mushers Hall for its fall mem- 459-7523

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Don’t forget your vehicle By MATT HAYES We are all going to have a little more jingle in our pockets soon as dividends start hitting bank accounts. Before making a down payment on a new snowmachine or carting home fancy TVs and sound systems that can crack windows, it’s a good idea to invest in a little TLC for the one you love most — your vehicle. Alaska winters can take a toll on cars and trucks and as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of bacon and you won’t make it home if your vehicle breaks down. Alaskans deal with this every year. Some of us get a jump on the process and have our cars and homes fully winterized usually by St. Patrick’s Day. But your car doesn’t like the cold any more than you do, and it will last longer and treat you better if you keep it happy. The best option for keeping a vehicle in optimal running condition is to build a heated garage, park the vehicle in it and give it the occasional back rub. This has the added benefit of making home life more pleasant. Please see VEHICLE, Page 9

News-Miner file

Cars line up along a row of plug-ins at the University of Alaska on Monday. Plugging in automotive accessories such as oil pan heaters, battery blankets, and block heaters help reduce fuel emissions.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

VEHICLE: A good set of snow tires can make a big difference Continued from Page 8

That’s not an option for many of us, so we decided to ask the professionals. Joy Fick at Alaska Auto Care said your vehicle’s antifreeze should be good to minus-55 degrees. She said a block heater, oil pan heater and heated battery blanket are necessary for the Interior’s harsh winters. The battery heater is especially important for older batteries, she said. Transmission pan warmers are available to keep that vital fluid flowing. At the NAPA auto parts store on Geist road, David Garris said they can supply the block and oil pan heater, battery blanket and winter wiper blades for about $150. Garris also recommends anti-freeze be good to minus 55 and said it’s best to use the manufacturer’s suggested brand of antifreeze for warranty purposes. Real Alaskans don’t walk outside on bitter cold mornings, stick a key in the ignition and start their car. Real Alaskans have auto start. Bob Boswood at Auto Trim Design has been installing auto starts since 1992. He said in Fairbanks probably more people own remote starting mechanisms per capita than anywhere else in the world. “They’re a lot more than convenience,” Boswood said.

Sam Harrel/News-Miner

Amber Conklin brushes the snow off of her car in January while parked behind the Chief Peter John Tribal Building. Conklin had to clean off nearly an inch of snow that fell while she was at work. “Some people rely on them to keep their vehicle from freezing up.” Boswood said today’s auto start units can sense cold and start the vehicle at a pre-set temperature, allowing it to run for 18 minutes. Modern auto starts also can let you know the car has started so you don’t have to peer through frosted windows to make sure it’s running.

Boswood says the main thing to consider before purchasing an auto start unit is distance. The distance between your home, office or workplace and where the vehicle is parked is important. He has units that will work anywhere from 1,000 feet to one mile and will start your car from inside the theater

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talking tires to anyone who will listen since the Reagan administration. Robertson says Blizzaks are the best tire for Alaska, especially the Interior. These tires cost a little more but users say they are worth the money. Sans the Blizzaks, Robertson recommends studded snow tires. “They don’t make an all-season tire for Alaska, especially the Interior,” Robertson said. Robertson said if you’re getting snow tires, get all four. Don’t just put them on the drive wheels. Even with front-wheel-drive cars, she said to put good snow tires on the rear axle also or risk watching the back of the car pass the front of the car on slippery turns. Common sense is the key to safe winter driving. Keep your vehicle plugged in, install good wiper blades, change the oil regularly and keep the gas or diesel tank as full as possible to avoid condensation in the fuel tank. Keep basic survival gear in the car. Blankets and gloves, warm clothes and footwear, flashlight, road flares, tow strap, shovel, a bag of sand for traction, jumper cables and a Saint Bernard to go get help in case of a breakdown.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010


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Bundle up: How to keep your kids warm By MARY BETH SMETZER Hats, snowsuits, jackets, snowpants, long johns, socks, boots, mittens and scarves — Oh my! The season of multiple layers is just around the corner. Dressing kids appropriately for winter weather allows them the freedom to enjoy the season safely and happily while playing outside during school recess, building a snow fort in the backyard, ice skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing or skiing. Layering is the key ingredient for keeping moisture away from the skin, insulating the body core and protecting from rain, sleet, wind and snow. There is a reason for the expression “cotton kills.” Do not use cotton layers when dressing for cold weather. Cotton doesn’t wick away moisture from the skin, but

absorbs it. And cotton doesn’t hold body heat as well other fabrics such as polypropylene, wool or silk. The same advice holds for socks and mittens as well. Here are some tips to keep in mind: • Hats are important to retain body heat lost through the scalp and protect the ears. Soft fleece or wool hats with ear flaps are comfortable and warm. • Mittens are warmer than gloves and may be combined with underlayers for added warmth and topped off with water-resistant tops. Always change mittens when wet, and keep extras on hand. For young children, buy snap-ended elastic bands that attach to coat sleeves at one end and mittens at the other end to keep from losing them. • A coat with a water-resistant outer shell is an excel-

lent final layer for playing the snow and it also allows protection against the wind. • Snowpants or snowsuits are a must for Alaska children playing outdoors. For added warmth, layer underneath with clothing and thermal underwear made from polypropylene, fleece, wool or silk. • Boots that fit properly, are lined, water-resistant or waterproof are a necessity for Interior winters. Make certain the footbed is insulated. Wool felt liners work well for cold weather. • Socks for children are available in a variety of wool and polyester blends for winter weather. Boot socks should be higher than the top of the boot for comfort and warmth. • Scarves protect the neck and can serve as a mask to cover the face and mouth. Please see CLOTHES, Page 13




OFF Sam Harrel/News-Miner


Nine-year-old Sarah Dirk sleds down a hill with friends Brooke Chappell, 9, left, Marvin Chappell, 8, top, and Rose Chappell, 5, near the Chappell’s home.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Think layers when deciding what to wear Staff Report Wearing appropriate clothing while out and about this winter isn’t something to be taken lightly. Until mankind can control the weather, Interior Alaskans will just have to buckle down and face the elements one layer of waterproof and wellinsulated piece of clothing at a time. Whether you’re out on a snowmachine, dog mushing, hiking in the woods or just driving to work or the grocery store, wearing extra layers, warm boots, gloves and a hat could save your life. Here are a few general rules to follow for dressing in cold weather: It’s better to wear several layers of loose clothing instead of one heavy layer. Air between multiple layers acts as an insulator. A pair of wool or non-cotton long underwear is a good start. Wearing 100 percent cotton products isn’t the best idea as cotton can become wet easily and result in potential hypothermia. To stay warm and dry while outside, always be sure to cover your feet, hands, neck and head as well as the core body, arms and legs. Heat can escape the body very quickly when skin surface is exposed.

CLOTHES Continued from Page 12

as gloves will not keep your hands warm in extreme temperatures. • A pair of snow pants or heavy, warm slacks. • A heavy scarf and/or hat that covers the ears, forehead and face. • Warm boots or mukluks if Items to keep in the car you are wearing light boots or shoes. Items to keep in the car: • A blanket or sleeping bag. • A pair of warm mittens, • On the feet: Mid-length, well-insuled boots are the best bet. Waterproofed boots for wetter snow conditions is helpful, too. Don’t forget to wear thick socks. • On the legs: Long underwear.

ALTROL’S “ENERGY SAVINGS CLUB” MEMBERSHIP SAVES YOU $$ MONEY $$ What You Benefit By Becoming An Altrol Energy Savings Club Member: • As an ESC member you will receive a 20% discount off the Standard Rate in the Customer Approved Pricing Book, on all tune-ups and service calls. • ESC members are entitled to a 10% discount on a boiler of furnace replacement. • Altrol will call all ESC members once per year to schedule their yearly tune-up, at the ESC member’s convenience. • ESC members receive a 32 point service checklist, at each yearly visit, showing that a thorough inspection has been done. Efficiency of heating unit will be listed also. • ESC members pay no overtime charges for afterhours, weekend, or holiday service calls. • ESC members receive priority service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. • Scheduled maintenance keeps your equipment running at its highest efficiency, thereby reducing breakdowns during extreme temperatures. Gives you peace of mind, knowing that your equipment is being maintained property, by a quality company.

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Avoid wearing tight socks that constrict blood flow. Cotton socks should also be avoided as they can get wet, which leads to potential frostbite. With extreme temperatures, there is always the danger of a vehicle stalling. Keeping extra warm clothing in the car could save your life if an emergency requires you to wait for help to arrive or to walk to a safe location. Even a short walk can place you in potential danger of frostbite or hypothermia. Winter activities such as sledding, skiing, and hiking can be a blast if you are prepared for the elements. If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, here’s how to be prepared:


Balaclavas cover the head and neck with an opening for the eyes and nose and are worn for protection against wind and extreme cold. • Tight clothing, outerwear or footwear should be avoided since it will restrict blood circulation. • Keep children well hydrated and fueled for outdoor play. Teach them how to dress and care for themselves in cold weather. It will add to their comfort and enable them to have a lot of fun outdoor exercise this winter.

Heat escapes from the head, hands and feet the quickest, so if wearing a ton of clothing isn’t your style, be sure to at least cover the essentials. Well-insulated and waterproof gloves are the best bet for keeping your hands from getting frostbitten. A hat that covers the ears is handy as well. Experts suggest that hats should be kept on at all times in cold weather. A trustworthy pair of winter boots with good traction and insulation is important as well. Avoid buying rubber boots as they have virtually no insulation and will not protect the feet from freezing.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Escape the cold at Fairbanks’ hot spots By Reba Lean Outdoor activities in a Fairbanks winter are great but when the mercury drops to a certain point, many people need a different way to pass the time — mainly indoors. Rather than holing up at home and risking loneliness or boredom, people often check out Fairbanks’ “hot” spots for a warm up in the winter months. Many places actually thaw out that inner frozen bone as some of these hot spots answer a cozy craving. For a real heat that surrounds and seeps in, Chena Hot Springs, about

60 miles away, can provide an answer. All around visitors to the outdoor pool is evidence of winter in the form of a thick frost that forms on rocks. If the weather outside is colder than 10 below, the pool-goers often have fun freezing their hair into funky hairstyles, while their bodies stay warm beneath the water. If the hot springs is your cup of tea, so might be local swimming pools and saunas. Becoming a fan of a swimming team in town lends to attending swimming meets where bleachers are placed in hot, humid pool areas. Some gym memberships also include pool and sauna access.

Upon leaving pools, stepping back out into the cold tends to be even more difficult. Perhaps that is the best time to hit up another hot spot such as Barnes and Noble’s faux fireplace. There, one can enjoy a hot drink and read a book, while still enjoying the presence of other people’s company. When people need to heat up from the inside out, a spicy meal might be the ticket. Fairbanks has many Thai, south-of-the-border and a few southern barbecue restaurants that may set fire to your insides and send tears down your cheeks. If a full meal is too much, a cup of coffee or tea at one of Fairbanks’

many cafes should hit the spot. For a short bit, the warmth of a hot drink can soothe the cold-weary. Sometimes, visions of sandy beaches and warm waters plague Northern folks’ dreams. When the absence of a hot sun becomes too much to bear, one can head to a tanning salon for a brightbulb and sun-kissed-look fix. When the cold snap sets in, and people feel the need to burrow under blankets and never come out, hopefully they remember Fairbanks’ plentiful hot spots, and step out of their cozy shell. Contact staff writer Reba Lean at 4597523

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Protect your home against the ravages of winter By ELANA ASHANTI JEFFERSON The Denver Post Before you get slammed with a yuletide to-do list that’s longer than Santa’s on Christmas Eve, make sure your home is tucked in tight against winter abuse. Taking simple steps now to safeguard your home against seasonal wear and tear will save time and money in the future, as well as ensure the safety of all who pass over its threshold. Another reason to winterize? Heating costs this season are expected to rise about 20 percent, according to the Department of Energy. The Denver Post chatted with Paul MacGregor, a radio personality known as Mr. Fix It, about

cold-weather home care.


Gutters and spouts

MacGregor says many homes, even new construction, are poorly insulated. This leads to indoor chill and high utility bills. A good insulation company can look inside walls to make sure the insulation is up to snuff. It usually is free for a professional’s opinion.

Failing to inspect and clean gutters regularly enables moisture to collect under the roof’s plywood and shingles. Use a garden hose to wash away leaves and debris.

Roof Inspect for damage and leaks. “You’re looking for obviously damaged or curling shingles, or sandy granules on the roofing materials,” MacGregor says. Call a roofing contractor for anything serious. Some will survey a roof for free; others charge a nominal fee. MacGregor says unless there’s been a hailstorm, roofs can go without professional care for five to 10 years.

Garage In homes where the garage is attached, check the adjoining wall to make sure it is sufficiently insulated for energy efficiency and to prevent automobile fumes from wafting into living spaces. Never store anything of value on the floor.

Pipes and sprinklers Failing to drain sprinklers before they freeze can lead to broken valves, burst pipes, frozen faucets and water damage to the house. Garden hoses split when they are left attached to faucets during the winter. Swamp-cooler water lines and sprinkler systems should be drained.

Furnace Furnaces are often forgotten, which leads to muckedup filters and inefficient heating. Make sure a new filter is

properly sized and positioned. In homes where people have pets or allergies, furnace filters should be changed as frequently as every four weeks. Professionals often inspect furnaces for free.

Basement Make sure basement windows are sealed to reduce the chance of energy loss or flooding from snowmelt. Some experts suggest putting foam insulation on basement pipes to further protect them from freezing. Wrap your water heater in an insulated blanket. Make sure valuables are up off the floor.

or other blockages to prevent smoke from the fireplace from backing up into the house. Some older homes have chimneys secured to the roof with steel rods. Check those too.

Driveway and sidewalks Standing water seeps into driveways, sidewalks and steps, freezes, expands and then causes them to crack. Outdoor surfaces also deteriorate


Leafy trees should be trimmed back to prevent snapping branches, which can cause personal injury or propWindows and doors Old, cracked or shrinking erty damage. caulk is a top reason warm air escapes from the home. Decks The same melting salts and Products like Thermwell Door Weather Stripping, available chemicals that batter sidefor less than $10 at hard- walks also are hard on decks. ware and home-improvement Consider topping decks with stores, can increase energy a semitransparent stain once efficiency by about 20 per- a year. cent. Leaky windows can be covered with shrink-to-fit Wood-burning stoves plastic. They should always be EPA approved. Check stovepipes Chimneys for cracks, obstructions or Fireplace chimneys should corrosion. Have a professionbe swept once a year. Check al inspect the stove annually. for soot and creosote buildup. Fence off the stove to protect Check vents for animal nests children.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Proper burning avoids chimney fires By TIM MOWRY The number of people cutting their own firewood to cut down on heating bills has increased dramatically in the last few years. Not surprisingly, so have the number of house fires related to burning firewood. “There was a definite increase last winter,” fire chief Mitch Flynn at the Steese Volunteer Fire Department said. “The problems mostly revolve around chimneys not being cleaned enough and people using green firewood.” Those two problems go hand in hand, Flynn said. Burning green or wet firewood causes more creosote buildup in the chimney. Creosote is the black, tarry substance that sticks to the side of the chimney. If the creosote ignites, which it often does, it causes a fire inside the chimney. “When that heats up and gets out of control it damages the chimney,” Flynn said. “That creosote builds up to a higher temperature than the chimney is designed for.” That in turn weakens the chimney to the point that it allows too much heat to radiate out, causing a condition called pyrolysis, which is the slow decomposition of combustible materials like insulation and wood from heat, Ernie Misewicz, assistant chief for the Fairbanks Fire Department, said. Over time, the ignition temperature drops, making them

WOOD BURNING WISDOM • Follow manufacturers specifications when installing, using and cleaning a woodstove and chimney. • Burn only well-seasoned wood, i.e. wood that has been split and covered for at least one summer. • Don’t store any combustible items around a woodstove or chimney, such as firewood, newspaper or clothing. • Inspect and clean your chimney before and during the winter. • Don’t burn slow, smoldering fires. The hotter the fire, the less creosote buildup. • Don’t burn trash and newspaper in the wood stove. • Anyone with questions regarding chimney or woodstove installation should call their local fire department. The North Star Volunteer Fire Department in North Pole will perform woodstove safety inspections for homeowners in that service area. The department also offers free use of chimney brushes to clean chimneys.

more prone to igniting during a chimney fire. The three main causes of fires related to any alternative heating appliances, including woodstoves, are improper

installation, improper use and improper maintenance, Misewicz said. One of the problems Misewicz often sees is lack of proper clearance around a chimney when it’s installed. Most manufacturers require at least 2 inches of clearance around a chimney. Chimney need to be installed, inspected, used and cleaned according to the manufacturers specifications, both Flynn and Misewicz said. Another common problem, Misewicz said, is people burning green firewood, which results in creosote buildup. That problem is often compounded when people don’t clean their chimneys, he said. The best way to reduce creosote buildup is to burn dry wood, according to longtime Fairbanks chimney sweep Charlie Whitaker, owner of A-Chimney Sweep. “If you burn wet or green wood you don’t get a complete burn,” Whitaker said. “You end up with a lot of creosote in the chimney.” The general rule of thumb


is not to burn firewood with a moisture content higher than 20 percent. Firewood should be split and covered for at least one summer before it is burned. Moisture meters are available in wood stove shops around town for $30 to $40, Whitaker said. If you get one, be sure to split the wood and test the moisture in the middle of the wood, not just the ends, he said. How often the chimney should be cleaned depends how often and how the stove is used, and what kind of wood is being burned, Whitaker said. “It really depends on how hot the fires are, how efficient the stove is and how dry the firewood is,” he said. If you’re burning hot fires with dry wood, little maintenance is required, Whitaker said. If you burn slow, smoldering fires with green wood, the chimney will need to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent creosote buildup. “You can have the most efficient stove made and if you don’t use it properly it won’t do any good at all,”

Whitaker said. Anyone with questions regarding chimney or woodstove installation should call their local fire department. The North Star Volunteer Fire Department in North Pole will perform woodstove safety inspections for homeowners in that service area, said fire prevention officer Lt. Charles Potter. The department also offers free use of chimney brushes to clean chimneys, Potter said. Wood burners should inspect their chimneys before they start using them in the fall. “Look down there with a flashlight,” Flynn said. “Make sure you don’t seen any abnormalities.” Do not spray water into a chimney to douse a chimney fire, Flynn advised. “Sometimes that causes warpage and failure,” he said. The best thing to do in the event of a chimney fire is to shut off the air flow to the stove and call the fire department, Flynn said. Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Get active this winter with a dip in the pool By BOB ELEY You want to stay fit during the long winter months but you don’t want to be in the cold outdoor temperatures, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or doing other aerobic activities. You don’t want to join one of the many health clubs in the area, either. There are plenty of public facilities throughout the North Star Borough and at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Student Recreation Center and the UAF Patty Center offering indoor jogging and walking, ice skating, swimming, racquetball, weight lifting and other activities. The Fairbanks North Star Borough has facilities at the Big Dipper Ice Arena, Hamme Pool and the Mary Siah Recreation Center in Fairbanks and Wescott Pool in North Pole. The Student Recreation Center and the Patty Center off several activities to help you stay fit when the tem-

perature drops below zero. With the exception of jogging and walking on the mezzanine level of the Big Dipper Ice Arena, there are fees for just about all activities. Most venues offer daily, weekly, monthly and annual usage rates. For complete schedules and fee structures, go to the Fairbanks North Star Borough website at http://co.fairbanks. and click on the facilities button to choose your venue. For facilities at UAF, go to www. Following is a brief description of each venue. • Big Dipper Ice Arena: 1920 Lathrop Street, 459-1076. The Dipper offers free walking and jogging from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Seven and a half full loop laps equals onemile, while 4 and 1/4 quarter laps (double-back loop) equals a mile. You must use the double-back loop when the exer-

cise room is in use. The Dipper also offers recreational skating from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 5:306:45 p.m. on Wednesday, from 5-6:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 1-2:30 p.m. on Sunday. • Hamme Pool: 931 Airport Way, between Lathrop High School and Ryan Middle School. Hamme Pool offers conditioning lap swim sessions from 6-8:45 a.m. and from 6-6:50 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is an open swim session from 2-4:30 p.m. Saturdays. A conditioning lap swim session is set for noon to 1:15 p.m. Sunday and an open swim session is slated from 1:30-4:30 p.m. the same day. A variety of other programs are available. • Mary Siah Recreation Center: 805 14th Avenue, adjacent to Lathrop High School and the Dan Ramras Community Tennis Courts. The facility offers Conditioning lap swim sessions from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday

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vascular equipment, running track, weight room, climbing wall, aerobic floor, racquetball courts and a circuit machine for a good half-hour workout. The building is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. • UAF Patty Center Pool: The pool is located on the lower level of the Patty Center adjacent to the hockey rink and Student Recreation Center. Conditioning Swimming (laps only) is scheduled from 7:30-9 a.m. Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5:30-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Recreation swim (adults and Children) is from 7-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday. Adult Competitive Conditioning Swimming is from 7-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 10 a.m.-noon on Friday.



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through Friday, 12:45-2 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Sunday. There is an evening conditioning lap swim session from 5-6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Other activities from Senior Fitness to Family Swim sessions are on the schedule. A weight room and showers also are available. • Wescott Pool: 300 E. Eighth Ave. in North Pole at North Pole Middle School. The facility offers conditioning lap swims from 6-6:50 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 1:15 p.m. Saturday and 3-3:45 p.m. Sunday. Open swim sessions, including the water slide, are from 7-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1:303:45 p.m. Saturday and from 1-2:45 p.m. and 4-5:45 p.m. on Sunday. • UAF Student Recreation Center: The facility is located on Yukon Drive on the lower campus next to the hockey rink and Patty Center. The facility offers courts for basketball, volleyball, badminton and tennis, cardio-


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, October 2, 2010

Paid Advertising Content

NOKIAN TYRES FROM FINLAND Now Available in Fairbanks NORDIC SMART Located on the banks of the Nokia River, Nokian Tyres has been producing tires for a Nordic climate since 1904. In 1936 they produced the world’s first snow tire, the Hakkapeliitta, and made cold-weather climate history. Since then, Nokian has remained the worldwide leader in winter driving safety. Nokian’s philosophy: Tires are the only things connecting you to the ground. And, as Interior Alaska knows, this close to the Arctic Circle there often is no ground. Tires are the only thing connecting you to ice and snow.

FRICTION TIRES Getting good at the connection between vehicles, ice and snow has been Nokian’s sole focus for over 70 years. Their line of tread includes “Friction” tires as well as studded tires. Friction tires (known as studless tires in the U.S.) were developed for the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when weather is often unpredictable.

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NON-TOXIC Nokian’s 70-year romance with arctic safety doesn’t stop with driving. Health has become a focus. Nokian is the first company in the world to have fully eliminated higharomatic (HA) oils in its production. HA oils are the by-products of oil refining and are classified as carcinogens. Nokian has developed a way to replace HA oils with natural oils such as canola in the manufacturing process. This move by Nokian not only benefits them in Finland where the tires are produced, it benefits every community in which the tires are consumed. As tires wear, hundreds of thousands of pounds of tire compound are released into the air and soil. Nokian has found a way to make this by-product of the

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NORDIC SMART Nokian has done one thing for over 70 years: Manufacture tires for people who live near the Arctic Circle. They have never branched out to find other markets. They

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Winter Survival Guide 2010