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Back Row: Chris Klint, editor Eve Bagwell, director of design Jennifer Keese, do-gooder Rose Helens-Hart, jet-setting debater Mary Grace Pulos, Web designer Natalia Korshin, copy editor Kelsey Cronick. ghost writer Esther Lee, director of distribution Clint Helander, cover boy Kate Sangster, resident knitter Paola Banchero, publisher Allen Janz, Web designer Jordan Huss, Spenard correspondent John Angst. director of photography

Front row: Chris Gillow, child care provider Sarah Edwards, Zen master Ynez Slaymaker, maestro Andrea Petitfils, director of advertising

From The Editor W

hen I first suggested the idea for our article "Rage, rage against the dying of the night" to our class, complete with half a dozen potentially interesting places, I thought it would be a good starting point for our new focus as a city magazine. I also thought I was volunteering myself for an entire night of travel through Anchorage's nightlife. Maybe, I tentatively asked, one or two of my colleagues might care to cover some locations, too? As you can see in the pages of True North, the entire class burned the midnight oil to deliver not only that story, but the entire magazine to you. My own difficulty with the story became not in writing it. but in sifting through the 25 pages of excellent material we'd gathered in a mere 12 hours. We cut most of it, my own contribution included, simply because there were so many memorable moments to choose from The story speaks to the core philosophy of this magazine, one that unites everyone who has ever worked on it No matter what obstacles we've faced in reporting, designing or marketing the magazine, we got the job done because we were united. As citizens of Anchorage, we'll also be united when we face the choices Mike Doogan and Walter J Hickel describe in our closing pages. On behalf of all of us, thank you for reading True North 2005. Sincerely,

Chris Klint


Anchorage is more than a postcard; thus, True North 2005 is more than a magazine. Reporting on the biggest city in the biggest state, True North explores and highlights those things that make us diverse and unique. We live here. These are our stories.

Cover: Photo illustration by Andrea Petitfils and Clint Helander



Outdoors 8 12

Highway to Heaven: Risking your life on the Turnagain Arm

Equal Opportunity Excursions

The Scene 14


Outside Chance: The Lower 48 tempts local bands looking for rock en' roll fame Thrifty Threads: Tenacity pays off


Getting it Cheap in Spenard: Not free love. but nearly free food


Anchorage Logs on to


Rage. Rage Against the Dying of the Night

Community 26

Bulking Up for the Bush

28 29

The Zen of Sitting


Sweet Sound of Success: Anchorage School District fosters young talent


Seward's Tsunami Still Teaching a Lesson

Volunteers Stand Up for Culture

People 36 38

Tattooing Alaska: Bodies emblazoned with pride


Wally Hickel Looks Back - and Finds a Solution for the Future


Mike Doogan on Sprucing Up Anchorage

Searching for Civility

"Bring tne a bowl of coffee b fore I turn into a goat.Âť -Johann ebasrian Bach

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Specializing in mountaineering, hil<ing, climbing, and skiing gear. Anchorage's gateway to the wilderness. 2633 Spenard Road Anchorage, Alaska 99503 (907) 272-1811

The Outdoor




From frozen mudflats to snowcapped peaks across the Cook Inlet, to spindrift coming off the cli

mering on the trees, the Turnagain Arm is a source of limitless beauty. In the summer, those once white ped peaks become a

cornucopia of life. Birch and alder trees line the sub-alpine regions, while mountain goats frolic and play n the rocky outcrops

above. Alaskan residents and tourists alike come to hike and explore both the popular trails and the vast w erness on all sides

of the arm. Everyday people, sports enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies alike call this place their playground 11 year long. The

Seward Highway is home to extreme activities from rock and ice climbing to hiking, biking and mountainee g.


Although Southcentral Alaska is hardly known for its outstand­ ing rock, hundreds of people climb on various points of the high­ way from March to October. They see it as a practice ground, despite the crumbling, rotten and wet granite. "If you are looking for sport, traditional, or just bouldering, the highway has it all," says UAA student and avid rock and ice climber Paul Guzenski. "Plus, it's so close to Anchorage." From beginner to professional, the arm has an eclectic mix of routes for any climber. While few routes span more than 100 vertical feet, they offer a quick alternative to a several-hour drive to other climbing areas in Southcentral Alaska. Once Old Man Winter arrives, so do the Turnagain Arm extremists who generate the most attention and awe. lee climbers venture to the arm seven days a week to scale frozen waterfalls which can reach more than 250 feet above the bustling highway. highway. "Other than the fact that you could fall at any time, you have semi trucks driving by within 3 feet of the belayer," says Guzenski. Popular ice routes such as Roadside Attraction and Weeping

"I've never had any debris hit a car yet, but some have come damn close," says Ben Leonard. While one or two residents might see ice climbers as a nuisance, the overriding majority sees it as an incredible sight, which only adds to the spectacular drive down the highway.

YOUR OWN PRIVATE ALASKA Once the ice melts from the walls and the snow retreats from the hills, Anchorage residents and tourists lace up their hiking boots and set off to the backcountry to find their own private piece of wilderness. Hiking on the arm attracts thousands of people each year. McHugh Trailhead, at mile marker 112 on the highway, is a major starting point for many ofAnchorage's hottest hikes. A highly developed parking lot and trailhead offers a variety of treks ranging from just an hour or two, to overnight. From here, one can connect to Rabbit Creek Valley, home of the famous North and South Suicide Peaks, as well as Ptarmigan Peak, and one of the most beautiful camping spots around, Rab­ bit Lake. This valley, although considered to be one of the most popular in all of Southcentral Alaska, remains uncrowded even on the busiest day. Hikers, mountaineers and skiers occupy this


Wall provoke reactions from drivers, as they stare in disbelief at a band of people clinging to shallow sections of ice directly overhead. Candyland near Beluga Point, one of the tallest climbs on the highway, requires three-rope pitches and ascends 250 feet. This route requires climbers to register at the railroad station several miles down the road, as it is on private property. Many of these routes are directly across the highway from vehicle pull-offs, which give drivers the chance to become spectators. Often, eight to 10 cars line up along the shoulder, as onlookers snap pictures and ponder the logic of these crazy individuals. As some watch from the side of the road, others race by, attempting to avoid the bombardment of ice and rock, which drops like a cold missile from a hundred feet above.

heavenly valley throughout the year. Summits of its three tallest peaks occur year round, with winter summits providing a big mountain experience while the lights of Anchorage sparkle in the west. The hike that generates the most buzz around Southcentral Alaska is without a doubt Crow Pass. Skyscraping mountains line every side of the valley and loom dead ahead. At 26 miles, it is a long day hike or the perfect overnighter. Starting at the old Crow Creek mine, the trail winds up a talus and scree slope, then up to a rocky outcrop to a valley where Crystal Lake rests across the way from the federal cabin, which is available for rent if one chooses not to camp out. Jewell Glacier hovers si­ lently above and provides a great side trip to the hike if time and ability allows. The often-invisible trail winds down a rocky moraine past













ability allows. The often-invisible trail winds down a rocky moraine past vast glaciers and waterfalls, to birch and alder forests, all the way down to a creek, which must be forded. Following the river for the last I0 miles, the trail ends at the Eagle River Nature Center, which is a starting point for some of the most incredible hikes and climbs available in all ofAlaska. When it comes to hiking, a summer trek of Crow Pass is nothing short of required.







The alpha trip for any experienced biker seeking an Alaska adventure within the peripheral ofAn足 chorage is Resurrection Pass in Hope. This 40-mile trail, which ends in Cooper Landing, is what most refer to as "the" bike trail to do within the reaches ofAnchorage. Easily done in one day, this trail offers endless opportunities to encounter wildlife, streams, lakes and Alaskan fauna. "I did Resurrection six times last summer," says UAA student and lifetime biker Jeff Kase. "It has more options than any other trail in Alaska. You can go 20 miles in and then turn around, or you can make it a IOO-mile, all-day odyssey." The trail is also popular for hikers. Eight cabins span the trail, but the tme experience involves sleeping in a tent. Volunteers and park workers are constantly cleaning and grading the path to satisfy those on it. "The trail is just incredible, they main足 tain it really well," Kase says. Whatever your fancy, chances are the Turnagain Arm has something that will interest you. "There are so many great opportunities in our own backyard. You don't have to fly or travel long distances to get away. It's just a matter of how far you want to push yourself," says Alaska hiking and climbing guide Richard Baranow, who has summited all 21 peaks over 7,000 feet in the western Chugach. "There's a mil足 lion lifetimes worth of experiences to be had right at the fingerti~s ofAnchorage and most people don't know what s out there.".

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It's below zero at Nancy Lake Park in Wasilla in late Janu足 ary, but no one seems to notice. Friends, who are also members of Challenge Alaska, gather to ride snowmachines, snowshoe and ski cross-country. They seem to forget that they have dis足 abilities; they are just regular people who enjoy playing in the snow. Charlie Rogge, 5], is excited to try snowmachining for the firtst time. He can't wait to experience the feeling of flying into the fast and cold air that rushes against the snowmachine. Rogge just moved from Arizona last summer. He has been water skiing, kayaking, ocean swimming, ice-skating and cross-country skiing. Rogge has been blind since birth, but it hasn't stopped him from enjoying the outdoors. He relishes overcoming physi足 cal limitations and being adventurous. He goes with a group of people, uses his sense of hearing to guide himself and usually has a spotter to give him directions when needed.




"1 don 'tgo out much but when I can, 1really enjoy it," Rogge says. Challenge Alaska is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering sports and therapeutic recreational opportunities for those with disabilities. The organization promotes the idea that everyone should have an equal chance at these activities. In January the group put together a Family and Friends Fun Day in Wasilla. Challenge Alaska helps people who love being outdoors to do the things that they can't do independently. The organization also offers classes and programs that help people develop their skills to improve their quality of life. Challenge Alaska started 24 years ago with an adaptive ski school. One of the founding members had a disability and he enjoyed skiing so he started a program in Alaska. Staff members make sure that everyone is having fun and that they are all safe. Workers are required to have CPR and standard first-aid training. They check medical records and talk

to doctors and therapists for medical advice for all participants. At the event, they make

sure that they talk to participants about safety before the athletes do the activities.

"This day couldn't be successful without our really nice volunteers," says Drew

Confer, therapeutic recreation coordinator of Challenge Alaska.

Approximately 25 volunteers lend a hand to Challenge Alaska. They also enjoy

outdoor activities. Danielle Dottmer is a volunteer who is helping participants cross­

country ski. Dottmer used to work for the organization, but still enjoys being involved

with the events. She believes everyone has a right to recreation.

"1 enjoy seeing people smile because they are doing something they have been told

or thought they couldn't do," Dottmer says. Dan Moran is also a volunteer who likes

snowmachining. Moran drives the snowmachine with a passenger along, and they both

enjoy the ride.

One participant is Christian Owen, 21, who is happy to be outside with her

friends despite the frigid day. She likes walking in the woods and snowmaching.

Owen was able to go snowmachining twice. The second time she was able to drive the

snowmachine, and she was proud of herself.

"1 also enjoyed the Summer Splash last year," Owen says. The Summer Splash

offered kayaking and waterskiing. Owen loves to go hiking in the Anchorage area as





DOTTMER Michael Brown, a 10th grader in Wasilla, can't wait to ride a snowmachine. Brown has Asperger's Syndrome, attention deficit disorder and a seizure disorder. He tries to go to Cha Ilenge Alaska events about 10 times a year. Brown's Mother, Robin Hill, ef\ioys hot cocoa and a hot dog while watching her son ride the snowmachine. Brown loves to downhill ski, and placed third in the Special Olympics. During the summer Brown enjoys whitewater rafting. Ric Nelson, 21, has cerebral palsy but lives a normal life. Nelson was a student at UAA but now he is taking classes online, majoring in business. Nelson has been cross­ country skiing, snowmachining, skiing, rock climbing and whitewater rafting. "1 like to do it for the adventure of it and for fun of doing it," he says. He is excited about going to go to Hawaii this summer. Nelson is one of 10 people who will exchange through the Challenge Alaska program with 10 Hawaiians to do outdoor activities. The Family and Friends Fun Day gives people who have disabilities the chance to be themselves, yet have a chance to enjoy outdoor activities and have adventures. As the Challenge Alaska motto says, these folks are "Giving Disability a Possibility." • ~--~~

For more information about outdoor activities: Challenge Alaska Email:

Phone: (907) 344-7399, TTY (907) 344-7270

The Rainbow Connection Therapeutic Riding Horseback riding for people with disabilities who live in

the Anchorage area.

Phone: (907) 566-8768

()utsi~e ~~~ fh-e Lower 48' teM? [ou,,[ pt"nt{5 [ookin~ifor roc.k In' roU ft"Me.

'[:oPle dream of becoming rock stars, and in Alaska that dream is increasingly real for a surplus of talented bands. But as the number of bands and their musical gifts grow, Alaska is losing its homegrown musicians to the main stage of the Lower 48.

It all starts with a band like Dekcuf.

Hailing from Anchorage, Dekcuf is a five-man rock band that combines the hardcore rifts of Matt Dumlao and Jeremy Kimble on electric guitars, the methodic lllmble of Pat Barnes on bass, the sweat-pouring excitement of Patrick Fiorentino on drums and the adrenaline-pumping lyrics of Nate Plummer. The end product is a rock band with a hint of punk flare and a tinge of softness. Though Dekcuf is experiencing some rookie obstacles, like finding the right drummer, possibly changing its name and having a bassist that works on the North Slope, the band is emerging from the 60-watt glow of living-room practices. "We keep swapping musicians, so it's hard to lay a demo," Dumlao says. "Once we all get together and make sure it's going to stick, then we can really make something happen." Making a demo is the first step toward securing shows and airtime, says Dumlao, but such bands as Dekcufhave a lot more to offer than new CDs and trendy music. The lack of nocturnal activities in Anchorage has allowed local bands and business owners to create a community music hub. Bitoz Cafe'and Pizzeria, the underdog of Anchorage Pizza shops, has served up a business plan that satisfies both the appetite of pizza lovers and the need of music fans- pizza downstains and live music upstairs. "Bitoz has really jumpstarted the local band scene," says Plummer. "The owner is becoming one of the pioneers of the scene and hopefully other people will open up places like it." Lester Smiley, music reveiw writer for the Northern Light, says now all ages of music fans have the opportunity to listen to new, local music and Anchorage musi足 cians are escaping the torture of playing cover songs at the local pub. "If you go from having bands that can only play at bars, to also having all-ages shows, it's going to create more and better music," says Smiley. Once bands like Dekcuf graduate from the cluttered stage at Bitoz, they write new material, produce a professional demo and frantically search for possible venues. While Dekcufwaits to emerge from the underground of the Anchorage music scene, another Anchorage band, Driveline, has made the transition look almost easy. Driveline compiles the musical talents of Pat Eblen, vocals, Kelly Roberts, guitar, Scott Roseman, bass, and Steve Childers on dlllms to create an onslaught of darkly

driven music. "I know there is a group of people out there that feel exactly the way I do," Eblen says. "And if you are tme about your music, tbose people can grasp the way I feel and the emotion I put into the songs. I want them to know they're not alone." Driveline's self-titled album debuted in July 2003. Since then the band has released a five-song EP, "The Icarus Effect." "The new EP has a theme," Eblen says. "Basically, it's like the Greeks' Icarus story. The higher you fly, the further you fall." And flying high is exactly what Driveline is doing. Along with playing the oc足 casional party, Driveline gets gigs at Chilkoot Charlie's, the Carousel Cocktail Lounge and other hotspots around town - fighting for recognition, and eventually the record deal of a lifetime. But the members of Driveline realize that it takes a lot more than a catchy song or a mainstream venue to make it big in Anchorage. "We are comparable to or even better than a lot of the bands that are getting expo足 sure right now," Roberts says. "Some 3ltists only spend an hour writing a song, and it's meaningless. But I want to add a lot more to the listener's plate than that. I want to make them think." Driveline makes listeners think by supplying a sound that is influenced by every足 thing from Whitesnake to the mellow vibes of classical music. And success is possible, they say, because they play for the right reasons. "It's the feeling," Roberts says. "When you listen to a song and it gives you that euphoric feeling, that high. I want to recreate that feeling and distribute it through our music. "

As Driveline becomes a major name in the Anchorage music scene, the possibility of shining under the spotlight grows closer. And for the band Nothing Less, an opportunity like that was too good to pass up. After leaving Alaska to pursue a spot in the pop-punk music scene, the members ofNoth足 ing Less-Henry Hartman on drums, Tommy McDowell on bass and Tim Waters on guitar and vocals-have experienced a music scene they never thought was possible. In California, they've had success kicking out jams with everybody from Dishwalla to members of a transvestite rock band. "We have shows every week, sometimes twice a week," says Waters. "And that's something we

were never able to do in Alaska." Since the moving to California, Waters says that Nothing Less has had time to mature. For example, they've added another guitarist, Asa Shaddix, to the lineup. The original members of Nothing Less say that Shaddix brings new life to the band with his energetic stage presence and undeniable skills. The move to California and the addition of a new member have provided Nothing Less traction among up-and-coming bands, but Hartman says he'd like to turbo charge the band's ride. "Respect is everything," says Hartman. "Once you prove yourself in a place like California, people know that you're not just a flash in the pan.".

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The Hidden ADie With the flick of her wrist, Sara Hil­ born deftly sifts through the hangers with a "shick, shick." She is determined to find just the right outfit. "Do these look professional?" she asks as she holds up a pair of average black slacks. She's looking for something business­ like to wear to her TV and radio produc­ tion class at Chugiak High School. As she shops, Hilborn sports a Bear Tooth shirt-she's never worked there-and tie-dye won't do for that on-camera action. "Every Wednesday we have to dress up and look professional for a grade," she says. Hilborn likes to shop and she likes a good deal. That's why she bought her fancy duds at the Salvation Army in Mountain View, until it closed its doors at the end of March. Thrift store shoppers are a tenacious bunch. They are out for the best deal but also for the best find. "For me it is the thrill of the un­ known," says Dan Rockwell, a seasoned thrift store shopper from Palmer. "When I go into a thrift store I truly have no idea what I am going to come out with." Rockwell says thrifting requires perse­ verance. "It is the eye for looking though poop and finding a peanut when you're starving," he says. Thrift stores have always been a place for people to furnish their homes and bod­ ies on the cheap. Any city you visit will have a Goodwill or Salvation Army. But Anchorage is a transient city, and its thrift stores stock kooky imports.

Bishop's Attic is considered by many thrift connoisseurs to be the treasure trove of Anchorage secondhand stores. In the back comer of the downtown venue is a rack of posters graced with a portrait of E.T. the Extraterrestrial and his buddy Michael Jackson, pre-surgery. Flip throll several Belinda Carlisle portraits and there's a facsimile of the Gettysburg Ad­ dress. A pro-braces Snoopy poster and a 1960s Saskatchewan placemat add to the hodgepodge of the Attic. It takes a certain gusto and dedica­ tion to dig at a thrift store. It also takes arm strength when the clothing is tightly packed in the racks. But if you stick with it, you just mig find that vintage Alaska Railroad vest or the North Slope coveralls with a leopard print-lined hood. Dave Pikul is one of the determined thrifters. The middle-aged man with a p nytail cradles a stack of cookbooks under one arm as he checks out baby clothes. He favors Bishop's Attic. The thrift enthusiast stops by the store about four times a week and he says he always com out with something. At the front counter a man with small spectacles and a flannel shirt slaps down a drafter's protractor. He plans on using it to help him with right angles on the cabin he's building. What sets Anchorage thrift stores ap is the assortment of Alaskana T-shirts, caps, mugs and memorabilia. Where else can you find a retina-burning yellow Don Young shirt or an "I.Nome" button? But the treasure of the day turns up i the men's T-shilt section. It's a small, pal yellow tee printed with the pru'ase "Alas is for players."

When going thrift store shopping, creativity is of the essence. Remember, you can always paint, alter, nip and tuck. Find a cool ottoman but hate the upholstery? Just get some fabric and staple gun it. Don't have a staple gun? Duct tape is the answer to all your problems.

"When I go into a thrift store I truly have no idea what I am going to come out with." - Dan Rockwell, seasoned thrift store shopper

Thrift stores in the Last Frontier tend to be on the expensive side. For example, if you're looking for furniture, keep an eye out for 50 percent off days. Value Village has one a month, Salvation Army has about two a month. Most thrift stores also have certain items half off on different days. If you find a couch that's a little over your budget, ask an employee when the next half off sale is. But be alert! Agood deal doesn't last long and someone else may get there first.

BuV More, Spend less If a thrifter decides to go corporate, he might head over to Value Village on Di­ mond Boulevard or on Boniface Parkway. VV is the closest thing to an actual store where you can purchase both new and used items. It isn't rare to find Gap pants or Abercrombie and Fitch shirts in all their glory. One couple is digging through the men's uniforms section. Steve Kay and Lyrm McCormick are looking for cos­ tumes for the Miner and Trappers Ball, an annual costume party downtown. This year's theme is "Putting on the glitz," McCormick says. The two have attended every ball for the past 25 years. They've picked up a pair of navy blue coveralls for the soiree. "We're going to modify them with gold spray paint, spraypaint some boots, put on an ugly old hat and call it good," Kay says with a grin. "He'll probably look like Elvis in a gold jumpsuit," McCormick adds.

Make Pets Happv The SPCA Thrift Store is the Chi­ huahua on the block-it's often over­ looked. Hidden in a strip mall on Interna­ tional Airport Road and Arctic Boulevard, the SPCA. Thrift Store has a vast selec­ tion of clothing and knick knacks. The best part is, the money you spend goes to help animals. You can sometimes find vintage gems or brand new Nordstrom dress shirts hiding out. Peruse the farmy pack section while cats wander the aisles. Explore the vast anay of baubles or the collection of buttons and patches. "It's the most random and way more affordable than Value Village," says UAA art student Chris Turner. "Check out these high top dress shoes" he says to his friend Enzina Marrari. "Those are snazzy. Those are sharp," Manari says approvingly. •

Finding the perfect thrift store treasure may take some digging. Thrift stores are notorious for being crowded with junk and that Lacoste polo might be in the middle of a mile-long clothing rack.

Remember, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. There are good thrift days and bad ones. If you can't find what you're looking for, give it a week and check again or try another thrift store.




With its crude traditions and harlot history, the neighborhood of Spenard is not the sil­ ver spoon in the Anchorage Bowl. It's tacky, it's old and it's unrefined. Littered with bars and strip joints, liquor stores and massage parlors, it's the epitome of debauchery. But for every bad, there is a good, and in Spenard, the good is in the grub. In this issue, True North set out to find the real deals on food in Spenard. We sampled restaurants that you might know about, and some that you probably have missed. These unique kitchens have large followings of customers, whom they entice not with crazy advertising, but with creative appetizing. If you're in need of a new food spot, here are some eateries that are guaranteed to satisfy both your palate and your pocketbook.

ackie's Place ­ 2636 Spenard oad Are you trying to Jose weight? Do you ant to get strong? Start the day off right ith a high-protein, low-calorie egg white melet at Jackie's Place. Eat it plain, or hrow some vegetables in for a breakfast that ill keep you going all morning. As the of­ cial kitchen of Alaska's best bodybuilders, ackie's makes a heavyweight breakfast for lightw . ht rice.

Momma O's Seafood Restaurant - 2636 Spenard Road This quaint little restaurant takes sea­ food to a whole new level with succulent halibut chunks and golden fried shrimp. Hardly an ordinary fish and chips plat­ ter, Momma O's cooks Alaska's famous bottom-feeder fish in top-quality form. Huge chunks of battered halibut, fried to a crispy perfection, paired with golden shrimp or scallops, all nestled together with huge steak fries. This is a deep-sea adventure that your taste buds won't forget.

Wee B's - 3807 Spenard Road As one of Anchorage's few establish­ ments to offer quality home-style ham­ burgers, the recently rebuilt Wee B's has once again become a Spenard attraction. The Super Cheeseburger is the highlight of the place featuring a half pound of the finest ground beef served between fresh-baked buns, topped with all the fixings and a tangy special sauce. Fol­ low it with some salty jo-jo fries and a thick strawberry milkshake, and_y,ou have a classi all-Amenc for under re u calo' e.

Tommy's Burger Stop - 1106 W. 29th Place, on the corner of Spenard and Benson

Burrito Factory - 3608 Minnesota Drive Disguised as a comer filling station, the Bunito Factory is a top contender in the local taco business. More of a stand than a restaurant, the menu is lined with quality items such as reindeer sausage breakfast burritos and double-wrapped tacos. With your choice of seasoned beef or chicken, served with an amy of fresh-cut vegetables, the options are wide open. Add rice and beans, and you have got a quality meal in the time it takes you to fill your Mazda up with gasoline.

Fly By Night Club ­ 3300 Spenard Road You have not experienced Alaska until you visit the Fly By Night Club. Although it's at the high end of cheap places in Spenard, Fly By Night can't go unmentioned. Not only is this place a dynamite restaurant, it's also host to the best Alaskan spoof show in town, "The Whale Fat Follies," and several other satirical comedies about the ever-bizarre Alaska antics. The wacky Mr. Whitekeys has proudly served up live music and a azing dishes to the people of Anchorage since the '80 n it doesn't look like the madness will be ending all)1 ti on. With all of the class'c American dishes plus s clas­ sic, you'll be amazed by the"'i nt IS menu. And be­ cause the Fly By Night CI lome of canned meat, all Spam dishes on the m alf price when you buy a bottle of fine cham agn .

Gwennie's Old Alaska Restaurant ­ 4333 Spenard Road Walking into Gwennie's is like taking a step into the past. Every square inch of this building is covered with artifacts or pictures from vintage Alaska. You'll get glYod oak a it all while you Iinge for 0 ta Ie because even the ervice' fmm vin tage Alaska. But th food is definite! worth the wait. A gr at choice for breakfast anytime 0 the day, and an even better c oice for dinner, there is no bigger plate in Spenard. Grab your friends and cha (i)ver biscuits and gravy or a famous Bloody Mary just like the good old days. And spea~­ ing of good days, it's hard to believe that this place has istory as a brothel. Don't worry thougH they no longer serve that kind of meat. •

You probably have driven by this one a thousand times and didn't even see it. Obscured from the street, Tommy brings customers in the old-fashioned way: with damn good burg rs. Since opening in 2002, the Burger Stop has won seve lloca s for the exceptional sandwiches, and dow -to-earth service. . e famous Louisiana­ style "P Boy" sandwich leading the menu, :r y has create devoted hmch following. Combine your c 00> of me s with sauteed onions, jalapenos and every­ thing lse you can think of, pile it high on a fresh-bake bagu tte from Spenard's own French Oven Bakery, an you ave one of the best sandwiches this side of Bour on Street. It's like di Gras in our mouth.

Pancho's Villa ­ 3104 Spenard Road Tucked away in the heart of Spenard, this cozy restaurant is a proven winner if you're looking for genuine enchi­ ladas and chimichangas. Classic service combined with traditional Spanish decor make for a meal reminiscent of old-time Mexico. Sizzling hot faj itas and tender carne asada top the list of entrees, with towering nacho plates and sombrero-sized quesadillas highlighting the appetizer menu. With so many choices, Pancho himself couldn't conquer this menu. And, if you really want to get loco, they offer 100 different kinds of the finest tequila that pesos can buy. Try the Patron; it'll have you singing "La Bamba" in no time.

NK/1J!1lI D-lilJ~6f;ll We Keep Alaska Running! E. Dowling Rd., Anchorage 563-3637 West Point Dr., Wasilla 376-5204

E. Fifth Ave., Anchorage 276-3996

E. Arctic, Palmer 745-2181 Old Glenn Hwy, Eagle River 694-2110

Muldoon Rd., Anchorage 337-6622 Traction Heavy-Duty: 929-4343 E. Dowling Rd., Anchorage

Spenard Rd., Anchorage 277-3546

Anchorage Logs on to story and photos by Kate sangster 'm not much of a drinker these days, so when I found myself bored silly at a recent party, I headed for the door. Unfortunately, I found only one of my shoes. I craw led around on the foyer floor with a headlamp, pawing through an enormous pile of shoes. After an hour, I gave up and hopped down the dirt road to my car. Who takes one shoe? The next day, I wanted to reach as many people as possible to locate my shoe. Lucky for me, the Anchor­ age version of is online. is a Web site for urban dwellers where one can find a job, an apartment, a climbing partner, or even an errant shoe. Up and running for more than half a year now, Anchorage is the northern­ most city to get its own Craigslist. Software engineer Craig Newmark established Craigslist almost 10 years ago in San Francisco. It began as a small listserve about local parties and events, and now has grown to include 45 cities, with more on the way. With no ads, no graphics, nor even a fancy typeface, Craigslist is plain, but hugely success­ ful. The Craigslist site attracts 1 billion page views a month, and during peak hours logs 600 hits per second.


"Get A Life" Information Anchorage is by far one of the smallest com­ munities found on Craigslist. In fact, it is second only to Boise, Idaho. Neither Oklahoma City nor El Paso, each with half a million people has made Craigslist. So how did Anchorage score? Mark Lawrence, a local activist, was instmmental in making Craigslist Anchorage happen. "CL Anchor­ age came about by asking all of my friend to post to the feedback fomm. We also handed out fliers at a lot of festivals this summer," says Lawrence. "All the

votes were tallied by Craig and staff and they said we had enough requests." Anchorage's constant influx and exodus of resi­ dents was influential. "The idea was to help people in transit like college students, military folks, and summer workers access "get a life" infonnation," said Lawrence. Between 66 and 71 percent of the Alaskan population uses the internet, more usage than any other state, according to a 2001 study by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Many of these Internet us­ ers are transplants already familiar with Craigslist. "I used Craigslist in Boston to find everything: jobs, cars, and free couches. I think Anchorage could really make use of this Web site. I'm selling snow tires on Craigslist right now," says Anchorage transplant Mahri Lowinger. Craigslist features job listings, housing ads and even a place to give away junk. Recently on Anchor­ age's free page: an e-book about herpes awareness,

pissed-off Anchorage residents have taken to Craig­ slist like ducks to water. For hours of entertainment, cbeck out Tbe Best of Craigslist. Posts are nominated and compiled based on tbeir humor and entertainment value. My recent favorites: "Jaded Hag Seeks Ugly Bastard for Breeding Feral Cbildren," from Philadelpbia; "Dear guy peeing wbile bolding an ice cream cone," from Boston; and San Francisco's "FREE STUFF! They call it 'Eviction' But We Prefer 'Moving Really Fast.'" So far, no Anchorage posts have made the list. But as Craigslist catches on, Alaska catches up. "Some people feel empowered by Alaska's remoteness," says Lawrence. "Wben I moved here, I felt alienated by it, so I thought CraigsJist Anchor­ age would belp people connect. Craigslist Ancborage is a piece of what is needed to make Ancborage a more efficient and advancing city on the Pacific Rim, rather than just another town in Alaska." Meanwbile, I'm still looking for my sboe. It hasn't turned up yet, but I did post on Craigslist. First, a standard notice in Lost and Found, and second, an indignant diatribe under Rants and Raves, just to blow off steam. After all, that's wbat Craigslist is for. •

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General Support Services in the bookstore basement 786-6860

RAGE, RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE NIGHT Every Friday night people in Anchorage get drunk. get arrested. get game. get laid, get paid. The writers of True North take you on a ride through Anchorage's nocturnal landscape.

8 p.m. Alyeska Ski Resort. Girdwood With the sun still blazing u.p above the clouds. I buy my ticket. strap into my snowboard. and hop on a chairlift. At the top of the lift is one of the most beau.tiful sights I've ever seen. The inlet bends around the arm beneath a perfectly flat layer of clouds. As the sun sets behind the northwest mountains. the sky bums in colors of orange and red. as if the atmosphere's on fire. Would-be boarders and skiers sit hypnotized on the slopes. gazing at the natural wonder. "I've never seen anything like this in my life." one girl says. Though no new snow has fallen at Aly in more than a week. boarders and skiers alike shred the icy mountain with few complaints. As the crowd begins to thin. a few of us decide to quench our thirst at the Sitzmark Bar. One beer and a few conversations later. I slink back to my trusty, yet cold Ford Escort. As people change out of their snow clothes in the park足 ing lot. ravens dance in the misty air above the vacant slopes.

9:30p.m. Chuck E. Cheese's Chuck E. Cheese's is an amalgam of snot-nosed kids. prepubescent teens. self-conscious high school kids. sentimental col足 I ge students and grown-ups. all crammed into a rat hole that smells like a mixture of bubble gum and dirt. bout 100 kids race from arcade game to arcade game like a swarm of bees. While playing the games they stomp. pound, aim. shoot and throw. The games respond by blinking lights. ringing bells and dispensing the all-important prize tickets. These tickets are like gold. Kids take them to the prize counter and redeem them for rainbow Slinky toys. woven rings. plush dolls and stickers. Chuck E. makes bank

10:45 l?m.

Anchorage Police Department headquarters

The night shift's 22 officers trickle into the briefing room. each wearing a crisp-looking uniform. At 11 p.m. sharp the officers quickly review ongoing cases. insurance liability problems and pointers on writing reports. Twelve minutes later. Officer Mike Johnson- h nds me a bulletproof vest and leads me to his car. Tonight. we ride.

11 p.m.

Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse

Humpy's is hopping on a Friday night. The servers weave their way with full trays through aisles full of drinkers. The

crowd is packed with hockey players. Abartender remarks. "Five beers and they turn into assholes."

11:30 p.m.

Downtown Transit Center

I'm greeted at the transit center by the familiar flash of red and blue lights reflected off the bus depot's Plexiglas windows. Usually. when I'm faced with a situation like this my heart begins to race. but tonight the police cruiser's lights shine on others. "An intoxicated black male was trying to escort an intoxicated Native woman against her will." says security guard Tom lola.



"Then some of her family members tried to jump him." The police took control of the situation. but the night is young. "We send three to five people a night with the Community Service Patrol because of alcohol." says Fola. "The most I've seen is 20 in one night." After a few minutes of chatting with Fola. I step outside and see some drunks on the sidewalk. Their clothes are covered in road grime and possibly urine. After they depart. another man appears. He's filthy. swaying back and forth. He frantically digs in the pockets of his camouflage pants like he's searching for something: Abus pass? Abottle of Listerine? As my night at the bus depot ends. an inebriated man chats with a woman. As the depot closes. he tells her. "Come on baby. this is the last bus in the whole world."

11:45 p.m.

Officer Mike Johnson's APD cruiser

Abroken-headlight stop on Spenard and Chugach reveals two men driving without insurance. They claim they just bought the car and it's still insured by the previous owner. Caught in a lie. each is given a ticket; a tow truck arrives to impound their vehicle. The two get out of the black Ford Explorer and walk north on Spenard. carrying personal items collected from the truck.

Midnight Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Midnight at the airport unites late flights and waiting families. Amiddle-aged woman fingers a white rosary as she waits for her daughter returning from school in Idaho. Aman in Gothic garb takes a shy pregnant woman's hand as she steps into the waiting area. Acowboy trots by in a leather vest and 10-gallon hat. greeting his posse while the indiscernible loudspeaker drones on. At the nearby Hawaiian Airlines ticket counters Jay Villareal and Deanna Machado. of the Ke Aloha Dance Company. sway to the rhythms from a small boom box. Both are contracted by Hawaiian Vacations to dance in island dress while travelers wait in line. Their sweet moves and gentle tunes drown out the airport's cheesy elevator music. shedding a little sunshine on a cold Alaska night.

12:20 a.m. SubZero SubZero is Humpy's trendy cousin. The marquee outside declares SubZero to be a "microlounge." When my friend Shannon and I ask the bartender what a microlounge is. he looks horrified. and replies. "I don't know. Ijust work here." We take our beers to a table. We are sitting under a large painting of a zebra's ass titled. appropriately. "Zebrass." The crowd varies from a long-haired Zen master type at one table to a gaggle of Von Dutched Asian fashion mafiosi at the next.

12:50 a.m. Darwin's Theory Darwin's Theory is shaped like an elbow and smells like an armpit. Some guys fresh from fish-counting stints in Dutch Harbor and Adak monopolize the jukebox. One of them tells me that in the women's restroom in the Dutch Harbor airport there's a sign that says. "Ladies. you are leaving Dutch Harbor. You are no longer a 10." Compared to Dutch Harbor. he says. Anchorage is very cosmopolitan. At Darwin's Theory. Shannon and I are both lOs. and after a flurry of disturbing conversations with strange men. we decide to leave before we end up groped or married.

1:15am Officer Mike Johnson's APD cruiser, house party Johnson meets another officer three or four driveways down from a house party of around 40 teenagers. The sight of blue unifonns scatters the crowd. The officers tell the remaining revelers that if they disperse quietly. nobody will be cited for curfew violations. All goes well until someone yells. "Get that flashlight out of my face or I'll kill you."

The former partier soon finds himself face-down on an icy car hood. Athird officer arrives. and the crowd breaks up after being told to designate drivers for the trip home. The remaining teens have barricaded themselves inside the house and refuse to open the door. Without a search warrant to let us enter. we leave and hope for the best.

1:30 a.m. Pioneer Bar The Pioneer Bar is notorious for being a popular place to spend last call. The bartenders sling drinks guerrilla-style. and whoever has cash on the bar is the first to get a drink. Shannon says. "Usually. the Pioneer is like a bowl of Lucky Charms: hipsters. hippies. rednecks. slednecks. alcoholics. dirty old men." Tonight. however. the crowd is young. and heavy on the slednecks. At the Pioneer. 1am a 7.

2:10 a.m.

Officer Mike Johnson's APD cruiser, Chilkoot Charlie's

Johnson tells me to stay in the vehicle. then hurries to speak with the four officers already here. With the help of Kool's employees. they begin to empty the building in search of a black man with an arrest warrant. The parking lot soon fills up with patrons. Ablack man emerges and is immediately questioned and handcuffed; he's not the guy they're looking for. but he too has an arrest warrant. Three officers keep watching the stream of barflies and soon get their guy. but the first suspect bolts across the road in the confusion. Officers go after him as the crowd cheers.

2:45 a.m. Koot's continued Johnson walks the second suspect to his cruiser for the ride downtown to jail. watching him bark at a German shepherd in a K-9 patrol car. The man is carefully patted down before being placed behind me. I feel a little uneasy. The suspect says his warrant confuses him. and he weaves a sad story about how his rights have been Violated; he's homeless. he says. down and out. 22 and divorced. It's beginning to sound like the lyrics of a country song until his cell phone rings. When we drop the man off at the jail. he recognizes the gloved officer taking his fingerprints. and asks if the officer remembers booking him before. Outside the station. we chat with another officer about the cuffed man running across Spenard in front of Kool's. He was caught a few minutes into his jog.

3:32 a.m. South Anchorage Aquiet neighborhood is roused by the hum of an old car. Adilapidated but powerful '79 AMC station wagon makes a right on Crawford Street and then pulls over to the side. With the engine still running. Oscar Williams steps out and walks to the back. With a heavy tug. he pulls the hatch lid open. The cargo light flicks on to reveal more than 1,000 cop足 ies of the Anchorage Daily News. all of which have to be delivered by 6 a.m. "I don't mind my job at alt" Williams says. "I don't have anybody looking over my shoulder. and I work better that way." He begins on one side of the road. pulling up to each house and ing a newspaper toward the front porch. "Most of the time. I can get the paper right on the doormat, but other times, I'm not such a good aim. If you see a paper on the roof of a house. it was probably me," Williams says. smiling. As Williams rounds the cul-de-sac and makes his way down the street. a light turns on i1'L the entryway of one of the houses that just received a delivery. An older man in boxer shorts steps out. grabs his newspaper. and shuffles back inside. For him and thousands of his neighbors. the morning paper signifies both tradition and the start of a new day.

4 a.m.

L'Aroma Central Bakery, Ship Creek

The lone baker for three hours, Guillermo "Memo" Cabrera. starts preparing the dough for today's order: 1,111 muffins, croissants. danishes and various other pastries. Inside the brightly lit gym-size bakery, the reserved 29-year-old measures ingredients to the gram. Only the whirring

hum of the dough mixer bteaks the silence. By 5,20 a.m. the baker has made 250 pounds of stretchy dough. With the help of a lifting machine. he pours it out of a big steel vat the size of an inner tube. After eight years with L'Aroma. Memo is now the assistant manager and head of the pastry department. The last of his tasks before two co-workers join him at 7 a.m. is mixing the muffin batter, 30 pounds of flour. 20 pounds of eggs. 18 pounds of cooking oil. 18 pounds of water and 16 pounds of fresh blueberries. "If someone forgets their lunch there's always leftovers from the day before." the stocky baker says. Every night. deliveries go to both Sagaya locations and other businesses from Huffman Road to Eagle River.

4:05 a.m.

Officer Mike Johnson's APD cruiser, Rancho Tudor Apartments

We rush toward the area around UAA. responding to reports of a raucous party. Pounding music leads us to a ground­ floor apartment jammed with college students. Some of them are over 21. and the officers proceed to lecture them for providing alcohol to the party's underage guests. The apartment is filled with beer cans. red plastic cups and slurred promises that "I've only had one beer." A couple on the couch somehow sleeps through it all; as I focus on their innocent. alcohol-induced slumber. I recognize one of them as a classmate of mine. Officers wake the disoriented couple. but I wink and say nothing.

4:40 a.m.

Officer Mike Johnson's APD cruiser, Spenard Motel

We pull into the parking lot of Spenard Motel and are met by another officer. A woman wanted for failure to appear in court is inside. One of the officers knocks on a badly painted door. then announces that we're the cops. After a few min­ utes. a thin. small-framed blonde with glasses opens the door. She is well known to these officers. and they address each other with ease and familiarity. As we enter. we're hit by a blast of smoke. cheap perfume and sweat. The room is not much larger than the queen-size bed that occupies it. A tall black man. the woman's company for the night. stands in the corner. The officers explain the war­ rant. and wait for her to get dressed. She places her hands behind her back for the cuffs. She knows the routine. She rattles off a list of phone numbers to her companion. telling him to make sure bail is promptly posted.

5 a.m. Officer Mike Johnson's APD cruiser As we take the woman to jail. I listen to the banter between the officer and his cuffed passenger. They talk about how much her bail will be. a prior shoplifting charge of hers. and her missing wallet. She is delighted when]ohnson pulls it out of the glove compartment and hands it back to her. Someone turned in the wallet at the station and]ohnson set it aside. knowing he'd eventually see her again.

6 a.m.

New Sagaya City Market

Cashier Jude HoIIstejn drinks a 20-ounce quad shot of caramel-macadamia-chocolate breve as she readies City Market for Saturday's customers. ·They don't start coming in tm around 7.30." Hollstein says. "If you're not at work people re· epi11$ in. but during the week they're waiting outside for m to op n the doors at 6.­ Inside City Market. L'Aroma Bakery and Deli serves up the fruits of Memo' 1 bol'. Next to the Kaladi Bros. coffee counter. trays of pastries tanta ize passers-by. Three thin glass doors stand between the treats and the ravenous public. Today's first custom is Abby Koszarez. stopping in at 6:45 on her return fro an early morning dropoff at the airport. ·1 live right around the comer and decided to get coffee and a paper; normally I'd be asleep still.- Koszarez says. •

*not his real name

Compiled by True North Staff

Photos by John Angst

Bulking Up for the Bush Story and photos by Chris Klint

Dimond Costeo employees Ch.ris Siner (on forklift) and Chad Stolp prepare Bush or­ ders for shipment in a loading area. "We've already shipped a lot out this morning," Stolp says, nol­ ing that the area was waist-deep in merehand ise earl ier in the mom mg.


tians. She says that despite the cost, being away from it all has its own wave of people in search Everyday items we take for granted in Anchorag~ cost far appeal. of bargains flood Anchorage's two more in Bush villages, mamly due to tratlspocta.tion costs. "1 love the simplicity of life," Costco stores every weekend. This tabl~eompares a few prices from the D' teO Varga says. "1 know everybody and But the people who push with the averagEflotprices from ttl ee storeSln the can~ery of course everybody knows me." the biggest carts often hail from town of Naknek. (Products may be different brands; prices Varga is enthusiastic about her shown are for the same quantity of product, but may be cal· Alaska's sma II est towns. trips to Costco. . Christine O'Connor of Dillculated from different package sizes.) "1 go systematically aisle to aisle ingham says she shops at Costco Source for Naknek pric . Bret Luick, Cooperative xten. and load up cart after cart. Somein Anchorage three to four times sion Service, University of Alaska Fairj>anks times 1have no more money for a year, usually spending around Tide because that is on the end of $800. Product Nunek the store by the checkout," Varga "I figure Costco saves me 50 rice says. "Each of my shopping sprees percent even after 1mail it home," round up between $500 and $700." O'Connor says of the price differ"Until my four kids were around ence against Bush competitors. we packed everything and mailed Dimond Costco general manc all the boxes from the airport post agel' Dick Snyder says special 01'office," Varga says. "Some nights del'S can be faxed to the store, but Fresh white potatoes, 20 pounds $7.99 $19.60 we went back and forth four or five I\ ~ must be at least $750. Workers $319 $9.63 tl·mes. I became friends with the Orange juice frozen concentrate, . then gather each order for pickup 3.01 pounds postmaster. Several times the boxes by customers or expediters. $5.58 were more than 70 pounds and we "Put it on a cart, palletize it, Peanut butter. 1.86 pounds $1.82 needed to repack everything." we'll do that for them. They're Valery White of Whale Pass responsible for picking it up from in Southeast Alaska homesteads here," Snyder says. Anchorage's warehouses are average, they with her family and runs a small lumber Snyder refuses to cite specific sales each generate annual sales of about $118 company with her husband. She says the figures, waving a hand in the direction of million. wave of Costco Bush orders has an tmpact the Sam's Club a few blocks away, but he Alaska's brisk trade in Bush orders at home. can't conceal the pride in his voice when makes Alaska Costco stores different, "I think it affects businesses here. The he mentions a recent visit by Costco CEO Snyder says. grocery stores don't sell as mu?h stu~f Jim Sinegal. "It tends to be a unique business for us, as they would if people couldn t get It "It's a very significant amount of because we do a lot of rural Alaska busicheaper at Costco," White says. "On the revenue for us," Snyder finally says when ness," he says. "Costco knew there was other hand, there are many small stores pressed. . . this potential when it came here." . and lodges in the area that depend on Just a little icing on a $47 billion cake. Snyder had in mind customers like Costco for their food inventory and that That's how much Costco earned in net Marta Varga, of Sand Point in the Aleuhelps the economy here." • sales in 2004 with 397 warehouses. If




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"Ask a Librarian" is a statewide real-time reference service for Alaskan residents that allows patrons and librarians to chat as well as browse web pages together.

A wealth of historical photographs, oral histories, moving images, documents, and other materials from libraries, museums, and institutions throughout our state.

Use the Alaska Library Network Catalog at find library materials statewide.

Databases for Alaskans includes full-text articles from magazines, newspapers and more.



ZEN 59 Sarah [dwards reF or me) suddenl~)




A~:ho" ;~'z:o c~ :, , ~:'i'"

5uddhism made per+ect sense. It was like an 'aha) experi­ ence that ~ou have upon solving a ditticult math problem: One moment ~ou)re puzzled and contused) then the answer appears and ~ou know it's correct.)) Ronn Rasmussen) long-time Zen sitter Round black cushions punctuate the empty space. The buzz of the vending machine outside is drowned out by the silence; it is not a distraction. Six students of different races turn clockwise toward their cushions and bow with focused faces. One nudges and points me in the right direction as I stumble over my temporary cushion-a cold, gray desk. "We only turn clockwise," Instructor Tozen Akiyama says in his Japanese accent. A UAA classroom morphs from a bland space where tired students plunk down their bags to an area for Zen where attentive pupils bow before the instructor and open the hand of thought. The focus is being in the present with the whole self, not thinking of the past or the future. This is Zen sitting at UAA, a class started three years ago by the Japanese program to teach students more about the culture. Akiyama. resident priest at the Anchorage Zen Community, dons h'aditional brown Buddhist garb each Thursday in Sally Monserud Hall. His quiet manner and contagious humor seem to contradict his martial arts training and early atheism. "I was against religion because I majored in Marxist economics and believed religion was opium," Akiyama said in a recent e-mail. Akiyama taught Japanese as a second language at the University of Hawaii after wandering the United States for two years in the '60s. He started practicing Zen in 1972 and became a priest two years later. Akiyama arrived in Alaska in 200 I to teach UAA's Zen sitting class. Though Zen sitting was included in the course catalog for the first time this spring. it is still a small and little known class. "Zen sitting is new to most Americans. and in that sense it is difficult to teach," he says. "But some students understand." Zen began as a school of Buddhism in early China and descends from monastic tradition. Zazen of the Soto Zen School is called shikantaza, or "just sitting," in which those who practice learn to

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TRUE NORTH 2005 --




focus only on the present. Thoughts come and go but in Zen they are not captured and meditated upon because they represent the past and the future All that is important and real is the present. "When you sit, just sit. When you cook, just cook. When you read or study, just do that. When you kill, just kill: Akiyama says. "Don't be concerned about purpose or benefit. just do it." It is a far cry from a Nike commercial. It is a marathon of postun and silence. As I sit straight-backed with eyes open, I can't ignore my thoughts as they come bubbling up. I count, and think about my counting. I think. "Am I supposed to start over again at one? Why is that man staring at us in here? Doesn't he have a class to go to? Is that my photographer?" My arms tire and I let them fall slowly, hoping the instructor will not see. Many struggle to understand the Zen-sitting concept. But practice and everyday activity, Akiyama says, is crucial. Though the time passed quickly as thoughts popped into my head and took control. the ache in my back told me that this would not be an everyday thing for me. For others, it has been an epiphany. Local construction cost consultant Ronn Rasmussen, 55, has been practicing Zen sitting for 15 years. Rasmussen took many trips to Sri Lanka and India with his wife and two daughters in the '80s, and following the death of his mother and father-in-law, he finally understood that Buddhism was what he was searching for. "For me, suddenly, Buddhism made perfect sense. It was like all 'aha' experience that you have upon solving a difficult math prob­ lem One moment you're puzzled and confused, then the answer appears and you know it's correct," Rasmussen said in a recent e-mail. Rasmussen found the Anchorage Zen Community in the Anchorage Daily News and has been affiliated with it on and off since his start in 1990. "[Zen] makes me a very happy person," he says. "It has helped m to find myself and has definitely changed my life." â&#x20AC;˘

At the potluck, tables of 10 are set up and no more than four people from the same culture may sit at a table. Individuals are then paired with others from different cultural backgrounds and throughout the following year these pairs will invite each other and friends who may be interested in Bridge Builders to dinners, events and activities that illustrate the uniqueness of their cultures. By Rose Helens-Hart Churchill is a sansei, or a third-generation Japanese­ Photo by Paola Banchero American. Cultures fascinate her. When Churchill and her Escape expensive ticket prices, jet lag, and still indulge husband joined Bridge Builders, they were first paired with your cultural whims. Warm up in a Finnish sauna, wrap Roberts, of Australian and Welsh descent, and his wife. Churchill yourself in the vivid fabric of Gambian fashion or toast like a says when people get a chance to sit down face-to-face and share stories they can gain new understanding and appreciation for Lithuanian. other cultures. It's all right here in Anchorage. Anchorage residents are far from homogenous, so Bridge According to the 2000 U.S. Census, some of Anchorage's Builder activities reach out to many different parts of the largest minority cultural communities are Alaska atives, community. Churchill describes Bridge Builders as the cultural Hispanics, blacks and Asians. Although Anchorage has a nerve center of Anchorage and she hopes it will serve as a population of 260,283 these cultures can model for the rest of the country. intentionally or unintentionally isolate themselves by ethnicity. According to the Bridge Builders' Volunteers of Bridge Builders of October 2004 newsletter, "when a city official, the chief of police, the school Anchorage, a nonprofit diversity program, connect the city's cultures in the hopes superintendent, the administrators of eliminating prejudice-one dinner at a of the adult and juvenile court time. systems or the staff at McLaughlin Youth Center face a challenging The program began in 1996 when cultural situation, they tum to Bridge former Anchorage mayor Rick Mystrom Builders." recognized the need for discussion about racial tension and ways to prevent it. When With about 93 languages spoken in the Anchorage school district, there Mystrom and several black and Caucasian is growing demand for a children's ministers sat down one night to dine and chapter of Bridge Builders. Bridge talk about Anchorage's cultural diversity, Builders have met with local high the Bridge Builders initiative was born. schools' diversity clubs and spoken at "The Bridge Builders wants to build after-school activities. a community of friends among all racial "Prejudice is universal. It is and cultural groups in Anchorage," says Malcolm Roberts, president of the human nature to look down on other people," says Roberts. "But when Anchorage Bridge Builders Board of Directors. you have a meal in a Tongan home, or with a Muslim family, you realize "[Bridge Builders] can wake people that many stereotypes are completely up, and show them that we are the whole At the most recent "Meet the world bogus." • new face for Anchorage," says Susan in Anchorage" event, Karim Otaegui Churchill, Bridge Builders' executive shows a hat worn by women of the director. The new face Churchill refers to is Peruvian Andes to keep the sun off the multi-ethnic landscape of the city that their faces and their heads warm. Check out Bridge Builders of Bridge Builders mirrors. Anchorage's Web site at Today more than 1,000 active Bridge Builders in Anchorage represent about 53 cultures. Twice a year Bridge index.html. or contact bye-mail Builders gather, for a fall potluck and a winter "Meet the World "" in Anchorage" celebration.





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Sweet Sound of Success

Anchorage School District fosters young talent

Stories and photos by Ynez Slaymaker Anchorage School District's instrument loaner program is music to children's ears - and sounds good to their budget足 minded parents, too.

Heidi Herbert-Lovern plays bass and Jeremy Guiley plays the baritone.

The bass's low vibrations pulsed in her feet and up to her shoulders; Heidi Herbelt-Lovern knew this was the instrument she loved. The Chugiak High School freshman has borrowed an upright bass from the Anchorage School District for the past three years and plays it in orchestra, jazz band and the Anchorage Youth Symphony. Herbert-Lovern's musical interests started in sixth grade at Rogers Park Elementary School during a demon足 stration of band and orchestra instruments. Music teachers and high school students played shalt pieces to highlight each instrument for the 11- and 12-year-olds. Prior to this, Herbert-Lovern had never tuned into any kind of music, let alone the bass's deep pitch. Children are introduced to simple musical instru足


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TRUE NORTH 2005 - - - -- --- - - - - - ---




ments like the recorder early in their elementary school years, but sixth grade is the ideal time for learning to playa band or orchestra instrument. Pre-teens are more focused, have better dexterity to grasp an instrument and are able to relate music to other subjects for deeper com足 prehension. Selecting the right instrument at an early age is paramount for success. "Hopefully students will pick instruments based on a sound that really gets them excited, not just because their friend is playing the same instrument," says Mike Martinson, ASD music department supervisor. "Picking an instrument is important. If they pick a sound they like there is a better chance of playing the rest of their life." Selecting a preferred musical instrument may be easy,






• ."Music is the only thing kids care about and we need to engage them in a common language to bring us together with diversity," says Carol Comeau, superintendent of the Anchorage school district but acquiring one can be a financial challenge for some families. A violin rental at Petr's Violin Shop is $19 a month for a minimum of three months. Without a credit card a deposit of halfthe purchase price is required and violins start at $400. The school district loans 800 musi­ cal instruments (violins, violas, cellos, basses, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, h'ombones, French horns, baritones and some percussion) primarily to sixth graders through­ out 60 elementary schools. "The whole purpose of this program is to give aJi stu­ dents the oppOitunity, especially those who can't afford it," says M31tinson. After teaching music throughout Alaska and Wash­ ington for 23 years, Martinson says he hasn't come across a music program similar to this one. When money gets tight music programs are usually cut back. "Our school boards have always voted to keep this program funded," says Martinson. "With 95 different languages in our school district music unites kids," says ASD Superintendent Carol Comeau. "Music is the one thing kids care about and we need to engage them in a common language to bring us together with diversity. We're not cutting into the music department," she says. "That's the one issue I'll fall on my sword for in the district." The benefit of music goes beyond bridging cultural gaps. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of

years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts. Jeremy Guiley, 12, grew up hearing his older brother play the cello and bass, but Guiley prefers brass instruments. "It's the sound I like, smooth and low," he says. This fall the sixth grader chose the soft mellow sound of the baritone as his band instrument, but at a cost of $1,500, he says it was too expensive. Thanks to the An­ chorage School District he has access to a baritone for a loaner fee of $15. It takes a lot of air to move the deep brassy sound through five loops before it exits a grapefruit-size blowhole that expands over Guiley's head, but the young musician enjoys it. He's learning to sight read and take his cues from the conductor as she dictates the beat and the loudness or softness of the notes. At the end of each school year, all 3,600 sixth-grade band and orchestra musicians fill the Sullivan Arena for the Sonic Boom concert. Beyond that performance, Guiley is looking forward to making baritone music next year at middle school. "I know I want to stay with music," he says. Herbert-Lovern also has aspirations for her music. Inspired by the resonance she heard in sixth grade the 15-year-old now thinks of attending Julliard or Berklee College of Music in Boston. "I want this as a career, to be in a great big philhar­ monic orchestra," she says. •

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s I drove along Hollywood Road, passing junkyards and forgotten swimming holes, I found the narrow homestead driveway hidden in a grove of age足 old birch and spruce trees. I imagined my father as a young boy running up the driveway eager to enter the home of Mahala Ashley Dickerson, his favorite neighbor and loving friend. Like my father, I was eager to meet Ms. Dickerson, but my hands became sweaty and my throat tightened as I grabbed my court papers from the passenger seat. I was about to discuss a DWI charge with her. Dickerson is Alabama's first black woman attorney and the first black woman to homestead in Alaska. I was a little nervous. Now, three years later, I'm back at the homestead, b tJ10t as a client or a family friend. This time I ventured to the homestead to listen to a heroine's tale. Dickerson has practiced law in Alaska for 45 years and has been an attorney for more than 50 of her 93 years. But her pursuit of civil rights began much earlier than her 1948 acceptance to the Alabama bar. "When I was growing up I saw the ills of society," she says. "Minorities were extremely deprived, and it took lawyers to bring it to people's attention." As we sat in her living room, fighting off the slobber of her two dogs, Dickerson told me that at the age of 5 or 6, her uncle, Charlie Moss, was killed when he accidentally fell down an elevator shaft. Back then, laws were in place to ensure that a widow would receive financial support following her husband's death, but Dickerson's parents, lohn Augustine and Hattie Moss Ashley, worried that there wouldn't be any support. Fearing the worst, they secured a lawyer to fight for the financial aid. And they won. "I saw the good that lawyers do," Dickerson says. that's what sparked my interest in law." As a black woman growing up in Alabama during the ~ression. Dickerson witnessed segregation in public schools and public streets. Black children were could to attend rivate schools, but only Jr_' p'arents could afford it. "rt all boiled down to money," she says. Dickerson's parents wer able to secure heia "Miss White's School," a private school in Mon Ala., where white, New England missionaries taught courses. "I was classmates with Rosa Parks when I was abou II years old," says Dickerson. "We became friends and were always jum ing rope and throwing jacks." Even though both Dickerson and Parks would become influential in the civil rights movement, they approached it from different fronts. \Vhile Parks and others protested on the streets, Dickerson battled in the courtroom. "A lot of people marched but Ms. Dickerson pursued ciyil rights through a more effective method," say Jeff Beck, a friend of Dickerson's. "She pursued -civil rights through her education and then by practicing law."

Even though Dickerson graduated cum laude from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., in 1935, she received no recognition for her achievement for another 51 years. At the time she graduated, Phi Beta Kappa did not admit black colleagues. Dickerson said that this "delayed justice" has been a theme throughout her life and also serves as the title for her autobiography, "Delayed Justice For Sale." Following Dickerson's graduation from Fisk, she attended Howard University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude in 1948. After she had established herself as the first black woman attorney in Alabama in 1948 and the second black woman attorney in Indiana in 1952, she was ready for a change in scenery. "I wanted to go somewhere 1 had never been," Dickerson says. "I heard about Alaska and sawall the beautiful pictures, so I decided to come up on vacation." As soon as she reached Alaska, she fell in love with the state's vast wilderness and magnificent beauty, Dickerson says. She decided to make Alaska her new home. "Alaska claims you," she says. Dickerson was admitted to the Alaska bar in 1959, and in the same year, after some resistance, she became the first black woman to homestead in Alaska. "When I went to the land office, a Caucasian lady told me that the only parcels available were in Homer," says Dickerson. "But then a Caucasian gentleman that was also looking for land said, 'Why don't you show her the parcels in Wasilla that you just showed meT" The woman's face turned bright red as she ran into a back room, Dickerson recalls. Eventually, the land office worker came back with a map and slammed it down on the table saying, "Here are the other parcels'" Finally, Dickerson owned her own piece of Alaska, and she joined the Knik homesteaders. "Everybody was so nice," she recalls. "We all helped each other." She continued to tell me how my Aunt Pam would sit in the window of my grandparents' home, waiting for Ms. Dickerson to drive by on her way home from Anchorage. As a safety measure, if Pam didn't see Ms. Dickerson pass the house around 5 p.m., my grandfather, Ken, would leave the dinner table to pull her Jeep out of a snow-packed ditch. "When dad (Ken) would leave dinner to help Mahala, it was never an imposition," says my father, Tim Gillow. "Everybody pitched in, no matter who they were or what they had." Despite the busy and sometimes hectic life on the homestead, my father says everybody seemed to find time to socialize. Families would come together for holidays, birthdays or to celebrate the latest moose hunt. Dickerson and my grandmother, Francine, found time to socialize on a regular basis. "1 can still remember what your grandmother used to say about life on the homestead," says Dickerson. "She would say, 'I could do it all again with the same people, but without each other, no one would have made it.'" Only three of the original families still live on Hollywood Road, but Dickerson says she still finds joy living on the homestead. Neighbors and friends still stop by to visit. And children still frolic outside, as my father did, running and sledding down the hill next to the house. As much as Dickerson loves being surrounded by people, she loves her homestead because it's secluded. "I enjoy people, but it's a funny thing, I also need my solitude," she says. "On a clear day, I can just sit by myself and stare through the window, looking at the mountains." â&#x20AC;˘

Above: Dickerson's Jeep isn't much of a .looker anymore, but it did out­ last the treachery of t.he unpaved roads.

Above: Standing still in time, the original cabin serves as a guest house on the homestead. Below: Mrs. Dickerson and her dog, Jessie, take a moment to enjoy each other's company.

Tattooing Alaska


Bodies emblazoned with pride As tattoos become a more accepted form of body art, Alaskans are finding yet another way to distinguish them足 selves. Among those who sport tattoos, Alaska-themed tattoos are the new fashion. They range from outlines of the state, to the state flower, to adaptations of the Last Frontier's simple flag. More Alaskans are resisting the temptations of roses, hearts, snakes, butterflies and clovers, instead choosing to honor the 49th state. Sure, Alaska is a beautiful place. There aren't many other places in the world like it. But what is so great about some blue flowers, or eight stars of gold that when aligned look like a soup ladle. "I love Alaska," says Kristina Smith, a sophomore anthro足 pology major at UAA. "I am proud of being an Alaskan and 1 wanted to find a way to show it." Smith has the outline of the state complete with the Aleu足 tian Islands and the Southeast Panhandle, stretching accross her lower back. "I decided to get an AJaska-themed tattoo because I was born and raised in Alaska and I wanted a symbol of my roots as an Alaskan," says ChanteIIe Zeiger, a journalism student at Montana State University. Zeiger has a tattoo of the Big Dipper on her ankle. "I'm moving to Vegas tomorrow and today was the first and last chance I had to get this tattoo done," says John Walker. "I've thought about it and been meaning to do it for a few years but I didn't have the time." Walker quit his job in Anchorage and moved to Las Vegas in early March. He had lived in Alaska his whole life and got the outline of the state as a way to remember Alaska. "The outline is a way for me to remember where I grew up. It's a testament of my life and my time in Alaska," Walker says. James Allen, an artist at Anchorage Tattoo Studio, says he has seen a spike of Alaska-themed tattoos over the past couple of years, particularly when summer ends. "We have been getting a huge rush at the end of the last few summers," Allen says. "All of the students are going off

ChanteUe Zeiger has the Big Dipper tattooed on her left

ankJe. The Big Dipper is associated with the state of Alaska

as it appears on the Alaska Flag.

Photo courtesy of Chantelle Zeiger.

Kristina Smith has the outline of the state on her lower back. The recognizable outline is becoming more popular among Alaska-themed tattoos. Photo by John Angst.

"All of the students are going off to college and they have to get their Big Dipper before they leave." - James Allen, Anchorage Tattoo Studio artist 38


Tattoos such as these of the Big Dipper and forget-roe-nots are becoming popular among Alaskans, particularly college aged kids leaving the state for school. Photos by Kate Sangster. to college and they have to get their Big Dipper before they leave." People who have Alaska-themed tattoos say that they get varied reactions. Some people recognize the tattoos as icons of the state. "Reactions that come from the Big Dipper tattoo are mostly those of knowing," Zeiger says. "People recognize it as the symbol that is on the Alaska flag. Alaskans themselves seem to admire it." Zeiger says she has a friend who comments regularly on how clever it was to get something so simple yet meaningful. Alaska is the biggest state in the union and its beauty is limitless. But aside from outlines, flowers and stars, Alaskan­ themed tattoo options are limited in the meaningful and attrac­ tive department. A rendition of the majestic Chugach Range would be dif­ ficult to emblazon on one's skin. A big gold nugget is

ugly unless seen at the bottom of a mining pan. A drop of Alaska crude oil, again, would perhaps not be overly attrac­ tive unless coming out of a pipeline. Spawned-out Sock­ eye salmon lose some of their allure without the smell. "We do put a lot of dippers, flowers and outlines of the state on people," Allen says. "These are definitely the most common. We'll do something involving a wolf, bear, caribou or raven, but these are far less common and usually become a much bigger, more elaborate tattoo. I have also done some mountain ranges, usually the Alaska Range with Denali, but again that's not something you can put on a foot or shoulder very well." "I thought of a flag or forget-roe-not," Smith says. "I wanted something that people would easily recognize." "It didn't take me long to figure out that I wanted the Big Dipper," Zeiger says. "It seemed simple and obvious and since I knew 1 was going to get body art done I figured it might as well be something meaningful." •


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Wally Hickel One of my earliest memories of Anchorage is running down Fourth Avenue pulling my clothes on at 5 a.ill. trying to be on time for my job as a dishwasher at the Richmond Cafe at Fourth Avenue and G Street. Winter was approaching, and I was sleeping in a cabin at the comer of Fifth and B with a door that didn't close, no electricity, running water, or alarm clock. That morning in 1940 I had slept in, and Mrs. Richmond, an enormous woman, was waiting for me in the street with her arms crossed, scowling. I'd arrived in town a few weeks earlier. A one-way ticket on the SS Yukon from Seattle and the train ride from Seward had used up my savings and I needed to keep that job! Anchorage was a small, rugged town when I arrived. Its population was about 4,000 people. Fourth Avenue was the only paved street, and the pavement only ran down the middle. Most of the men with winter jobs worked at the Alaska Rail­ road, and the railway yard seemed a long way from downtown. The Taylor brothers, my friends who lent me their cabin, told me they were leaving Alaska because "everything that's going to happen in Alaska has already happened." I had a dif­ ferent view. During the war years, the city burst wide open. More than 50,000 troops came to town. After the war, I went into con­ struction and became interested in the shape and direction of our city with its beautiful setting and remarkable location. I had a vision of a medicaVacademic center east of town. In the mid-1950s, the city offered to give some N Street lots to Providence Hospital so it could expand its downtown location. The sisters in charge were my friends, but the talk of expansion turned into a heated argument. "You don't need lots," I said. "You need acres. We've got to think for the next 50 years." A few years later, we turned the first shovel of dirt for the new Providence Hospital at its present location, and I helped clear some land and raise funds with Ken Hinchey and founder

Dr. Gordon Gould for Alaska Methodist University (now APU). The expanding community needed a strong downtown, so in 1961, I sold four lots to the state at a rock bottom price to facilitate the construction of a courthouse on Fourth Avenue. After the earthquake, we built the Captain Cook Hotel during '64-'65, the first winter construction of its kind in Alaska. Since then, the Anchorage Bowl has filled with homes and businesses, and although we're still a young community, our quality of life with access to a lively culture and expansive wilderness makes the us unique. And we've only just begun. In the next 50 years, Anchorage can become one of the great cities in North America, not in terms of population, but in terms of northern, even global vision and leadership. Located at the center of the northern continents, Anchor­ age can become a "new Geneva" where world diplomats can meet to resolve their differences. Leaders of developing nations will be attracted here to learn how Alaska manages its commonly owned lands and resources to benefit its people, rather than Outside corporations, wealthy investors or politi­ cal leaders. 1 dream of the day when we have the courage to use the earnings from our Pelmanent Fund to improve our city, our universities, our schools and our recreational activities. If Alaska had used just half of the $6 billion already distributed to individuals through the Permanent Fund to improve our communities, we'd have the finest city in the world. When we find that courage, the drain of young Alaskans leaving our state will come to a screeching halt, and the tal­ ented and visionary will stay to help create one of the fUhlre's great cities. •

'Everything that's going

to happen in Alaska has

already happened.

"I had a different view'" - Wally Hickel Wally Hickel served as governor ofAlaska from 1966 to 1968 and 1990 to 1994 and as US secretary ofthe interior from 1969 to 1970. Founder ofthe Institute ofthe North, he is currently serving as the UAA distin­ guished professor ofpublic policy.





There's a lot more to Anchorage than there used to be. When I got here 41 years ago, there was downtown, Spenard and trees. I'm talking a whole lot of trees. Midtown? Trees. Most of the Hillside? Trees. UAA? Trees. Many fewer trees now. Many more roads and buildings. Is this good? Yes, unless you are a squirrel or the reincarnation of Henry David Thoreau. I'm neither. Anchorage is a much easier, more interesting and more rewarding place to live now than when I first got here. Materially, Old Anchorage suffers by every comparison. Its road network was sketchy, its entertainment options limited, its shopping rudimentary, its job oppOltunities stunted, its medical care iffy, and on and on. Of course, the material gains were shadowed by spiritual losses. You could know a pretty big chunk of the people who lived in Old Anchorage by their first names. You didn't have to lock your doors. You could send your kids out to play without having to keep an eye on them every minute. The small-town virtues vanished with the small town. I'm sure you've heard other old gaffers moan about that. Like it or not, this is where Anchorage is now. It's a city, not a small town. It's more American than it is Alaskan. If you believe in progress, the exchange was worth making. But even if you believe in progress, you don't have to believe Anchorage is perfect. To get where we are now, we did some stupid things. I'm not talking about cosmic, big-picture, city-planning stupid things. I'm talking about down~on-the­ ground, small-scale, everyday stupid things. Sidewalks are one. Much of Anchorage doesn't have them. Why? Because the city government of the time didn't require them. Why not? Because sidewalks cost money. They cost money to put in, and they reduce the amount of land in each housing lot, which costs more money. Who pays? Develop­ ers. Think of not requiring sidewalks as a little walking-around money that the city's elected officials gave to the developers. And if you can't get around because there are no sidewalks? Hey, the people who count can afford cars.

Moose are another. Moose didn't live in Old Anchorage. They lived up on the Hillside. But as the town grew into a city, developers turned the Hillside into a kind of Hollywood version of Alaska: big lots, trees, wells and cesspools and a 20-minute drive to your job. Building roads and houses broke up the forest and scattered the moose. And, of course, you couldn't hunt up there anymore, because you might put a .30­ 06 slug through somebody's wall and there'd be hell to pay. The result: more moose and less moose habitat. So the giant ungulates moved into town. We made big mistakes, too. Seriously, do you think that the people who built Midtown should ever be allowed to build anything again? I don't. And the Performing Arts Center? Nice building, but too big for its city. Still, it's the little mistakes that drive you crazy: no side­ walks, too many moose wandering around, streets too wide to walk across during a single stoplight, not enough books in the libraries- not enough libraries, for that matter- trees disap­ pearing every time you tum around. Think about it. Make your own list. I'm sure you can come up with as many small irritations as I can. When I think about where Anchorage should go from here, I don't think about big, futuristic buildings you'd have to be named Jetson to work in. I don't think about planning concepts like town centers or big, new convention centers or new multi-million-dollar buildings on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. These may all be fine things, but they aren't my things. I think, instead, about trying to bring the best of Old Anchorage back into New Anchorage. How? Well, let's take some of that road money and build some sidewalks. Let's figure out a way to get rid of some of these moose. Let's make the streets narrower or the stoplights longer. Let's open a few libraries. Wait, you say. That's all government stuff. And you're right, it is. But what's so wrong with using govenunent to make this a city that's more fit for human beings to live in? And if you're not into government, what can you do? How can you help Anchorage bring the best of its past into its future? Simple. Plant a tree. •

"Like it or not, this is where Anchorage is now. It's a city, not a small town. It's more American than it is Alaskan. "- Mike DooKan Third generation Alaskan Mike Doogan wrote an opinion column for the Anchorage Daily News for 15 years. He is now the spokesman for the state legislative minority - that would be the Democrats.





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