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Monday-Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Nov. 18, 2012

Books by Alaska authors make excellent gift ideas

Champion of Alaskan Huskies — Joe Redington, Sr., Father of the Idtiarod Katie Mangelsdorf draws on her own interviews with Redington and his wife, Vi, to craft a biography of the legendary musher and the wife who helped him every step of the way. The book was 14 years in the making. It’s written for all ageas. But Mangelsdorf, a former teacher, said she hoped especially to cap-

ture the imaginations of children. Redington, she said, has a lot to teach them. “Those qualities of sticking to something and being creative and patient, trying not to give into discouragement and not to give into fear, those kinds of things our children need to hear about,� Mangelsdorf said. Loose Screws and Skinned Knees Care Tuk, of Wasilla, who has been through surgery upon surgery and battled cancer 11 times and lived through a harrowing car crash shares her story of, according to the book cover “turning life’s obstacles and adversity into opportunities and adventure.� Tuk believes in living a life without any regrets, lived in the moment. She said a lot of things have gotten her through her trials – she puts faith, family and fun on that list. It’s a book full of wisdom but always

leavened with Tuk’s undeniable and undimmable sense of humor. A Rocking Chair, a Wig, Two Kids and a Husband

Lee Fuller, of Wasilla, tells the story of the years she and her husband lived in Point Hope. They moved there from Ohio in 1964, both taking jobs as teachers. Together they See BOOKS, Page 4

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The Valley’s got nothing if it doesn’t have a whole lot of authors writing books. Here are a few we’ve spoken with. Most are available locally (try Fireside Books in Palmer) and online both through the individual publishers’ websites and at Amazon. At least one we swear we saw at Carrs the other day:

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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

†Instant rebate offered on any new EU Series Honda Generator purchased Nov. 13 through Nov. 27, 2012. No rain checks. At participating dealers only. ††Unregulated, see Dealer for details. *The Honda Power Equipment VisaŽ credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Financial National Bank, an Equal Housing Lender. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit at participating merchants. Regular minimum monthly payments are required during the promotional (special terms) period. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date at the APR for Purchases if the purchase balance is not paid in full within the promotional period. For newly opened accounts, the APR for Purchases is 27.99%. This APR may vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate and is given as of 07/01/2012. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. If you use the card for cash advances, the cash advance fee is 5.00% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10.00. Offer expires 11/30/2012. **Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. ***Minimum Advertised Price. Please read the owner’s manual before operating your Honda Power Equipment and never use in a closed or partly enclosed area where you could be exposed to poisonous carbon monoxide. Connection of a generator to house power requires a transfer device to avoid possible injury to power company personnel. Consult a qualified electrician. Š2012 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Page 3

BOOKS Continued from Page 3

Fullers went to Gambell and then to Nome, where they lived 20 years, and Jack served in the state Legislature.

constituted half of the school’s teaching staff. The title refers to the things she brought with her. The rocking chair was a family heirloom and the wig was something she could use in lieu of getting her hair done since she didn’t know where she’d find a beauty shop. The

Trails: Living in the Alaska Wilderness Warren Troy, of Willow, penned this fictional homesteading tale drawing heavily on his years homesteading in Kachemak Bay. The story surrounds Denny Caraway, who ventures into the Alaskan wilderness

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after becoming disenchanted with his life in Reno. Conflict arrives in the form of a lodge being built in the middle of Denny’s quiet paradise. If you try this one and like it, Troy has another book, Jester: Memoirs of a Retired Hippy.

Should I Not Return Jeff Babcock, currently of Arizona but formerly of Anchorage and Wasilla, tells the story of his first ascent of Denali in 1967. For students of mountaineering history, that year probably carries some weight. Babcock was on the mountain when a massive storm blew through, trapping another expedition, 12-member Wilcox expedition. Only five survived. The expedition Babcock was in went searching for survivors. Babcock said he became an Alaskan on that trip. “It certainly was a turning point in my life.”

Ki’ti’s Story, 75,000 B.C. Bonnye Matthews, of Wasilla, plans this book as the first in a series of fictional novels set during the time of the peopling of the Americas. The first book takes place in Asia, in what is now China, when Neanderthals, Homo Erectus and Cro-Magnon all met at the same place. Later books will depict prehistoric men traveling from Asia to Alaska.

Homesteaders in the Headlights George Harbeson, Jr., of Ninilchik, recounts his family’s depression-era journey from New Jersey to Wasilla and their life homesteading in Knik near the Redingtons’ place. The book, with an intro from Wasilla living legend Katie Hurley, is about everyday life, Harbeson said. “We didn’t take a bulldozer to the top of Mt. McKniley or wrestle grizzly bears although we did see them.”

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2012 Holiday Gift Guide


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New Palmer arts center offers creations for the whole family BY HATTIE SCHMIDTKUNZ For

PALMER — When I step out of the rain into Karen Lopez’s new downtown studio and gallery, I am greeted by her warm smile and the brightness of fresh paint. I step around furniture and drop cloths to see the beginnings of an enriching addition to Palmer’s art community. Lopez’s art center, called NuKreationZ Art and Creativity Center, is located at 735 S. Bailey St. in downtown Palmer and provides a resource that Lopez sees a need for in the Valley. The space will include a gallery, workshop area, studio and a sitting area with books and coffee. As Lopez enthusiastically speaks of her infectious and inspiring dreams for her art center, a woman comes in with beautiful prints of her photography work. The photos will hang in the new gallery alongside other creations from Alaskan artists. Lopez tells me that meeting so many new and talented artists has been a wonderful experience for her. She leads us downstairs into the studio area and tells us about her plans to use the space for public workshops. She hopes to bring artists who specialize in all mediums to her studio to lead workshops and wants to make the space available for artists who are looking for a venue to teach from. In the future, Lopez hopes to work with the home school community and provide a place for home school students to connect with the arts. Lopez’s vision for bringing the community together with the arts is truly refreshing. Grants are available for organizations like hers that are dedicated to the community, and Lopez hopes to find funds for the art center in that manner. Works of art sold in the gallery will also support the art center. NuKreationZ Art and Creativity Center, Lopez emphasized, is not an endeavor in business profit, but one in community profit. The art center could be a hub for artists and a place to foster an environment that encourages community support and collaborations. She knows that an ideal creative environment is one in which people have the opportunity to learn from other artists and build on each other’s enthusiasm

Greg Johnson/

NuKreationZ Art and Creativity Center owner Karen Lopez poses with some colorful art in her new Palmer gallery.

for the arts. Lopez wants to provide the community a place where they can come to talk, live and dream art. As a lifelong Alaskan, Lopez has a unique understanding of the needs of the community and she feels that, “Palmer is bursting at the seams to be creative.” She intends her new studio and gallery to provide just the creative outlet the community needs. In Lopez’s own art, she is a talented potter. She caught the itch in her mid-20s when she took pottery lessons. Lopez is inspired by the lines, forms and colors of nature and strives to re-create them in her pottery. Quaking

aspen is her favorite muse. With this in mind, it is no wonder that Lopez takes strong interest in the organic quality of raku pottery. Raku is a firing method that produces an interesting glaze. After applying the glaze, the piece is fired and pulled out while it’s still glowing hot and placed in a bucket of combustibles such as newspaper and hay. The resulting fire changes the colors of the glaze and adds interesting textures to the piece. Lopez demonstrated the raku pottery technique and provided an opportunity for folks to try it at the art center’s Second Saturday opening.

NuKreationZ Art Center gift ideas 1. Paint a piece of pottery...a mug, a bowl...handmade pottery ready for glazing... also a great way to preserve your baby’s footprint for the grandparents! 2. Hand carved cribbage sets by Bob Seims! Beautiful woodworking that can provide hours of family entertainment! 3. Tree of Life beaded wall hangings, necklaces and earrings. Gorgeous! 4. Landscape photography by Kate Evans. Stunning beauty and perspective. 5. Original oil and acrylic paintings, unique and beautiful. 6. Dan Pollock wall flowers. Clever and intriguing. 7. Inspirational art paintings, prints and notecards by Tina Fisher. A very collectible artist. 8. Modern Alaska tables and metal works by John Wiese. Fresh and interesting. 9. Maile Laree paper mosaic mirrors, picture frames and much more. Unique handcrafted beauty for your home, your life, your soul. 10. Sturdy Birch bark baskets with colorful raffia and bead flair.

Nov. 18, 2012

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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Page 5

Valley’s ‘Snow Child’ home after international tour BY VICTORIA NAEGELE For

MAT-SU — After a whirlwind year of world travel with her first novel, the author of “The Snow Child” is home in the MatSu Valley to recharge and reconnect to the Alaska wilderness that inspires her. Eowyn Ivey is back this month for the paperback release of “The Snow Child,” which was published in hardcover last February. The book spent more than six weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list for fiction, as well as making best-seller lists in Norway and the United Kingdom. “The Snow Child” has been nominated for several prestigious awards, including the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. It has also garnered critical acclaim. “The Snow Child” is based on a Russian fairy tale about an old man and woman who build a little girl out of snow and she comes to life. Ivey will travel during December, with trips to the UK and New York City. The past several months have made a world traveler out of Ivey, who didn’t own a valid passport 14 months ago. “It’s been quite a go,” Ivey said from her home between Chickaloon and Sutton. “It’s been very exciting.” Ivey admits the book’s success has been a bit heady for a Palmer High graduate who grew up on Lazy Mountain without running water. She spent nine years as a reporter and editor for the Frontiersman before working as a bookseller at Fireside Books in Palmer. Success has its rewards. For Ivey and her family, the very tangible reward for “The Snow Child’s” success is a water-well. The family had been hauling water since moving into their fixer upper in 2006. “If all that came out of the book was the well, it would have been great,” Ivey said. “It’s amazing.” Of course, that wasn’t the only benefit Ivey has accrued from writing an international bestseller. She and members of her family traveled to Australia, New Zealand, France, England and Scotland, as well as around the United States to promote her book and visit writers’ conferences. That has given her daughters Aurora, a kindergartner, and Grace, an eighth-grader, opportunities about which they could have only dreamed, Ivey said. Ivey said people have asked her if she could ever imagine the wild success of “The Snow Child.” “I would have had to be delirious to imagine this,” Ivey said with a laugh. “I just wanted to make a living.” Ivey said she expects the merry-go-round Page 6

Fireside Books gift ideas 1. “The Snow Child,” by Eowyn Ivey Now in paperback! This novel by the former Frontiersman reporter is an adult re-telling of a Russian folk tale. It’s haunting, gritty, and beautiful.

Courtesy photo

Above, Eowyn Ivey is home after a whirlwind year of international travel promoting her first novel ‘The Snow Child.’ Below, Eowyn and daughter, Grace, in Paris, France.

to slow as her first novel reaches its one-year anniversary date. Maybe then, she said, she can really concentrate on her second novel. Like “The Snow Child,” it is set in Alaska of a bygone era. And like her first novel, it will contain some fantastical elements. Ivey and her husband, Sam, Palmer area management biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game, made time for a caribou hunting trip this fall. That, she said, like chopping wood and feeding the chickens, is a tonic for her travel-weary and technology-swamped recent life. “When we can, we seize our regular lives,” she said. On her Facebook page, she posted frosty photos from the hunt, replete with grizzly tracks — the kind of scenes she describes in “The Snow Child,” and images with which her readers likely expect to be regaled in the next novel.

It’s been difficult, she admits, to carve out the time to work on the novel, even with both of the girls in Palmer schools this year. “I need to let go of this book (‘The Snow Child’) a little bit,” Ivey said. She said it is daunting to move beyond the success to strive for it anew with another project. She knows how unusual was the success of “The Snow Child.” Before the release of the paperback in early November, the book had sold more than 100,000 copies in the United States. It is or will be sold in 30 countries in 20 translations, including Chinese simple characters and Chinese complex characters. The paperback’s release is expected to give the numbers another spike. Even as Ivey tries to set aside “The Snow Child” to focus on her new tale, her debut novel continues to generate new opportunities and surprises. A composer in the UK is writing an opera based on the story. It’s just another fantastic event surrounding the fantasy story, and while she calls the development “thrilling,” it makes Ivey laugh anew at the implausible incongruity. “It’s hard to image Jack and Mabel (the homesteading couple who are central to her story) breaking out in song,” Ivey said. “The Snow Child” is published by Little, Brown and Co.

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

2. Kobo Glo and/or Kobo Mini ereader. For those who prefer their books digitally, these devices are the way to go. They fit in your palm, but they are large enough to make reading easy and convenient. You can even choose your print size and font. Buy your books online and take your library with you wherever you go. If you buy an ebook from a Kobo account linked with Fireside Books, we offer a special discount on the matching paperback or hardcover version. 3. “This is Not My Hat,” by Jon Klassen. I never knew a children’s book could be this funny. The unreliable narrator just keeps swimming deeper and deeper into the mess he made when he took the little hat from the big fish. It’s subtle, funny -and in its own way -- deeply moral. 4. Melissa & Doug toys. These classic toys take us back to the days before laser guns and computer games -- to a simpler, more thoughtful time. Whether it’s the Band-in-a-Box, the DIY wooden train, or the dozens of scratch art kits, there’s something here for everyone. 5. “Star Wars Origami” Kids love origami--and what could be cooler than transforming a piece

See FIRESIDE, Page 10 Nov. 18, 2012

The Gallery offers art with local flair BY HEATHER A. RESZ

PALMER — Living and shopping in a small town comes with some unique pleasures not available in urban retail outlets. Here, if you know where to look, you can get a slice or two of history with your art. That’s part of why generations of local customers return to do business at The Gallery, 1150 S. Colony Way, KeyBank Plaza, Palmer. After serving customers on the same corner in downtown Palmer for 27 years, shop owner Jo Ann Franks said nearly every home in the Mat-Su Valley has a picture from her shop. The Gallery offers original paintings prints by Alaska artists such as Douglas Francois Girard, Gail Niebrugge and Forrest James and jewelry by Vicki Kluever. At first, The Gallery offered only framing and art, but one cannot decorate with big pieces alone, Franks said. “After you fill your house with big pieces,



you need smaller pieces to fill in,� she said. Inside, The Gallery is a feast for the eyes one could spend hours savoring. Every surface is filled with beautiful, colorful, unique gifts and collectibles. There’s something inside for every member of the family, including children, Franks said. “Art is just kind of a learned lifetime behavior,� she said. Assisting her is a woman Franks introduces as her left hand and a Colony Kid — Beverly Larsh Hayes. For the past quarter century, the two have served generations of customers at the shop together. The Larsh family came here as Colonists when she was 5 and her brother was the first boy born at the hospital. Customer service isn’t listed on the shop’s inventory, but it’s the primary component of The Gallery’s success, Franks said. The Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays. For more information, contact 745-1420, or visit


Jo Ann Franks has owned and operated The Gallery at the same location in downtown Palmer for 27 years. Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman readers voted The Gallery as Best Art Gallery for 2012. ROBERT DeBERRY/ Frontiersman



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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Page 7






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Page 8

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Nov. 18, 2012

‘2012 Playbook’ is ideal gift for Valley sports fans

MAT-SU — For years families of Mat-Su Borough student athletes have relied on the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman to help document their students’ athletic careers. New this year, Valley sports fans will have another way to commemorate and remember the 2012 Mat-Su Valley football season. Frontiersman Sports Editor Jeremiah Bartz said his own scrapbook of memories from his senior football season was the inspiration for this 96-page, full-color hardcover book. “Readers often say they spend time clipping from the pages of the Frontiersman photos and stories about teams that include their children, members of their family or

Nov. 18, 2012

friends for their own Valley sports scrapbooks,� Bartz wrote in an introduction to the “2012 Playbook: A Season in Mat-Su Football.� Bartz said the Playbook is a collection of coverage from the 2012 prep football season and includes dozens of action photos by Frontiersman Photo Editor Robert DeBerry. The book is the first in a series of projects the Frontiersman is planning to document the Mat-Su Valley’s continuing tradition of excellence in student athletics. The 2012 Playbook will be available in mid-December, but people may preorder their copies now for $24.95. Only 500 copies of this first edition volume will be printed. Reserve copies by calling 352-2250, or send email to

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A limited number of copies of the 2012 Playbook: A Season of Mat-Su Football will be produced. Pre-orders are available now. Copies of the 96-page, full-color, hard bound are $24.95 and will be delivered in time for Christmas. Reserve copies by calling 352-2250, or send email to

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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Page 9

FIRESIDE Continued from Page 6

of paper into Boba Fett, Princess Leia, Yoda, or R2-D2? And not just any paper, but custom-designed paper illustrated with art from the movies. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Star Wars(R) Origami â&#x20AC;&#x153;marries the fun of paper folding with the obsession of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Star Wars.â&#x20AC;? 6. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bouchon Bakeryâ&#x20AC;?

The tastes of childhood have always been a touchstone for Keller, and in this dazzling amalgam of American and French baked goods, readers will find recipes for all the French classics he fell in love with as a young chef apprenticing in Paris. 7. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every Day,â&#x20AC;? by David Levithan A great, unusual teen read. Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. 8. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in

Eight Fits,â&#x20AC;? by Lewis Carrol A Lewis Carrol book that many havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t read yet! 9. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cardboard,â&#x20AC;? by Doug TenNapel In this graphic novel, Camâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s down-andout father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the worst present ever. To make the best of a bad situation, they bend the cardboard box into a man -- and to their astonishment, it comes magically to life. But a neighborhood jerk warps the powerful

cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all! 10) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gone Girl,â&#x20AC;? by Gillian Flynn Our best-selling thriller novel! On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.





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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Nov. 18, 2012

Unique furniture creations at Cover Ups BY ANDREW WELLNER

PALMER â&#x20AC;&#x201D; On a recent morning in Palmer, Teresa Roy apologized to a visitor for making so much noise as she pulled a cart with extremely squeaky wheels through her showroom. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Today just happens to be our Pallets and Planks show,â&#x20AC;? she said. Roy, owner of Cover Ups in downtown Palmer, said that the show features furniture made from recycled and repurposed wood â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a colorfully painted headboard, a similarly colorful coffee table. If thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s someone on your holiday shopping list who appreciates unique furniture items, Cover Ups might be a good stop when making your rounds. The shop also contains merchants selling homemade jewelry and clothing. Cover Ups started out selling just blinds and curtains but has since expanded into a little bit of everything. Royâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion, though, is clearly with the furniture â&#x20AC;&#x201D; giv-

ing new lives to old pieces, saving them from the landfill. Roy grew up in Anchorage but her family homestead in Sutton in 1949. She now lives on the homestead, and her grandkids are now the fifth generation of her family to live there. Though her roots in the Valley run deep, she said, her ties here were deepened 19 years ago when she went into business. At first she worked out of her home. Then she moved into the downtown storefront. She sold just curtains and blinds then, and usually shared the space and cost of rent with other interior design businesses. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be partnered with a countertop business for a while and then a flooring business. Three years ago, when a water main under Alaska Street burst, sending a geyser into the air, businesses in downtown suffered. Some were moving on. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was a really scary time to be a business owner in downtown Palmer, because we so rely on each other,â&#x20AC;? she said. Eventually, the business she was part-

nered with left. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was like, OK, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to walk the walk,â&#x20AC;? she said. And she did. She expanded into the furniture business. She started rehabilitating

and selling pieces. And then she expanded next door, bringing on start-up companies that were in complimentary businesses and giving them space to grow. See COVER UPS, Page 17

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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Page 11

Family business good for the sole BY HEATHER A. RESZ

WASILLA — Fans of well-made footwear have a few options to shop locally for their favorite kicks to pamper their toes. The Long family opened the newest MatSu Valley shoe store Dec. 22, 2011, in the Creekside Plaza, 1830 E. Parks Highway. After years working in and managing Anchorage shoe stores, patriarch Dave Long said the family decided to parlay its years of retail and shoe store experience into a new shopping opportunity for Valley shoe shoppers. In stock at Northern Comfort Shoes and Apparel now are brands like Dansko, Børn, Doc Martin, Bogs and Merrell. Coming

soon are shoes and boots by Sorrell, Solomon and Columbia. Dave and Tammye Long said their children have years of experience working in Anchorage shoe stores. After kicking the idea around for a few years, they took classes through the Alaska Small Business Development Center in Wasilla and opened the new shoe store last month. “It’s a good resource for people wanting to start a business,” Dave said. “And a lot of their classes are free.” Siblings Elise and Christian Long also played a big role in picking the product, their parents said. Elise said she picked out shoes with an eye to Alaska’s environment and the Valley’s laid-back fashion sense.

“And from the reactions we are getting, I think you’ve made good choices,” Tammye said. Christian said the goal is to offer quality shoes that will perform well in Alaska’s unforgiving environment. He said Alaska’s weather is hard on shoes, too, and cheap department store shoes often break or fall apart in a few months. Mom Tammye said consumers are beginning to see the benefits of investing in wellmade footwear. “I think people are starting to realize that it is actually cheaper to buy one pair of wellmade shoes rather than replacing them every few months,” she said. Dad Dave said he’s worn Dansko’s for years and has purchased so many pairs for

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his family over the years that it just made sense to open a store. Elise said the store is a good fit all around. “Our whole family is shoe people,” she said. For now, both parents also work other jobs, too. Tammye is a manager at Target and Dave operates a vessel based in Dutch Harbor. “It was a good decision,” Dave said. “We want to be here for a while.” Tammye said it’s been great working together as a family. She said they taught their kids school at home until they were high school aged and this business has provided an opportunity for the family to spend lots of time together. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to work with our kids,” she said. In addition to shoes, the store also offers Smartwool apparel and a good selection of “crazy” tights, Tammye said. In the future, Christian said the store plans to offer ski and snowboard gear, too. “We want to grow with the community,” Dave said. “Anything we can think of to help the community — I’m all for it.” Although the store has only been open 10 days, he said they welcome from the community has been warm and enthusiastic. “We already seeing ladies coming in off the farm to get their Danskos,” Dave said. For more information about Northern Comfort Shoes and Apparel, contact 3765403 or For more information about Alaska Small Business Development, contact Julie Nolen at Alaska Small Business Development Center or 373-7232.



Page 12

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

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November 18, 2012

ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman

Elise Long arranges shoes for display on the wall of the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new store in the Creekside Plaza Shopping center in Wasilla.

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The Long family from left are nephew Zac Pease, Dave Long, son Christian, wife Tammye and daughter Elise. Together they have opened the Northern Comfort shoe store in the Creekside Plaza shopping center.




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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

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Temple Christensen walks the runway during the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 11â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 23rd annual Salad Luncheon and Style Show April 27 at the Palmer Moose Lodge. Her wardrobe was styled by In-fu-sions Boutique in Wasilla.


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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

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Nov. 18, 2012

FASHION INFUSION Women’s clothing for the ‘fashionably eclectic’ BY HEATHER A. RESZ

WASILLA — Flip through a magazine and one can find fashion shoots with models, or celebrities like Halle Berry and Nicole Richie, wearing Paige Premium Denim. But did you know that the Paige behind the brand is Wasilla High School graduate Paige Adams-Geller? Or, that you can purchase the same premium denim clothing A-listers are wearing from her WHS schoolmate Ruth Villanueva? The two women attended high school together in the late 1980s and reunited in 2010 after Villanueva opened In-fu-sions Boutique in Palmer in 2007. “In high school, Paige was the epitome of fashion,” Villanueva said. “Now she is a famous A-line denim designer.” Villanueva left Alaska in 1987 and lived in Los Angeles for 15 years before moving back with her family in 2002. She said she noticed a big change when she came home. “I moved back and there was nowhere to shop. Where did all the local shops go?” Villanueva said. “We did have some really great locally owned clothing stores in the 1980s.” Since 2010, the boutique clothing shop has operated at 1731 E. Palmer-Wasilla Highway in Wasilla. No doubt her business partner also is a familiar face to many local folks, too. Her partner is her mother, Esther Buckareff, longtime owner and operator of Shalom Bookstore. “This was her dream from the time she was very young,” Buckareff said of their joint retail venture. Villanueva describes the shop’s merchandise as fashionably eclectic. She said she aims to offer clothing for women of all ages and body types, and across a variety of price points. For example, while people can spend $100 — or more — on a pair of premium denim jeans by Paige, Miss Me or Rock Revival, the boutique also sells an assortment of $12 camisoles, Villanueva said. “We know that most customers are watching their budgets,” she said. Folks at the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 11’s 23rd annual Salad Luncheon and Style Nov. 18, 2012


Above, In-fu-sion Boutique owner Ruth Villanueva sits inside her shop in Wasilla.

Show at the Palmer Moose Lodge got a taste of Villanueva and Adams-Geller fashion sense April 27 when In-fu-sions styled outfits for the models in business professional, evening wear and casual attire. And several models in the show wore clothing made in the USA by Paige Premium Denim. Buckareff said she and her daughter go on buying trips all over America, as well as traveling internationally to select new merchandise for their unique boutique. In several cases, those vendors also inked agreements with In-fu-sions that gives it the exclusive rights to distribute their lines See IN-FU-SION, Page 17 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Joy Mielke models the business professional attire accented with a black necklace during the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 11’s 23rd annual Salad Luncheon and Style Show at the Palmer Moose Lodge. In-fu-sion Boutique in Wasilla styled casual, business professional, and evening wear. Mielke attended the event with her grandmother, Pioneer Evelyn Mielke and mother Terry Mielke, but when a model canceled, she volunteered to fill in. HEATHER A. RESZ/

Page 15

Body Renew offers something for every body BY HEATHER A. RESZ

WASILLA — For those planning New Year’s resolutions that include fitness, health and weight loss goals, Body Renew can help. “We are a weight loss and fitness studio,” said David Cheney, general manager for the Wasilla location. “We are designed for the people who are trying to lose weight and for the people who are uncomfortable in fitness gyms.” Body Renew offers its members nutrition coaches, fitness coaches, group fitness classes and corporate wellness programs at its Wasilla location at 1325 E PalmerWasilla Hwy No. 108, at its two Anchorage locations and at its studio in Eagle River, Cheney said. People who enroll in its Keep Fit and Keep Fit + membership programs get access to all Body Renew locations and 24-hour access to the fitness studio every day of the year. Value Plus members may not use the facilities between 4 and 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday and do not get access to all Body Renew locations. The company has been in Alaska for about five years and also has locations in Idaho, California and Virginia. “It is a very fast-growing company,” he said. “We’ve put up more than seven gyms in those five years, when you count our expansion projects.” The Wasilla location is one of the gyms that expanded in the past year. When the business opened, it shared space in the building in front of The Home Depot with Pandemonium Booksellers and Café. But after the coffee shop and bookstore moved this summer to 201 Palmer-Wasilla Highway, just east of the Parks Highway, Body Renew opted to expand into the whole space, Cheney said. A welcoming atmosphere and affordable prices have contributed to the business’ success, he said. “We are definitely affordable,” Cheney said. “The highest membership is about $34 a month and it just goes down from there.” All members begin with a member assessment to establish current levels of fitness, he said. And if people want more help crafting an individual plan to help them reach their weight loss and fitness goals, Cheney said personal trainers are available. “We are a personal training studio that also has memberships,” he said. Regardless of membership level, Cheney said each person is treated like they are part Page 16

ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman

Above, Personal trainer Wyatt Cook works with Anthony Phillips at Body Renew in Wasilla. The weight loss and fitness studio recently expanded and now occupies the entire building at 1325 E. Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

of a family. “You will feel comfortable coming into Body Renew,” he said. People must be 18 or older to join, but youth 13 to 18 can use the gym with an adult, Cheney said. Day care is provided for children 12 and younger. Body Renew also handpicks its personal trainers and all of them are nationally certified or have a bachelor’s degree in the field they work in, Cheney said. That means trainers are constantly learning new information and techniques to share with members, he said. And for those who prefer group classes, Cheney said Body Renew offers those, too. ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman For more information, contact 336-2639 Body Renew in Wasilla has expanded into the old Pandemonium Booksellers and Café or visit online at near The Home Depot. 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Nov. 18, 2012

INď&#x161;şFUď&#x161;şSION Continued from Page 15

in this region, she said. In-fu-sions is turning the heads of fashion savvy Alaskans from Kenai, Soldotna, Anchorage, Eagle River and all around the Mat-Su Valley have noticed, too. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be amazed at how many fashionistas are in Talkeetna,â&#x20AC;? Villanueva said. The mix of merchandise reflects the fact that Alaskan women are all different ages, sizes and body types, she said. The common

denominator is a love of fashion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We like to make women feel good about themselves,â&#x20AC;? Villanueva said. As much as anything, she said she opened the boutique for what she thought the experience could teach her four children. She said she also likes the idea of showing her children that they can start a business, not just be an employee. The boutique is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact 357-2033 or infusionalaska@

Continued from Page 11

Over the next couple years, she said, she grew 400 percent.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Small business gives a community its character, its sense of place,â&#x20AC;? she said. And small business people? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Usually theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re pursuing their passion. They certainly arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t doing it for the money.â&#x20AC;?


ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman

Cover Ups owner Teresa Roy sits inside her downtown Palmer store. Royâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s busuness recently won the 2012 Alaska State Chamber of Commerceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Small Business of the Year award. This is the first time a Valley business has won the award.



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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Page 17

‘Listen Alaska’ offers e-reader content free with library card BY ANDREW WELLNER

WASILLA — So you finally bit the bullet and bought your kid an iPad. Or a Kindle. Or a Nook. And while most of those devices are billed as readers of digital books; we all know what the appeal is. There’s apps on those things. Apps that are games. Games that are fun.

What can you do to get them to use it like a book rather than a handheld gaming device? How do you connect your kid to Harry Potter rather than to Angry Birds? I mean, really, have you checked out prices on those things lately? Sure, there’s plenty of public domain stuff out there you can download for free through the various online bookstores. But it’s probably safe to assume that if

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your borough library card will work. The site works a lot like a library in that you don’t own the book or audiobook you download. They all eventually expire and no longer work. But you can take out 10 at a time and the site has tons of titles, ranging from the recent to the ancient. Although it has all the positive parts of a library — did I mention this is totally free? — its also got all the downsides. For instance; plenty of those books you want to read or listen to will be checked out. It might take some time for you to find something you want. But with a little effort you can send that kid of yours off on a sci-fi adventure with Orson Scott Card or flying to fight evil with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Well, if your kid is into that sort of thing, anyway.

Find it in the


1150 S Colony Way Ste 3 Palmer, AK 99645-6967 746-6245

your child arrived in your life in the normal way rather than through some kind of time-tunnel or tricked-out DeLorean that he’s not very likely to be a fan of Arthurian Legends or the great 19th century Russian novels. Anything modern and/or designed to actually appeal to the same generation to which those e-readers are also appealing is likely going to cost you. Ten bucks a pop is a good rule of thumb. But wait. There’s hope. Have you heard about Listen Alaska? “Listen” in the name of the site refers to audiobooks and music. And while auidobooks are a great thing for kids — or adults, I mean, who doesn’t like being read to? — the site also has tons of eBooks. Here’s the web address: listenalaska.lib. The great thing about Listen Alaska is the books are all free so long as you have a library card. Matanuska-Susitna Borough libraries are all members of the service. So

Page 18

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Nov. 18, 2012



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Wishing All of You a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

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Page 20

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Nov. 18, 2012

2012 Holiday Gift Guide  

Mat Su Valley Frontiersman 2012 Gift Guide

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