Reading the north (12/2/12)

December 1, 2012 

Alaska Native Medical Center: A History, 1953-1983

By Robert Fortuine (Alaska Native Medical Center)

The blurb: Dr. Fortuine worked at the Alaska Native Medical Center at various times as medical director, family physician, emergency room physician and volunteer. The second printing of his history of the facility includes research of hospital files, personal records and interviews,

Excerpt: "Everything seemed to be on schedule for a hospital opening date in May 1953, but delays occurred when major cracks began to appear in the plaster, causing several walls to buckle. The lathing and plastering subcontractor, when forced to re-do this work, filed for bankruptcy and the principal contractors had to complete this work themselves. The State Supreme Court later upheld a judgment for $442,943 against the subcontractor and his surety bond company.

During that summer Mt. Spurr erupted, some on hundred miles west of Anchorage, depositing a fine layer of ash over the city and, of course, the new buildings. Some of the nurses still found it in their quarters when they moved in a few months later."

Life on the Edge

By Troy Henkels (Telegraph Herald, $34.95)

The blurb: The Eagle River adventurer shares photos and recounts adventures across Alaska, Antarctica, Iceland, Mount Everest, the Kalahari Desert, the North Pole and Bering Sea.

Excerpt: "Life gets interesting sometimes, or so I thought, when I agreed to a climbing espedition on North America's highest peak, Denali -- commonly referred to as Mount McKinley. Little did I know at the time how interesting my life would get. My partner, Ford, a 52-year-old Denali veteran, had first attempted this peak 25 years earlier -- meaning that I was only 7 years old when he made his first attempt. He had been dreaming of reaching the summit for longer than I had been alive. Ford had climbed big peaks all over the world, but Denali had defeated him on three attempts. When I first considered this expedition, it seemed like a small undertaking, as I was in the middle of an Antarctic winter and somehow, I wrongly presumed that a climb up Denali would be a cakewalk compared to spending a winter in the Antarctic."

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News

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