Craig Medred

A trail-clearing chainsaw lashed to his snowmachine, Iditasport race organizer Billy Koitzsch set out from Knik into heavy winds on Friday afternoon determined to log his way along the Iditarod Trail to the Yentna River if necessary.

Behind him, 35 mountain bikers, skiers and runners were preparing to challenge Saturday gusts forecast to 60 mph on a jaunt of more than 100 miles from Knik to Flathorn Lake, across the Dismal Swamp, up the Yentna River and on to Shell Lake at the foot of the Alaska Range. Some will then circle back to Knik.

Those in the longer race will go 225 miles for several days in temperatures down to minus-25, destined to be made brutally worse if the winds continue. Conditions delayed Friday's scheduled start of the 225-mile race...

Craig Medred

Kenai Peninsula fisherman Roland Maw, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker's controversial appointee to the Alaska Board of Fisheries , claims in his resume to have been responsible for a significant scientific achievement, the first identification of a new, endangered species in North America.

In a sworn 2013 affidavit setting out his bona fides as an authority on Alaska fisheries, Maw wrote that he was the "coauthor of 'Fishing Canada's Mountain Parks,' 1985 ... (which has) received numerous public awards for the first scientific description and naming of 'Bull Trout' as a new species of char/trout.''...

Craig Medred

Depending on who tells this story, Kiersten Lippmann is either a sad victim of cyberbullies or a reckless owner of a loose pack of biting dogs.

Anchorage is full of people who love their dogs like family. Some of these people cannot comprehend that an animal that is family to them is to others just a dog, a sometimes threatening and scary cousin of the wolf no matter the thousands of years of domestication.

Enter Lippmann, a former staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, a former member of the University of Alaska Anchorage ski team, a fairly well-known endurance athlete in the community, and the owner of several Belgian Tervuren dogs ...

Craig Medred

If the snows ever return to Southcentral Alaska, here's a tip on how to survive, courtesy of the lamestream media from America's faraway coast: "Stay warm.''

With the mother of all storms (or maybe the stepsister of a midsize Bering Sea blow) pummeling the East Coast this week, "stay warm'' was No. 3 on the list of " top safety tips for surviving the blizzard of 2015'' from CBS News .

Yes, this is the savvy information now provided by the network once home to legendary newsman Walter Cronkite. It has to make Alaskans wonder just how out of touch with nature are those who live Outside.

The other top tips?

"Don't drive."

"Be prepared."...

Craig Medred

Good-bye, snow drought.

Almost halfway through the winter, Alyeska Ski Resort swung back into action this week.

The Girdwood forests surrounding the ski area might still look more like fall than winter, but the mountain is finally open from top to bottom.

The resort warns that early season conditions exist from midway down despite the January date on the calendar, but life in Girdwood looks a lot better now than it did only weeks ago. Cold weather that finally allowed for snow-making was followed by a couple of inches of fresh snow Thursday, allowing groomers to get the Race Trail and a few other routes down to the base of the mountain in good shape...

Craig Medred

In an effort to hype its phony reality TV show "Ultimate Survival Alaska,'' the National Geographic Channel has come up with a nifty list of nine of the 10 accidents least likely to kill people in the 49th state...

Craig Medred

TULUKSAK -- The jail in this remote village in Western Alaska is a 6-by-8-foot mesh cage inside a shabby, one-room building smaller than the master suite in many a suburban American home. In this barren, dimly lit room, Mary Moses sits on the only chair next to the desk of village police officer Kim Lewis and asks a simple question:

"Why isn't Martin Bowman in jail?"

Bowman is a teacher come north from the Lower 48 and now long gone from the Kuskokwim River community of fewer than 400 people. Moses (not her real name) is Yup'ik and the mother of one of nine girls who in the fall settled a $2 million civil suit with the Yupiit School District, claiming they were sexually molested by Bowman...

Craig Medred

Twenty-two years after a young man named Chris McCandless was found dead in a long-abandoned bus north of Denali National Park and Preserve, a plausible explanation has arisen as to why the 24-year-old man stayed there until he starved to death: toxic mushrooms.

Photos of the mushrooms appeared on film found with McCandless' body after his death. Some of those photos made their way into a McCandless family book "Back to the Wild'' , published in 2011...

Craig Medred

Mike Glidden's press release was amateurish and lacked for fancy letterhead, but it had a killer pitch: "I did not know the bear was there…" After that, the Anchorage hiker went on to outline what he said was a chance encounter with an invisible bear and explain how lucky he was to escape the meeting unharmed.

Attached to Glidden's emailed pitch were 13 photographs taken in and around Byron Glacier in the Portage Valley recreation area about 50 miles southeast of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city...

Craig Medred

Oil is us. Face it.

Alaskans went all-in long ago on the idea we could live off the fat of one natural resource, and once again it appears we're about to pay the price. Wiser folks might have figured things out when oil prices tanked in the mid-80s and many walked away from their mortgages and fled the state.

Wiser folks might have tried to diversify the state's tax base instead of keeping nearly all the eggs in the oil-industry basket. From time to time over the last 50 or so years, we've tried to be wise folks by holding round-tables, panels and conferences to address the inevitable problem of declining oil revenue. But we're clearly not wise folks.

Roll this number around in your head a bit: $7.1 million...

Craig Medred