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Tara Young
The Alaska State Fair has numerous exhibitions from around the state. Irwin Hall showcases a variety of departments, such as woodworking, sewing, quilting, textile arts, sewing, knitting as well as a whimsical department called "creative arts and crafts." This large department encompasses the many items that don't easily fit into other department. Eggery, recycled materials, and yard art are just a few the divisions that delight and fascinate.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Erik Hill
After the military vacated its Whittier station in 1960, maintenance to the hulking Buckner Building ceased. All that remains today is a seven-story skeleton of toxic, dangerous and rusting debris that sparks imagination and conversation among visitors.
Tara Young,Megan Edge

WHITTIER -- In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated, Joseph Stalin died, Moscow announced the detonation of a hydrogen bomb and Ernest Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Old Man and the Sea." On average, Americans were paying 16 cents for a loaf of bread and 29 cents for a gallon of gas. And in the small Prince William Sound community now known as Whittier, the federal government had just spent about $6 million building a city under one roof, officially known as the Buckner Building, to provide basic entertainment and community amenities to 1,000 American troops stationed at a secluded base across Portage Pass from Turnagain Arm, at the gateway to Prince William Sound.Whittier had been established as a military base during WWII, while the Japanese military invaded the Aleutian Islands. The location could provide a deepwater port and was relatively difficult to get to due to its location and unpredictable weather. It remained active as a military installation through the early years of the Cold War.Initially, the Buckner Building was the location of the base's only bakery, theater, bowling alley and jail.Today, if it had been properly maintained, the building would have a value of around $52 million. But after the military vacated its Whittier station in 1960, maintenance ceased. All that remains today is a seven-story skeleton of toxic, dangerous and rusting debris that sparks imagination and conversation among visitors.But now the city of Whittier is in the early stages of figuring out how decrepit the Buckner Building might be, with the hopes of maybe -- and that's a big maybe -- bringing the once-great structure back from the dead."When it became city property (in November 2013) it became eligible for the Brownfield Grant Program, and this allowed money to be provided to do environmental assessment to determine the levels of hazardous materials in there," said Ted Spencer, the Whittier Museum Director, adding that the assessment process is currently underway.Brownfield land is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as property where land could be too dangerous to reuse.Broken glass and rusty nails are scattered throughout the building. Some basement rooms are filled wall to wall with insulation and broken-down Sheetrock stacked more than 4 feet high. The smell of mold inside the building can be overwhelming. On a dreary Thursday, raindrops fell through the broken windows of the building. Steady streams of water flowed through broken light fixtures, making a constant pitter-patter on the building's cement floor.On the ceiling there are long, white drippings that seem to have just frozen. Spencer, who's working toward turning Whittier into a historical district, said many people think those dangling stalactites, which seem to nearly coat the ceiling, are asbestos. But really, he said, it's just Sheetrock that has dissolved into the water that seems to trickle throughout the structure.That doesn't mean asbestos isn't a problem. The assessment will determine exactly how much of the toxic mineral occupies the building, as well as how much lead paint is coating its surfaces."I have also heard that it could be that the concrete's lost its integrity due to corrosion in the steal rebar that reinforces the concrete," said Spencer. "If that is the case, the building would eventually be torn down."What is "amazing" is the fact that the building's flat roof doesn't seem to have lost its integrity despite the heavy snowfall that blankets the town in winter months, according to Spencer."If (the Buckner Building) is still structurally sound, it could be resurrected and put back to use," said Spencer. "But either way, it is going to be a major undertaking."Photos: Buckner Building in WhittierWatch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Marc Lester
The Matanuska River is closing in on Ed and Val Musial's home in Sutton. A planned project might be enough to route the river away, but it's dependent on the slow-moving wheels of government.
Megan Edge
Summer is peak season for Kenai Peninsula businesses, although "patchy" salmon runs can hurt retailers who count on happy visitors for a healthy bottom line.
Marc Lester
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will soon complete construction on barracks being built to replace others, some of which were built more than 50 years ago.
Marc Lester
More than 200 volunteers pitch in to recycle bottles, cardboard and more at the Alaska State Fair.
Beth Bragg
Kelsey Griffin, a 6-foot-2 power forward, is Alaska’s only pro in the women’s basketball game. She recently ended her fifth WNBA season with the Connecticut Sun and later this month she is headed to Australia for her third season with the Bendigo Spirit, the team she has led to consecutive WNBL championships.
Erik Hill,Lisa Demer
Archaeologists are unearthing a trove of material -- and knowledge of the past -- from an ancient Yup’ik settlement in Southwest Alaska. 
Dimond beat South, 13-7, in an overtime flag football game.
Tara Young
“Marmaduke” claimed the title of king of the cabbages Friday night at the 19th annual Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off at the Alaska State Fair. At nearly 118 pounds, it wasn’t enough to unseat the world record of 138.25 pounds set in 2012, but the washing-machine-size vegetable grown by Steve Hubacek of Wasilla topped this year’s closest competitor by 4 pounds.The expectations of the crowd in the bleachers at the Farm Exhibits Building were high. Hubacek and Scott Robb of Palmer, the grower of the world-record cabbage known as the “Palmer Pachyderm,” had each brought in plants weighing more than 111 pounds when the fair opened. These were for display, not for the Weigh-Off, so many presumed that the growers thought they had bigger offerings for the contest.But as the cabbages came off the trucks and into the ring, it was evident there’d be no world records this year. Robb said he thought his contest entry, “Gorgeous George,” outweighed the 111-pounder, but he couldn’t be sure. “I hope I didn’t bring in my biggest one last week,” he said.Read more: 'Marmaduke' wins Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off at Alaska State FairWatch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Bob Hallinen
Thousands of sandhill cranes gather at the Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in the fall before their migration south from Fairbanks. After feeding on mature barley planted at the former dairy, cranes fly off to marshy areas to roost for the night.

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