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Alaska Dispatch News


WASILLA -- A stubborn fire burning for hours Tuesday morning in a commercial building just outside downtown Wasilla drew a massive response from Matanuska-Susitna Borough firefighters but caused no injuries, authorities say.Reader Ryan Smith shared the video above, which he shot on the way to the gym at about 5 a.m., he wrote.The fire was reported just before 5 a.m. in a two-story building off Wasilla-Fishhook Road near Nelson Avenue that contains Crescent Electric Supply Company and a thrift store, according to Mat-Su emergency services director Dennis Brodigan. Two adults and two children escaped an upper-floor apartment and were getting help from American Red Cross of Alaska.The building also housed the offices for Hope for Heroes Inc., a nonprofit that helps military families and veterans in need.Officials called “just about every piece of fire apparatus between Palmer and Houston” to the scene,” Brodigan said. The incident commander asked for help from Chugiak fire crews at about 7 a.m.READ MORE: 'Four escape injury as fire destroys Wasilla commercial building'
Nat Herz


JUNEAU -- Gov. Bill Walker says Alaska will tap its savings and cut budgets to get through low oil prices, but in an interview on the eve of next legislative session he was unwilling to call the state’s multibillion-dollar deficits a “crisis.”“I don’t use the word ‘crisis’ having been through some crisis in Alaska,” Walker said. “This is a downturn, this is a serious time to sit down and make some changes within our fiscal structure.”READ MORE: Alaska's fiscal situation not yet a 'crisis,' Walker says
Marc Lester
About 100 lawyers in the Anchorage area and another 60 statewide participated in the Martin Luther King Day Legal Clinic on Monday, January 19, 2014. The event, in its 6th year, allows people in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau a chance to speak with a lawyer about family law, landlord-tenant conflicts, public benefit issues and other topics at no cost.
Tara Young
Obsession Records opened in early December. Its owners say they are making ends meet, but not seeing much of a profit. To them, though, it's about sharing the music. 
Mike Dunham
Photos by Alaskan photographer James Barker offer a rare insider look at the historic Selma civil rights march 50 years ago. Barker recounts his experience and discusses the photos, which are the subject of two upcoming exhibits in the Lower 48. 
Alaska Dispatch News

Lance Mackey: More than a Racer

Katie Basile, Renaldo Stover and Paul Conti teach the LKSD Multimedia Journalism course offered by the Lower Kuskokwim School District. This is their third year working with students to cover the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race that roars through that region annually. This year, 16 different students flew in from communities all over the YK Delta, including Quinhagak, Eek, Goodnews Bay, Kongiganak, Bethel, Mekoryuk and Atmautluak, to learn multimedia skills and cover the race. The videos from this years Kuskokwim 300 race include interviews with Lance Mackey, DeeDee Jonrowe, Pete Kaiser, Mike Williams Jr., Richie Diehl, and Kristin Bacon.
Peter Porco
One of the most-successful portions of Dashiell Hammett's life took place in the wet, windy, all-but-written-off Aleutian Islands, a place that Hammett, in contrast to the many thousands of troops who served there in WWII, actually loved. For them, he and his staff produced a lively newspaper.
Marc Lester
UAA beat UAF, 87-62, in women's basketball at the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday, January 17, 2015.
Bob Hallinen
Elementary-school-age students compete in the First Lego League competition at South High School on Saturday, Jan. 17. The competitors design, build and program Lego-based robots to complete assigned tasks on a 4x8-foot field.
Erik Hill
Hardy souls jump into the harbor to raise money for the American Cancer Society at the 2015 Polar Bear Jump-Off on Saturday, Jan. 17, in Seward, Alaska. 
Lisa Demer
Fourteen racers in the 65-mile Akiak Dash left Bethel in a mass start Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. on January 17, 2015.
Marc Lester
It's been an unusually warm stretch of January weather, leaving the Matanuska Valley and the Anchorage area with little snow.