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Alaska Dispatch News

First underwater video of one of Franklin's historic shipwrecks

It’s been more than 160 years since Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic voyage, in which two of his ships, the Erebus and the Terror, were deserted at sea after being trapped in the ice. The wreckage was discovered earlier this month, a find that John Geiger, chief executive officer of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, called "one of the two most important undiscovered shipwrecks in the world."This is the first footage of one of the expedition ships -- it is unclear which one -- captured by​ Parks Canada’s underwater archaeology team. 
Alaska Dispatch News
Cirque Mechanics is a distinctive circus experience, its inspiration based in American mechanical ingenuity. The show utilizes inventive aerial devices that showcase the relationship between the acrobatic and mechanical worlds. Cirque Mechanics wowed audiences with its show at the 2014 Alaska State Fair.
Alaska Dispatch News
During the Palmer Invitational on Sept. 6, Allie Ostrander of Kenai ran a nation's best time of 16:40 in the 5-kilometer cross-country race, clipping four seconds off her speedy time two weeks earlier. The second-fastest girl in the nation, Sarah Kettel of Michigan, is a whopping 46 seconds slower than the Alaskan.  At Palmer, the fleet Ostrander, a senior, finished more than two minutes ahead of runner-up Olivia Hutchings of Soldotna. Her time was the fifth fastest of the day, beating all of the times in the Class 1-2-3A boys race and all but four of the times in the Class 4A boys race.Ostrander is one of the greatest Alaska high school runners ever. In recent months she has:• Become the first girl to win the overall junior Mount Marathon crown in Seward on July 4.• At the Alaska high school track and field championships, wiped out not only the 2003 state record in the girls 1,600-meter race set by Kris Smith of West, and bettered the 1977 mile record set by Betsy Haines of East. Ostrander finished that race in 4 minutes, 49.47 seconds, taking five seconds off her previous PR (4:54.82), erasing Smith's time of 4:55.89 from the state record book.• The previous day, Ostrander won the 3,200 in 10:13.87 to break the 1986 state record set by the legendary Kristi (Klinnert) Waythomas of Kodiak. 
Alaska Dispatch News
On Tuesday, independent candidate for Alaska governor Bill Walker and Democratic candidate Byron Mallott formally announced that they would join forces in a unity campaign for the state's top executive office, in an unusual and historic bid to unseat incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell. News of the unity campaign came out on Labor Day, as the state's Democratic committee held a vote on whether to allow the move. Mallott, the party's choice for gubernatorial candidate will instead run for Lieutenant Governor, while Walker, a registered Republican, will drop that party's registration and become independent.
Alaska Dispatch News

Vanishing World

Newtok has been sinking into the sea slowly but surely. This rural village of approximately 300 people, predominantly Yup'ik Eskimo, needs to relocate before the village is submerged.The permanently frozen subsoil known as permafrost that many villages in Alaska are built on is slowly melting due to the warming ocean temperatures. With the shoreline receding, villages are vulnerable to powerful storms that continually erode the landscape around them. According to reporting by New York Times, studies say Newtok, already below sea level, could be washed away within a decade. Along with the villages of Shishmaref and Kivalina farther north, Newtok has been the hardest hit of about 180 Alaska villages that suffer some degree of erosion.
Alaska Dispatch News
Alaska Department of Fish and Game interpreter Jane Pascoe shot this short video showing a mother and her two cubs at the brown bear viewing area at Pack Creek on Admiralty Island. The cubs sure look like they're enjoying summer!
Alaska Dispatch News
Dancer and choreographer Jody Sperling joined a science party and Coast Guard crew on a voyage to the Chukchi Sea. While the scientists were off studying plankton bloom, Sperling studied the sea ice and expressed its dynamism and fragility through dance. Sperling’s performance project is just one piece of "Arctic Spring," an effort by scientists, artists and performers to explore life under the sea.
Tara Young
Löki Gale Tobin grew up canning salmon in Nome."My earliest memories are of processing our salmon catch," she said. "My father would go down to the Nome River, and he would seine and come back with 200 fish, that we would then gut and brine and can. And all winter long we would eat salmon." Eventually, she moved away from home and canning became more of a hobby, something to do for fun. Then, during a stint in the Peace Corps she recognized that most people in the world use some form of food preservation order to survive. By her second year in Azerbaijan, she reconnected with canning, and not just as a hobby, but for everyday sustenance."Tomatoes and cherries and greens, and berries and okra," said Tobin. "At the end of a season you were able to open up your cellar and look at all of the wonderful abundance that you had."After three and a half years overseas, Tobin returned to Nome. Since then, it's been a challenge staying connected to the abundance Alaska has to offer, but Tobin makes the effort. She cans, shops at the farmers market, and experiments with unique combinations in her canning that she shares with friends. Rhubarb barbecue sauce and white wine herb jelly are just a couple of the delicious items in Tobin's cupboard that are uniquely her own.This mulled wine jelly recipe was inspired by a recipe on Serious Eats. For helpful information on canning, Tobin suggests the University of Fairbanks Cooperative Extension and PickYourOwn.org.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.
Alaska Dispatch News

Grouper eats 4ft shark in one bite

In the ocean, typically, big fish eat small fish -- and that rule applies even when the small fish is a sizeable shark. A YouTube video making the rounds recently illustrates that maxim, showing a fishermen reeling in a 4-foot black-tip shark off the coast of Bonita Springs, Fla., only to have a huge goliath grouper rush in and eat it in one fell swoop. Atlantic goliath groupers can grow to lengths of 16 feet and weigh more than 700 pounds. In the end, the fishermen in the video, while surprised, have the perfect reaction -- to simply sit back and laugh.Uploaded Aug. 19, the video had already racked up millions of clicks.
Alaska Public Media

I Am A Wildlife Whisperer | INDIE ALASKA

Indie Alaska is an original video series produced by Alaska Public Media in partnership with PBS Digital Studios. The weekly series captures the diverse and colorful lifestyles of everyday Alaskans at work and at play. Together, these videos present a fresh and authentic look at living in Alaska.In this episode we meet Steve Kroschel who spends his days taking care of his wolverines, a wolf, a brown bear, moose, and other creatures, about 30 miles outside of Haines, Alaska . With help from his son and friends, Steve has built his sanctuary as a place where others can learn how to live simply and naturally.
Tara Young
The Alaska State Fair has numerous exhibitions from around the state. Irwin Hall showcases a variety of specialties, including woodworking, sewing, quilting, textile arts and 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 departments. 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.
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, or watch more 49th Estate videos on Alaska Dispatch News. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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