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Marc Lester

Alaska DJs remember Marvell Johnson

For more than 35 years, Saturday nights on Anchorage's KSKA 91.1 belonged to Marvell Johnson. The longtime radio disc jockey and foster parent hosted "Flight Soul to Soul," a funk, soul, hip-hop and R&B music show with a devoted following of listeners -- especially among inmates at Anchorage jails, who frequently communicated with loved ones on the outside through song requests and dedications. On Oct. 7, Johnson was shot and killed at his Anchorage home, and his 16-year-old foster son Peter John Henry has been charged as an adult with murder. On Saturday, some of the Anchorage DJs Johnson mentored over the years hosted "Soul to Soul" one last time, in his memory. Slow jams, dedications and tears followed.
Alaska Dispatch News
Photographer and filmmaker Christopher Baker spent four days in Cordova, Alaska, in 2010, shooting with fisherman Wade Buscher. This video is a director's cut of a piece Baker shot and produced for the first digital edition of Martha Stewart Living. Buscher and Mikal Berry talk about their lives commercial fishing for salmon out of the Copper River. Says Buscher: “It’s a lifestyle here. We don’t really make a lot of money but we choose to live here -- it’s a beautiful place to be.”Like many people who come to Alaska, Baker fell in love with the scenery. According to Baker, “Cordova and the area around the Copper River was one of the most beautiful places I have photographed, which is saying a lot given the number of beautiful places I have photographed over the years.”
Loren Holmes


Friday afternoon at West High School, as buses full of children left school grounds, a crew from Coldfoot Environmental was demolishing one of the older parts of Anchorage’s first high school.The Cove, as it is known, was the original library at the school. It is being demolished to make way for 12 new career and technical education classrooms.Coldfoot was called in by the general contractors because of its experience with asbestos abatement.A large excavator fitted with powerful mechanical claws began to take bites out of the building. First it knocked out the glass windows, which were of a type that could not be recycled.Then the excavator began to tear apart the ring-shaped roof, tearing through ring after ring of thick rebar. After about  45 minutes, the first sections of roof began to come down.The contractors will work through the weekend to demolish the building.Watch this video on YouTube or Vimeo, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Loren Holmes at loren (at)
Alaska Dispatch News

Technicolour Alaska

Travel photographer Alexis Coram strives to bring a place to life with her images. “I love to spend time out in the world, seeing new things, visiting new places, breathing deeply -- escaping from reality,” she writes.Her trip to Alaska last February was very sudden: “I had a break come up in my work schedule and quite randomly decided to head to Alaska to try and see the lights.” The night Coram flew out there was a massive solar storm -- talk about getting lucky. She landed in Fairbanks at 2 a.m. and headed straight out of town.“I was gobsmacked. I spent the next few nights outside in various areas around Fairbanks, including up at the Arctic Circle,” said Coram. “It was bitterly cold, but quickly became the most amazing trip of my life. The highlight has to have been the midnight dog sledding I did with Sirius Sled Dogs. Incredible lights in every direction as we (sledded) through the snowy forests. It was like a dream.”
Alaska Dispatch News

Arctic Spring

In the spring of 2011 a team of scientists aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy discovered a massive plankton bloom, one of the largest ever observed in the Arctic, created under the sea ice. In 2014, a team returned to the region to study the phenomenon and record their surroundings.This video is part of the Arctic Spring project, through which a group of artists and scientists are combining efforts to observe and document how the climate is rapidly affecting the ecosystem in the Arctic Ocean.Read more: Study: Sparser, thinner Arctic Ocean ice enabling new phytoplankton blooms
Alaska Dispatch News
Chum salmon, also known as dog salmon, have the widest natural geographic distribution of all the Pacific salmon, and are widespread throughout Alaska. Chum spend most of their lives feeding in saltwater, only to return to fresh water once they mature, some traveling almost 2,000 miles upstream in their return to home waters. Back in fresh water, adult chum salmon turn from their bright silver ocean-going selves to a dark olive brown. They develop a hooked snout and large, canine-like teeth, and are apparently feisty around GoPro cameras.
Tara Young
During the fall rut, moose disposition turns from indifferent to full of fervor. Bull moose come out of the woodwork to vie for mates, at times in quiet pursuit, at other times ready to rumble. This particular afternoon at Powerline Pass found bull moose chasing sheepish cows, while dozens of moose grazed during one of the first flurries of the season.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)
Alaska Dispatch News

ScienceCasts: A Colorful Lunar Eclipse

On Oct. 8, the moon will pass through the shadow of Earth for a total lunar eclipse. "Sky watchers in the USA will see the moon turn a beautiful shade of celestial red and maybe turquoise, too," according to Science at NASA.In Alaska, the total phase of the eclipse will begin about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday and last a little less than an hour.
Alaska Dispatch News

Extreme Justice! Must See Football!

In a battle between South and Bartlett high schools for the Cook Inlet Conference high school football championship, senior Justice Augafa scored all five South touchdowns and finished with a game-high 270 yards on 20 carries to lead the Wolverines to a 35-14 victory. That left South (7-0 conference, 7-1 overall) perfect in Alaska.  “He’s amazing,”  South linebacker Matt Keogh said of Augafa. Keogh’s advice for playing against the 5-foot-11, 185-pound speedster?  “Tape your ankles,” he said. Read more: Augafa lifts South to CIC football title
Alaska Dispatch News
Photographer Ronn Murray shot real-time video footage of autumn aurora in Fairbanks, Alaska.Murray's video captures northern lights so strong they overpower the nearly full moon and cloudy skies.The solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 was predicted to create energy disturbances and cause fluctuations in some power grids for days that followed. What it did cause was an incredible aurora storm that brightened skies across Alaska and the Lower 48.
Alaska Dispatch News

Nikiski Fire Department Baker Platform Fire 0900 @9 2 2014

A stubborn fire on a Cook Inlet natural gas platform near Nikiski on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 2 triggered the evacuation of four workers but caused no injuries, authorities say.In this video, shot around 9 a.m. on Oct. 2, Ocean Marine Services Inc. supply vessel Discovery fights the fire on Hilcorp.’s Baker platform with approximately 4,000 gallons of water per minute. The Nikiski Fire Department also shot video of the platform at 3 p.m. Thursday, once the fire had subsided.Read more: No injuries, no spills reported in Cook Inlet offshore platform fire
Tara Young
Hundreds of Anchorage residents of all ages dressed up as characters from anime and video games, movies and manga, and descended on the Egan Civic and Convention Center the weekend of Sept. 27-28 for Senshi-Con, Alaska's largest anime convention. Read more: Anime fans celebrate 'nerd culture' at Senshi-ConWatch 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)