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Bill Roth

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Adah Davis, 7, reacts to watching her father, Palmer farmer Alex Davis, have his head and beard shaved by barber Scott Theis in the Mall at Sears on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, to commemorate the birthday of his infant son Gideon, who died three years ago from a rare pediatric cancer. Davis will host a head shaving fundraising event in the mall on April 15 to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research. Davis said, "every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with pediatric cancer."  
Craig Medred

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(Video courtesy Andrea Huisman)Forget his crippling canine deformities -- little General is one lucky dog. In the Alaska of old, his life would have been measured in hours. In the wild, he might have made it a day or two until his mother discovered he couldn't walk.Cute as a button at birth, General sadly came into the world lacking the use of his front legs. A dog like that is doomed in the natural world, and people living subsistence lifestyles can't afford to sacrifice resources to support a dog unable to work for a living.General, however, was blessed to be born into the family of Andrea Huisman. When she decided the family couldn't support him, she put an ad on craigslist.com in Fairbanks looking for a responsible family who could.The ad went viral and the world opened its heart. More than 100 offers to take General in have come from across the country.Read more: The luckiest little dog in Alaska
Marc Lester

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Only once in its 42-year history has the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race not started from Southcentral Alaska.In 2003, a lack of snow forced organizers to move the restart to Fairbanks. Instead of setting out from Willow, mushers and their teams left from the Chena River, passing under bridges and past the historic steamboat Discovery.Late Tuesday, the Iditarod board of directors voted unanimously to move the restart to Fairbanks for the second time, citing poor snow coverage on rugged portions of the tradition race trail. A ceremonial start is still scheduled for Anchorage.Read more: Iditarod board moves race restart from Willow to Fairbanks
Alaska Dispatch News
Twenty-six mushers and their teams of sled dogs headed out of Whitehorse, Yukon, on Saturday for the start of the 2015 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The annual 1,000-mile race runs between Whitehorse and Fairbanks and is billed as the “toughest sled dog race in the world."
Alaska Dispatch News

What it Looks Like to Climb Frozen Niagara Falls

Internationally renowned ice climber Will Gadd made history by being the first person to ever ascend Niagara Falls.Numerous people have descended the famous falls over the years, but Gadd was the first to climb the frozen falls.Gadd made the climb naturally, without interfering with the landscape."No bolts. There won't be one thing left in the ice that wasn't there to begin with, and that's the best possible way to do it,” Gadd told Red Bull reporter Josh Sampiero. The line that Gadd followed was part of the American side of the Horseshoe section of Niagara Falls. The massive waterfall made for an intense environment, with 150,00 tons of water flowing over the crest every minute with speeds of 62 miles per hour."I was so close to the water, I could reach out and stick my ice tool in the Niagara Falls," said Gadd. "At one point I was behind the water, climbing on ice that froze behind the falls. I got [a] whole lot of Niagara down my neck!" according to Gadd as reported by Red Bull.
Alaska Dispatch News

Avalanche filmed GoPro Hero3+ - Snowboarding

Romanian mountain rescue volunteer and snow sports instructor Sorin-Alexandru Radu was caught in an avalanche February 3, 2015, as he snowboarded down Papusa Mountain in Gorj County with a camera attached to his helmet. In the video, the snow can be seen rippling and breaking up around the Radu. He is then covered and thrashed about by the avalanche, but he survived the experience unharmed, as reported by Storyful.In Southcentral Alaska, snow conditions have been considered dangerous this winter due to warm weather into January and weak snow pack.Read more: Snowboarder barely escapes Hatcher Pass avalanche
Loren Holmes

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Each winter on Anchorage’s Jewel Lake, hundreds of families take to the ice to try ice fishing, many for the first time. On the first weekend in February, most of them do it for free.Organized by the Swim Like a Fish Foundation, a nonprofit water safety group, the annual Jewel Lake Ice Fishing Jamboree offers dozens of pre-drilled holes in Jewel Lake, thousands of fish stocked by the state, and free poles, bait and hot chocolate.“There aren’t a lot of outdoor, family-friendly events in the winter,” says Swim Like a Fish president Jeannette Menchinsky, “especially ones that are completely free.”The jamboree is supported by many different groups including the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who help pre-drill dozens of holes and stock the lake with thousands of fish in the days leading up to the event.Related slideshow: 27th Annual Jewel Lake Ice Fishing JamboreeWatch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos.
Jerzy Shedlock

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Stacey Allen Graham, 33, was sentenced Friday to 32 years in prison for killing two young teenage girls in a drunken-driving crash in the summer of 2013.After an emotional sentencing hearing, in which the victims’ families testified, Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby said he believed the sentence he pronounced was the longest in Alaska’s history for “conduct of this type.” He imposed two consecutive 20-year sentences, each with four years suspended, for the two counts of second-degree murder to which Graham had earlier pleaded guilty.The crimes date back to a Friday evening in August 2013 when Graham sped in his Toyota Tacoma pickup after bouts of heavy drinking at a company golf tournament and afterward at a friend’s house.  His blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, according to court documents.Read more: Stacey Graham sentenced to 32 years for DUI deaths of 2 teen girls
Alaska Dispatch News

Largest charitable Ice fishing contest in the world. Minnesota

More than 11,000 anglers showed up for the 25th Annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Minnesota’s Gull Lake. The event is considered the largest annual charity ice fishing contest worldwide, with over $200,000 in prizes. Outdoor Hub reported that Minnesota native Steven Baumgartner reeled in the tournament's winning catch, a 6.73-pound Northern Pike just 15 minutes before the end of the competition. That won him the grand prize, a GMC pickup truck.
Tara Young

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Bryce, a harbor seal pup was found stranded at Land’s End resort in Homer last August.It wasn’t immediately clear why he was stranded, except for scratches on his face and his flippers. After being observed for 24 hours, the seal was rescued and brought to the Alaska SeaLife Center, the only permanent facility for stranded marine mammals in Alaska.The center’s rehabilitation program rescues animals and whenever possible releases them back into the wild. In 2014, the center rescued and rehabilitated fourteen animals and thirteen were released into their natural habitats.Once SeaLife Center staff figured out that Bryce was blind, he was determined non-releasable by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service. Through the rehabilitation program, Bryce has started learning basic husbandry behaviors that will make his life at the center less stressful, and will make it easier for his human caretakers to take care of him.His training includes hand-feeding and target training using audio cues. Stranding supervisor Halley Werner says, “He’s one of the more curious and playful harbor seals that I’ve worked with. Which is really exciting to see since he isn’t going to be able to be released. He’s not fearful, and seems to enjoy being around us.”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

Orca's west coast Canada

Amateur photographer Chris Wilton captured rare footage in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands of a family of orcas seemingly rubbing their bellies on beach rocks.At least four orcas took turns flipping and rubbing themselves on the smooth beach stones and then circled back for more. Observers exclaim in wonder: “holy moley,” “powerful” and “unbelievable, eh?” Why northern killer whales exhibit this behavior is unknown, but it has only been seen in whales in B.C. and Alaska.Carla Crossman, a research biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium, told CTV News that the behavior was most likely passed down.“It’s probably something social, maybe a ritualistic behavior because they’re very specific in the beaches that they go to,” according to Crossman. “They seem very excited coming into these beaches -- we see them jumping up a little bit more, squealing, making lots of noise underwater."
Alaska Dispatch News

Giant puppet polar bear roams streets of London

An eight-foot tall polar bear puppet wandered Hampstead Heath and the streets of London last week, leaving morning commuters perplexed.The giant Arctic animal was designed by a team of prop specialists as a stunt to promote Sky Atlantic's new TV series Fortitude.Filmed in both the UK and Iceland, the series boasts a star-studded cast that includes Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon and Christopher Ecclestone.

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