Erik Hill

East High School Honors Veteran

Students observe Veterans Day with a ceremony held Wednesday morning, November 11, 2015, at East Anchorage High School. The event included a reading of the 28 names of service members who died since last year's observance, speakers and performances from the East choir and Army JROTC honor guard. The ceremony concluded with a release of red, white and blue balloons honoring America and gold balloons honoring the dead. 
Alaska Dispatch News

Skier Miraculously Survives 1,600 Foot Fall

Few of today’s adventure sports fans probably remember the “agony of defeat” video that opened ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” decades ago, showing Slovenian ski jumper Vinko Bogataj’s spectacular crash in 1970.It’s been upstaged.  Right here in Alaska.Veteran Canadian professional skier Ian McIntosh somehow survives a 1,600-foot head-over-heels-over-head-over-heels tumble lasting nearly a minute in Alaska’s Neacola Range about 120 miles southwest of Anchorage, an area pockmarked with numerous 3,000-foot couloirs. The video, with audio of his gasps, is frightening.“While filming for “Paradise Waits” (a skiing and snowboarding film), Mac dropped into a line he thought he had studied thoroughly enough, only to fall into an unseen 5-foot-deep trench on one of his first turns,” Todd Jones, a co-founder of Teton Gravity Research, the action sports entertainment company based in Jackson, Wyoming, said in a press release. McIntosh, who’s also a BASE jumper, immediately yells “No” when he realizes what is happening.“From there,” McIntosh said afterwards, my slough took over and there was no way to stop. I pulled my airbag to help prevent against any possible trauma injuries as I tumbled to the bottom.”It “was the most terrifying crash I’ve ever seen,” Jones said.The fall happened April 10, but the video was only uploaded to YouTube last week — probably because “Paradise Waits” opens in theaters this week.And McIntosh on Tuesday alerted fans on his Facebook page: “Make sure you check out “Good Morning America” tomorrow morning for yours truly.  Talking big mountain skiing and crashing huge. Haha!”To submit your video to Alaska Dispatch News contact the multimedia team at photo(at) 
Joseph Robertia,Loren Holmes

Farmers of the sea

Weatherly and Greg Bates are both New England born and raised, with Weatherly earning a bachelor’s degree in aquaculture and fisheries technology from the University of Rhode Island in 2003. The two first found work in Maine, managing an oyster farm and helping boost its production from 10,000 to 200,000 oysters a year. They came to Alaska in 2007 to do shellfish farming for other people, finally beginning their own oyster operation in 2010. Three years later, mussels were added to the only year-round mariculture operation in Kachemak Bay.They're part of a growing Alaska mariculture industry. Statewide, some 68 aquatic farms, eight shellfish nurseries and two shellfish hatcheries are permitted — concentrated in Kachemak Bay, Prince William Sound and Southeast. A 2013 state mariculture report says 1.2 million Pacific oysters and nearly 5 tons of littleneck clams, blue mussels and geoduck are produced statewide.“From when Greg was a little boy, he wanted to do something like this and my dad was a lifelong fisherman,” Weatherly said. “So I grew up on a boat, just like my kids are doing. Almost from the time they came home from the hospital, we’d make a bed for them in a fish tote while we worked. They got their sea legs early,” Weatherly added.Read more: Farmers of the sea
Marc Lester

Juneau residents describe heroin's toll

JUNEAU -- Heroin’s grip on Juneau can be felt in ways both plain and subtle.A decade of rising abuse can be seen in syringes and foil squares dropped on dog-walking paths and in parking lots.In grandparents raising toddlers their children are too addicted to care for.In people shoplifting from Fred Meyer, stealing from their own families and writing bad checks to pay for drugs.But it wasn’t until people started dying that Juneau really started paying attention.Since February, six people have died of heroin overdoses here.Read more: Juneau's heroin heartbreak
Alaska Dispatch News

How To Drive On Snow And Ice (1957)

The car industry has made quite a few advancements in the last 58 years. Snow tires, four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes have made it safer to drive in snow and ice. But Anchorage driving instructor Leslie Hysom says winter driving techniques haven’t changed much.We showed Hysom a 1957 public-service video on winter driving and asked her to rate how well the techniques drivers learned decades ago hold up today. The video, “How to Drive on Snow and Ice,” was sponsored by the Seiberling Rubber Company in an effort to improve highway safety. The setting: a high school’s driver's education class in snowy Burlington, Vermont.“It’s actually a pretty good video, but there are some major changes.” Hysom said.The video begins at a ski jump, where (in a typical 1950s broadcaster voice) the narrator explains the joys and hazards of winter.“Winter means skiing. Winter means fun. But the same snow and ice that makes for fun in winter sports make for a hazardous time for motorists,” the narrator says.The video first explains how to get your car ready for winter. Check the antifreeze and the oil, wipe the headlights and knock off any snow and ice that’s built up in your wheel well, which can cause trouble steering.“If you’re driving in wet, sticky snow, tomorrow morning that’s going to be a solid block of ice,” Hysom said.Hysom also had some additional suggestions for items every Alaska driver should keep in the car: jumper cables, a shovel, a flashlight, extra batteries for the flashlight, a shovel, a coat, boots and some kitty litter or sand bags.“You really need to prepare, especially living in Alaska,” Hysom said. “You don’t walk out in T-shirts and flip-flops. Some kids I see will show up in shorts and flip-flops. Where is your coat? What happens if you get a flat tire?”The video then explains how to put on tire chains, which Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad says are legal, despite the fact that they’re practically unseen in city, except on school buses or other big rigs.Another big change, Hysom said, is stopping distance on snow and ice. The video says it takes 200 feet to stop on snow or ice, but Hysom said the modern rule of thumb is four seconds. When the vehicle ahead of you passes a checkpoint, like a sign, start counting to four. When you reach the same checkpoint, stop counting. If it takes four or more seconds, you’re following at a reasonable distance.Hysom added that if you skid while trying to stop, you shouldn't pump your brake pedal if you have anti-lock brakes, also known as ABS. Instead, apply light pressure to the brake pedal. It is still possible to lock your brakes, but try to avoid it. Once your brakes have locked, you’ve lost control of steering, Hysom said.Hysom, who works for Anchorage Driver Training LLC, has been teaching driver's ed (including winter driving classes) for more than 20 years. No matter how far the industry has come, drivers still need to use their heads, she said.“New cars don’t make up for a lack of common sense,” Hysom said. “If it is super icy, stay off the roads. You might be late to work, but most people are going to be late anyway because of car wrecks.”
Colleen Mondor

Living in the Age of Airplanes (Trailer)

A new film from National Geographic, "Living in the Age of Airplanes," which includes footage filmed in Alaska, is showing at the Anchorage Museum planetarium.Director Brian Terwilliger and his crew filmed in 95 countries for the 47-minute film, which is narrated by actor and pilot Harrison Ford. The movie shows how aviation has changed the world, bringing people together in a way never before seen in human history.It presents this message in several ways, including the transportation of roses farmed in Kenya, packed in Amsterdam and then, eventually, delivered to Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. One rose ends up in a nearby home."We wanted to show how connected the world is, even if you have never been in an airplane," explained Terwilliger in a recent phone conversation."Aviation is more integrated in daily life in Alaska than anywhere else in the world," he continued. "There is a utilitarian use of it here for so many things, but if you love aviation, then Alaska truly is a beautiful paradise."Due to time constraints, much of the footage shot in Alaska did not make the final cut, but the state left its mark on the director, who noted the aircraft street crossings around Lake Hood as one of the more remarkable things he had seen in his travels. He also stressed how Alaska's reliance on aviation echoes the overall themes of the film, showing how the jet age has made the sort of wonders that were "once only available to explorers now open to all of us."We can now see and experience things that we used to only read about," explains Terwilliger. "We were born into this moment and I hope the film will help put into perspective for viewers how amazing this time is and what aviation has brought us.""Living in the Age of Airplanes" shows at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Thomas Planetarium at the Anchorage Museum, at least through the end of 2015. Contact Colleen Mondor at
Tara Young

Aurora Borealis over Turnagain Pass in Alaska

Night skies lit up early Wednesday morning during the second night of what is looking to be an especially active week for the aurora borealis.Skies over Anchorage cleared after midnight, treating Alaska's largest city to an aurora display that was especially active, if not especially colorful.Scattered low-hanging clouds marred otherwise clear views along Turnagain Arm, but Turnagain Pass, at 1,000 feet above sea level, offered mostly clear skies. This video was shot in real time using a Sony A7s camera, which can capture imagery in incredibly low light with a capacity of ISO 400,000. The UAF Geophysical Institute is forecasting active northern lights through Friday and moderate displays over the weekend.Click here for more photos of the northern lights.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more ADN videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)

A Forensic Investigation | INDIE ALASKA

Dr. Ryan Harrod recently buried some strange remains in the woods behind the University of Alaska Anchorage. Join his team of student investigators and find out more about the world of forensic anthropology.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.
Alaska Dispatch News
Anchorage photographer Kris Swanson surfs the bore tide on Turnagain Arm as often as he can. On November 2, 2015, Swanson documented his longtime bore tide surfing pals Adam and Simon as they rode the wave from Bird Ridge to Girdwood under dark skies in cold weather.The water temperature was about 45 degrees and their wetsuits were 5mm thick. As temperatures drop into winter, thicker suits are required and the casual surfers drop off. According to Swanson, no matter the temperature, there will always be diehard surfers riding the bore tide.“Big surf continues year-round, and as long as ice doesn't form in the Inlet you can usually find surfers on the bore tide," he said.To submit your video to Alaska Dispatch News contact the multimedia team at photo(at) 
Lisa Demer

Kilbuck school building burns in Bethel

BETHEL -- A fire was raging Tuesday morning through the Ayaprun Elitnaurviat Yup’ik immersion school and the Kuskokwim Learning Academy in Bethel, with every piece of firefighting equipment the Western Alaska hub city has at the scene as crews tried to save parts of the structure.Crews were using a front-end loader to tear down part of the burning Kilbuck building in an attempt to make a firewall. Bethel's one ladder truck was also in use, with a firefighter pouring water into the building amid heavy smoke.The Alaska Department of Transportation sent an airport fire truck to the scene."This is Bethel -- we are isolated. There is no one we can call for mutual aid," said City Manager Ann Capela. "We are just trying to contain it." Read more: Fire tears through Bethel school building
Scott Jensen

Keeping it fun at the garage

Anchorage's annual studded-tire procrastinators made for a busy Monday at local tire shops. But the folks at American Tire downtown know how to keep it light despite the workload. Phyllis Robertson, manager for 25 years, leads the fun.
Scott Jensen

Truck spins tires on Huffman Road

It’s generally expected that big pickups are ready for freezing temperatures, snow, rain and slick roads. That wasn’t the case for a this truck hauling a trailer and snowmachine on Huffman Road on Monday morning. The truck got stuck in the middle of the eastbound lane on ice and packed snow near Elmore Road. The driver decided to “gun it,” which didn’t really help. The rig was stuck for at least 30 minutes.Read more: Crashes on Anchorage roads, Glenn Highway slow commuters