Tara Young


Excalibur Sports co-owner Phil Robertson has been collecting Fur Rendezvous pins since he was a kid, but he started collecting more seriously in 1985.He has hundreds of pins and other pieces of Fur Rondy memorabilia in his collection, and is still avidly collecting. He says he longs for Rondy's heyday, when Anchorage shut down and families gathered for the dog races and fur auctions. And a self proclaimed "teary-eyed people person," Robertson dreams of a day when Rondy means as much to a younger generation as it does to the old.Collecting Rondy pins is his way of preserving a little bit of Alaskana history.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)
Michelle Theriault Boots


Just as workers were opening the doors to clients at a downtown Anchorage church food bank on Feb. 2, the building's pipes burst. The resulting damage took a month and tens of thousands of dollars to repair, including replacing walls. On Tuesday, New Hope on the Last Frontier opened to the 250 people it serves each week for the first time since the flood. The cleanup was accomplished using donations from individuals and businesses, including a local Home Depot, organizers said. While the food bank was closed, some clients called crying or stopped by to ask where else they could pick up food, said executive director Adam Ziegler. "It was tough," he said. "People rely on us." New Hope on the Last Frontier used to be a Nazarene church with a congregation active since 1949, said Ziegler. But when church service attendance dwindled, the church evolved, focusing its efforts on running the food bank rather than holding traditional Sunday worship services, he said. Today, the food bank prides itself on offering fresh produce, frozen meat and a dairy product for every visitor. 
Alaska Dispatch News

Full cut, Rehearsal Grit

The Alaska Cello Intensive, a Fairbanks-based arts group, had a little fun with the city's icy roads recently.Ice skating along, with cellos on their backs, kids made their way around town and even played a little pickup hockey.The Alaska Cello Intensive is a series of workshops for teens and preteens that bring music and the outdoors together.This isn’t their first quirky Alaska-themed video. Last spring they released a video showing kids playing a concert in a snowy field, with blocks of ice as seats.
Michelle Theriault Boots


Every year at the Fur Rendezvous Hide and Horn auction in Anchorage, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game auctions items confiscated from hunters, recovered from road kills or taken in defense of life and property.SEE PHOTOS: Rondy Hide and Horn Auction
Bob Hallinen


Cal Williams, chaplain of the Chappie James American Legion Post 34 in Anchorage, gave a presentation on the George Harper collection of black history photographs on Thursday, February 26, 2015. The late Harper gathered photographs relating to the history of African-Americans in Alaska, including many photos of the black Army troops who worked on building the Alaska Highway during World War II. The photographs now reside at the University of Alaska Anchorage Consortium Library. February is Black History Month in the U.S. Watch this video on YouTube and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Bob Hallinen at
Loren Holmes,Suzanna Caldwell


As an Anchorage cardiologist, Mark Selland has an impressive resume: medical school, internships, cardiology fellowships. But he also has an impressive resume when it comes to outdoor escapades. He’s skied over the Harding Ice Field from Seward to Homer, traversed the Brooks Range, floatHe says ed through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and climbed an impressive number of peaks -- notching six of the Seven Summits (he’s missing Australia’s Mount Kosciusko), including Everest and Denali.But for Selland, running the Iditarod, as he plans to this year, isn’t about checking another accomplishment off a list.“This is not a bucket list,” he said in an interview last week. “I don’t have a bucket list of things I want to do.”Read more: Anchorage cardiologist's unlikely journey to Iditarod adventureWatch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos from The Last Great Race.
Alaska Dispatch News

Huslia Half-Way Checkpoint for the Iditarod 2015

The Interior Alaska village of Huslia holds a special place in the world of sled dog racing, famous for mushing legends including George Attla, Jimmy Huntington and Warner Vent.But it's never been a checkpoint for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.That's changing this year, and residents are thrilled. The Athabascan Woman Blog reported on the trail and preparations the community is making to host its first-ever Iditarod race.Read more: With a long history of mushing, tiny Huslia prepares for its first Iditarod
Alaska Dispatch News

Uptown Funk U.S. Ski Team Style

Members of the U.S. Nordic ski team, including Anchorage's Kikkan Randall, strut their stuff to the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars hit “Uptown Funk” in this video, which was produced in hopes getting fans excited about the 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. It seems to have worked -- the video has over a million views and 10,000 likes on the team's Facebook page.The video was choreographed by sprint world champion Jessie Diggins and shot in Switzerland and Sweden, where the team is currently training.
Tara Young


GIRDWOOD -- On Tuesday, Alaska became the third state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana. It turned out to be both a historic moment and a deeply understated occasion.With retail pot sales still at least a year off and public consumption banned, people who marked the moment mostly did so in private.But at one rented condominium up a gravel road in Girdwood, legalization day was cause for an all-out party.Alaska Green Cross, an organization devoted to cannabis advocacy, hosted the event, billed as a “Thanks and Treats Dinner.”Read more: In Girdwood, marking a historic moment with plenty of now-legal potWatch 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)
Suzanna Caldwell
Greg Kohs’ independently produced documentary follows four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey along the 2013 trail, where he went on to place 19th. It also traces back to his early life, with family interviews, including dad and 1978 Iditarod champion Dick Mackey, along with his hard-scrabble rise over the years to becoming a legendary dog musher.Kohs said the family relationship drew him to the story, and he believes it will resonate with viewers unfamiliar with Mackey. Kohs first worked with Mackey years earlier when he did a short film for the Livestrong Foundation on Mackey overcoming cancer.He said they had full access to the musher, though at times working with his schedule -- which is notoriously fluid -- proved difficult. In an effort to follow Mackey along the trail, Kohs chartered a fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter to reach remote areas.Being able to get to those portions of the trail gave Kohs a sense of what the race is really like and the inspiration for the film's title.“It felt like ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ out there,” Kohs said. “A desert of snow, and he was this figure out there going across it. It felt right.”An Anchorage showing is scheduled for March 4 at the Bear ToothTheatrepub,
Tara Young


Two newly purchased Anchorage Police Department canines sniffed out tracks left by handlers last week at Russian Jack Springs Park. The dogs are early on in their training, and police have left marijuana detection off their list of lessons.That’s due to the ballot initiative Alaska voters passed on Nov. 4 legalizing recreational pot use and its commercial sale.Unlike the Alaska State Troopers 10 dogs trained in marijuana detection, Anchorage’s K-9 unit is not getting rid of its three pot-sniffing dogs. Unit supervisor Sgt. Jason Schmidt said that retiring them would be a waste of resources.The two new Belgian Malinois, named Midas and Clyde, are the same medium-sized shepherd dogs used by troopers for drug detection. Purchased from a Pennsylvania kennel, the police department's dogs generally cost a total of $30,000 to buy and ship across country. Read more: New Anchorage police dogs won't learn what pot smells likeWatch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)
Dermot Cole


FAIRBANKS -- Iconic Alaska musher George Attla achieved some of his greatest victories on an Open North American Sled Dog Race trail that crosses the Chena River not far from the David Salmon Tribal Hall, where hundreds of people gathered Tuesday morning to honor his memory.Before a police escort and a procession to Fairbanks International Airport for a Wright Air Service flight that would carry the "Huslia Hustler" home, mourners described Attla as one who competed well and finished the race.“So we say well done, well done George, you are and you remain a champion,” said the Rev. Jim Falsey.Read more: Hundreds in Fairbanks honor memory of 'Huslia Hustler' George Attla