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Bob Hallinen

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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 bhallinen@alaskadispatch.com.
Loren Holmes,Suzanna Caldwell

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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

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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)alaskadispatch.com.
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

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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)alaskadispatch.com.
Dermot Cole

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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
Mike Campbell

Brent Sass Wins the 2015 Yukon Quest

In a topsy-turvy finish to the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest, Brent Sass of Eureka gave up a seemingly insurmountable lead and then came from behind in the home stretch to capture his first major sled-dog racing title late Monday night.Sass passed Allen Moore of Two Rivers about midway through the final 72-mile run to the finish line in Fairbanks and hung on to win in a total time of 9 days, 12 hours, 44 seconds before a big turnout in downtown Fairbanks. He finished just before 10:52 p.m. with 12 dogs in harness. Moore was second.Moore was seeking his third-consecutive victory, but wound up with his second heartbreaking loss in the last four Quests. In 2012, Hugh Neff of Tok came from more than hour behind at the penultimate checkpoint to nip Moore by 26 seconds and win the closest Quest in history.READ MORE: Sass captures Yukon Quest title
Alaska Dispatch News
With the lack of snow this year in Southcentral Alaska, many people have turned to ice skating to satisfy their need for outdoor adventure.On any given weekend Westchester Lagoon is flowing with families sliding on the ice.One recent weekday morning, with the temperature around minus 5 degrees, Alaska Aerial Media captured footage of a few skaters who got to enjoy the lagoon mostly to themselves.
Megan Edge

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The U.S. Coast Guard says it rescued four fishermen early Monday from the Savannah Ray fishing vessel in Chiniak Bay near Kodiak Island.A broken Mayday message received by the Anchorage Coast Guard sector stated the crew members had put on survival suits, deployed life rafts and needed assistance after their vessel ran aground, the Coast Guard wrote in a press release.The Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak deployed its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, which was able to bring the fisherman to safety.At the time the vessel ran aground, seas were at 11 feet and winds were blowing 51 mph, the Coast Guard wrote.   
Alaska Dispatch News
It seems like every time it snows, Anchorage car dealer, snow machiner and filmmaker Sergey Nefedov bumps into a group of miners from Lucky who head to Hatcher Pass for backcountry powder. On Jan. 25, 2015, Nefedov brought along his drone and captured Tanner Benson noboarding at Willow Creek.Noboarding, or powder surfing, is similar to snowboarding, except that it utilizes a modified board that has no bindings, to give sliding on the snow the closest feeling to surfing possible.

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