Scott Jensen,Bob Hallinen

Life-sized statues invade the waters of Cook Inlet

Volunteers shrugged off 7 inches of new snow and a stiff wind that made near-whiteout conditions on Point Woronzof Road to set up a sprawling outdoor art installation titled “100Stone.”At 9 a.m. Saturday, three dozen people were busy with shovels and snowblowers clearing a path to the beach below the Point Woronzof Park parking lot, adjusting rebar stakes and setting up tripod hoists to lift dozens of human statues into position along the shore of Cook Inlet.Conceived by Anchorage artist Sarah Davies, “100Stone” uses forms taken from body casts of people affected by mental illness over the past two years. Davies, who has suffered from acute depression herself, said she hoped the installation would lead viewers to a realization of how many people struggle with various forms of mental illness and perhaps provide a sense of release from the loneliness that sufferers often feel.Read more: 100Stone outdoor art installation at Point Woronzof addresses depression and mental illness
Tara Young

UAA Seawolves women's volleyball team has record turnout for games

The Seawolves swept Western Oregon in three sets to win the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title, extend their winning streak to 11 matches and make Senior Night a triumphant one. Next up -- hosting the West Region playoffs.UAA has seen record turnout for the Seawolves matches in recent weeks by averaging more than 1,300 attendees per night -- tops in the nation for Division II volleyball.Travis Fuller, manager of fan experience and community engagement says that the large crowds have added to the energy of the games. "To see all of the energy and see people having a great time, and going crazy for our volleyball team has just been a great experience," according to Fuller.Read more: UAA volleyball team celebrates Senior Night with a win, and a proposalRead more: Seawolves will host West Region volleyball tournamentWatch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at) 
Scott Jensen

One man's positive outlook after spending years in prison

Having served nearly two decades behind bars, Marvin Simpson said he is ready for serious life changes. At 44, he believes returning to a criminal life “on the streets” is out of the question.“There’s a saying I heard: ‘The streets ain’t made for everybody. That’s why they make sidewalks.’ I’m on the sidewalk now. I bypass the streets,” Simpson said. “On the sidewalk I’m safe, but once I venture off that curb into the streets, that’s when it gets all bad for me. It’s like I’m brainwashing myself. I’m not, but I killed that old ‘Messy Marvin.’ That’s what they used to call me. I’m Marvin Simpson. Messy Marvin is dead and gone and he’s never coming back.”Simpson moved to Alaska at 17 with his sister, her husband and their children. Things went well for a while. He got good jobs, he said.He was 21 when he was first arrested for a serious crime, brandishing a gun. He spent time in prison for felony assault. Then he moved in and out of prison in the following years for probation violations and got a longer sentence for running from the police.Once released, he settled in Anchorage and was doing well for a while. Then he started selling cocaine. In 2005, he was pulled over on the Old Seward Highway. He threw a bag of cocaine out the window. The bag was retrieved, which started an investigation ending in a 10-year sentence.“The federal sentence woke me up. I was going to federal prison, where you deal with real-time criminals from drug dealers to white-collar guys,” he said.READ MORE: Federal offenders find new hope at Alaska re-entry court
Marc Lester

Standout student dancer uses prosthetic leg

When she was in eighth grade, Taylor Haines had the moxie to try out for the East Anchorage High School dance company. That meant an audition in front of a crowded studio of 60 or 70 older dancers, a big deal for a middle schooler.Her dance teacher, Ariel Graham, remembers the day.What stood out was not the girl’s prosthetic leg, but her confidence.Read more: East High student dances past her differences
Alaska Dispatch News

907’s Own: The Untold Story of the Alaskan Hip-Hop Scene

When you think about the history of hip-hop, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta typically come to mind -- usually not Alaska. But there has been a group of Alaska rappers dedicated to the genre. "907’s Own: the Untold Story of the Alaskan Hip-Hop Scene" highlights the creative minds of the 49th state, their personal tales and struggles to make it in the hip-hop world. These artists have had varying degrees of success against the odds of being from an isolated place but all of them have the chops of rappers from the Lower 48.Josh Boots traveled the country performing as a young rapper but eventually had to take up a day job as a real estate agent and settle down. “I either had to leave everything I had and go somewhere else to spread the music, or stay here and be a dad and a husband,” says Boots. Alkota is a producer originally from South Anchorage who sells beats online as The Drum Broker with the help of Shopify, the film's producer. Alkota’s dream is for the local artists he recorded with to make it in the national hip-hop scene.Alaska Redd started his career in the '90s and hoped to put Alaska on the hip-hop map. And while it’s been a struggle to keep making beats and recording, he keeps at it. As Alaska Redd’s lyrics say, “I try my best to live with no regrets.” Keezy is a young up-and-comer. While all of the artists seem determined to keep at it, Keezy has no doubts. According to Keezy, “You have to be willing to lose everything to gain it all.”To submit your video to Alaska Dispatch News, contact the multimedia team at photo(at) 
Alaska Dispatch News

Polar Bear Cub Update

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has a new addition in the polar bear den. A polar bear cub weighing 1.5 pounds is being tended to by zoo staff after her mother Aurora stopped caring for her last week.Polar bears have the lowest reproductive rates of all mammals. Aurora, the mother, and her 8-year-old twin Anana, arrived at the zoo in 2010. Both mated with a 28-year-old bear.To submit your video to Alaska Dispatch News, contact the multimedia team at photo(at)  
Scott Jensen

Miniature service horse makes her first visit to Winterberry Charter School

Gwendolyn the miniature service horse made an introductory visit to her owner's second-grade class on Oct. 22, 2015. Zaiden Beattie is one of several hundred kids in the United States living with ataxia-telangiectasia, or A-T. It is a genetic disease that will eventually rob him of balance and muscle control, and it will also compromise his immune system. Zaiden changed schools from Russian Jack Elementary School to Winterberry Charter School this year because Winterberry follows the Waldorf school design, in which students remain with each other and the same teacher from kindergarten through eighth grade. Zaiden's parents believe this environment will be more beneficial to him as he grows older and his condition worsens.Read more: Mini service horse starts 2nd grade to help Anchorage boy with genetic disorderWatch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more. Contact Scott Jensen at sjensen(at)
Scott Jensen

Store owner tells story of disarming that would-be robber

An Anchorage cigarette store owner facing her first-ever armed robbery said Friday that she stopped feeling fear after disarming the attacker of a gun and then a knife.Young Jun, 39, said her first indication that 33-year-old Tonya Holler wasn’t an ordinary customer was the moment when she reached into her purse and pulled out a pistol.Read more: Store owner disarms woman with gun, knife in Midtown robbery attempt
Tara Young

Alaska Moose Hunting 2015

The fall moose hunt is a tradition for many Alaskans and the way to fill the freezer for winter.Ricko DeWilde is one of 14 siblings who grew up trapping and hunting in Huslia. Nowadays, he lives in Fairbanks and travels back to the village each autumn to hunt for his family and village elders. Over the past few years, videographers Bruce Sam, David Vent and Josh Ligairi have documented DeWilde’s hunts, creating atmospheric videos of what DeWilde considers the most natural thing he can think of: harvesting meat for his family.DeWilde grew up hundred miles up the North Fork of the Huslia River. He and his siblings were homeschooled by their parents, who wanted to live a traditional subsistence way of life.DeWilde still likes to hunt in the traditional ways, keeping in mind Koyukon Athabascan taboos around hunting."There are many unique and strong harvesting rituals around animals that the Koyukon Athabascans still follow today," according to DeWilde. They especially revolve around wolves, wolverines and bears, because they are believed to be the "old animals" -- older than human beings.DeWilde tries to waste nothing. The meat is kept clean and the edible organs are removed. DeWilde says, “It’s surreal how much is wasted in sporthunting.”To submit your video to Alaska Dispatch News contact Tara Young at tara(at)
Scott Jensen

Video: Lucky Wishbone is almost 60

There's always plenty happening at the Lucky Wishbone in Anchorage. Veterans Day is no different. The restaurant's 93-year-old founder and owner, George Brown, served as an Army Air Corps pilot shuttling fuel and supplies in China during World War II. He celebrates Veterans Day by doing what he does every day -- honoring fellow veterans and his employees. It's a recipe for longevity. The iconic Fairview eatery is about to turn 60.
Bill Roth


The Canadian Forces conducted a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery shortly after a Veterans Day ceremony held at the Alaska National Guard armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015.  
Alaska Dispatch News