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James Patterson has written more New York Times best-sellers than anyone else. He reportedly earned $90 million last year. And now he's shared some of those earnings -- and his passion for books and independent bookstores -- with Palmer's own Fireside Books.  Zaz Hollander

The small independent bookstore Fireside Books is quiet on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, just before closing. Best-selling author James Patterson gave Fireside Books in Palmer $7,500 this week -- no strings attached. Owner David Cheezem says he will use the money to promote Alaska authors. 

Bob Hallinen

It is just a short trip from Port MacKenzie in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to downtown Anchorage. The ferry terminal built to accommodate passengers at Port MacKenzie sits mostly empty on the dock. The 195-foot twin-hulled vessel -- billed as the world’s only icebreaking catamaran, built by the Office of Naval Research  as a beach-landing prototype and then handed it over to the Mat-Su to start ferry service in Cook Inlet was supposed to provide vehicle and passenger service crossing Knik Arm. The ferry is docked in southeast Alaska and is not likely to ever see service on Knik Arm. 


Bob Hallinen

National Transportation Safety Board investigators examine a plane crash near an airstrip on Sunset Avenue, off Knik-Goose Bay Road near Wasilla, on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. 

Loren Holmes

Students at Academy Charter School in Palmer got a visit from a U.S. Coast Guard HH-60T Jayhawk crew from Air Station Kodiak on Thursday.

Valley Quilters Guild meeting features a speaker from the Dorothy G. Page Museum.
A Wasilla man, out on bail on separate drug charges, was pulled over while in possession of $67,000 worth of methamphetamine, Alaska State Troopers said.Megan Edge
Despite the increasing popularity of youth shooting teams in the Mat-Su, the borough Assembly this week tabled a proposal to create a new shooting range near Big Lake over concerns about noise and the below-market offer for public property. Zaz Hollander

More than 50 agencies and organizations and about 150 volunteers gathered at the Menard Center in Wasilla to contribute to the Mat-Su Valley Homeless Connect event held Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015.

Marc Lester
Beginners welcome. Bring your dance shoes, and come promptly and ready for a brief lesson.
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