Press Release Related to Child Welfare

Citizen Review Panel Releases 2014 Annual Report

As required by statute, Alaska’s Citizen Review Panel submitted its annual report to the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) on June 30th. The report offers recommendations to OCS based on data collected by the Panel during its work the previous year.

Four recommendations were made by the Panel:

- That OCS make several changes in its intake policy.

- That OCS develop a model for serving in-home cases in rural Alaska and improve its data collection on in-home cases.

- That OCS address the root of initial assessment backlog problem.

- That OCS make improved relationships with community partners a priority

The report contains detail on these recommendations and the Panel’s activities and membership for the past year. The full report is available on the Panel’s website, It was also sent to every member of the Legislature, Alaska’s Congressional delegation, and other interested parties

For more information, contact Panel Coordinator, Sylvan Robb, at 907.450.2456 or More information about the Panel can be found at

Sylvan Robb, M.A.
Principal Consultant

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Photo of the day July 22

One of the many blooming dahlias in our yard on July 18th.
Photo Courtesy Gary Cooper


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New Bowhunter Education certification requirement

The HIT Program has received numerous questions regarding how we plan to inform the public (resident & non-resident hunters) and meet their education needs due to the Alaska Board of Game’s recent decision to pass the following regulation, “Bowhunters in hunts restricted to archery only must carry their IBEP or equivalent department approved certification card on them while archery hunting in the field, and must show their card to peace officers and department employees upon request. Beginning July 1, 2016, all big game hunters using archery will be required to have successfully completed a department approved certification course. Currently, this is required if the hunt is restricted to archery only.

The HIT Program is currently completing the following actions in order to get the word out to non-resident and resident bowhunters so that they aren’t surprised by this requirement:
1.      Updates to our webpage.

2.      Emails to lower 48 State Agency contacts that proctor similar programs
Ie-International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) members and National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) members

3.      Emails to Alaska Professional Hunters Association

4.      Emails to Alaska archery and bowhunting clubs/groups

5.      Emails to Archery Trade Association membership (all archery-related retailers)

6.      Advertisements at sporting goods and archery stores

To meet the need, we plan to increase the number of Bowhunter Ed. classes offered statewide over the next two years. We have over 150 volunteer Bowhunter Ed. instructors living throughout the state and if we don’t have an instructor in a particular city or village, we have instructors that are willing to travel to conduct classes. If you have questions from community members about class schedules, opportunities, or the new regulations, please have them contact us at: (907) 267-2196, or visit our website at


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Avoid the Blitz by Blocking Fake Ticket Offers

BBB Warns of Scams as Hawk Tickets Go on Sale

Anchorage, Alaska. — July 21, 2014 — As single-game tickets for the Seahawks go on sale Monday, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington warns fans to be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals.

Online classified ads list thousands of sports tickets, but BBB reminds shoppers that oftentimes there are no guarantees, and sellers don’t have to provide identification to list tickets. With high prices and diehard fans, it is certain that fraudsters will try to hustle fake tickets.

Before plucking down cash or giving credit card numbers, review BBB’s advice to Hawk fans:

- Play smart. Use credit when buying game tickets; if the tickets don’t arrive or turn out to be fakes, charges can be disputed.
- Pass up offers to wire money. Con artists often use classified websites such as Craigslist to post non-existent tickets, and then ask for payment to be wired.
- Call an audible. If the tickets appear suspicious, walk away. Look for smeared ink, uneven edges and flimsy paper. Always research ticket sellers first at
- Take a timeout. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always take time to choose authorized ticket and merchandise retailers; check with the official Seahawks site for more information.

BBB wants to help fans kick off the NFL season right. For more advice on avoiding common scams, visit  BBB’s News & Events page and BBB’s Social Hub.

Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager: 907-644-5208 |
David Quinlan, Senior Director of Public Relations: 206-676-4119

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Letter to the Editor

The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Alaska would like to say thank you to the Fort Greely Fire Fighter Association, Deltana Volunteer Fire Department, the Delta Junction Volunteer Fire Department and the community of Delta Junction for participating in the 2014 Fill the Boot program.

We’re truly grateful for the support of these inspiring, selfless individuals who provide life-saving help that will fund research, advocate for children and adults affected by muscle disease, and rally our state to fight back.

From our hearts to yours, Thank you !
Erika Shedlarski
Executive Director

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Acoustic Adventures Presents Music on the River with Tony Furtado

Mace & Trudy’s Acoustic Adventures presents…
Music on the River with Tony Furtado

Tony Furtado is an indie record label’s dream artist. He has lived primarily on the road for the last two decades. He is gregarious, engaging and entertaining, on and off stage. He’s been called a genius on banjo and slide guitar and his own creative interpretation- hybrid of Americana and indie rock is captivating. Onstage, he owns the room, mixing stories of his travels with musicianship that is off the charts.

Tony Furtado
7pm, Thursday, July 31

Tickets $25. Tickets and information at Grassroots Guitar or call 488-0556

Sponsored by Pikes Waterfront Lodge and Kendall-Jackson

Must be 21 years or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian

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Photo of the day July 21

Here’s a photo of our new security system at the aircraft tie-down area in town.  This sentinel was one of three fledglings on duty at 9 PM a couple nights ago.  Photo Courtesy Don Quarberg

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The African Children’s Choir to Perform in Delta Junction in August

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Delta High School
Hosted by First Baptist Church
(907) 895-4490

The African Children’s Choir melts the hearts of audiences with their
charming smiles, beautiful voices and lively African songs and dances.
The program features well-loved children’s songs, traditional
Spirituals and Gospel favorites. Concerts are free and open to all. A
free-will offering is taken at the performance to support African
Children’s Choir programs, such as education, care and relief and
development programs.

Music for Life (The parent organization for The African Children’s
Choir) works in seven African countries such as, Uganda, Kenya,
Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. MFL has educated over
52,000 children and impacted the lives of over 100,000 people through
its relief and development programs during its history. MFL purpose is
to help create new leadership for tomorrow’s Africa, by focusing on

The African Children’s Choir has had the privilege to perform before
presidents, heads of state and most recently the Queen of England,
Queen Elizabeth II, for her diamond jubilee. The Choir has also had
the honor of singing alongside artists such as Paul McCartney, Annie
Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Michael W. Smith, and other
inspirational performers!

Most recently, the African Children’s Choir accompanied South African opera singer, Pumeza Matshikiza, on some tracks for her debut album which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
Promotional support of this community concert is greatly appreciated.

The African Children’s Choir is a nonprofit humanitarian and relief
organization dedicated to helping Africa’s most vulnerable children
today so they can help Africa tomorrow.

No tickets, donations welcome.

Lydia Sherwood
Presto Public Relations
(360) 733-2149

Posted in Events | 2 Comments

Mystery Photo Winner for July 14 – July 20

The winner of last week’s mystery photo is Dan Klein

We had 6 correct entries this week. This must have been a little harder to find.  :)

Dan will receive a gift certificate from the Buffalo Center Drive-In, courtesy of John and Linda Sloan

The mystery photo is the R Car Wash sign at Delta Petro Wash.

Thank you for each one that submitted their guess.

Thank you John and Linda Sloan.


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DNW Awarded the BBB Certificate for Excellence

Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager for Better Business Bureau Serving Alaska, Oregon & Western Washington, is proud to announce that Delta News Web has been awarded the BBB Certificate for Excellence in Consumer Protection and Advocacy for outstanding news coverage on consumer protection, military and business outreach.

Michelle Tabler
Alaska Regional Manager

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Golden Wheel’s Summer Spectacular

Friday, July 25 – August 4
12 – 7pm

George Horner Ice Park

Golden Wheel’s Summer Spectacular will be an event that Fairbanks has never seen! There will be over 20 carnival rides, classic games, fun food, entertainers and family activities.

Admission is $3.00 and once in the gate, all activities and entertainment is FREE! Magic shows, breakdancing, parkour, skateboarding, sword swallowing, fire breathing and concerts are all included! Pay One Price unlimited ride wristbands will be only $30.00! Available EVERYDAY from 12-7pm. There is a $5.00 off coupon available at Sourdough Fuel (coupon not valid on Saturday).

Special for our servicemen and women and their families, Pay One Price unlimited ride wristbands are only $15.00 with military ID! (offers cannot be combined)

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Opera & Musical Theater Concert

Friday, July 25, 8 – 10pm

Location: Davis Concert Hall

Join us for a night full of our favorite Opera and Musical Theatre selections, accompanied by the Festival Orchestra.
Price $25
Buy tickets online or at the box office.

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Photo of the day July 18

I stumbled upon this hen Spruce Grouse while on a walk behind the house. Me being me, I laid down in the trail to photograph the hen and her two half-grown young of the year. Along comes this couple, who were obviously from down in the States (the give-away were the matching ALASKA! t-shirts). She asks me, while I was laying on the ground across the trail, why I was photographing someone’s Bantam hen! Once again, me being me, I responded that Bantams are quite rare in Alaska, and that I should grab a few photos before the bear just up the trail got it! They turned around and left … I’m still chuckling over that one! Photo Courtesy Tracey Harmon


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Delta Library Closed until 1pm Today

On Friday, July 18, the Library will be CLOSED until about 1:00.

We are installing faster Internet just for you! There will be NO WiFi while we make the switch – and if all goes well, we’ll open earlier.

Thank you for your patience!

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Letter to the Editor

The state has not done an audit on the oil company’s since 2007.  The governor does not want to have the state do an audit because it would expose the fact that the free billions of dollars he is giving away is all going out of state.  None of it will be spent in Alaska.  The money the oil companies’ are spending now in the oil fields was planned a number of years ago and has nothing to do with the free give away of the state’s billions of dollars to them. The governor is doing the smoke and mirrors thing, the empty hoop dance on this and so far it is working.  The governor will be richly rewarded by the oil company’s after he is out of office with a cushy high paid job.  So he will be personally out on top with this while we will be stuck for years paying income and sales taxes to make up for the loss of income to the state’s budget.  The next thing to go will be the dividend check.  Some call the governor Captain Zero, but when he gets that high paid job from the oil companies’ after he is out of office, who will be Captain Zero then?

If a 100,000 barrels of oil was increased through the pipe line of which projections say that is not going to happen, it would take to the year 2040 before the state would break even.  By then the oil fields will be playing out.  The oil companies’ will not give the state free 8 billion dollars to help us out when they leave and we will be in an economic desperation by then.  The door is swing only one way on this.  The  state should take that money and develop the oil fields that the oil companies are not developing like Norway does.   That way the state would get all of the money and the free billions of dollars would then in fact be used for developing the oil fields.

John Suter

Posted in Letter to the Editor | 1 Comment

Pinching Pennies ~ Feeding Children

Many young children tend to be very picky about what they eat. This can be frustrating for parents. If you worry about your child eating too much or too little, refer to the recommended amounts of what children should eat to get the nutrients they need for healthy growth.

For children two to six years old, the recommended serving sizes are about one tablespoon of food per year of age for each food you are serving. For example, a two-year-old would have two tablespoons of rice, two tablespoons of chicken and two tablespoons of peas on his or her plate. Of course, your child may eat more or less, depending on his or her activity level, metabolism and mood at any given meal. (Yes, mood and emotional states make a difference.)

Children have smaller stomachs and may need to eat more often than three times a day. Try thinking of snacks as a mini-meal or another way to get good nutrients into your children, and don’t depend on junk food that may have more calories and fewer of the nutrients they need.

A real challenge when feeding children is to get them to try new foods. Let them help in the preparation of a meal, even in a small way, to encourage them to try something new. Sit down and eat with your children so they have a good example to follow. Some kids seem to exist on nothing, then all of a sudden they are eating everything in sight. This is pretty normal. The important thing is to provide a wide variety of foods so they can get all the vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and carbohydrates they need to grow and be healthy.

Never force children to eat. This can cause them to be overweight or to have food issues. Let them have a choice, but only two or three choices that work for you, not an open menu that turns you into a short order cook.

Many children do better with a routine. Having meals and snacks at a set time actually helps them form better eating habits. This may be a challenge during the summer months, but it is a challenge worth pursuing if you have a picky eater. The atmosphere at mealtime is also important. Try to make mealtime a pleasant experience. If adults are upset or unpleasant, it is difficult for a child to eat, let alone digest the food properly.

Underweight children especially should be encouraged to eat more frequently; take special care to provide routine and a pleasant atmosphere. Overweight children should be encouraged to be more active and should be provided with low-fat and nutrient-dense food. It is not a good idea to put children on diets; it is better to have healthy food around instead of the foods that could contribute to their problem, like candy, pop and chips. Turn off the TV and figure out some fun, active things to do with your kids!

Here are some tips to encourage picky eaters. Serve small servings of bite-sized pieces since large servings may be overwhelming. Try to have meals after a quiet time, such as story time, etc. If picky eaters fill up on sweets, they often choose not to eat much else. Again, try not to have junk food around. Try to serve interesting food, i.e., food with interesting shapes, colors or funny names.

Vitamins should not be substituted for good food. They can help, if your doctor recommends them, but good, healthy food should be the first choice.

High-caffeine foods and high-sugar foods are not recommended for children. Caffeine stimulates and can keep children awake when they need to rest. Sugar causes tooth decay and often takes the place of more nutritious foods. Many sodas have both. Soda should be available only occasionally. It has no nutritional qualities and many extra calories in the form of sugars that are not needed by most children.

Remember too that children often balance their diets over several days rather than one day. So look at the big picture, try to create a pleasant atmosphere and enjoy the good food you serve with your children.

Marsha Munsell is a health, home and family development program assistant for the Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Contact her at 907-474-2429 or


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Young Alaskans Escape to San Diego in New TLC Series

TLC’s new series ESCAPING ALASKA will premiere Sunday, July 27 at 10PM (ET/PT).

The series features five young Alaskan natives who risk everything to leave their villages so they can experience life in sunny San Diego. Although they find it hard to leave their families and they take great pride in their heritage, they yearn to pursue their dreams in the Lower 48. They will ultimately face the decision of whether to return to Alaska or leave home for good. ESCAPING ALASKA is their story of independence, survival, adventure and forming a new family.

Interviews with cast members and producers are available upon request. You can also check out a clip, screener of the premiere and photos using the links below.


Lauren Dorris | Publicity Assistant
Discovery Networks International

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Photo of the day July 17

We all wish for plentiful wildlife sightings for our visiting friends and family. On July 6 on the way to Valdez we had the awesome treat of this lone bull in the middle of the Richardson Highway along the Delta River. We were so shocked that by the time we had cameras out, he was across the road and we almost didn’t get a shot.
Photo Courtesy Letha Burcham

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Clearwater Revival Music Festival Fundraiser

The Fort Greely Fire Association and the local Delta Junction community need your help.

The historic Clearwater Lodge in Delta Junction burned to the ground early Thursday morning May 15, 2014; it was a total loss.

The Clearwater Lodge has been a part of this community since 1954. Many weddings, birthdays and life events have been hosted at the Clearwater Lodge.

Most of all, Patsy & Kevin Ewing have always selflessly given the community their time and services for these events, where thousands of dollars have been raised for those in need.  Now it’s time to pay it forward.

On August 15, 2014 the Fort Greely Fire Association and the local Delta community will be hosting the “Clearwater Revival Music Festival” on the existing property next to the river as a plan to help raise money for the resurrection of a new Clearwater Lodge.  We are looking for local bands, musicians and celebrity guests that would like to donate their time for this event.

Donations for raffles and/or anything you can think of to help
raise money.

We would like to thank you in advance for any help that you can contribute and please spread the word about this event.

Location: Clearwater Lodge Camping Area (lodge background)
Time: 1pm

An email account has been set up for communication: or call  Johni Swintek  (805)757-6026 or Jay Miller (570)-606-8185

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KUAC Red Green Regatta

Sunday, July 20, 2014, 9:30am – 1pm

Graehl Landing
Fairbanks, AK

The annual “flotilla of fun” involves about 75 home-made vessels crafted from duct tape and imagination, competing for prizes that reward creative application of RED GREEN SHOW themes.  Join the float from Graehl Park boat launch to Pioneer Park boat landing or line the route to see the action.

Register your craft & team online for $25 and join in the fun of Golden Days weekend.  Free to watch!

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Beatles Revue

Saturday, July 19, 8 – 11pm

Location:  Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling
North of Fairbanks on the Steese Highway towards Fox

Tickets $25

Enjoy Yellow Submarine, Hey Jude, Penny Lane, Love Me Do, and more of your Beatles favorites! Lead by Bobby Lewis and Eustace Johnson. Dancing and singing along strongly encouraged. Food and beverages available for purchase.

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Pinching Pennies ~ IRS Scam

Just about the time we think we can’t be fooled, some new scam comes along that dupes many unsuspecting folks. We’ve learned not to pay attention to any sweepstake prizes, lost bank accounts from foreign banks or other get rich schemes.

However, con artists are becoming increasingly devious and crafty as they hide their efforts to con people out of money and personal information. They create a website and send out emails that imitate real businesses, organizations and even government offices. They can fool even the shrewdest consumer.

In a current scam, con artists mimic the IRS websites and emails. Claiming the recipient is eligible for a tax refund from the IRS, they send emails to unsuspecting taxpayers with a link that requests personal information such as social security numbers and credit card information. The IRS has reported a recent rise in complaints about such scams.

The Better Business Bureau in Alaska is currently reporting that people are receiving automated phone calls purporting to be from the IRS, saying there is something wrong with their tax return. With today’s technology, scammers can even make the caller ID appear to be from IRS.

There is nothing that scares us more than the idea of running afoul with the IRS; it’s not that any of us would purposely cheat on our taxes, but the tax code is complicated. Many of us are concerned about having a deduction disallowed and owing more money on our return. That paranoia plays right into the con man’s plans.

Here is the way the Better Business Bureau says you should handle a call if you should get one. Remember, the IRS will not initiate contact about a tax return processing problem over the phone or by email. The IRS will always send a written notification of any tax due by the U.S. mail. It will never ask for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone or by email. And the IRS certainly does not threaten to throw you in jail if you don’t turn over your information immediately, as several people have reported.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
• If you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-820-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue. If you initiate the call, you know you will be talking with the “real” IRS.
• If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
• If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use its “FTC Complaint Assistant” at, and please include “IRS telephone scam” in your comments.

Don’t be taken in by scammers as they hone their abilities to separate you from your money.

Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is a professor of extension on the Tanana District Extension Faculty. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at or by calling 907-474-2426. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Photo of the day July 16

Every citizen can buy (or borrow) a dipnet, drive to Chitina and dip 30 sockeye salmon which even in Alaska, can cost upwards of 12 bucks a lb). “Copper River Reds”, best there ever was! Photo courtesy Dwight Phillips


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Smiling Moose Gallery Hosting Gallery Show July 18


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National Public Lands Day ~ July 26


Denali Highway Clean-Up
Saturday, July 26, 2014

Join volunteers of all ages for this national celebration of service on public lands.




- 8:30am – Sign in at Tangle Lakes Campground (Mile 21.5 Denali Hwy)
- 9:30am – Clean-up the Highway
- 1:00pm – Volunteer lunch provided
- 2:00pm – Atlatl & Dart demonstration
- 3:00pm – Hike
- 5:00pm – Dutch oven cooking demo

Volunteer and Camp FREE 1 night!


Posted in Bureau of Land Management, Events | Leave a comment

Local Families Needed for Exchange Students

ASSE International Student Exchange Programs (ASSE) is seeking local host families for international high school boys and girls.  These students are 15 to 18 years of age, and are coming to this area for the upcoming high school year or semester.  These personable and academically selected exchange students are conversant in English, bright, curious and anxious to learn about this country through living as part of a family, attending high school and sharing their own culture and language with their newly adopted host family. The exchange students arrive from their home country shortly before school begins and return at the end of the school year or semester.  Each ASSE student is fully insured, brings his or her own personal spending money and expects to contribute to his or her share of household responsibilities, as well as being included in normal family activities and lifestyles.  The students are well screened and qualified by ASSE.  Families can choose their students from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities and personal interests.

Those persons interested in obtaining more information about becoming a host family should call toll free: 1-800-733-2773 or go to There are many students to choose from, so call or go online – and begin the process of selecting your new host son or daughter today!

Cindy Keeney
ASSE Western Regional Office

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Retail Gasoline Prices Likely To Drop 10-to-25 Cents Over Next Two Weeks

CHICAGO (July 15, 2014) – If you’re seeing a pleasant decrease in the price at the pump you’re not imagining things.

The U.S. average retail price of gasoline has fallen below $3.60/gal for the first time since April 10, 2014. Prices have been on an 18 consecutive day streak where the current price was less than the price from the previous day, and it’s the highest number of consecutive down days since the period between April 4, 2013 and April 19, 2013, when prices fell 11.8cts/ gal from $3.63 to $3.52. The U.S. average, now $3.59/gal., has dropped by 5 cents in the past week.

“West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for the U.S., traded below $100 per barrel today for the first time since April, reflecting a slow but steady decline in recent weeks,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.  “Over the same period, we’ve seen wholesale crude prices across the country slip dramatically.  West Coast wholesale prices have fallen by more than 35 cents per gallon since the beginning of the month, and across the rest of the country wholesale prices have fallen by 15 to 20 cents per gallon.”

“We’re confident that in coming weeks we’ll see retail prices catch up to the wholesale losses.  West Coast consumers will likely see their retail prices slide from 15 to 25 cents per gallon over the next two weeks, and across the rest of the country we can expect prices at the pump to shed from 10 to 20 cents per gallon,” DeHaan said.

GasBuddy has also unveiled a new website for the media ( where media can find live-ticking averages with the latest prices received for over 450 US metros and 100 Canadian cities, as well as national averages and a multitude of other data. Color maps can be created to track prices or changes in price in every U.S. county over selectable time frames, charts comparing prices between areas can be made, with many key statistics on markets updated daily.

Contact Information:

Gregg Laskoski/ Sr. Petroleum Analyst
Email: Phone: 813-436-9422

Patrick DeHaan / Sr. Petroleum Analyst
Email: Phone: 773-644-1427

Posted in Around the World, Updates | Leave a comment

Photo of the day July 15

One of the beautiful sunsets we enjoy living in Delta Junction. I was able to capture this one last week July 10, 2014 heading home from work at Ft. Greely.
Photo Courtesy Daniel Lint

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Photo of the day July 14

Kenna and I have been trying to do a little more paddling this summer but taking my photo equipment out in a small canoe or kayak always makes me nervous. Oh well, I guess that’s what insurance is for. This is a shot of Kenna paddling on Big Lake about a week ago with a nice view of the Alaska Range in the background. Two moose came out into the lake while we were there which is always fun to see.
Photo Courtesy Steve DuBois

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Mystery Photo Winner for July 6 – July 13

The winner of last week’s mystery photo is Isaac Ruse

We had 16 correct entries this week.

Isaac will receive a gift certificate from the Buffalo Center Drive-In, courtesy of John and Linda Sloan

The mystery photo is at the city park posted on a support of the yellow canopy near the new playground equipment.

Thank you for each one that submitted their guess.

Thank you John and Linda Sloan.


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Fairbanks Farm Tour July 20 & 27

Explore great farms in the Fairbanks area with this self-guided tour. The
Second Annual Tour of Farms takes place July 20 and 27. There will also be
door prizes from local retailers. See the map attached for participating
farms and hours.

The event is sponsored by the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation.
For more information, call 452-2185 or visit




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Photo of the day July 11

“Summer’s Bounty” Photo Courtesy Cindy Lou Aiilaud

Posted in Cindy Lou Aillaud, Photo | 1 Comment

“Data Mining is in Our School District Thanks to Common Core”

The Alaska State Standards drive Common Core. The AK Legislature welcomed Common Core into the State, except they call it the “Alaska State Standards.” The AK State Standards is comprised of 93% Common Core. What is “Common Core,” you ask? It is a data-mining machine with built-in brainwashing of America’s youth. The rabbit hole goes deep and the data mining is intertwined within so many Federal agencies. Not to mention, the computerized and technological demand of Common Core will inflate school districts’ budgetary costs, thereby rendering them more and more dependent on the Fed gov’t. Beggars can’t be choosers, and the Feds know this.

Bill Gates is widely known for controversial donations through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – he and his wife are part of the global elite (you know, the people really controlling the planet). His foundation gave monies for an array of technology for the school districts – but the question remains, who will maintain the computers, etc.? That costs money and the U.S. Dept. of Education knows that. (The U.S. Dept. of Ed. Is unconstitutional, by the way) Common Core is conditional – the school districts will receive shiny new toys (i.e.: iMac’s, iPads, “breakthrough and cutting-edge” software, etc.), but the tradeoff is data mining on the kids.

For example: in June 2013, the AK Leg. passed into law a literacy test for kids in the public schools for grades K-2. On the surface, it seems as if this can be a good thing. In reality, it is data mining and a part of P20W (I’ll get to that later). DGSD chose the most Common Core-aligned test aka the “MAP” test for the K-2 kids. My husband and I refused the test for our daughter. Now, all public school districts in AK are required by AK law now to administer these tests, but the districts are at least given a choice as to which test to administer (there is a small pool of tests to choose from). Public school administrators will hail these tests as being “adaptive” to the child… “No stress,” and, “don’t worry about it! I’m sure they’ll do great!” is commonly communicated to the parents. The entire test makes no sense because if the test is adaptive, then what good is the “standard” that the State is trying to uphold? It is cognitive dissonance aka “doublespeak” that is being pushed on the parents when they are told that the tests are “adaptive.” Adaptive tests don’t serve any purpose to enact an educational standard.

“Adaptive” is a key word because it is smokescreen for data mining. Ultimately, the Feds want to profile the children of America for total control of the population and assimilation powers. These tests are designed to “get to know” the child. People may ask, “How? They can’t read my child’s mind?” Here’s an analogy: with the NSA spying scandals, the Feds can see who we call, what time, and length of call (at minimum). Over time, there’s a profile of our calling habits recorded. Same thing with shopping on the Internet. Retailers hire data mining/tracking companies to track cookies on our computers to “tailor our shopping experience.” Same thing applies to these Common Core tests. “Adaptive” means that the Feds want to build a profile of the children over time. Which brings me to P20W…

P20W is a data-mining machine that tracks Americans from Prenatal (yes, you read that correctly) through Work (basically the rest of that person’s life). Alaska takes full part in this by way of the Alaska State Standards and testing. The “Alaska State Policy Research Alliance” aka ASPRA is a group of peoples in AK (scholars, UAA personnel, etc.) that help design the Standards and testing. The ASPRA (which works with the AK Dept. of Ed. and Early Development) contracts its work to the henchmen known as: REL Northwest. REL Northwest isn’t even located in AK.

Here is quote from the Fed Institute of Educational Sciences, describing REL Northwest: “ASPRA is a statewide alliance bringing together state-level policymakers, SEA staff and state board members, researchers, and education stakeholders to create consensus around critical problems of practice and to apply evidence-based decisionmaking to the development of state policies.”

How does this make any sense and how does it tie together? The Executive Staff of REL Northwest is huge Common Core supporters. These Outsiders are working with the Alaska Dept. of Ed. and Early Education and ASPRA to create policies (which then becomes law) about Alaska kids’ education. Don’t allow anyone to convince you that Common Core is not in Alaska. It’s here and the State of AK welcomed it with open arms. More money is to be made from Common Core. There are many member organizations of REL Northwest. Here are a few: AK Dept. of Ed. and Early Development; Association of Alaska School Boards (which DGSD School Board is a part of); the AK House and Senate; AK Council of School Administrators; UAA; UAF; Office of the Governor, and; NEA Alaska (teacher’s union).

Dr. Robert Marzano, a hailed and respected educational researcher, is the author of the Marzano teacher evaluations (Common Core data mining). Dr. Marzano is the Director of REL Central at Marzano Research Laboratory. He is a Big Government crony whose teacher evaluation standards will now target intrusive and pervasive data mining on the teachers. The DGSD unanimously passed the Marzano teacher evals – without Board discussion. There was utter silence when the President asked if there was any Board discussion.

Since there is just too much to tell in one sitting, I will lastly address the Feds’ “Common Education Data Standards.” ( In the FAQ section of this website, this question is posed: “Why do we need Common Education Data Standards?” The answer (taken directly from the website): “While education institutions across the P-20W (early learning through postsecondary and workforce) environment use many different data standards to meet information needs, there are certain data we all need to be able to understand, compare, and exchange in an accurate, timely, and consistent manner. [There goes the Feds not caring about our privacy] For these, we need a shared vocabulary for education data – that is, we need common education data standards [Newspeak]. The Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) project is a national collaborative effort to develop voluntary [aka no Fed funding if Common Core isn’t implemented], common data standards for a key set of education data elements to streamline the exchange, comparison, and understanding of data within and across P-20W institutions and sectors.”

The Feds tell us in plain sight that they want to know every single thing about us.

Friends, this isn’t even the half of it. In fact, it’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Be prepared to hear terms in the future, like, “exchange,” “streamlined,” “common,” “data standards,” and, “adaptive.” The parents must become used to, and conditioned to, accept Common Core too. If we’re not, then obviously we won’t let our kids take part. For this to fully work for the Feds, the parents need to be rubbed the right way.

… And we haven’t even talked about the curricula, yet.

On October 7, 2014, vote for the 2014 candidate for Delta/Greely School Board Seat E:  Liz Breuker.

Submitted by Liz Breuker

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Pinching Pennies ~ Refinancing

We all have learned the value of refinancing. Last year when I refinanced my home mortgage, the interest rate dropped from seven percent to a little over three percent. That made a big difference in my mortgage payment.

You can refinance other types of loans as well, but before you refinance, look at your credit score. It will determine whether or not you can refinance, but it can also be affected by refinancing.

Think about your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? You may want to simplify your life by combining several loans in order to make only one payment; that can easily be accomplished. The credit card company will gladly do a balance transfer, usually for a small fee.

If you are thinking about refinancing, be sure to consider any unforeseen pitfalls. You can take advantage of a zero percent transfer card, but remember that promotional fees expire after six months or a year. Find out what the long-term interest rate will be. You don’t want to end up with a higher interest rate after the introductory period expires. However, if you can pay it off in the introductory period, it makes perfect sense to transfer a balance, even if the long-term interest rate is a little higher.

Be aware of how much of your available credit you are using because it is a very important part of the credit score. Let’s say you have two cards, each with an available credit limit of $5,000 and a balance of $2,000 on each card. You are using 40 percent of the credit on each of these cards. If you transfer the balance on one card to the other and cancel the first card, you are effectively using 80 percent of your credit line. Experts recommend that you use no more than 30 percent of your available credit. If you want to transfer the balance from one card to the other credit card, it might be a good idea to leave the first card open and maintain the credit line.

Another complication in transferring a balance is that there may be different interest rates on different parts of your account. The original balance may be at one rate and the transfer at a different rate. The challenge comes when you pay only a part of the account and carry a balance. The credit card company can apply the payment to whichever part of the account it chooses. It could apply the payment to the lower-rate part of the account, leaving the higher-rate part still accruing interest.

One of the most refinanced loans is the student loan. Federal student loans can be bundled into one loan with a single monthly payment. However, if you have a single federal loan, you have to refinance it through a private lender. Some federal loans have a forgiveness clause if you work in a low-income community or for an underserved audience. Make sure you know if your loan has these clauses.

If your credit score is low, you might want to put off refinancing your student loan until you can repair your credit score. Though this article is about how to use your available credit, the number-one consideration for improving your credit score is how you pay your bills. Working at paying off the balance and meeting your financial obligations will go a long way toward increasing your credit score.

Refinancing can work to reduce the payoff amount on several types of loans. Just make sure you don’t have any unforeseen consequences with that refinance.

Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is a professor of extension on the Tanana District Extension Faculty. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at or by calling 907-474-2426. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Photo of the day July 10

“Summer’s Best” Tonight’s sunset was one of the best so far this summer!
Photo Courtesy Sebastian Saarloos

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‘A Buggy Summer’

I’m no expert, but I have been gardening locally for 35 years and formerly worked as an IPM Tech for the UAF Co-operative Extension Service.

I also received my master gardening certificate back in 1996, and people use to call me the ‘bug lady’.

That was a loooong time ago, but I still can’t help observing the visitors to my gardens, lawns and trees, and those of others around the community.

This summer has revealed a lot of insects, some that I haven’t seen in a long time. Maybe the extreme heat  and the heavy rains of June are the reasons why.

If you’re a gardener like me, you probably know what I’m talking about. But sometimes a distance of 20 miles makes circumstances different.

Aphids are common on many plants, but black ones, not so much. Thrips are having way to much fun on the lilacs, and they’re beginning to make their way
onto the potted flowers. I hate when that happens! Both can be controlled thru various  methods. A swarm of green leafhoppers visited my house the other day, as well as some grasshoppers, a sign that someone was mowing a field of grass nearby. And to my surprise, a few capsus bugs dropped to the ground off of a tall blade of wild grass in hopes of being undetected, but I saw them…..Too many can cause problems for someone growing grass seed for market.

This time of year, the deep green in deciduous trees and shrubs seems to have vanished, as leafminers have left their whinding trails behind.

Sitting around the camp fire the other night, we were imagining how scarry it would be if suddenly all the insects lit up neon.

But there is one insect I look forward to every summer and it arrived a few days ago, right on time and right when I needed them. Swooping all around me as I sat on my John Deere, mowing the lawns and cutting back the brush, they arrived on cue devouring the mosquitos and  gnats my mower and I had stirred up.

‘Hello dragonflies!’ Zooming in just inches from my head, I never worry because all they’re after are the pests attacking it.

Mother nature has a way of keeping things in check, doesn’t she. If aphids or tortrix caterpillars become overly abundant, perhaps she will allow the yellow jacket population to multiply to feast on them. It’s possible.

Walk in the woods and take a new look. It’s surprising what’s happening around us.

Elaine Shannon

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Pinching Pennies ~ Cleaning the Grill

Grilling season is here. Nothing tastes as good as a steak or salmon fillet right off the grill. But if your grill is so dirty that you are questioning its food safety, now is the time to act. By cleaning it regularly and maintaining it properly, you’ll get the most out of your grill and lengthen its life.

When grease and burned food build up on the grill racks over time, it can change the flavor of your food. But the most important concern is that the food left on the grates could harbor harmful bacteria that can invade the new foods you are cooking.

It doesn’t matter if you are a charcoal grill fan or if you prefer a gas grill, cleaning is important to both food safety and the life of the grill. Not having to replace that grill will save you money in the long run.

Make sure your charcoal grill is completely cool before cleaning. Remove grates and place them on old newspaper to catch any drips. Spray them heavily with oven cleaner and let the grease and residue soften. Take a moment and spray the lid of the grill with the oven cleaner.

Clean out the ashes in the bottom of the grill. Some grills have an ash collector, so be sure to dump this as well. Make a dish soap and water solution and clean the outside of the grill.

After the oven cleaner has had enough time to soak in, use a paper towel to remove the oven cleaner from the grates. I often use wadded up newspaper to get the majority of the gunk off, finishing up with paper towels. Be sure to use a final water rinse on the grills to remove all the oven cleaner residue. If you sprayed the lid, wipe down the lid and rinse the cleaner residue.

If you have a bit more time, place grill grates in a large garbage bag. Pour a cup of ammonia over the grate and seal it up. Let it set for 24 to 48 hours. Open it up and use an old sponge to clean up the gunk. It is a little slower, but works well. Again, be sure to use a final water rinse after cleaning to get rid of any residue left behind.

Wipe down everything and dry grills before reassembling.

The procedures for a gas grill are a little different. In fact, heat is your friend in easy cleaning of the grill.

Turn the lit grill on high and shut the lid for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool just a little and use your wire brush to clean up the grates. Not only will that prevent sticking, but it will also help avoid flare-ups when grilling. If the grills are still very grubby, use one of the above methods to clean the grill grates.

When the grill is completely cool, clean both the inside and the outside with warm water that has a little dish soap in it. Rinse the surface with clean water and dry it off.

Clean up your grill before your next cookout and you’ll save time and money, and your foods will retain their natural tastes.

Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at or by calling 907-474-2426.

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Photo of the day July 9

Fireweed is in full bloom right now in Alaska. They are so beautiful and abundant, growing wild throughout areas that have typically burned, which is just about everywhere! Fireweed blooms in early July and then it “tops off” with a white tuft. It’s said that the first snow will come 6 weeks after it tops off. I’ll have to let you know how accurate that is this year!     Birch Leaf Photography


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Free Concert! ~ July 15

Tuesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. at the Delta Community Center
The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Outreach Series presents
“Concert Black”
Brass!  Flute!  String Bass!  Drums!  Fiddle!
All tied together with thrilling three-part harmony that everyone will enjoy

~ After the concert, there will be an instrument “petting zoo”  just for kids
Talk about music ~ get a free lesson from the experts
You won’t want to miss this family friendly event!

Concert Black has been featured at music festivals and in concert series throughout the
country, and is touring Alaska this summer as part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.

The Delta Junction concert is generously sponsored by Delta Medical Transport

Don’t forget — admission is free!

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Pinching Pennies ~ Summer Activities

Summer is a perfect time to get out and enjoy all the activities that Alaska has to offer. However, Alaska is no different than many other places that have a “high” season, and in the summer, the cost of those activities often climbs.

This week we are going to look at summer activities that are free.

Take a hike or walk. You can’t beat the summertime temperatures or the beauty that surrounds us here in Alaska. A walk will surround you with all that beauty as well as get you some much-needed exercise.

Go on a picnic. Take a quick trip to a secluded spot and enjoy the summer. The other day I took my lunch out to a picnic table just outside my workplace. It’s amazing how much more relaxed I felt after that quick lunch break. So whether you pack up a cooler and drive to a nearby wilderness area or just take your lunch to the back porch, get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.

If you are a music lover, there are lots of free options for you. The Fairbanks Arts Association offers Gazebo Nights every evening at Pioneer Park at 7 p.m. Bring a lawn chair and a snack and enjoy a variety of different musical styles.

Are you downtown in the middle of the day? Check out the music concerts offered by Festival Fairbanks at Golden Heart Plaza on First Avenue between Cushman and Lacey streets from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. Festival Fairbanks also offers Wednesday night concerts at the plaza from 7 to 8 p.m.

UAF is offering a series of events that you’ll want to attend. Magical Mondays is a great way for kids to explore hands-on science activities each night at 7 p.m. at the Reichardt Building. On Tuesdays, check out the Healthy Living Series in the Murie Building at 7 p.m. and learn about injury prevention, nutrition, robotic surgery and more.

The Discover Alaska series takes place Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in the Murie Building with lectures on topics such as wolves, earthquakes and wilderness. The Georgeson Botanical Garden offers free concerts every Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Stop by and listen to rock, blues, a pipe band or bluegrass. A detailed listing of all these events is available at

If you are into space exploration, take a short drive up the Steese Highway to tour the Poker Flats Research Range. Poker Flats is a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the tour will inform you about research that is being conducted on a variety of space topics. Be there on Thursdays at 2 p.m. Leave early and take a picnic to enjoy on the way out.

There are a variety of art galleries to visit. Check out the Two Street Gallery, the Bear Gallery in Pioneer Park, Alaska House and many more, and don’t forget about First Friday events, which usually have art exhibits at 15 to 20 different locations around town.

I know I haven’t mentioned all of our free opportunities, and I know I’ve listed only a few of our special events. Check the events calendars in the News-Miner and websites such as

Enjoy your summer without breaking your budget!

Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is a professor of extension on the Tanana District Extension Faculty. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at or by calling 907-474-2426. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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