You’re Invited Delta Community Meeting

TOPIC: Rika’s Boat Landing/Parking Lot
Date: May 7, 2015
Time: 6~8 p.m.
Location: Rika’s Roadhouse

Hosted by:
Representative Jim Colver

Brooks Ludwig, Alaska State Parks
Peter Nagel, Alyeska Pipeline
Mindy Eggleston, Citizens Advisory Board
Judy Hicks, Citizens Advisory Board
Nathanial Vereide, Whiteseone Comm. Assoc.
Steve Selvaggio, President, Whitestone Comm. Assoc.
Dave Stoller, ADF&G
Stu Pechek—DNR Fairbanks
REPRESENTATIVE OF Goodpaster Homeowners Association

Refreshments will be served

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USARAK Cavalry unit inactivating

U.S. ARMY ALASKA, FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – U.S. Army Alaska’s Aviation Task Force will bid its 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment farewell this week when the unit inactivates as part of the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative.

The squadron will be inactivated in a ceremony at Fort Wainwright’s Hangar 5 at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 6.

The Aviation Restructure Initiative is the Army plan to divest legacy aircraft, modernize advanced aircraft and reorganize the force structure of the Active and Reserve Components. Significant changes as part of the reorganization include a reduction in combat aviation brigades and the retirement of all aging single-engine helicopters, including the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, which was the airframe the 6-17th flew.

From horseback in Arizona and Texas to armored personnel carriers in Vietnam and later attack helicopters in Iraq, the 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment departs with a storied lineage, having first constituted and activated as Troop F, 17th Cavalry Regiment on July 1, 1916, at Fort Bliss, Texas.  The 17th Cavalry was transferred to Douglas, Arizona, on May 17, 1917 in response to the need for additional border security and to quiet labor unrest in the Arizona copper mines.

The unit later served in both World War II and Vietnam, receiving four awards of the Republic of Vietnam’s Cross of Gallantry with Palm. The unit also received campaign participation credit for 14 Vietnam campaigns.  Troop F was the last ground cavalry troop to leave Vietnam, departing on March 31, 1972. The unit was then inactivated.

On Nov. 16, 2005, Troop F was reorganized and activated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii, and assigned to the Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division as an OH-58D Attack-Reconnaissance Squadron.

In May 2006 the squadron was re-stationed at Fort Wainwright as a USARAK aviation asset.

The 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment deployed as Task Force Saber to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008. The Squadron was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for their performance in Northern Iraq.

Task Force Saber again deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn in 2011.  The unit was the only air cavalry squadron throughout the Iraq Joint Operations Area responsible for supporting two divisions and multiple brigade combat teams as well as U.S. Special Forces.

In June 2014 the squadron deployed to the Republic of Korea for a nine-month rotational deployment. The squadron conducted joint, multi-national, and combined-arms training, supporting every American maneuver battalion on the peninsula in addition to U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Republic of Korea forces.

USARAK will gain the 3rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, which will reflag in Alaska this summer from its current assignment as part of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade in Ansbach, Germany. The unit flies AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

John Pennell
Public Affairs Office

Posted in Military | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day May 4

The caribou picture was taken out by Donnelly Dome on last July
Rebecca Schnekenburger

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day May 2

“Great Horned Owl”  Alaska Raptor Center.  The AKC is a rehabilitation facility where they rehabilitate raptors from throughout Alaska and the birds that cannot be released back into the wild are housed in nice, outdoor, natural facilities.       Steve DuBois

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wainwright Soldiers sweep Best Warrior Competition

HEADQUARTERS U.S. ARMY ALASKA, JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright came south with a purpose and went home claiming the titles of USARAK Soldier and NCO of the Year for 2015.

Best Warriors Spc. Rahjee Hajj, representing the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, fought his way through the demanding Best Warrior Competition April 28 through May 1 to become USARAK’s Soldier of the Year. Hajj, from Fullerton, California, joined the Army in February 2013.

He completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, graduating as a Cavalry Scout and reporting to Fort Wainwright for his first duty station.

Sgt. Cooper Hall, representing the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, earned the title of USARAK NCO of the year. Hall, from White Springs, Florida, is no stranger to the Best Warrior Competition, having won in the Soldier of the Year category last year.

Hall joined the Army in August 2012 and graduated Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as a Cannon Crew Member, and was later assigned to Fort Wainwright as his first duty station.

Hajj and Hall will next compete in the U.S. Army Pacific Best Warrior Competition in Hawaii later this summer. Winners from the USARPAC competition will compete for Army Soldier and NCO of the Year honors in Virginia against soldiers from 13 other major commands, in the fall.

John Pennell
Public Affairs Office

Posted in Military | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Alaskan Outfitter Announces New Name

Anchorage, AK – May 1, 2015 Big Ray’s, The Alaskan Outfitter, announces that the company’s five stores: Army/Navy in Anchorage (2 locations), Big Ray’s in Fairbanks (2 locations) and Mack’s Sport Shop in Kodiak will operate as Big Ray’s. This exciting new chapter will result in a stronger statewide network allowing every store to provide the best mix of products and the highest levels of customer service.
While the names on our buildings may be changing, the Ownership and Staff remains the same.  We look forward to continued community involvement, investment and service.  Witnesses to Statehood, the Good Friday Earthquake and the construction of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, all of us at Big Ray’s—past and present—want to thank you for your support during this exciting step into the future for our company.

About Big Ray’s
Big Ray’s has a long rich history of serving our friends and neighbors across Alaska.  Founded in 1947, Army/Navy sold surplus war materials in the Anchorage area.  The original 4th Avenue store continues to thrive today.  The Fairbanks Store opened the same year and operated under various names and locations until becoming Big Ray’s in 1952.  Mack’s Sport Shop first operated out of a Kodiak basement in 1970’s before moving to Lower Mill Bay Road where it operates today. Always owned and operated by Alaskan families, today’s ownership group formed in 1988, operating Army/Navy and Big Ray’s before acquiring Mack’s Sport Shop in 2008.

Contact: Deanna Miller
Phone: 907-222-4600 or 301-5711

Q&A with Monty Rostad
Why are we changing our name?
We are making this change for the following reasons….better customer service, better product selection and a better way to take advantage of the opportunities we see for the future.  The independent retailer is being challenged in more ways than ever before and we need to be in the best position to compete.

We are still the same Alaskan Family owned and operated business, our staff remains the same, and we will continue serving our neighbors and investing in our communities with a sharp eye on the changing big old world out there.

It has been a very tough and emotional decision to no longer use the Army Navy and Mack’s Sport Shop name.  These are historic Brands in our communities.  These names represent a lifetime of hard work, family pride and community support.

We believe that having one strong brand recognized across Alaska prepares us for the new competitive retail environment.

The single Big Ray’s Brand:
Will allow us to eliminate much of the confusion we are causing with our customers
Will allow us to eliminate much of the confusion we are causing with our suppliers
Will allow us to compete more effectively in e-commerce
Will allow us to prepare our marketing plans more efficiently
Will allow us to be more efficient in  our costs

Does this in any way affect our products that we sell?
No. The re-branding will only open opportunities for more brands and categories of products.  We believe that more brands will be interested in us because of our five locations.  It will allow us to experiment more with new brands and products by giving us the opportunity to sell at more locations.  Some of our suppliers will only allow their merchandise to be placed in limited markets under specific names.   We believe we will have the opportunity to move merchandise around to maximize sales

Does this affect our corporate structure?
No.  Same People. Same Places.

What’s wrong with the name we already have?
Nothing…..but we must stay competitive in a world that is changing faster and in more ways than ever before.  Operating under multiple brands makes it tougher in many ways on the independent retailer today.  It has been a very tough and emotional decision to no longer use the Army Navy and Mack’s Sports Shop name.  These are historic Brands in their communities.  These names represent a lifetime of hard work and Family pride.  We can only reassure them that we are still Alaskan Family owned and operated, that our staff remains the same and that we are making this change for a reason—better customer service, better product selection and a better way to face the future of retailing.

Who is Big Ray?
Big Ray is Milan Raykovich.  As a 6 foot 7 inch tall basketball player he played for UAF (then Alaska College of Agriculture and School of Mines) in 1936 and 1937.  He moved to Anchorage sometime in the Late 1940s or early 1950s.  He returned to Fairbanks as a business partner of the founders of the Army Navy Store in Anchorage.  The Fairbanks store was renamed Big Ray’s using the new partners’ nickname.  Big Ray sold his interest In 1961 and moved to Washington state.  He passed away in 1989.

Did we/you sell our/your store? (did we get acquired)
Absolutely not. The only thing changing is the name on the building.​

Posted in News Release | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day May 1

This image of this flock of swans was taken one morning from Nistler Road while I was on my way to work.        Photo Dwight Phillips

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 30

Swans along the Tok Cutoff – Scott Skaleski

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Trails Plan Open House















“Delta Junction Community Trails Plan Draft” Community Review

For Delta Junction to have a great trails system, it has to start with a great trails plan.  We have completed the draft of this plan. We are seeking community input on the Delta Junction Community Trails Plan Draft. This plan is a guide for creating and enhancing trails in Delta Junction over the next 10 years. The plan presents the vision of the overall trail system and describes in detail each of the community’s high priority trail proposals. This plan will be used to market the trail proposals to build support and find the money to put the trails on-the-ground.

This document is intended to be the plan of the people! So, this is your plan we need your input!

The trail plan is available throughout the community, at the public library and on our webpage for your review. It will also be available at this open house. There are 16 priortized trail plans included in the draft. It is important to plan for us to receive input from all potential user groups.

Join us at the Sullivan Roadhouse!
When:  Friday, May 8
4:30 – 6:30pm

Where: Sullivan Roadhouse

More information

Seeking Public Input

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the April 29

A photo taken at sunset – Panoramic Peak east of Delta Junction, Alaska with swans flying overhead. Taken April 22, 2015 at 9:07 pm.     Birch Leaf Photography

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Delta JR Nordic Ski Club

Delta Jr. Nordic Ski Club 2015.  (Photo credit Cindy Aillaud)

Delta Jr. Nordic Ski Club 2015. (Photo credit Cindy Aillaud)

by Mindy Eggleston and Brandy Baker

The snow was melting fast, the sun was shining bright, and we had a fantastic last day of skiing on April 1st with five of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Cross Country Ski team members!   Skiing with such high level and international skiers was new and exciting for everyone!  Thank you to the UAF Ski team (Jonas Loeffler, Kenny Brewer, Martina Himma, Ann-Cathrin Uhl, and Christina Turman – Interim head Coach) for traveling down to Delta to ski with us!

ski22015 marked the 6th year for Ski Club in conjunction with the Delta/Greely School District and this year partnering with MWR, Youth Services at Ft. Greely!  In order for skiing to take place many things need to come into play!

We need skiers & instructors –   The program serviced 60 skiers, grades 2-8, this season with 16 volunteer ski instructors and 3 student helpers.

We need gear – Through donations and purchasing we now have over 100 pairs of boots and 85 pairs of skis.   We need space to store gear and an area to ski – Thank you Delta/ Greely School District and Deltana Fair Board.

The trails need to be packed and groomed – Thank you Bill Todd and Gene Eggleston.

UAF Skier Ann-Cathrin Uhl high fives a skier. (Photo credit Mindy Eggleston)

UAF Skier Ann-Cathrin Uhl high fives a skier. (Photo credit Mindy Eggleston)

The skiers need to be informed and transported – Thank you Delta/Greely office staff and First Student busing.  Numerous parent and community volunteers to manage the sheer numbers of students coming and going, gearing up and getting out the door to ski

– Thank you. Pictures – Thank you Cindy Aillaud for our club photo.

Refreshments for 60 students that have just skied 1.5 hours and need refueling – Thank you parents that filled that huge job!  Thank you to all of the students that participated you all were amazing skiers this year!

Posted in News Release | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 28

My nephew Seth and I fished the “Middle River” of Alaska’s Kenai River, Skilak Lake, ten miles downriver the weekend of April 18. We fought high winds and rain almost the entire time but we managed a few wild rainbows. What an amazing fishery! While the Interior remains “locked up” as far as everything being frozen, South Central Alaska is totally “fishable”. It was a nice way to kick off this summers fishing. Photos by Dwight Phillips

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smiling Moose First Friday Takes Place Saturday, May 2

Smiling Moose Showcasing Martin Baumes from Salcha, AK
Original Wildlife Paintings
Saturday, May 2 from 3 – 5pm

Refreshments served.
Come and meet the Award Winning Artist!

Brief Bio
Martin is a 26 year resident of AK, and has been inspired to paint realistic impressions of Alaskan wildlife in its natural habitat. Being an avid outdoorsman has enabled Martin to study the wildlife he loves up close, and portray them in their natural habitat. He has experienced many of the scenes he portrays, and his work has been sent throughout the United States. Martin’s largest work to date was a 32 foot long commissioned mural of Fairbanks area landmarks and is on permanent display at the Dept. of Fish & Game Indoor Shooting Range in Fairbanks.

Various local recognitions in the northwestern states of Montana, Washington and Alaska has included Best Wildlife, People’s Choice and Awards of Merit. Martin recently received a 2nd Place Overall award at the 64th Parallel Juried Art Show in Fairbanks, AK, and is a former featured artist at the HIPOW auction, also in Fairbanks. Martin has occasional First Friday showings in the area.

Come see our new spring items!
Mother’s Day Specials
Handmade Cards
Open til 5pm, on Saturday, May 2 for First Friday

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charity Scams Swirl Following Nepal Earthquake

Anchorage, Alaska — April 27, 2015 — As the death toll climbs in Nepal following the massive earthquake over the weekend, Better Business Bureau along with consumer advocates are urging Alaskans to be on guard for charity scams targeting donors.

“Anytime there’s a natural disaster, scammers will try to take advantage of people’s generosity,” said Tyler Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “When donating to charities, go with ones that are experienced at working with disaster victims.”

Consumer protection officials warn of fake charities that may look and sound legitimate online or even hijack the names of well-known organizations. Scammers will often pose as official charity agents and call potential donors, pressuring them to make a donation over the phone.

BBB sympathizes with the victims and their loved ones of the Nepal earthquake urging donors to give wisely.

  1. Steer clear of high-pressure demands. Take time to research charities and avoid emotional appeals that don’t explain how the charity will help victims. Contact potential charities directly.
  2. Use trustworthy charities. Be sure the charity is equipped and has the resources necessary to help with disaster relief. Review whether a charity meets all 20 standards of accountability at, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
  3. Avoid cash donations. Write checks or pay by credit card to charities directly. Scammers will try to convince their victims to wire money or use prepaid debit cards to make a donations. Never give personal information or money to a telephone or email solicitor.
  4. Double-check. Watch for “pop-up” charities with unverifiable background and contact information. Unscrupulous organizations may try to trip up donors by using names that sound similar to reputable charities.
  5. Block social media pleas. Be wary of requests from fake victims or memorial social media accounts. Remember to verify the organization first before giving a penny.

Victims of a charity scam can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office and report it to BBB.

David Quinlan, Senior Director of Public Relations: 206-676-4119 |
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Deputy Communications Director, Office of the Attorney General: 206-442-4482 |
Brian Zylstra, Deputy Communications Director, Office of Secretary of State: 360-902-4173 |

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling all Heroes!

Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska is proud to work with Alaska Communications to announce the 2015 Summer of Heroes program. Celebrating its five-year anniversary, this program aims to promote awareness and support for youth development programs throughout the state.

Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska, together with Alaska Communications, recognizes five young heroes each Summer, plus one hero from the Alaska Communications Employee Program, between the ages of 6 and 18 who are making a difference in their local communities. The 2015 final heroes will each receive a $1,500 scholarship and a trip to a special recognition ceremony at the Alaska State Fair. The nomination period runs from April 28 to July 15, 2015. 

A hero can be any youth who has:

  • Volunteered or raised significant funds for a cause
  • Made a difference in school through education or sports
  • Inspired others to take action
  • Made a significant contribution to his or her community

Last year, our very own Sharhan Sylva was one of the recipients of the award!

Do you know a young person doing something heroic in his or her community? Obtain a nomination form after April 28 by visiting the Summer of Heroes website, or picking one up at your local Clubhouse.  

Don’t have a hero to nominate?

You can still participate in the program. During the Summer of Heroes, Alaska Communications will contribute $25 to Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska for every new Home or Business Internet contract signed between April 28 and July 15, 2015, up to $15,000 total. This donation will help support Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska’s programs and expand our capacity to positively impact the lives of young people in Alaska.

Alaskans can also make individual or business donations directly to Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska by visiting

Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska
2300 West 36th Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99517

Posted in News Release | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 27

A family of moose near The Lodge at Black Rapids. This is the old roadhouse, no longer in service, but is a historical landmark.  The new Lodge at Black Rapids sits up on the hill.
Photo by Scott Skaleski

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alaska Board of Game April 24, 2015 Teleconference Preliminary Meeting Summary

The Board of Game met by teleconference on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. Seven board members were present. The board took the following actions:

1.)   The Board voted to expand the 2015/2016 Call for Proposals to include statewide changes to 5
AAC Chapter 85.055 (hunting seasons and bag limits for Dall sheep).

2.)   The Board extended the deadline for the 2015/2016 Call for Proposals to June 23,

3.)   The Board scheduled a meeting for May 28, 2015 to address the following topics:

•   Whether or not to rescind Board action on proposal 207 as amended, which concerns aircraft restrictions during sheep hunting seasons.

•   Agenda Change Requests for the March 2016 meeting.

•   Consideration of a request to establish a sheep working group. The Board adjourned the meeting at 10:50 a.m.

The regulatory BOG meeting that has been scheduled for May 28th will also be conducted via teleconference.

Nissa Pilcher
Boards Support Section
Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game

Posted in Events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming Music Recitals


2 Music Recitals
May 2, 2015
2:00 and 5:00 P.M.

Featuring Rachelle Stebbins’ Music Students

Location: Delta Clearwater Baptist Church

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Each recital will feature a different group of students.

Free Admission!

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 25

“Beauty in Flight”
The swans are the largest members of the waterfowl family and are among the largest flying birds. The largest species, including the mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, can reach a length of over 60 inches and weigh over 33 pounds. Their wingspans can be almost 10 ft. Compared to the closely related geese, they are much larger and have proportionally larger feet and necks.    Photo by Gary Cooper

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 24

There was a slight breeze out of the east and when a pair of swans would decide to take off, they would slowly swim, or taxi, to the west end of the pond, bob their heads and necks together while honking and chattering to each other, turn and face into the wind, and then start their long takeoff run. They can weigh in excess of 20 pounds, so they need a good running start to get airborne.  Steve DuBois

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 23

Nice sunrise shot of Donnelly Dome I caught the other morning. Less than 45 seconds later it was a dingy white and brown again Photo by Scott Skaleski

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Notice of Public Meeting of the Alaska Board Game

Notice is given that the Alaska Board of Game (Board) will hold a special, non-regulatory meeting via teleconference at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 24, 2015.  Agenda topics to be discussed during the meeting include:

· Expanding the Call for Proposals to include proposals related to statewide hunting seasons and bag limits for sheep, and extending the proposal deadline if necessary.
· Request for a future meeting to consider rescinding Board action on Proposal 207, as amended, related to aircraft restrictions during sheep hunting seasons.
· The schedule for a Board meeting to consider agenda change requests submitted for the 2016 Board meeting and to discuss establishing a sheep working group.

The Board will be accepting written public comments on these topics if received no later than 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. Written comments can be submitted on the Board of Game website at or via fax to (907) 465-6094.

The Board will not be taking public testimony during the teleconference.  A live audio stream of the meeting will be available at during and after the meeting for the public to listen to.

The agenda and other meeting materials will be available online at: For information about the meeting, contact the Department of Fish and Game, Boards Support Section at (907) 465-4110.

If you are a person with a disability who may need a special accommodation in order to participate, please contact the Boards Support Section at (907) 465-4110 no later than 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2015 so that any necessary accommodations can be provided.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Board of Game
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
(907) 465-4110

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

FCA Presents BodyVox

May 2

To truly experience BodyVox you have to watch it live! Led by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, BodyVox is known for its visual virtuosity, distinctive wit and unique ability to combine dance, theater and film into breathtaking productions rich in imagery, athleticism and humor.

Based in Portland, Oregon, BodyVox’s movement surges from a fascination with the endless possibilities of the human body in motion, informed by years of cross training and layers of experience. Hampton and Roland are distinguished artists on the world stage, formed by their years working as creators and performers with innovative dance companies. BodyVox builds upon this tradition of excellence with a unique voice that is equally influenced by its Northwest roots and worldview.

Since its founding in 1997, BodyVox has toured to critical acclaim on stages around the world, developed 8 award winning films, 18 original shows and 3 operas, featuring nearly 200 original dances.

Fairbanks Concert Association
794 University Avenue.
Fairbanks, AK


Click here to order your tickets

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 22

On our way home from Sitka to Delta, we passed this hitch hiker while going over Chilkat Pass and he was so desperate for a ride he was holding out both thumbs, but we didn’t stop to pick him up. He had a chilling appearance.  Photo by Steve Dubois

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) throughout the Army and closure of WTUs in Alaska

Ft. Wainwright, AK. –  The Department of the Army announced last week the inactivation of ten Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) as the number of wounded, ill and injured soldiers requiring care in the WTUs continues to decline. WTUs at both Ft. Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are included in the closure.

Since February 2014, the number of Soldiers receiving care and support in WTUs has decreased from over 7,000 to less than 3,700. Based on a comprehensive assessment of WTU force structure and the declining population of soldiers in WTUs, the Army will be able to reduce the number of WTUs from 25 units to 15 by August of 2016.

WTUs at Ft. Wainwright and Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson have seen the same decline in numbers. Currently there are 27 soldiers receiving care at WTUs in Alaska; down from 73 in April 2014.

“The Army recognizes Warrior Care as an enduring mission and sacred obligation,” said Col. Lisa Toven, Commander, Medical Department Activity – Alaska. “While locations of services may change, we are committed to ensuring the best possible health care and support for our soldiers, whether they are transitioning back to the force or into the civilian community as a veteran.”

WTUs will remain on installations where there is a large concentration of soldiers. WTUs will also continue to be co-located with major Army medical activities and centers providing support to wounded, ill and injured soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management.

As units are inactivated, soldiers and their families will continue to receive care and transition assistance, and the Warrior Care and Transition Program will remain a scalable and reversible program fully capable of providing world class care.
Active duty personnel assigned to units set for inactivation or force structure reductions will be reassigned in accordance with Army assignment policies. The 27 civilian employees impacted between Ft. Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will be reassigned based on their skill sets, the needs of the Army and available employee opportunities.

Brandy Ostanik
Public Affairs Specialist
Medical Department Activity – Alaska

Posted in Military | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


April is volunteer appreciation month. Let’s take a look at the value of volunteering to you, to organizations and to the public.

First, volunteering is good for you. Current research shows that helping others can help you reduce your blood pressure. Hypertension affects 65 million Americans and is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Anything we can do to reduce these numbers is a win for everyone involved.

A 20-year study by Carnegie Mellon University showed that those who have volunteered for at least 200 hours a year reduced their risk of high blood pressure by at least 40 percent.

It’s important to remember that this study covered the time that many people retired. As people retire, the chances of social interaction go down. Researchers theorize that the reduction in blood pressure may be caused by increasing social interaction.

What do volunteers mean to an organization? I called our local food bank to ask what volunteers mean to its operation. The food bank told me that volunteers put in 22,000 hours on site to keep people fed during 2014. That doesn’t include the time that volunteers donate at distribution sites (churches, Fairbanks Native Association and other organizations). According to the Independent Sector, the average value of an hour donated by volunteers in Alaska figures to be $26.50. That means that the value of that time to the food bank is $583,000. Now think if we have to pay folks for that time. More dollars would have to be raised to support the distribution of this donated food.

Take that number and multiply it by the hundreds of organizations that are functioning in the Tanana Valley. Volunteers keep the wheels turning in our nonprofits and other organizations.

Let’s take one more step back and see what volunteers do for the public good. This one requires a little more imagination, so go back to our food bank example. Because we feed people by distributing food boxes, we improve peoples’ diets. A recent study said poor diet and physical inactivity cause over 300,000 deaths in the US each year. These two factors are major contributors to disabilities that result from diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity and stroke. Volunteering to provide people with nutritious food means more people living, working and contributing to our economy.

It’s easy to see how important volunteering is to our health and to local organizations. I did a quick scan of the newspaper this past week and found “Friends in Need” for everything from tutors at the Literacy Council to construction workers for Habitat for Humanity. One of my favorite volunteer opportunities is coming up with the Spring Health Fair. There is a need for far more volunteers than we have. Check out this section in the News-Miner each Sunday.

If you are a whiz with numbers, volunteer for the Tax-Aide program and help people complete their tax returns. The IRS will help train you. Is working with youth your passion? There’s a 4-H member or a scout that needs a leader. Maybe you don’t want to work with lots of people. There are some carpentry skills needed to build raised beds at the Georgeson Botanical Gardens at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. No matter what your skill set is, there is a need for you in the Tanana Valley. If you want to volunteer for any of the opportunities listed here, give me a call at 474-7201 and I’ll be glad to point you the right direction.

Also, there is a brand new website that lists where volunteers are needed.  Go to and check out the opportunities.  Currently the listings include the Fairbanks Food Bank, CASA, Meals on Wheels, an after school project, and working with seniors.  There is something for everyone regardless of your interests.

If you aren’t volunteering now, find a place to spend your time. You’ll be healthier for it and our community will thrive.

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 907-474-7201.

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bacon Festival Fairbanks ~ May 22 – 23

Bacon holds an odd claim to fame in the early history of Fairbanks, Alaska. This spring, the city will host a new festival to celebrate the role that these crispy strips once played in saving Fairbanks from a fiery fate.

On May 22 & ­23, 2015, Festival Fairbanks will honor the heroic role of bacon in battling the fire of 1906 with the city’s first ever Bacon Festival Fairbanks. Notable chefs and local brewers will fix dozens of bacon­filled recipes for festival­goers to sample in a tasting tent. The fire department has pledged to send firefighters who will compete in tests of strength and endurance. We’re inviting a headlining band to the festival and will book popular Alaska­ based musicians and comedians to fill a daylong schedule of live entertainment.

Events Schedule and additional information

Purchase your tickets now

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 21

This is one of my favorite times of the year here in Alaska’s Interior. It is this period when all the migrating birds pass through on their spring migration. We have an abundance of swans, geese and hawks staging here as they make their way to other parts of the state including the far north tundra. One of my favorites is the rough legged hawk. This image depicts the south end of a hawk headed north.  Photo Courtesy Dwight Phillips

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 20

Tok Cutoff near Mentasta. Photo Courtesy Scott Skaleski

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Delta Community Library Basket of Books Silent Auction and Open House

Library Association Membership Drive

Delta Merchant’s Raffle Raffle
drawing at 3:00 ~ Must be present to win

Fun for Everyone!

Sponsored by the Delta Library Association

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 18

The woods around Sitka were full of golden-crowned kinglets and I got to photo several even though they were in the dark, rainy rainforest. These guys are one of the tiniest birds in the forest weighing only about 0.2 ounces and measuring about 4 inches long, and even finding them in my viewfinder was a challenge partly because my viewfinder was usually fogged up. Their song is very distinctive, sort of a warbling trill that is easy to identify. One thing I didn’t know about golden-crowned kinglets is that their golden crown has an orange stripe down the middle of it that they raise when they are excited. Steve DuBois


Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Agriculture is all About Planning

Agriculture is all about planning. The best farmers and ranchers have figured out the importance of making plans that lead from one step to the next. Farming is complex. Farmers have to worry about myriad details, and there is always the chance that a weather event (early freeze, drought, flood, etc.) will make those plans difficult to achieve in any given year.

As an example of the planning, imagine you have an acre of farm land. You know that a school will buy all the potatoes that you can produce on it. In the autumn before you plant your potatoes, you need to test the soil to determine if you have a good balance of nutrients and you may need to prepare the field so it is ready to plant in the spring. Next, you must determine what variety of potato will be best for your soil and climate and then find a source of Alaska-certified seed potatoes.

Once the soil has warmed up in the spring, the real test of your planning becomes evident. The seed potatoes must be cut into pieces a day or more in advance of planting and the field must be fertilized and planted. Throughout the summer, you must weed and control other pests, hill the rows, irrigate, continue to manage pests and then remove the stems before harvest can begin. After harvest, the potatoes must be prepared for storage and eventual sale, and the fields are prepped for the following growing season. If all goes well, the school will be provided with potatoes, the farmer will be paid, and the students will be eating locally grown produce.

The State of Alaska has a Farm to School Program that was started in 2010. The idea is to connect schools with local producers in order to serve healthy, local meals and increase the use of Alaska-grown food. The Farm to School Program accomplished this by providing incentives to schools for purchase of Alaska-grown food, encouraging development of school gardens and increasing agriculture education in the classroom. This program has continued to grow over the past four years, now reaching every school district statewide. In a recent Farm to School conference, it was obvious that our farmers and schools want this program. As in the planning process described above, many Alaska farmers added crops to their operations to meet the needs of the schools this coming autumn. The Farm to School Program keeps our dollars in Alaska, helps farms grow and gives better quality food to our children.

Farming and ranching are a use of natural resources and we all know that one of our natural resources (oil) is suddenly not as valuable as it was a year ago. This devaluation has led to less tax revenue, and our state legislators and senators are trying to cut expenses. The Farm to School Program may be cut for a savings of $181,000. If funded, it would bring in an estimated half a million dollars of additional leveraged funds.

The farmers and ranchers have already made their plans and they have already spent money up front. We have millions of acres of good quality farm land in Alaska that could be farmed and it would increase the economy of the state. If you are concerned about the status of the Farm to School Program, contact your legislator. Support our farmers and our children by supporting the Alaska Farm to School Program.

Steven Seefeldt is the Tanana District agriculture and horticulture agent for the Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He can be reached at 907-474-2423 or

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 17

Female White Winged Crossbill
Nomads of the spruce woods, they wander throughout the boreal zones of the northern hemisphere, often in large flocks. Their peculiar crossed bills are perfectly adapted for prying open spruce cones to get the seeds; flocks will travel long distances, perhaps clear across Canada at times, in search of good spruce cone crops. When they find such crops, they may settle briefly to build nests and raise young, regardless of the season, even in mid-winter. Breast and rump grayish green to yellowish olive, streaked with dusky. Back and top of head greenish mottled with brown. Belly and flanks tan with dusky streaks. Wings and tail dark brown, with two large white wingbars. Photos by Pam Dunklebarger


Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Placer Mining Workshops Offered

One-day workshops on placer mining basics will be offered in Fairbanks, Delta Junction and Nome.

The workshops, hosted by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. April 18 in Fairbanks, April 25 in Delta Junction and May 2 in Nome. Donald Keill, who has nearly 40 years experience as a mining engineer and geologist, will lead the workshop. Keill is also a certified mineral examiner and the owner of Keill Engineering in Fairbanks.

The workshop will cover placer exploration and mining, including placer geology, claim staking, hand and mechanized methods, mining agreements, permitting, mine plans, mining economics, reclamation and more.

The fee is $50. Register at The workshops will meet at Extension district office in Fairbanks at 724 27th Ave., the Delta Career Advancement Center in Delta and at the UAF Northwest Campus in Nome. For more information, contact Meg Burgett at or 907-746-9472.


Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Electronics Cleaning

Spring is here and you might be indulging in a little spring-cleaning. But more than the closets and corners need to be cleaned. We often overlook the electronics in our home.

Electronics are one of the most expensive and most delicate pieces of equipment we own. Cellphones, computers and other electronics are constantly used and as such, can be a real magnet for germs. However, you don’t want to damage these pricey pieces of equipment with your cleaning process.

Touchscreens on iPads and tablets seem to attract dirt and germs. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Microbiology proved that 23 percent of viruses can be transferred from your hands to the screen or vice versa. There are special cleaners available to clean the touch screen, or use a slightly damp, soft cloth. Never use glass cleaner on a touch screen because it will harm the protective coating.

Cellphones are another easily contaminated electronic. A survey from the London School of Hygiene says that one in six is contaminated with fecal matter. As disgusting as that is, it isn’t easy to clean your phone. If you have an old style cellphone (without a touch screen) a cotton swab wet with a 60 percent water, 40 percent alcohol solution can clean up any wayward germs. Clean the surface, then remove the protective cover and clean all the corners of the cover.

Touch screen phones are a little more complicated. You can purchase a UV sanitizer (about $100) and zap it once a day, or use special wireless wipes to clean it up that cost about $3 for 12 wipes. Don’t spray glass cleaner directly on the phone or use a paper towel — they may scratch the screen. A homegrown solution is to use the water/alcohol solution on a clean microfiber cloth. Dampen the cloth slightly and scrub away. Don’t spray any electronic gear directly with a cleaning solution. Harsh chemicals and moisture can damage the phone.

Keyboards are another germ haven. Unplug the keyboard, turn it upside down and shake out all those cracker crumbs. You might want to use a can of compressed air to blow out the stubborn pieces. The same cotton swab wet with the water/alcohol solution will help you clean the edges of the keys and get rid of the embedded dirt.

Computer screens and televisions often have a layer of dust that can be dislodged by using a clean, dry cloth. Again, don’t use harsh chemical sprays. They will harm the protective surfaces.

Earbuds or headphones can gather dust, earwax and stubborn fingerprints. Headphones can be cleaned with a little dish soap mixed in water on a microfiber cloth. Rub gently and use as little moisture as possible. Earbuds should be cleaned with the water/alcohol solution on a cotton swab.

Remote controls are another oft overlooked surface. A recent study by the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that remote controls are one of the germiest surfaces in the house. Use a microfiber cloth with the water/alcohol solution to clean the remote on a monthly basis, more often if there are lots of hands holding it. If you travel often like I do, you might want to drop the motel remote in a plastic bag to protect your hands from the last guest’s germs.

As you get ready to clean up after the ravages of the winter, don’t forget to clean your electronics to protect your health.

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 907-474-7201.

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 16

Alaska Range sunset – photo taken looking south from Delta Junction, Alaska February 12, 2015. Photo by Birch Leaf Photography

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical ID Theft

I received one of those dreaded notices a few weeks back. There has been a breach of data — not on a credit card account, but on my health insurance. Medical identity theft is the latest in a series of types of identity theft.

If someone gets control of your identity and health insurance, they can schedule a doctor’s appointment, get prescriptions, use your insurance to pay bills and get many types of medical care. If their medical records get mixed in with yours, it can change treatments, bills and insurance claims and can even affect your credit report.

The number of people affected by medical identity is going up. A recent report shows that the incidence of medical ID theft has nearly doubled in the last five years, with a half million more victims in 2014 than in 2013.
In addition, the cost to victims has also gone up with twice as many people having to pay out of pocket expense. These thefts have caused financial costs when victims have to pay to correct their medical identities and the resulting problems.

The greater problem is that victims are being misdiagnosed, mistreated and have been delayed in receiving health care as a result of mixed medical information.

How do you discover if you are a victim of medical identity theft? Read your medical statements and the explanation of benefits provided by your insurance company. These records can show warning signs of identity theft. If you have a bill from a provider that you don’t recognize or if you did not receive the treatment charged for, someone else might have stolen your medical plan. If you see a mistake or do not recognize a charge, contact your insurance company immediately.

The Federal Trade Commission lists these signs of medical identity theft: a bill for medical services you didn’t receive; a call from a debt collector about a medical debt you don’t owe; medical collection notices on your credit report that you don’t recognize; a notice from your health plan saying you reached your benefit limit; and a denial of insurance because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.

Your medical insurance and information is valuable to thieves. Watch for these techniques to steal your information.

An offer of free health services may seem to be a great deal. But if they require that you provide health care information before treatment, run. They may tell you they work for a doctor, a clinic, a pharmacy or even your insurance company and will try to trick you into giving the information they need to compromise your identification.

If you get a phone call or an email, don’t give out your medical or insurance information. Only share the information if you started the call or you are certain who you are talking to.

Procedures designed to deter other types of identity theft also work with medical records. Keep records in a safe place and shred insurance forms, prescription statements, physicians’ reports and labels from prescription bottles before throwing them away.
If you are entering information on an Internet site, make sure you know the website is legitimate. Be sure you know who will be receiving the information, why it is needed and how it will be secured.

A safe site has a lock icon on the browser bar. Or check for an address that says “https.” The “s” signifies a secure site.

Medical identification theft is on the rise. Don’t be a victim.

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 907-474-7201.

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day April 15

The crossbills are characterized by the mandibles crossing at their tips. They are specialist feeders on conifer cones, and the unusual bill shape is an adaptation to assist the extraction of the seeds from the cone. Adult males tend to be red or pinkish in color, and females green or yellow. Photos by Deb Snyder

Posted in Photo of the day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Buffalo Center Drive-In Opening May 11

Hey folks, you know what this announcement means. Summer is coming soon!

Applications for employment are being put up at the drive-in and can be mailed to PO Box 217 or emailed to  BJ will be conducting interviews starting the first of May.


Posted in Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Alaska Family Council’s Jim Minnery to Brief Delta Junction Residents This Friday

Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery will visit Delta Junction on Friday to brief
citizens on the results of pro- and anti-family bills heard during this year’s legislative
session in Juneau. The briefing is part of a series of legislative briefings held in April
around the state.

The meeting is free and open to the public, and will include time for questions and answers, as well as a meet and greet with Mr. Minnery.

The program will run from 7:00pm-8:00pm at the conference room of the Diamond Willow Inn, 1456 Decker Road, Delta Junction. Complimentary coffee and dessert will be served, and doors will open at

These Legislative Briefings are designed to focus on pro- and anti-family bills being debated this session by lawmakers and how these bills could affect Alaskans’ lives, families, and religious freedoms.  We’ll also discuss practical strategies for citizens who want to have an impact on their state government and influence their local representatives.

“We’re really looking forward to getting folks up to speed on our issues in Delta
Junction,” said Minnery. “Our whole goal with this program is to make Alaskans
aware of what is happening in regards to their core values, and provide practical
strategies for how they can engage their friends, neighbors, and elected officials on
important issues like marriage, life, and religious liberty.”

Those wishing to attend the briefing can visit, to
register, or call Zach Freeman at (907) 317-1343.

Alaska Family Council is a 501(c) non-profit that works to promote responsible citizenship, advance pro-family policies, and influence culture on topics such as marriage, life, and religious liberty

Zach Freeman
Alaska Family Council

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment