Christmas Holiday Closures – Dec 25

Alaska Steakhouse – Website

Family Medical Center – Open till noon Dec 24,
Closed Dec 25 – 28 and will reopen Dec 29.
Emergency call 895-5100 or 911

Interior Alaska Medical Clinic – Website

The City Hall and Landfill will be closed Dec. 24 & 25 for Christmas.
Office and Landfill will reopen with normal hours on Friday,  Dec. 26. Website

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will be closed from December 24, 2014 through January 4, 2015. Wishing family and friends a safe and memorable holiday.

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New Years Holiday Closures – Jan 1

Alaska Steakhouse – Website

Family Medical Center
Emergency call 895-5100 or 911

Interior Alaska Medical Clinic –  Website

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will be closed from December 24, 2014 through January 4, 2015. Wishing family and friends a safe and memorable holiday.

The City Hall and Landfill will be closed Jan 1, 2015 for New Years.
Both will reopen on Friday, Jan 2.  Website

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Pinching Pennies ~ Shipping Gifts at Christmas Time

You’ve purchased the perfect gift. It is wrapped and ready to go. Then you realize that it is going to cost you $30 to send a gift that cost you $15. Or, you find the exact gift you want for $15, only to find that the shipping to Alaska is $39.99.

We’ve all been there. All of a sudden that bargain gift isn’t such a bargain, simply because of shipping cost.

You don’t have to be a slave to the shipping costs. Smart choices can save you money.

Choose the right gift — small or at least easy to ship. Bulky, large items will cost you more. The cost of shipping is a combination of the size of the package and how fast you want to get it. Of course the faster you want to get it, the more you’ll pay. However, if you are using the U.S. Postal Service, be sure to ask what each delivery type will cost you. I shipped a package a few weeks back that for one nickel more, I could get it shipped in three days rather than three weeks. Price all the options.

Consider flat-rate boxes from the U.S. Postal Service. These boxes come in three sizes and as long as you are shipping in the U.S., it doesn’t matter how much weight you’ve put in the box. The boxes ship for $5.95, $12.65 and $17.90, depending on size. Also, the boxes are free for the taking — just pick them up at your neighborhood post office.

These flat-rate boxes have been so popular that other companies are getting in on the deal. Now UPS and FedEx also offer flat-rate boxes. Be sure to check their prices and delivery guarantees.

If you are shipping, be sure to use a new, good quality (strong) box and tape it up securely. Put the shipping address on a slip inside the box as well as writing it legibly on the outside of the box. If the label is lost or illegible, your package will still be delivered.

If you are an Internet shopper, take a close look at shipping prices before hitting that “purchase” button. Many Internet companies offer free shipping or, if you spend a certain amount, the shipping is free. It may be smarter to consolidate your shopping at one company to reach that magic amount and save on the shipping.

Then there is Free Shipping Day. On Dec. 17, many online merchants will give you free shipping. The best part is that they guarantee delivery by Christmas Day. Check freeshipping.org for a list of participating merchants. You can also find shipping deals throughout the year at the same web address.

Whether you buy at brick-and-mortar stores or on the Internet, there are other options to save on shipping. Many stores have the buy it here and pick it up somewhere else option. Simply buy your gifts and have the recipients pick it up at their local stores.

If you have to pay for the shipping, reduce the number of times it must be shipped. Buy the gift and ship it directly to your recipient, rather than to you. That will save you one set of shipping costs.

Consider items that are virtually flat. Money, a check, or a gift card can be easily mailed in an envelope. You can put more inside the envelope if it only costs a stamp to mail rather than several dollars for a box.

No matter what you decide to do about shipping, remember that the most important thing is to get your items on the way as soon as possible.

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 rrdinstel@alaska.edu or by calling 907-474-7201.

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Prepaid Gifts Can Present Problems

BBB Offers Advice on Giving Gift Cards This Holiday Season

Anchorage, Alaska — December 17, 2014 — Gift cards make great last-minute gifts for holiday shoppers. They are practical, inexpensive and convenient. According to a new report by advisory company CEB TowerGroup, sales of gift cards have risen to $124 billion this year—a 55 percent increase over six years.

While gift card giving increases, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington warns shoppers that gift card scams are on the rise, too

This holiday season, BBB encourages consumers to watch out for the following:

  • Digital theft: Cybercriminals create a website and pose as an online retailer. When consumers enter their gift card information to make a purchase, the scammers clean out the balance.
  • Physical theft: Thieves visit stores and collect gift card information, then continually check the card number until they see the card has been purchased and activated. They then immediately use up all of the funds.
  • Fake or used-up secondhand cards: Scammers post gift cards to online auctions or classified sites and offer discounted prices on counterfeit or already-used cards. It is virtually impossible to tell whether the cards have any value remaining, to determine whether they’ve been tampered with or to see if they’ve expired.

BBB offers practical advice to consumers shopping for gift cards.

  • Purchase straight from the source. Buy cards directly from the issuing store, no matter how much cheaper they may be elsewhere—especially when shopping for gift cards online. An illegitimate card is a worthless gift.
  • Examine cards carefully. Thoroughly inspect cards and do not buy them if they have been tampered with or altered.
  • Read the terms and conditions. Make sure the recipient won’t get hit with transaction or inactivity fees that will erode the value of the card. If you are giving a gift card to a friend who wants to shop online, make sure the card can be used that way and not just in a store.
  • Ask cashiers to scan and verify cards. Have gift cards scanned and activated at checkout and ask your cashier to verify the balance before leaving the store.
  • Keep the receipts. Many retailers can track where cards are purchased, activated and used. They may be able to replace stolen cards with proper proof of purchase.

It is estimated that $750 million in gift cards will go unredeemed this year. However, legislation passed in 2010 states that the money on prepaid cards cannot expire for at least five years, even if the card’s expiration period is shorter. Learn more about consumers’ gift card rights from the Federal Trade Commission.

Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager: 907-644-5208 | michelle.tabler@thebbb.org
David Quinlan, Senior Director of Public Relations: 206-676-4119

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Photo of the day December 18

Donnelly Dome Sunrise”. 9:30 AM – October 27, 2012
Photo Courtesy Sebastian Saarloos

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Candlelight Services December 24

First Baptist Church  starting at 5:30 PM. The whole community is invited to come and worship with us. We are located on the Richardson Hwy, next to the vet clinic. For more information contact the church at 895-4490.

Delta Christian Center starting at 7PM . Everyone is welcome to attend. We are located 4.6 mile on Jack Warren Road. We will have refreshments afterwards. Feel free to bring cookies to share.

 

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Photo of the day Dec 17

Meadows Road varmint hunter. Photo by Dwight Phillips

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Fairbanks ~ 9th Army Arctic Warrior Band Hosts Free Holiday Concert

Who: 9th Army Arctic Warrior Band

What: The community is invited to celebrate a holiday tradition with the 9th Army Arctic Warrior Band, presenting “Santa’s Journey.” Event-goers can look forward to a festive musical performance of classic and contemporary pieces. The concert is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

When:  Thursday, December 18, 7 p.m.

Where:  West Valley High School Performing Arts Center

Other North Haven Communities and the Lend Lease (US) Community Fund are proud sponsors of the 9th Army Band’s annual concert.

Ann Wharton
Senior Marketing Manager | Lend Lease

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Photo of the day December 16

“Gazebo lighting at the Sullivan Roadhouse”
The gazebo behind the roadhouse is always beautifully decorated, and music could be heard from inside. Photo by Birch Leaf Photography

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Photo of the day December 16

“Icy Corner”
The moon reflects off of the icy Richardson Highway near Rainbow Mountain with Phelan Creek off in the distance. Sebastian Saarloos

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Tis the Season to Avoid Raw Meat

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2014 – Everyone loves spending time with family and friends enjoying special winter treats, but you might want to think twice before reaching for some traditional dishes. Raw meat dishes like tartare may be more common this time of year, but they still come with health risks.

“Tiger meat” is another traditional winter dish. Despite the name, this dish is not made using meat from tigers. It’s a holiday mixture of raw ground beef, raw eggs, onions and other seasonings served on rye bread or crackers. Beef tartare, tiger meat, and dishes alike have ground beef and eggs that pose a health hazard when eaten undercooked or raw.

Not All Traditions Are Safe
Raw ground beef has been associated with several large outbreaks of foodborne illness. In 2012, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened 17 people in Wisconsin was caused by this traditional dish.

E. coli infections can ruin your holiday, causing severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, kidney failure, and even death. E. coli is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, children, and older adults.

In addition to E. coli, eating raw ground beef and raw egg can expose you to Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter bacterium.

Cook To the Right Temperature
Most bacteria in meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can be killed by thorough cooking. To prevent illness, ground beef should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 °F. The only way to tell if the temperature is right is with a food thermometer. Color is not an accurate indicator that ground beef is fully cooked. Also, if you’re cooking another dish like meatballs or mealoaf, remember not to try any of the dishes before cooking, even if you just want to taste the seasoning.

Consumers can learn more about key food safety practices at Foodsafety.gov and follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter. Consumers with questions about food safety, can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.

Bridgette A. Keefe
Public Affairs Specialist | Food Safety Education Staff

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Photo of the day December 14

Sullivan’s Roadhouse is one of a series of old roadhouses that was on the Valdez-Fairbanks trail around 1905. It was originally located a little west of Delta Junction but was dismantled and moved to Delta where it is now a museum at the real end of the Alaska Highway (as opposed to the fake end which Fairbanks claims). A lady in town decorates it for Christmas each year with a lot of help from her husband and some other folks.
Photo by Steve Dubois

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Quilt Class at Calico Cow

Hi Quilters,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Quilt as you go class was so successful we are offering it again.

Date: 3rd Jan 2015
Time: 10am-4pm
Place: The Calico Cow Classroom

Call or come in to signup and get more details

Jackie Becker and Staff
The Calico Cow
907 895-9895

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Photo of the day December 12

This photo was taken near Haines, 20 miles up the Chilkat Valley where the eagles concentrate.  Steve DuBois

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Photo of the day December 11

I saw this nice bull about 1/4 mile south of Ft Greely’ main gate.
Photo by Scott Skaleski

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The 12 Schemes of Christmas

Better Business Bureau Warns of Holiday Hoaxes

Anchorage, Alaska — December 10, 2014 — It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and potentially the most profitable for scammers.  Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has put together a list of 12 common Christmas schemes to help consumers stay safe this holiday season.

12. Holiday surveys: In an effort to take advantage of cash-strapped holiday shoppers, scammers pose as popular retailers, e-mailing fake surveys to consumers and promising a credit to their accounts. Links to the “surveys” are often malicious.

11. Suspicious Santa sites: Steer away from “Santa” websites that request unnecessary personal information.  Be especially wary of sites that fail to disclose contact details and privacy policies.

10. Puppy scams: Be careful about buying pets online. Consumers may be unwittingly buying from a puppy mill where dogs have health problems, or they may send money to a scammer and get nothing in return.

9. Fake charities: The holidays create a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to fill their own pockets.  Beware of solicitations from charities that cannot deliver on their promises or pretend to be representing victims that do not really exist. Review charities first at give.org.

8. Pickpockets: Crowded malls and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season make it easy for thieves to grab purses and wallets.

7. Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons.  Make sure you are on a trustworthy website.  Be suspicious of coupon sites that ask for personal information.

6. Stranded “grandkids”: The classic grandparent scam is still ongoing. Consumers should be suspicious of phone calls from a “family member” claiming to need help and asking for money to be wired overseas.

5. Malware e-cards: Links or attachments in e-cards could contain malware.  Consumers should make sure their spam filters are set and up-to-date.

4. Counterfeit gifts: Be suspicious of sites that offer the “must have” toys, gadgets or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. These deceptive deals, pop-up ads and social media posts often take consumers’ money but leave them empty handed.

3. Stolen gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It is easy for scammers to sell a card and pull out the funds before consumers can even give it as a gift.

2. Travel scams: Watch out for unexpected hotel and flight “confirmation” or “cancellation” notices, which trick consumers into clicking unsafe links to stop unreal reservations.

1. Deceiving deliveries: Do not accept notices about delivery delays or confirmations on unordered packages.  Scammers often pose as well-known retailers or shipping companies to gain false credibility and access to consumers’ computers.

Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager: 907-644-5208 | michelle.tabler@thebbb.org
David Quinlan, Senior Director of Public Relations: 206-676-4119

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Annual Christmas Coloring Contest

 

Coloring contest entries need to be dropped off at the IGA on December 15 at noon.

Entries are to be picked up at IGA by 5pm on December 19.

You can pick up your coloring page at the library or you can print it off here

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Annual Gingerbread Contest Rules and Info

It’s time to make your gingerbread house

Gingerbread House contest will take place at the library.

Entry forms are available at the Delta Community Library or you can print your form here

 
* Drop off entries Monday, December 15, 2014 between 10:00 ‐ Noon
* Pick up entries Friday, December 19, 2014 by 5:00pm
*Entries displayed at the Library until December 19, 2014 @ 5:00pm
* Prizes awarded in each category, age group & for People’s Choice.

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Free “Monster Guard App”

Free ‘Monster Guard App’ is fun game for 7- to 11-year-olds to learn about disasters
By: The American Red Cross

Used with permission Fort Greely Interceptor

WASHINGTON, Thursday, November 6, 2014 — A new American Red Cross app helps children between the ages of 7 and 11 learn emergency preparedness while playing a game as monster characters.

The free app, “Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies,” is a game to teach children how to prevent emergencies such as home fires and how help them to stay safe if severe weather or natural disasters occur.

Set in the ‘Monster Guard Academy,’ the young app user is a recruit who trains to prepare for disasters and practice what to do if one happens. Users can role-play as various monster characters, go through the initiation and engage in interactive training episodes for hazards such as tornados, floods and hurricanes. If a player completes all the episodes, he or she will graduate and become a member of the ‘Monster Guard.’

“The Monster Guard App game is emergency preparedness disguised as fun,” said Russ Paulsen, executive director of Community Preparedness and Resilience. “As children direct the monsters to identify fire hazards, locate a safe room in a house and select items needed for their emergency supplies kit, they are learning how to prepare for emergencies.”

The best user experience is playing the game on a tablet, but it also works well on other mobile devices. Monster Guard runs on iOS 7 and 8 and Android OS 4x and up. People can go to redcross.org/monsterguard for information, and children should ask a parent or guardian for permission to download the app.

The Monster Guard App game is a complement to The Pillowcase Project, a free Red Cross youth preparedness initiative, for 8- to 11-year-olds, designed to increase children’s awareness and understanding of natural hazards and reduce their fears. Participants learn safety and emotional coping skills, along with personal emergency preparedness skills. Information on The Pillowcase Project is available at redcross.org/ prepare. The app and The Pillowcase Project are both sponsored by Disney.

The Red Cross offers a series of apps that give people instant access to expert guidance on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters. People have used these award-winning apps to save lives and help protect their pets and property. Localized weather alerts and warnings from the apps have allowed people to get themselves and their loved ones to a safe place before severe storms came through their area.

People can download the apps by searching for Red Cross in their mobile app store or by going to redcross. org/apps.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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Photo of the day December 10

Dropping into Destruction Bay. Sunny mountain tops and a fog bank in the valley.
Photo Courtesy Tom Atwell

Destruction Bay is a small community on the Alaska Highway (historical mile 1083) in Canada’s Yukon on Kluane Lake. Many folks know this stretch of highway when they leave Delta Jct and travel south down the Alcan Highway.

Alaska and the Yukon Territory share the same landscape and the same black spruce trees all year round and icy roads in the winter time.

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Erik Peterson’s Celebration of Life

Saturday 1:00pm
Lodge at Black Rapids

Feel free to bring a dish to pass and a story to share as well celebrate Erik’s wonderful life he had and the time we were all able to spend with him.

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Holiday Safety Tips

By: Harold Zarecki, DES
Used with permission Fort Greely Interceptor

The holiday season is filled with happiness and celebration, but it can also be a time of danger. Unfortunately, there are criminals who use the holidays to target victims who may be distracted by the busy season. The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. Don’t let the rush and excitement of the holiday season make you careless in protecting your home from potential criminals.

Shopping during the holiday season can present unique danger. Taking a few prevention measures can help keep your holiday season joyous: Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member. Dress casually and comfortably. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible. Always carry your driver’s license or identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible. Keep cash in your front pocket. Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit. Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps. Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

When removing money from the ATM be observant and look around for any suspicious persons or activity near the ATM machine. The ATM is an especially vulnerable area during the holiday season. The holidays can present potentially dangerous situations for children. Some simple prevention measures can help keep your children safe during the season. Here are a few tips: If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter. Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you. Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping. Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom. Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car. Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or security officers. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

For more information on how to protect you and your loved ones during the holiday season and to take the Holiday Safety Quiz

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DMV Closed on Saturday

DMV will be closed Saturday, December 13 for employee leave.

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Active Kids are Healthy Kids

By Laura Parsons, FAPM
Used with permission Fort Greely Interceptor

Delta Elementary School, Fort Greely’s Army Community Service, Child and Youth Services and Alaska’s National Guard have partnered together to assist with a wellness program aimed at keeping kids healthy.

Ms. Monroe from Delta Elementary has implemented a Walking Program. Ms. Monroe states that “active kids are healthy kids”, I would like to add to that statement by saying that active kids are not only physically healthier but emotionally as well. Exercise has been shown to lower stress level’s and enhance positive well being, affecting not only the physical but emotional well being of every participant.

Every Wednesday Elementary students K-3rd grade walk/run laps around the playground, winning prizes and awards for participating.

CYSS liaison Jack Detzel, FAPM Laura Parsons, and 49th National Guard Soldiers have volunteered at the school assisting Ms. Monroe with the common goal of creating a more positive tomorrow for our children’s future. The encouragement from peers, teachers, volunteers and community as a whole creates an atmosphere of positive social interactions and a sense of solidarity.

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Army vs. Air Force Hockey Game

HEADQUARTERS, U.S. ARMY ALASKA, FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Deep-seated rivalries will play out again this year during the Army vs. Air Force hockey game in the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. The two teams consist of Alaska-based Soldiers and Airmen who not only represent their units and service branches, but are also members of the interior Alaskan community.

The game is scheduled for 1 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12, as part of University of Alaska Fairbanks’s Military Appreciation Week. The event is free and open to the entire community.

Military has preferred seating until noon. Seats will be open on a first-come, first-served basis to the community at noon and will close when the venue is filled. This is an official Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation event and is authorized to be the place of duty for all participating and attending USARAK Soldiers.

A trophy will be presented to the winning team during the first period break of the UAF Military Appreciation Hockey Game against the University of Alabama in Huntsville, which will follow at the Carlson Center beginning at 7 p.m.

Active and retired military and their family members with valid military IDs will be able to attend the UAF Military Appreciation Game for free.

John Pennell
Public Affairs Office

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Photo of the day December 9

I climbed Donnelly Dome on a relatively warm but windy November night for this view of the aurora dancing over the lights of Fort Greely and Delta Junction. Taken shortly after midnight on November 16, 2014. Photo by Steven Miley

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Pinching Pennies ~ Creating Funds for Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and you may find yourself just a little short this year. If you aren’t willing to reduce gift giving, skip traditions or forgo entertainment, you will need an influx of cash. There are ways to increase your money in the short term.

Make a quick trip around the Internet — not to buy presents but to sell items. At Christmas we are always looking for places to put our new stuff, so start by cleaning out your storage space first. Selling your old things could generate money for your Christmas budget. It takes a little effort — you have to take pictures of the items, list them and ship them.

Amazon is a great place to sell books, and eBay will sell jewelry, small items and antiques. Etsy is a great place to sell handwork or handmade items. There are even special auction sites that cater to buyers of a certain type, such as jewelry collectors, gun enthusiasts or antique collectors. There are fees associated with selling and, of course, the shipping costs come into play. Craigslist or other specialty auction sites are great places to sell old furniture, appliances or jewelry here locally. The advantage of a local auction is that there may be no charge for listing and buyers pick it up from your home. These are all great ways to sell what you don’t want to make money for what you do want.

Cash-back offers can come from your credit card company or online with a company such as Ebates. Either way, when you buy something, you get cash back in your pocket. On the date I’m writing this, Ebates was offering 6 percent back on Dell computer purchases. So if your family needs a new computer, that $1,500 purchase can net you $90 in cash back.

Taking surveys on the Internet can earn gift cards or presents. I take surveys all year, then trade in my points at the end of the year for gift certificates for nieces and nephews. No cost presents make your holiday budget stretch farther.

Loyalty points are a great way to trade for gifts. Check out MyPoints or Swagbucks to earn points that can be converted to gifts. If you have frequent flyer miles, give someone the gift of a plane ticket. Or trade in hotel loyalty points for a weekend away for someone you love. These are gifts that are very expensive to purchase and much appreciated by your family.

Make and sell crafts or art pieces. If you have a talent, share it. Whether you sew, knit or do other crafts, others may want to purchase your handwork for their gifts. Set up a table at one of our local craft sales, advertise on Craigslist or eBay, or sell to friends and co-workers. Handmade presents are prized this time of year.

If you haven’t managed to get together enough money by now, you might consider taking a second job. Retailers are looking for extra help during this season. An added bonus is many retailers offer a discount for employees. Not only are you making extra money, you are able to buy presents at a lower cost.

Offer to work extra at your regular job. As we discussed earlier, retailers are looking for extra help during the holidays and your employer might need extra help. It is easier and faster to give you extra work than hiring a seasonal worker.

Enjoy your holiday, but make sure you don’t go in debt to finance the expenses. To avoid the problem next year, start right after Christmas to put money aside for next year.

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 rrdinstel@alaska.edu or by calling 907-474-7201.

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Pinching Pennies ~ Emotions and Christmas Shopping

The stores have on their holiday face. They are decked out in tinsel, Christmas carols are whispering in your ear, and even the store mysteriously smells like your mother’s famous gingerbread cookies. All this is part of an elaborate scheme to separate you from your hard- earned money.

Now I’m as big of a fan of Christmas shopping and enjoying the season as anyone is. Marketing strategies are designed to get you in the mood for Christmas and for you to spend, spend, spend. However, recognizing these ploys will help keep your budget intact over the holidays.

Let’s take a few minutes this morning to recognize how the emotions related to Christmas can affect your spending.

Impulse buys. The holiday shopping spirit causes you to reach for items and your credit cards. Do your shopping, but don’t indulge in impulse buys. Many of us fall into this trap when we are shopping for our Christmas list and find something that we’ve been wanting for ourselves.

Make a list and stick to it. If you are tempted by something that isn’t on this list, give yourself a cooling off period. Wait at least 24 hours before making that purchase. Often you’ll forget about the purchase before you leave the store. Now if you are still wanting the item after the 24-hour waiting period, take a look at your budget and see if you can afford it. If not, add it to your wish list for the next gift-giving opportunity, such as a birthday or even next Christmas.

Watch your exposure to ads. There is a connection between how much you watch television and the amount of money you spend. The ad industry is effective. The ads on television expose you to what products are available and make you want to buy. Research by Harvard economist Juliet Schor shows us that each hour of watching TV per day will result in a $208 increase in annual spending. We see, we want, we buy.

Be aware of the ads in other places as well. Opt out of catalog deliveries and train yourself to read the meat of the newspaper and ignore the ads. Consider switching to public radio, listening to Internet radio or your personal music collection through the computer or a CD player. This will allow you to avoid the constant reminders to buy. You can even download a program that takes ads off your Internet viewing on your computer.

Limit your temptation to spend. If you are in the stores, either in person or on your computer, you will be tempted, particularly this time of year. Find something else to occupy your time.

One of the hints we give people to reduce their food budget is to shop weekly instead of daily. If you are in the store, you can’t help but be tempted by more items. And we’ve all had the occasion to go in after milk ($4) and come out with a $40 grocery purchase. Stay out of the store and you’ll automatically spend less.

Find alternative activities to enjoy the holiday season. Enjoy the News-Miner gingerbread house contest, take a walk, call a friend, or volunteer your time at any of the countless holiday activities that we are blessed with here in the Interior. Santa’s Clearing House, the Food Bank, the Rescue Mission and countless other causes can use your time and energy.

Enjoy the holidays and make purposeful purchases. Your pocketbook will be the happier for your efforts.

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 rrdinstel@alaska.edu or by calling 907-474-7201.

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Photo of the day December 8

Taken going down to Donnelly Dome. The cow hid immediately under the bulls’ s neck and this bull moose looked at me through the lens unflinching. Love in the wild.
Photo by Ivy Alexander

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Delta Greely Community Choir Concert ~ Dec 16

The Delta Community Choir is pleased to bring you their annual Christmas Concert at the Fort Greely Chapel on December 16th at 7:30 pm.

Everyone is invited. Under the direction of Dean Shannon and Angie Barnard, we have put together a concert of some of our favorites as well as a couple of audience participation songs. We are fortunate to have Ivey Palmer and Kina Michie accompanying us on piano. Choir members have enjoyed meeting weekly to practice, and we look forward to sharing the spirit of Christmas and the Holiday Season with all of you.  After some great music, you are invited to join us for a Christmas Cookie Social in the Chapel Annex.

This is an Open Post Event at the Fort Greely Chapel.  Guests who do not have Fort Greely passes may join us by bringing a driver’s license and proof of both registration and insurance.  Photo ID’s are required only for passengers over 16.  Guests without passes are advised to arrive 20 minutes early.

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Music Recitals ~ Dec 15

There will be 2 separate music recitals on Monday, December 15.

Select private students will be performing at 2pm and 6pm at the First Baptist Church.

Admission is free and everyone is invited to join us.

These students are amazing!  They have been working hard all year and are ready to perform holiday favorites and more traditional music.  Ages range from 6 through adult with everything from beginners to seasoned performers.

Rachelle Stebbins

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Disaster Prep ~ Stress Management

Often following a tragic event, I note where those responsible for post-event management have brought in, not only food, shelter and medical care, but counselors to deal with confusion, survivors guilt or other mental distress.  The most often heard phrase is, “remain calm.”  Remaining calm is NOT a natural response when your world has been shaken, your home burned or loved ones injured.  Many times people feel the need to blame someone or something.  This blame-placing urge usually results from a need to gain control of the situation by putting it into a familiar or understandable context.  The usual targets for fixing blame are authority figures or government officials who should have done more to lessen the effects of the disaster.

Sometime back I had some friends who headed for a motel in a nearby town the minute their power went out.  When I asked about using their camping gear to get by until the electricity was restored they acted like that had never occurred to them.

It can be very unsettling when we find out how ill-prepared we are to handle a crisis. It is important to be able to recognize and detect the signs of stress and/or shock during an emergency. Here are several warning signs that you may experience during emergency situations. Physical signs: fatigue, upset stomach, shakiness, dizziness, heart palpitations, clamminess, disorientation, difficulty thinking, memory loss or loss of appetite. Emotional signs: anxiety, grief, depression, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, thinking you or your loved ones will be harmed, nightmares or extreme fear.

When you are prepared, you are less likely to feel helpless and less likely to experience stress related disorders. You will remember what you discussed as a family and apply what you learned from those discussions and drills to help you overcome your situation. Other things you can do now to help make a disaster less nerve-racking is to pack items in your emergency kits that you use in everyday life. For your children, pack coloring books, crayons, stories, gum, candy, stuffed animals and other useful items. For adults, pack a good book, a brush, razors, soap, playing cards, hard candy, paper and pen, medication, toilet paper and sundry items. These items can provide relief for stress during the times you have to wait for your life to return to normal.

Other stress-relieving items are desserts.  Gelatin desserts, just-add-water, pudding, cake, muffin, and cookie mixes, candy bars, popcorn, dehydrated fruits and fruit drinks. These items may seem frivolous, but they can really make a difference in helping you cope in an emergency. Developing a positive attitude and learning coping and stress relieving methods will help you, not only in times of disaster, but throughout your life. So prepare now–it will be well worth the effort!  As always send your questions or comments to disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.  Previous columns can be found at my blog: www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com.  Dave Robinson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us.”

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Delta Fish and Game ~ Dec 17 Agenda

Delta Junction Fish & Game Advisory Committee
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 6:30 PM
City Hall Conference Room, Delta Junction

Call to Order

Roll Call

Approval of Agenda

Approval of Minutes  November 19, 2014

Comments from the public

Correspondence –

Old Business

New Business

Delta ADFG Biologists Reports

Elections

Grouse Bag Limits

BOG proposals – Central/South Central Areas
(Comments due 1/30/15)
Glennallen Area; Proposals 58 – 95; 198 – 200;
Sheep Hunting;  Proposals 106 – 137
Interior Region; Proposals 138 -139
(All comments due 1/30/2015)

Other Items

Next meeting, January 21,2015

January Agenda Items

Update on Purple Heart Moose Hunt

Adjourn
______________________________________________________________________
Other Dates and Deadlines:

January 8, 2015   BOG – Work Session; Juneau
Comment Deadline December 26, 2014
January 9-13, 2015  BOG – SE Region; Juneau
Comment Deadline December 26, 2014
February 13-20, 2015  BOG – C/SW Region; Wasilla
Comment Deadline January 30, 2015

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Photo of the day December 6

Bull moose start losing their antlers about this time of year. Here is a bull that has dropped one antler but still has one attached. Sebastian Saarloos

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Photo of the day December 5

“Entrance to the Sullivan Roadhouse”
This is my favorite photo from this year, the entrance to the Sullivan Roadhouse all lit up for the holidays. Photo by Birch Leaf Photography
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Obituary ~ Michael Joseph Szidloski

Michael Joseph Szidloski, 69 of Delta Junction, known to many as “Ski”, passed away November 3, 2014 due to injuries received in a motor vehicle accident.

He was born to Sylvester and Mary (Frederick) Szidloski on June 6, 1945 in Franklin Township, New Jersey.  After graduating from Hackettstown High School in 1963, he joined the Marine Corps.  He served four years active duty which included an 18 month tour in Vietnam.  He got out of the Marines but found he missed the Corps.  He joined a Marine Reserve Unit based at Picatinny Arsenal and spent many years as a Reserve on Active Duty.  He served his last four Marine years as a recruiter for Sussex County, New Jersey.  In 1980, he switched to the Army and became a Calibration Specialist.  He retired out of Ft Greely in 1992.

He held various jobs after retiring, but his favorite was cooking for others.  He worked in the kitchens of many of the restaurants in Delta as well as the Sportsman’s Club and the Moose Lodges in Delta and Fairbanks.  He was forced to give this pastime up in 2009 due to health issues.  He was exploring making pickles, sausage, jerky, herb vinegars and putting up what he could grow in the garden.

Ski was a member of American Legion Jack Warren Post 22 where he served as Commander for two years, a Life Member of VFW Post #10450, Marine Corps League Fairbanks Detachment, the Loyal Order of Moose Delta Clearwater Lodge #911 where he served as Governor May 2008 – November 2009 and Life Member of Interior Moose Legion #216. He had earned the Fellowship Degree of Honor as a Moose member.

He was preceded in death by his father, Sylvester, step-father Howard Burd and son Carl.

He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Julie, of Delta Junction, children Mary (Terry) Oestreich, Laurie Haller, Michaela Szidloski all of NJ, Michael, II (Cari), Stephan, Jeanie (Dane) and Thomas all of Fairbanks.  Grandchildren Eric (Mary) Goodyear of NJ, Jessica Primavera of MA, Crystal  Primavera of WV, Adam Cason, Rachel Szidloski, and Melody Szidloski all of NJ.  Great-grandchildren Stella Idle of NJ and Dante Wolfe Primavera of WV.  He is also survived by his mother, Mary Burd, brothers Robert Burd and Roger Burd all of NJ and “adopted” son, Kyle Egeland of Fairbanks.

A memorial service will be held at the Delta Clearwater Moose Lodge in Delta Junction on Saturday, December 13 at 1:30 pm.

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Timbercrest Dental and Nana’s Attic Teaming Up

Timbercrest Dental is teaming up with Nana’s Attic to fill the Families in need food pantry.

With the holidays quickly approaching we need lots.

Dr Paul Anderson has agreed to match can per can donated. His goal is that at least 500 cans will be donated.

Please help can hunger in our community by donating a non perishable can or boxed item. Food can be dropped off at Timbercrest dental through Dec 19th

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Fish and Game Meeting

The Delta Fish and Game Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Delta City Hall Conference Room.

While there is no agenda at this time, there will be an election for 4 seats on the Advisory Committee, for a term of no longer than three years.

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

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Photo of the day December 4

Sullivan Roadhouse Lighting
Every year, volunteers decorate the Sullivan Roadhouse Museum in Delta Junction, Alaska. And every year, there is an annual lighting which is held Thanksgiving weekend. This year was no exception. The lighting was last night and attended by residents of Delta Junction and visitors to the area. Entire families come out to enjoy the food, warmth, and beautiful colors and sounds.  Birch Leaf Photography

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Photo of the day December 3

Frozen Mountain”
Mt. Hayes sits above a frozen riverbed covered in hoar frost yesterday afternoon.   Sebastian Saarloos

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