Saving the Pennies on Energy!

This week, Pinching Pennies is written by our Energy Specialist, Art Nash.  I thought that you might enjoy the advice that Art has on saving on your energy bill this season.  If you find it interesting and would like to contact him for more information, he can be reached at 907-474-6366.

Nobody has to tell you energy costs are high. Alaskans pay some of the highest energy bills in the U.S. — in fact, 300 percent more than the national average.

Reducing energy bills will likely come through two actions. Conservation, such as turning off a light when you leave a room, is one route. And efficiency, by using tools or devices that save money, such as LED light bulbs, is another way. Check out to see how this can be done.

For each $100 you spend on electricity, the usage breakdown goes something like this: 65 percent for appliances, 21 percent for space heating and 14 percent for domestic hot water, although the latter can higher.

One thing you can do right off is weatherize your home regardless whether you are on the North Slope, in the Interior or in Southeast. Then look into ways of generating heat and electricity through solar or wind power or geothermal/ground source pumps to bring down your total energy bills.

Insulating is key to weatherization, and there are several tips if you do it yourself with fiberglass or blown-in insulation to retain more space heat:

· Do not overstuff
· Do not leave gaps
· Wrap outside pipes
· Put a blanket on your hot water heater
· Use a smoke stick to find leaky places
· Check gaskets on your garage door for leaks
· Caulk cracks and gaps less than ¼-inch wide
· Repair and put film over windows

With space heating, turning down the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees can save 10 percent. Alaska rural homeowners pay $4,000 on average for heating annually. Adjust your home’s temperature to between 62 to 68 degrees to maximize your savings and turn the heat off in summer. Have a professional tune your heating system and check ducts for leaks.

When it comes to conserving electricity, keep this in mind: compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75 percent less electricity and last six to 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. And LEDs use 85 percent less electricity and last 33 to 100 times longer. In Fairbanks, at 21 cents per kilowatt-hour, a 60-watt bulb uses $110 of electricity a year if on 24/7 or about $79 in Anchorage. Use a timer on your outside lights. You can store multiple daily settings that you can override and put occupancy sensors on your lights.

With smaller cooking and heating devices, remember to never use your propane, gas or electric stove for space heating because it’s expensive. Propane and gas stoves can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.  Microwave ovens use 50 percent less electricity than traditional ovens. A space heater running five hours a day can cost $50 to $125 a month.

Here’s a few other ideas to save energy. Seal your fireplace when not in use. Prevent any mineral/corrosion buildup on the element of your electric hot water heater tank or buy an on-demand water heater that fits your needs. You can also install low-flow showerheads, which provide 30 to 50 percent savings on hot water. Fix leaky water faucets and running toilets, and install low-flow aerators on faucets. For washing clothes, wash only full loads and wash in cold water. Dry outdoors on a sunny day, and clean the lint filter on your dryer when you do dry inside.

For other ideas on energy efficiency, take a look at a video that former Extension energy specialist Rich Seifert and I shot while looking over a summer cabin that was going to be converted to a year-round home, at Feel free to call me at 907-474-6366 with any questions on saving money in your home.

Art Nash is an Energy Specialist of the 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 him at or by calling 907-474-6366.

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Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program Accepting Nominations for Outstanding Young Volunteers

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis., January 30, 2015 – Kohl’s Department Stores (NYSE: KSS) Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program today announced it will award nearly $400,000 in scholarships and prizes to more than 2,500 students who have made a positive impact on their communities. Nominations for kids ages six to 18 will be accepted January 30 – March 13 at

“Children around the country are doing inspiring work in their communities every day and Kohl’s is proud to reward these future leaders through the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program,” said Bevin Bailis, Kohl’s senior vice president, communications and public relations. “We encourage parents, teachers, neighbors and friends to nominate the outstanding youth in their lives, so we can honor and acknowledge young volunteers for their time, innovation and passion for helping others and making a difference this year.”
Ten national winners will each be awarded a $10,000 scholarship for higher education, and Kohl’s will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization on each national winner’s behalf.  Nearly 200 students will win regional scholarships worth $1,000 toward higher education, and more than 2,000 local students will receive a $50 Kohl’s gift card.
For more information or a list of last year’s Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program winners, visit

Kohl’s Cares, the philanthropic platform of Kohl’s Department Stores, is committed to giving back to the communities it serves by supporting kids’ health and education nationwide, women’s health and the fight against breast cancer, and environmental initiatives. Since 2000, Kohl’s has raised more than $257 million for kids health and education initiatives through the Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, recognized more than 22,000 outstanding kids through the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program and donated more than 2.7 million hours of volunteer time through the Associates in Action volunteer program. For more information on Kohl’s Cares, visit

About Kohl’s
Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a leading specialty department store with 1,163 stores in 49 states. With a commitment to inspiring and empowering families to lead fulfilled lives, the company offers amazing national and exclusive brands, incredible savings and inspiring shopping experiences in-store, online at and via mobile devices. Committed to its communities, Kohl’s has raised more than $257 million for children’s initiatives nationwide through its Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, which operates under Kohl’s Cares, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. For additional information about Kohl’s philanthropic and environmental initiatives, visit For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit

Jackie Judkins | Kohl’s Public Relations  | 262.703.7204

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Photo of the day January 30

Exploring an ice cave near the front of Canwell Glacier on 1/17/15.
Photo by Steven Miley

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Who’s Gonna Take the Plunge?

The Delta Chamber of COmmerce Presents The Polar Plunge 2015
Saturday, February 14th at 2:00pm, Delta/Greely High School parking lot

Want to see someone take the Plunge? Look for our collection cans around town. The more you donate, the closer your candidate gets to jumping!

Each donation you make gets these guys closer to taking that ICY PLUNGE on February 14th!

Vote Today!!  $1 per vote!
Top 3 Candidates or Teams with the most $ Votes will take the Plunge!

For list of candidates and updates:
Like us on Facebook,
or visit our website

The Polar Plunge 2015 Official Rules

• Individuals or Teams must be nominated
a. Individual Nomination is $5
b. Team Nomination is $10
• Votes are $1 each
• Each Candidate or Team will have a collection can placed in the community. All funds collected from the cans translate to votes for that Candidate or Team.
• All donations will be turned in by 1:30 pm on Saturday February 14th. The top 3 Candidates or Teams that have the most $ votes will take the Polar Bear Plunge.
• This is all about the show: costumes are welcomed…And yes, even if you aren’t one of the top three to take the Plunge, if you want to jump, you can! 

The Polar Plunge 2015 Candidate Donation Sheet

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“A Festival of Lights Show” Circus De France

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2015 Festival of Lights Schedule



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Photo of the day January 29

Taken: January 22, 2015
Ft. Greely, Alaska
Photo by: Flower C. Cole

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Make Physical Activity Part of Your Family Time

By Kathy Kurtenbach

Family time. What is that again? As my sons have gotten older, I find it harder to carve out time for family activities. Their lives are filled with school activities, soccer practice, orchestra practice, etc. My husband’s and mine are filled with playing taxi driver, work, juggling four people’s schedules and squeezing in dinner.

Family time, especially when it includes physical activity, is important for everyone’s health and well-being. Why not make 2015 the year to play more with your kids? The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reports more than 28 percent of adults and 17 percent of children in Alaska are obese. The report also notes that obese children are more likely to experience serious health concerns before adulthood — such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.

Physically active children tend to be active adults and a lifetime of physical activity can lead to better health. It decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes to name a few.

What can we do as parents to increase our children’s physical activity? We can help our children by making exercise an important part of family life. We can come up with fun ways to add more activity for the whole family. There are lots of activities that families can do indoors or outdoors. Gaming systems have lots of physically active games available to play. Turn cleaning the house into a fun game, have a dance party in your living room or walk at indoor facilities such as the ice rink or mall.

The warm weather this winter has made playing outside easier and more fun. For younger families, play Simon says or red light, green light, go swimming or take a walk with your kids and teach them about animal prints in the snow. You can also bury some goodies in the snow, create a treasure map and send your kids on a hunt for the buried treasures, play hide and seek or build a snowman. For families with older kids, go on a hike, participate in a 5K, go snowshoeing or incorporate your children’s sports/hobbies into the family activity. You can also join 4-H. The whole family can get involved. 4-H has lots of family activities.

It is recommended that kids get 60 minutes of play every day. Finding time for family activities can be difficult and overwhelming at first. Multiple schedules, work, life and other commitments all need to be taken into consideration. To help start the process, set specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused and time-bound goals. Write down why getting your family physically active is important to you. You may want to refer back to it later on. Include your children in the planning process. Children will be more engaged if they have a say in planning the activities.

Think about the obstacles that could prevent the activity. Look at ways to overcome those obstacles. Write them down so you can refer back to them. List some possible sources to help you successfully make the change. These can include friends, co-workers, extended family members, websites, books, etc.

Lastly look at everyone’s schedule and figure out when would be a good date to begin the activity as a family.  Taking little steps in the beginning will help you succeed in reaching your vision of a more physically active family time and healthier children.

4-H is a youth organization for youth K-12 that helps youth learn about certain items of interest to them, but also teaches them life skills that will help them in the future.  4-H is a club structure that has leaders who are adult volunteers with current background checks.

To learn more about the local 4-H program, contact Marla Lowder, Tanana District 4-H agent, at 474-2427 or or Kathy Kurtenbach, 4-H program assistant, at 474-1914 or You can also check out our web page at

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Photo of the day January 28

The view from Black Rapids Lodge - gorgeous day!
Birch Leaf Photography

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Photo of the day January 27

On a recent trip to Haines with my wife Kenna, we spotted this cute hawk owl along the road. Steve DuBois

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1st Annual “The Sweetest Bazaar”

When:  Saturday, January 31
10am – 4pm

Where: JP Jones Community Center
2400 Rickert St, Fairbanks

Come out and enjoy a day of fun, shopping and sweet treats

Vendors:  31 Handbags, Arbonne, Damsel in Defense, Doterra, H2O at Home, Hollie Mae’s Cheesecakes & Chocolates, It Works, Jamberry Nails, Javita, Jo’s Oven: Home of the Sourdough Cupcakes, Lilla Rose, Lula Roe, Mary Ky, Melified Designs/Whimsy Books, Monat, Neals Yard Remedies, Ninivz Creations, Origami Owl, Pampered Chef, Partylite, Passion Parties, Pink Zebra, Plexus, Premier Designs Jewelry, Rusticly Outta Control, Scentsy, Silpada Jewelry, Smiling Planet Felt, Thrive, Vivi: The New Cookie Lee, Younique Cosmetics/Skincare

For more information

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Starting & Operating a Specialty Food Business in Alaska

Join Quentin Fong, Seafood Marketing Specialist, and Kate Idzorek, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, for a 5-session course on the specialty food business.

What are “specialty foods?”
Specialty foods are manufactured in limited quantity with high-quality ingredients. Specialty foods generally command a high price and include products such as handmade chocolates and food truck items.

What will I learn in this workshop?
This course will show you how to develop and manage a successful specialty food business from inception to operation. You’ll learn about:
– business planning and marketing
– financing and accounting
– permitting and feasibility assessment
– promoting and pricing your products
– ways to enter the market, such as farmers markets, food trucks, wholesaling, and supermarkets

All participants:
– join in discussions about individual business ideas
– take home a business plan template
– receive an array of other informational resources

What about regulations?
Depending on the scale and risk of your food business, you may be subject to certain regulations. Find out about:
– creating nutrition fact panels
– formatting your food label
– making sure your facility meets health and safety guidelines
Feb. 3, 5, 10, 12 and 17
5:30 – 8 p.m.
Delta Junction
Career Advancement Center
Cost: $10
(preregistration recommended)

This course is intended for:
individuals interested in starting and operating a specialty food business to sell foods direct to consumers under the DEC Cottage Foods Exemption or a temporary DEC permit
DEC-permitted food production businesses to sell wholesale in Alaska
DEC-permitted Mobile Food Units (food trucks)

This course is NOT intended for individuals starting or operating a restaurant or starting an interstate or international wholesale food business.

Register online at or call Kate Idzorek at 474-5391. or 1-877-520-5211

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Flint Hills Resources Presents Fairbanks Children Museum

The Grand Opening
Saturday, January 31

10am – 6pm

A full of exploration and play.  FREE for all families

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Rocket Stove Workshop ~ Feb 3

Rocket Stoves for emergency preparedness & camp use
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Delta Career Advancement Center
1696 North Clearwater Ave. (behind Delta High School)
Art Nash, Energy Specialist
UAF Cooperative Extension Service

Rocket stoves are the most efficient and clean biomass-burning option available. Wood gasses and oxygen mix in insulated chambers that concentrate the fire on the tip of the wood. The result is a more efficient burn using less wood and producing fewer emissions than traditional stoves. Rocket stoves are great for cooking and heating in
cabins, workshops and camp situations.
Join us on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at the Delta Career Advancement Center and learn how to build your own can rocket stove. All materials will be provided. Each participant will receive a premade steel rocket stove as well as a “do-it-yourself” wood burn box. Cost is just $20 per person.

Workshop is limited to 20 participants, so
reserve your place now!
Registration deadline is Jan. 30.
Cost: $20 per person

To register, go to:

Or pay in person at the Extension office, Room 114, Jarvis Office Center.

For more information, contact Christy Roden at 907-895-4215 or

1-877-520-5211  •

UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution.

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Photo of the day January 26

John Schandelmeier lives in Delta Junction and is married to Iditarod Musher, Zoya Denure. The start of the Copper River Basin 300 goes through several parking lots before it heads off into the wilds of Alaska’s Copper Basin region. John is making the turn at The Hub, a business in Glennallen.  Birch Leaf Photography


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Tax Season Prompts Scam Alerts

Anchorage, Alaska — January 26, 2015 — As Alaskans prepare for another tax season, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, along with several federal agencies—is reminding them to beware of scams and identity theft.

According to the Internal Revenue Service and BBB investigators, an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam continues to run rampant. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus identification badge numbers. Victims are told they owe money and must pay through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses, the scammers threaten with arrest, deportation or suspension of a driver’s license.

“These criminals try to scare and shock you into providing personal financial information on the spot while you are off guard,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Don’t be taken in and don’t engage these people over the phone.”

According to BBB scheme records, the IRS scam remains at the top of the list with 64 reports in 2014.

“The impostors cast a wide net in hopes of catching unsuspecting consumers when they are the most vulnerable,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “We’ve even seen instances where the scammers claim to have a refund check for the victim in hopes of tricking them into sharing private information.”

In an effort to promote awareness, the Federal Trade Commission kicked off Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week today. The agency has provided a list of tools to help consumers prevent phishing, preparer fraud and other scams.  The FTC will host a webinar to educate the public.

BBB encourages consumers to be aware of tax season scams and offers this advice on filing safely:

  • Identify scam calls: The IRS will never call taxpayers to demand a payment or require them to use a specific payment method for their taxes. The agency will also never threaten to bring in local police to arrest a consumer for not paying.
  • Hire a trusted tax preparer: Consumers should be careful when choosing tax preparers. Unscrupulous preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns to defraud their clients. BBB has a list of BBB Accredited accountants that consumers can trust.
  • File a complaint: Consumers who have been a victim of tax scams or identity theft should file a report with BBB or the FTC.Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager: 907-644-5208 |

    David Quinlan, Senior Director of Public Relations: 206-676-4119

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Common Core Handouts and Call to Action

Now is your chance to let your thoughts be known to Governor Walker about removing Common Core from Alaska.  Nathan MacPherson, the attorney who presented on Common Core’s unconstitutionality, will be traveling to Juneau to meet with the Governor on January 27th, this Tuesday.  I would like to encourage you to write a letter to Governor Walker and email it to Mr. MacPherson as soon as possible and no later than Monday morning…do your best but please follow through.  Express to Governor Walker your thoughts and opinions of Common Core being in Alaska and don’t forget to include the data collecting being done on everyone and specifically that which is targeting the children.  This can be a few lines or a few pages.  The most important part is that you write.

Mr. MacPherson will personally hand deliver your letter to Governor Walker in a group folder to insure he receives it.  This is your chance to make a difference as team effort!!!  Please take the time to do this.  His email is:

Also, let the Governor know you do NOT want Commissioner Hanley in charge of Education.  Mr. Hanley was very instrumental in bringing Common Core into Alaska.  The blame starts with him and Governor Parnell.  There are many others but these two paved the way.  Mr. Hanley needs to go.

After insuring that your letter is delivered into the hands of Governor Walker, email him a copy also.  It is good he knows that you are serious by him receiving your thoughts from several directions.   I’d give you the email address but I cannot find it on the website.  Please call the Governor’s office for this information.  They prefer you to go through their “email site” but if you call I’m sure they have an email address that will work.

3 – PHONE!!!
In case you forgot or did not know, there is a CALL TO ACTION asked of you.  Please call Governor Walker’s office 465-3500 and leave a public opinion message reiterating that you want Common Core completely removed from Alaska and Commissioner Hanley dismissed.  Your calls do make a difference, more than you will ever know.

Don’t be afraid to call more than once.  I’ve left a voice message 3-times requesting to speak to someone in the Governor’s office on this matter.  No one has returned my call.  I am still waiting and calling.  The individual assigned to this effort is Heather Vogle.

To all those who were able to attend the Common Core Symposium, thank you for making the effort and investing the time.  Attached are copies of the handouts that were present along with some modified presentations.  Please feel free to share these;
• Common Core list of Websites and News
• Dr. Stotsky’s Testimony ( Sat Common Core validation committee | 1 of 2 that refused to approve)
• James Milgram on Common Core math (Sat Common Core validation committee | the other person who refused to approve)
• 2 Court Cases Governor of LA versus Dept of Education and Arne Duncan
• Attorney Nathan MacPherson’s presentation on Common Core’s unconstitutionality
• Dr. Barbara Haney’s side-by-side walk through of Common Core versus New Alaska State Standards.

For those that could not attend, you should fine the attachments interesting.  I’ve also included the audio links again for those who have not yet had the opportunity to listen to them.

Keep up the pressure!
Kind Regards,
Pamela Goode

Common Core and Alaska Standards Comparison 

Court Case MacPherson

Court Case 1 MacPherson

Missed or Delayed Common Core Standards

Nathan McPherson Common Core Presentation Slides

Websites and News for Common Core

Alaska Testimony

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Photo of the day January 24

“Engagement Creek Aurora”
A little over two years ago I asked my wife to marry me here… thankfully she said “Yes”… and I finally got a shot of the aurora at the same spot.
Sebastian Saarloos

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Spring 2015 Ag Events News & Classes

If you grow or want to grow anything, it is time get your calendars out and start planning for March.

On March 3 there will be two important and useful sustainable agriculture workshops.

And then, on March 4 and 5, there will be the 11th Annual Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference.

Both the workshops and the conference will be at the Westmark Hotel and Conference Center in Fairbanks.

The first workshop will introduce holistic farm decision making and will be led by Phil Metzger from the Holistic Management Institute.

Do you have a farm or ranch that you are thinking about expanding? Are you thinking about farming or ranching? What are the questions that you need to ask and who should be involved in the decisions? This workshop will last all day.

Seating is limited and the presenter is hands-on, enthusiastic and one of the best. At the end of the day you should have a realistic path forward to starting or expanding your operation.

The second workshop is all about hydroponics. Have you wanted to grow herbs or vegetables all year long? Do you have some available space in your garage or house? If so, this afternoon workshop led by Jeff Werner, who has years of experience with controlled-growing environments in Interior Alaska, will give you all the knowledge you need to set up and manage your own hydroponic systems.

The Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference includes a wide array of topics such as economics, food security, livestock, fruit, vegetables, sustainable practices, marketing, and management.

Last year’s conference featured many short talks and we were told that speakers needed more time. So this year speakers will be given more time. To accomplish this, more than half the conference will have two concurrent sessions. You get to choose which talk of two you are more interested in attending.

See our schedule of events and register for this exciting conference and the workshops at This conference is a must for anyone raising crops or livestock in Alaska.

Immediately following the Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference is the Alaska Master Gardeners Statewide Conference on March 7 at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge.

There will be a variety of excellent speakers addressing all aspects of gardening in Alaska. This conference will be fun and informative for anyone with a home garden or flower bed. You do not have to be a Master Gardener to attend and you will meet many people who are excited about and skilled at growing plants in Alaska. Information on talks and registration for this conference can be found at

On January 29, 30 and 31 the Alaska Peony Growers Winter Conference will be held at the Westmark Hotel and Conference Center. Alaska peonies are proving to be an excellent export crop and there is a need for continued expansion. If you have some land and are wondering how to earn some income, this is the conference for you.

There is much to be learned about growing peonies and the Alaska Peony Growers are working to together to learn as much as possible as fast as possible. As with the other conferences, there will be many excellent presentations. For registration and schedules, go to

I know it is January and it seems like a long time until spring, but this is the time to look through your seed catalogs, plan what to grow and imagine starting your seeds. And in less than seven weeks from now, these conferences and workshops will take place. Perfect timing to give you the information you need to have your best growing season ever.

Growing plants and raising animals in Alaska has challenges and opportunities unlike almost anywhere else in the world.

Come share what you know, learn from the experts and meet lots of wonderful people.

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

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Photo of the day January 23

My friend Bill Todd and I ended up making our way south to the Fielding Lake area near Isabell Pass for some aurora photography. We sat around looking at a starry but auroraless sky for a while when almost magically a faint auroral arc appeared overhead. Within about 20 minutes it developed into a substorm display that lasted about 10 minutes during which I took this photo looking southeast up Phelan Creek toward the HooDoo Mountains in the Alaska Range.  Steve DuBois

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11th Annual Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference




UAF Cooperative Extension Service has its annual conference coming up in March  in Fairbanks.








Preconference Workshop
March 3, 2015

Holistic Management and Improved Decision Making
with Phil Metzger, Holistic Management International

What are the questions you need answers to when making farming decisions, and who should be involved in the discussion? Learn to manage toward profitability, land health and social well being.

March 4 – 5, 2015
We are inviting YOU to volunteer talks!  Do you have something to say? Would you like to give a talk? Send an idea or thought for us to consider.

We have the following sessions:
Meat and Fiber – Production – Marketing – Starting a Farm – Plant Breeding and Variety Selection – Fruit Growing – Vegetable Growing – Policy/Regulations – Hydroponics – Sustainable Practices

For more information see our website for conference updates, materials and registration.

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Pinching Pennies ~ Cut Your Firewood and Save

Saving money sometimes means investing up front. Nowhere is that more true than with cutting your own firewood. Burning seasoned wood is more cost-effective — you burn less seasoned wood to get the same heat. Burning seasoned firewood creates less smoke and reduces human health issues. You also don’t wear your woodcutting tools out as fast and it conserves the resource because you have to cut less timber when you choose to burn seasoned firewood.

Many people ask where they can cut and which trees provide the best firewood. State land has personal use firewood available in the Tanana Valley State Forest. Contact State Forestry at 451-2600 to cut in the state forest and the Division of Lands at 451-2737 to access state lands outside the state forest. Both offices are in Fairbanks. Firewood here yields about the same BTU value by weight. A cord of birch weighs more than a cord of spruce, which weighs more than aspen or a cord of balsam poplar/cottonwood.

In addition to managing designated wood-cutting areas, the state may also permit cutting on other state-owned lands by permission. Determine the location of the wood you want to cut and ask State Forestry or the Division of Lands if you may obtain a permit to cut wood there. Firewood permits cost $10/cord and may be purchased online or at the local offices. All firewood cutting on state land in the Fairbanks area requires purchasing a permit, including cutting live, dead or downed trees.

Good trees to cut are those felled by a windstorm. It is important to describe the exact location of these trees you want to cut and check with State Forestry to determine whether the trees are on state land. Cutting on private land is trespassing and stealing. It is very important to determine whose land you are cutting on.

Cutting wind-thrown timber is an excellent way to utilize downed trees and it is easier then felling live trees. Cleaning up this wood before it rots or becomes infested with insects, including the spruce beetle, is an excellent way to conserve the forest and manage it properly.

Seasoned firewood has 20 percent or less, moisture content. Get seasoned wood by cutting, splitting and stacking it the winter before it is needed. The warm summer air finishes drying it in those covered stacks of split wood. Stack your wood on poles or pallets just off the ground so air can flow through them and cover the stacks on top to keep the rain off.

Follow this method and you will be investing up front to have seasoned dry firewood that will save you money and time in the long run.

Glen Holt is the Eastern Alaska Forester 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 him at or by calling 907-474-5271.

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Winter Weather Advisory thru Saturday 6am

From the National Weather Service:









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Arctic Soldiers train in California desert

NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, FORT IRWIN, Calif. – U.S. Army Alaska Soldiers have traveled more than 3,400 miles from Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and are facing an 80-degree temperature difference to test their readiness to be globally deployable and regionally engaged.

Approximately 4,000 Arctic Wolves from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright rolled out to the desert training areas for Decisive Action Rotation 15-03 here Jan. 18, and are now fully ensconced in their missions.

Decisive action rotations at the NTC ensure brigade combat teams remain versatile, responsive and consistently available for the current fight and unforeseen future contingencies. The NTC rotation is a capstone training event that all Army units must attend in order to validate readiness for the mission sets required to address contingencies worldwide.

U.S. Army Alaska moved more the 4,200 Soldiers to Southern California for the training. To put that in perspective, the population of North Pole, Alaska, is only 2,214 residents. The brigade also moved 1,324 total pieces of equipment by air, land and sea from interior Alaska in the middle of winter to the desert terrain of southern California for the training event.

While 1/25 SBCT has not been scheduled for an upcoming deployment, successful completion of this training event ensures that all personnel and systems are ready for the variety of mission sets that could be needed across the Pacific.

A smaller group of JBER Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division are taking part in different training in California as well.

Able Company, 3rd Battalion (Airborne) 509th Infantry Regiment sent 100 paratroopers to the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center’s Basic Mobility Course in Bridgeport, California, roughly 300 miles north of Fort Irwin. The purpose is to share inter-service knowledge on how to move, operate and survive in high-altitude, extreme cold-weather environments. After completing the two-week course, the Alaska-based soldiers will train against Marine students during a follow-on culminating event.

John Pennell
Public Affairs Office

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BBB Gives the Skinny on Dieting, Exercise

Anchorage, Alaska — Jan. 22, 2015 — Every January, the goal to lose weight and get in shape is at the top of New Year’s resolution lists. After all the snacking and feasting that goes on from Thanksgiving to January 1, that’s no big surprise.

Before reaching for the latest diet pill or miracle cream, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington urges consumers to keep this in mind: Many of the products boasting quick, easy and permanent weight loss are bogus. Doctors and health experts agree that the safest, most effective way to lose weight is through proper eating habits and regular exercise.

To lose weight without getting caught up in a scam, follow BBB’s tips:

  • Ask a doctor how to lose weight in a healthy way or which dietary supplements are the right choice.
  • Visit to look up the company’s BBB Business Review and check out how they’ve handled past complaints.
  • Be wary of big claims. If a product promises to aid in quickly shedding an unrealistic amount of weight, it’s probably a scam. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Avoid the extreme. Watch out for phrases such as “quick and effective” and “totally safe.”
  • Be skeptical about testimonials. Don’t trust stories of fast weight loss or incredible results from using diet products. They are likely paid actors or people with atypical results.

For consumers who want to add a workout routine to their weight-loss plan, BBB recommends:

  • Research. Use to find a trustworthy neighborhood gym.
  • Try it out first. Don’t feel pressured to sign up right away. Many gyms offer a free tour and trial passes to their facilities.
  • Crunch the numbers. Ask about the total cost and monthly payment schedule. Understand which services are included, and which features or programs will cost extra.
  • Read the contract. Find out how long the contract lasts, if it auto-renews and what the cancellation policy is. All the details of membership cancelling should be included in the contract.

For general tips on healthy eating, visit Read BBB’s latest blog post for more red flags that a diet product won’t do what it claims. Check out to learn which businesses are trustworthy, or to file a complaint.

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

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Photo of the day January 22

Such a gorgeous creature, and the fact that they mate for life, especially endears them to me. Photo Courtesy Dwight Phillips

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Obituary ~ LaVonne “Vonnie” Koon

LaVonne “Vonnie” Koon died early Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

The viewing will be at noon on Saturday, January 24 and the service will be at 1 pm in the Delta Presbyterian – Faith Lutheran Church.

There will be a graveside service and a reception after the service.

Obituary will be published at a later date.

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BLM Artists in Residence to Give Presentations in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Bureau of Land Management Artists in Residence Ned Rozell and Sarah DeGennaro will share their experiences and art at two public presentations hosted by the Alaska Public Lands Information Center on Jan. 24 and 29 at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Jeff Visitors Center in Fairbanks.

On Jan. 24 at 2 p.m., Fairbanks writer Ned Rozell will present selected readings and thoughts inspired by his experiences as a BLM Artist in Residence in Eagle, Alaska last summer. Rozell has walked, skied, driven or floated most of Alaska. He is the author of four Alaska-related books and more than 800 weekly newspaper columns about Alaska.

During his stay in Eagle, Rozell worked on a manuscript for a novel that he started 20 years ago while living in the community. “My artist-in-residency in Eagle gave me the silence and space I needed to finish one of those projects that was getting away,” Rozell said. “Eagle is where I decided that I wanted to be a writer.”

On January 29 at 7 p.m., the public is invited to view new works by local artist Sarah DeGennaro and to hear about her experiences as a BLM Artist in Residence in the White Mountains National Recreation Area last April. DeGennaro spent five days at the Wickersham Creek Trail Shelter in the White Mountains. DeGennaro received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2013. She has participated in many art exhibits in Fairbanks and Anchorage, and her work has also been featured in Ecological Reflections at the National Science Foundation. DeGennaro is excited to share her work and experiences and to encourage other artists to apply for this year’s Artist in Residence opportunities. “My time in the White Mountains National Recreation area was incredible,” DeGennaro said. “I was able to draw so much inspiration from this beautiful landscape.” The Artist in Residence program is open to emerging or established artists working in nearly any media, including painting, printmaking, photography, writing and music.

The BLM is taking applications for the 2015 winter program through Feb. 6.

The summer program will open for applications in April. Artists are expected to donate the use of a piece of their work inspired by their residency to help promote public lands.

For more information about the upcoming presentations or applying for this year’s opportunities, contact Chel Ethun at or 907-474-2223.

Thom Jennings
Public Information Officer

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BLM Alaska Hosts “Women of the Iditarod” Tweet Chat

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Bureau of Land Management Alaska is partnering with Northern Light Media to host a live Twitter chat (#blmiditachat) on Wednesday, Jan. 28, from 9 to 11 a.m. AKST (1 to 3 p.m EST).

The twitter chat is a unique opportunity to ask participating mushers and historians’ questions about the Iditarod and its history and traditions.  This year’s focus is on women mushers and involves current Iditarod race contenders and veterans.  The twitter chat is open to the public with a focus on students and teachers who will be participating from their classrooms nationwide.

To join the conversation in the live tweet chat on Jan. 28, visit and use hashtag #blmiditachat.  Questions can be submitted in advance by email at or as direct messages on Twitter to @BLMAlaska.  Following the two-hour event, BLM Alaska will post the conversation on its website with highlights on Facebook.

Mushers participating include 2015 Iditarod race contenders Aliy Zirkle, Lisbet Skogan Norris, Jodi Bailey, Dan Kaduce, and rookie Heidi Sutter.  Participating veteran Iditarod race mushers include Karin Hendrickson, Liz Parrish, and Alan Peck.

“Our goal is to introduce the history and culture of women mushers, create awareness of the Iditarod National Historic Trail and mushing on public lands, and provide an educational opportunity for classrooms nationwide to learn about Alaska’s environment and activities outdoors,” says BLM Alaska State Director Bud Cribley.

For more information about the tweet chat, visit

The BLM serves as the administrator for the Iditarod National Historic Trail and hosts the finish to the Anchorage Iditarod ceremonial start at BLM’s Campbell Tract in Anchorage.

Thom Jennings
Public Information Officer

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Alaska Herb Guide Published

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has published a comprehensive Alaska guide for herb enthusiasts.

An Alaska Herb Garden features information about cultivating, harvesting, storing and using herbs. The 74-page guide includes color illustrations, recipes and detailed information on 25 herbs and general information on nearly 40 more.

The guide is a collaboration between Extension and the Georgeson Botanical Garden. The garden??s director, professor Pat Holloway, wrote the section about cultivating herbs, which includes research conducted by the garden and by volunteers.

The publication is dedicated to Barbara Fay, a longtime gardener who taught community herb classes in Fairbanks for more than 20 years. She worked with Holloway on herb research at the garden and enlisted other gardeners to join her and tend the herb beds.

Fays notes and class materials formed the guides framework. Extension home economist Roxie Dinstel and two of Fays fellow herb enthusiasts, Virginia Damron and Marsha Munsell, provided information on preserving and storing herbs, edited the guide and tested recipes.

Holloway said the guide will be a great asset to gardeners and others interested in growing and using the herbs. She credits Fay.

This is her idea, her baby, she said. She is the one who got us all riled up about herbs.

Copies are $15 and available at Extension district offices or by calling 1-877-520-5211.


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Photo of the day January 21

“Moon River”
The rising moon above Clearwater River illuminated a frosty shore.
Sebastian Saarloos

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Super Saturday ~ Jan 24

2pm at the Living Waters Assembly of God
Ages 3 – 12
*Parents are encouraged to attend with children
Snacks will be served afterwards

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Obituary ~ Harold L “Joe” Gilbertson

Harold L “Joe” Gilbertson passed away Thursday night, Jan. 15, 2015, with his son by his side.

Born Dec. 13, 1936, to Harry and Gladys on the coal branch in Edson, Alberta, he was the second of nine children and the first son. He had six sisters and two brothers.

In the early ’50s, with the military base buildup in Alaska, his father came north in search of work. The rest of the family worked to save enough money to follow a few years later. After arriving in Alaska, they settled in Delta Junction.

Joe met his wife, Judy, there while her dad was stationed at Fort Greely. Her dad was transferred to EI Paso, Texas, where she graduated from high school. Joe and Judy were married there on May 20,1959. He bought a Ford pickup (with no heater), and the newlyweds headed north to Big Delta. There, they started their family with their son, Mervin, born in 1960, and their daughter, Verla, born three years later. Joe ran the Delta Texaco station in those early years and got to know all the truckers running between Valdez and Fairbanks. This would be the career he would pursue. He and some partners started Delta Motors in the late ’60s to haul fuel from Anchorage to Fairbanks via the Glenn and Richardson highways in support of the Hercs flying oilfield supplies to Prudhoe.

Moving to Fairbanks in 1971, he drove the Alaska Highway for Lynden, hauled pipe from Valdez for AI Rink and drove the Hickel Highway to the pipeline camps being built. During the pipeline construction, Joe drove for Sealand. He met Byron Burge there and began a lifelong friendship and working relationship. After the pipeline, Joe, along with Dick Randolph, was able to get an initiative on the ballot deregulating the trucking industry within the state of Alaska which passed with overwhelming support.

Joe started Big State Equipment and then Big State Logistics which today has terminals in Valdez and Fairbanks and employs 90 people.

Joe’s wife Judy passed away in 1995, and in 1999 Joe had a stroke. Months before Joe learned of the love and forgiveness God has for him and he received Jesus Christ as his Savior. After Joe’s stroke, he met Chris and Walter Warner, who, as his health failed, would care for him for years to his final days. Joe is survived by his son, Mervin, daughter Verla and granddaughter Niki.

Joe will be remembered as he told Byron and Mervin just weeks before his passing, and reminded Chris often, “He’s the boss.”

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at Big State Logistics truck shop

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Alaska Home Care Offering First Aid & CPR Class

There will be a First Aid & CPR class on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 1pm

Cost for the class is $75.00. Cards are valid for 2 years

Classes will be held at Alaska Home Care Office in the Jarvis West Bldg.

Located at 2855 Alaska Hwy, Ste. 1F

For more information or to sign up, please call Nadia-895-9830

Cheri Day, manager
Alaska Home Care

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Don’t Get Blitzed by Bogus Super Bowl XLIX Fan Packages

Anchorage, Alaska — Jan. 20, 2015 — As the Seattle Seahawks return to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row, the 12th Man’s quest to attend the big game will prove to be expensive and difficult.

“There is no doubt in my mind that trying to score tickets to the game will be fierce,” says Tyler Andrew CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “But we expect swarms of fans to travel to and vacation in Arizona during Super Bowl week even without game day tickets.”

Last year an estimated 400,000 people descended on the greater East Rutherford area during the week of the big game. BBB warns that scammers will likely be targeting these out-of-town fans this year in Glendale, Ariz.

BBB reminds travelers to be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals on airfare, boarding and event passes:

  • Read the fine print. Just because a travel package has “Super Bowl” in the name doesn’t mean it includes tickets; if game tickets are not explicitly mentioned in ads, do not assume they are included.
  • Understand the law. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires sellers to have tickets in-hand before they can advertise inclusive ticket/airfare packages.
  • Pay with credit. Credit card companies usually provide more time to dispute fraudulent charges; never wire money for tickets or hotel stays.
  • Research hotels and locations. Dishonest businesses may advertise that they are close to the stadium or “walking distance” when in fact they are not, requiring extra expenditures for car rentals or taxis.
  • Get everything in writing. Before making payments, make sure contracts clearly outline all the terms and conditions of packages, including cancellation policies and related fees.

Never feel pressured to make immediate decisions; always take time to research travel plans and businesses at

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

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Delta Fish and Game Advisory Committee Meetings

The Delta Fish and Game Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 6:30 pm at the Delta Junction City Hall Conference Room.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss Dall sheep proposals before the Board of Game during the Central/Southwest meeting in February.  This meeting will be teleconferenced in with a Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Committee meeting that is happening at the same time as the Delta AC meeting.

The Delta Fish and Game Advisory Committee will ALSO meet on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm at the Delta Junction City Hall Conference Room.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the original agenda topics originally slated to be discussed at the meeting on the 21st, including a discussion on the Purple Heart Drawing Hunt, as well as a grouse discussion.

See both agendas posted below

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

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Delta Fish & Game Advisory Committee ~ Jan 28

Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 6:30 PM
City Hall Conference Room, Delta Junction

Call to Order
Roll Call
Approval of Agenda
Approval of Minutes  January 21, 2015 if available
Comments from the public
Correspondence –

Old Business

New Business
Officer Elections
Delta ADF&G Biologists Reports
 Update on BOG Proposed Cycle Change
Introduction and Short Q&A with New Small Game Biologist in Fairbanks; Cameron Carroll, ADF&G
Grouse Bag Limits
DM795; Purple Heart Hunt Update- Richard Barth
BOG proposals – Proposal 194

Other Items
Next meeting
February 18,2015

February Agenda Items

Other Dates and Deadlines:
February 13-20, 2015  BOG – C/SW Region; Wasilla
Comment Deadline January 30, 2015
April 10, 2015   BOF- 2015-2016 proposals due, including any proposals
for the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Meeting
May 1, 2015   BOG – 2015-2016 proposals due; Statewide Cycle A & B

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Delta Fish & Game Advisory Committee ~ Jan 21

Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 6:30 PM

City Hall Conference Room, Delta Junction

Call to Order

Roll Call

Approval of Agenda

Approval of Minutes             December 17, 2014

Comments from the public

Correspondence –
Any Old Business

Any New Business

Discussion of Dall sheep proposals before the Board of Game at the Central/Southwest BOG meeting; Teleconference with Fairbanks AC
◾Board Generated Proposal 207 & 208

Other Items

Next meeting
January 28, 2015


Other Dates and Deadlines:

February 13-20, 2015              BOG – C/SW Region; Wasilla

Comment Deadline January 30, 2015

April 10, 2015                         BOF- 2015-2016 proposals due, including any proposals for the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Meeting

May 1, 2015                            BOG – 2015-2016 proposals due; Statewide Cycle A & B

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Photo of the day January 20

A gorgeous aurora show taken of the cabins at the Silver Fox Roadhouse. I just love these little cabins!   Birch Leaf Photography

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