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E-mail creates instant office

When I moved down to Anchorage from Barrow, I was determined to succeed in my own business.  I figured I might get bored at times working out of my home office but those few moments of boredom would be more than compensated for by my increased productivity. Not only would I be working for myself – a tremendous incentive to make every moment count in and of itself – but without the distractions afforded by an office community I would have that many more productive hours to give to my business.

What I didn’t figure on was the ability of

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Bikes cheapest on gas

What with the price of gas nowadays, it would seem that those of us fortunate enough to have friends with bikes who are NOT gloating should be grateful. Because there is nothing worse than an adult in a helmet, riding a bike with more gears than my car, laughing at me as I watch my life savings being depleted while I fill up at the gas station.

Now most bike riders are perfectly nice people. In fact, I have to admit that I am a closet bicyclist. But I don’t want to spread that information too far and wide for

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Lawn jockeys, for god’s sake!

Race relations in America have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow laws and “No Natives or Dogs” signs on Alaska storefronts.  At least, we like to think they have.  After all, Native corporations in this state are now some of the most successful home grown businesses we have. And no one in their right mind would hang a sign on their business excluding any particular race or creed no matter what they might be thinking privately.  It’s just not done.

But the fact that private thought and public action may be two very different things means

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Needed – Alaska Native CASAs

One of the joys of living in Alaska’s Bush and rural villages is their tendency to be tight-knit communities in which people take care of each other.  In Alaska Native villages in particular, the lines of connection go back for generations.

This kind of closeness can be claustrophobic for someone used to the impersonal nature of a big city or suburban development.  It takes a while to get comfortable with it and perhaps an even longer while to appreciate it

Unfortunately, one of the down sides of this closeness is a hesitancy on the part of friends, neighbors and extended

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Take me, take my pets

Here’s the thing.  When I left the East Coast, I left my family behind.  While I’m still close with them, and visit frequently, the bottom line is that on a daily basis, they are not here.  It’s the same thing with my friends.  I have made deep, lasting friendships here in Alaska. But those friends don’t live with me. They have their own families and other friends.  So as close as we may be, they do not share my daily life; they don’t define my daily routine.

But my pets do.  Every day I wake up to my ancient dog

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Heat and humidity anathema to Alaskans

As news of the evacuations from the latest hurricane in the south hit the airwaves in the Northeast, I found myself rooting for the people in harm’s way to find safety. But I also found myself rooting for the storm in the probably vain hope that the rain and wind would chase away the heat and humidity I have had to endure for the past week.  If there was ever any doubt in my mind that Alaska is where I was meant to live and die, this trip to the East Coast in August has wiped that doubt from my

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Let me be healthy for just one day

Let me start by saying that I have some of the most wonderful doctors in the world taking care of me.  I must have or I wouldn’t have lived this long with the rather precarious hold I have on anything that can be termed good health. From my chiropractor to my diabetic doctor, from my alternative medicine practitioner to those wonderful guys who keep my eyes functional, all conspire to keep me alive despite my body’s best efforts to the contrary.

So I don’t want this to be taken as negative towards them but seriously guys, give me a break.

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All she needed was her Dr. Pepper

All together now, hats off and one big Alaska hurrah to Matralle Morton of Jacksonville, Texas.  She’s the intrepid tourist who, with just a can of diet Dr. Pepper and a lot of moxie, foiled a carjacker here in Anchorage last week. Matralle has single-handedly proven that size (she’s 5’4″) and age (65) are meaningless when you have a cold can of Diet Dr. Pepper in your hand and legs too short to jump out of a moving vehicle.

This perhaps impacted me more than normally this week since I was in the middle of scanning through my AARP magazine.

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Relax and have a latte when stuck in traffic

As a displaced native of the great megalopolis that stretches from Boston to Washington DC, I believe I am uniquely qualified to speak to the issue of traffic in our fair city.  Especially since I also spent 30 years in Barrow where a traffic jam meant someone’s dog was crossing the street and you had to wait till it got to the other side, which inevitably resulted in at least a three car backup at the town’s main stop sign.

Life, however, has gotten busier in Alaska. Barrow now actually has something that can, if you look at it sideways

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Jay Hammond, a gentleman politician

I didn’t know Jay Hammond personally.  After reading the paper and listening to the radio this past week, I can see where that was definitely my loss. But Jay Hammond still managed to influence my life, one of the many he probably influenced without ever knowing it. It was the mid to late 1970s. I was a newly minted bureaucrat for the North Slope Borough’s Health Department.  I was heading to Anchorage for a meeting and with me on the trip was Mary Edwardsen.  Mary was a Barrow lady, one of those Inupiaq women who made the Mother’s Club a

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