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No voyage from South America across the Drake Passage to Antarctica is complete without celebrating the first sighting of an iceberg. On cruise ships, a bottle of fine champagne is awarded to the first guest to inform the officer on the bridge of the sighting.

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When I was a kid there was a small convenience store located about a mile from my family home. Whenever I had gotten a hold of some money, I would walk there and spend it on candy, carefully doing the math to get the most “bang for the buck.” Sometimes my mom would send me to get an item tha…

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Gardening today is relatively easy. Even in Kodiak. We can walk into a local store and choose from a staggering variety of seeds. Minutes later, we’re back in the garden. We tear a corner of a seed packet and tap the tiny seeds out in a straight row. Sprinkle a little water. Done.

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It’s been a long time coming but payments should soon be in hand for Alaska fishermen, processors and coastal communities hurt by the 2016 pink salmon run failure, the worst in 40 years. The funds are earmarked for Kodiak, Prince William Sound, Chignik, Lower Cook Inlet, South Alaska Peninsu…

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By the summer of 2020, a landslide will bury a portion of the road from the Denali National Park entrance to Wonder Lake. That’s the conclusion of Zena Robert, a UAF graduate student who visited the park in summer 2019. 

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1 Corinthians 3:12-13 –  “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”

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Last week I shared my master lists of easy-to-grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs. I made a boo-boo however. I accidentally omitted one of my favorite veggies from the list. It’s a leafy green veggie that should be on your nutritional radar—and odds are, you’ve never heard of it, let alone, …

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For the 20th straight year, in December 2019 I carried a notebook into the halls of the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Most of those years the conference was in San Francisco (as it was this year). 

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2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

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Many of us start each new year with plans to improve something about ourselves or the way we do things. I have lately been thinking about the seemingly impossible task of living in the present while being better at planning out the future. At the same time, I want to draw from fond experienc…

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Every year since 1991 Fish Factor has selected “picks and pans” for Alaska’s seafood industry — a no-holds-barred look back at some of the year’s best and worst fishing highlights, and my choice for the biggest fish story of the year. 

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One of my favorite gardening books begins like this: “The conversion of our apartment from a normal, barren city cave into a tropical jungle began quiet by accident one bleak witner day…”

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A father wakes, rolls out of bed, and drops his toes to cold carpet. He grabs a flashlight and shines it outside the window. The thermometer reads 40 below zero, the only point at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales agree. The red liquid within his thermometer is alcohol; mercury freezes…

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Psalm 116:12-18 (NIV) — “How can I repay the LORD for all His goodness to me? I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. Truly, O LORD, …

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According to a substantial amount of health care research, there is a distinct link between nature and healing. Did you know, for example, that hospital patients with plants in their room suffer less fatique and pain? And a study of  children with Attention Deficit Disorder who played in in …

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North of the village of Hughes, in frigid, sluggish water, dim blue light penetrates two feet of lake ice. The ice has a quarter-size hole, maintained by a stream of methane bubbles. Every few minutes, a brutish little fish swims up, turns to sip air, and peels back to the dank.

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Matthew 4:18-20 — As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left th…

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Solstice and Christmas time give a chance for reflection. Around the holidays many people contemplate what the year has brought and what is coming up in the new year. Following the news stories, especially the environmental news can be daunting, sometimes make a person feel depressed, powerl…

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Every major holiday has its classic color scheme. Halloween decorations are generally orange and black. Hanukkah colors are blue and white while Kwanzaa colors are black, red, and green. Valentine’s Day, as we well know, is all about reds, whites, and pinks. And every year around Christmas, …

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In spring of 1946, five men stationed at the Scotch Cap lighthouse had reasons to be happy. World War II was over. They had survived. Their lonely Coast Guard assignment on Unimak Island would be over in a few months.

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Why is it so many of us get flustered while taking pictures during the holidays? Maybe because family get-togethers add another layer of pressure? Or maybe someone just handed you their smartphone and said, “Here, you take it!”

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SAN FRANCISCO — “This picture is what we’re dreaming of today,” Mellisa Johnson said to reporters sitting in a packed press conference room at the Moscone Center, during the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

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It may appear that The Kodiak Assembly of God church has not changed much over the years. It is still located on East Rezanof. Each week the church marque features a Bible verse or Christian saying. But the scrutinizing eye will notice its new name — Oceans United. The church on East Rezanof…

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Last spring and summer, during the northward migration of the gray whales, the news kept reporting dead whales found washed up on beaches from California to Alaska. By July NOAA reported 182 gray whales were found dead along their migration route from the warmer waters in Baha California, Me…

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The holidays can be a busy time. Yet as we make our way through the various events, I think it’s important to embrace ways to make a positive impact to ourselves — which ultimately radiates out to our neighbors, our gardens, our community, and our world. 

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On December 15, 1989, a pilot who had flown a 747 passenger jet all the way from Amsterdam was looking forward to landing in Anchorage. There, he would take a short break before continuing to Tokyo.

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James 5:13-16 – “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the s…

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In 1974, as discussed in last month’s column, Alaska began limiting the number of salmon fishermen in 19 salmon fisheries, from Southeast to Norton Sound. The Limited Entry program was created to address rising numbers of fishermen and dismal salmon runs, which were making it increasingly ha…

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First off, Merriam-Webster set me straight. Again. The plural of cactus is — are you ready? — cactuses, cacti and yes, cactus.

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Psalm 42:1-5 – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember a…

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I was recently given a rare opportunity to see the diversity of fishes caught on last summer’s Bering Sea trawl survey. I had an unwieldy bag of frozen fish that it took me a while to sort through and two days to thaw out. I hauled two totes of these fish to Kodiak Middle School for an after…

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It was approaching Christmas, in the late 1970s. I had just returned to my homeport of Seattle after a 3-month voyage aboard a research ship. I lived aboard the vessel, but for the holidays, I wanted a break from steel bulkheads. But where to go? 

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The value of Alaska salmon permits has ticked upwards in regions that experienced a good fishery this year while others have tanked. 

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A few years back, we hosted The Dinner. So, it was my job to make gravy. Easy-peasy. I’d made enough gravy in my life to fill a hundred gravy boats. (Google “gravy boat”).

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2 Corinthians 3:1-3 – “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our m…

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2 Timothy 4:1-5 - “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful…

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When my boss, Sue Mitchell, was in Tibet recently, she asked a local guide if the glaciers there were shrinking. The guide told her no, the glaciers were fine.

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A person born in March of 1989 would now be 30 years, 8 months old. Roughly, you have to be at least 40 years old and have lived in, or had some connection to Alaska at the time to have any first-hand memories of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. 

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When I go to the grocery store, what do I get? Food? Well, yes. And questions. This last week, I was corralled in the coffee and tea aisle with a couple good ones. So let’s dive in, shall we?