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Articles written by Dianne Barske

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The 4th is still with us

There's a magnet for memories in Anchorage. Ask people about the 4th Avenue Theatre and memories come flooding back. They seem to come in two waves. Seniors remember the early movies shown there, some...

 

Diane Benson's many roles in theater and life

When looking back at her career in theater, Diane Benson shares its surprising beginnings. "I wanted to be a diesel mechanic," she reveals with a laugh. "I had no intention, no ambition to be in the...

 

A day full of surprises at Turnagain Social Club

I'm sitting in the office of Turnagain Social Club, early on a foggy, frigid January morning, and I hear loud chomping. "Not to worry," I'm told by Kori Mateaki, owner and president of the facility....

 

Senior league hockey players 'skate to live, live to skate'

If I thought I was going to get a quiet, focused interview, I would have been wrong. These guys were here at the Anchorage Subway Sports Centre to play hockey. On this December morning, that was...

 

The pastor and his pups

They were going to work on Monday morning, so they'd had their nails done, and special attention had been paid to their grooming on Sunday evening. Then early on a grey, grim November morning they...

 

Aunt's notes lead Alaskan to new career

"I never expected this." That's how Laurel Downing Bill summarizes the turn her life took many years ago when she got a phone call from her sister, Meredith. "I've got some stuff here," her sister...

 

Volunteers step in for annual hunger walk

"There wouldn't have been a CROP Walk for many years, if Kristi Johnson hadn't volunteered to chair it," says Paul Boling, senior minister of First Christian Church. Paul and his brother, Dave,...

 

Thirty years as an Alaska photographer

"It's a history book, a photo book and a memoir – all in one." That's how photographer and storyteller Jim Lavrakas describes his book, "Snap Decisions: My 30 Years as an Alaska Newspaper...

 

Retiree continues her mission to help vulnerable youth

It's a raw and rainy morning in June, rare among the many warm, sunny days served up for Anchorage this spring and early summer. It's not the kind of day anyone would delight in being outside –...

 

Book tells story of woman's adventures working on Alaska pipeline construction

Wilma Knox was 55 years old, and wondering if she and her husband, Robert, would have sufficient funds, facing retirement. She was also an adventurer. So instead of retiring, she took off on what she...

 

Love for animals extends from home to community

My husband, Elliott, and I were on an excursion. On a sunny, warm afternoon in early April, we were bumping along a curvy, gravel road, up and down hills, heading to the home of Joanna and Ken Walch...

 

Still living their dream in Fairbanks

"I didn't want to leave Fairbanks. I love my town." – Karen "I came back to Fairbanks after moving to Oregon. I came back to live here, at Raven Landing. It was like coming home. I had never really...

 

Transition for Cyrano's founder

If retirement means "to call it quits" or "pack it in," as my dictionary suggests, that is not at all what Sandy Harper has in mind. It is a time of transition for her, of new perspectives, as she...

 

Workouts heat up Anchorage YMCA

I walked in cold. Although I've been a regular lap swimmer at the Anchorage Community YMCA for decades, ever since the day the pool opened back in the 1970s, I had not attended land classes. So there...

 

A success built on creativity and good food

"What do I like best about my job? That's easy. It's my customers! I love our customers." It's an early Monday morning and Janet Hickok is multi-tasking. She has been an owner of Doriola's on Tudor...

 

Anchorage soup kitchen's Thursday people

Vicki Martin calls them the "Thursday people," and I had come specifically to meet one of them, "Grandpa John" Sterner. I'd heard that at age 94, John was among the most faithful, most staunch of the...

 

Stories run wild when zoo volunteers gather

Sit three people together who have long-term relationships with the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, and stories begin to flow, randomly, bouncing off one another. That's what happened recently on a grey...

 

Anchorage interfaith group brings back hunger walk

"The community missed the event last year. We were sure of it." Penny Goodstein, president of the Anchorage Interfaith Council, is referring to the CROP Walk, a hunger walk with a long history in...

 

Elder Mentor program is looking for volunteers

The Elder Mentor Program – also known as Foster Grandparents – is looking for Alaska seniors who have a passion for working with children. Program Manager Jan Abbott says, “We have about 80 Elder Mentors currently, helping in schools across the...

 

A welcoming home for generations

Editor's note: This is the final story in a three-part series about Unalaska/Dutch harbor, based on Senior Voice contributing writer Dianne Barske's visit in May 2015. I was astonished. The Jesse Lee...

 

Meeting Alice and the mayor

Is it Dutch Harbor or Unalaska? Should it be written Unalaska/Dutch Harbor? I reflected upon this puzzle as our small plane landed on Amaknak Island in the heart of the Aleutian Islands chain. I soon...

 

A tour guide for a place like no other: Unalaska

I looked out the window of the small plane as we approached our short runway and saw nothing but olive-green cliffs. They filled the window and I was startled. The bumpy bluffs seemed so close I felt...

 

Early Anchorage remembered

Betty Berry settles into a friend's living room couch early on a grey April morning and opens up a journal, "Elberberry Tales," stories told by her father-in-law, Frank Olin Berry. His words had been...

 

'We came to stay'

"Where are you from?" "How long have you lived here?" Anchorage is known for its diversity, as a melting pot for people from all over the world, so these questions frequently pop up when...

 

A view of Anchorage in fiber arts

Anchorage is celebrating its centennial year, 2015, in many ways. One of the first events to come to life, reflecting the community's unique history, was a project of the Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters...

 

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