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Articles written by Dimitra Lavrakas

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Bonanza for at-home medical studies

PicnicHealth is a business with a new approach to medical studies. It will take the information from your medical history through an online portal and share it with researchers. All of your records, no matter how many times you move, will be...

 

Whales, eagles, nutcrackers take center stage

November brings a flurry of seasonal salutes to the whales and eagles that enhance our life here. In Haines, thousands of bald eagles gather to chase the late chum and coho salmon run, while in Sitka...

 

A bright pink ice cream adventure in Chicago

As winter's chill comes on, Alaskans start thinking about keeping warm. Aside from muktuk, bacon and caribou soup, the fat Alaskans love most comes from ice cream. If you have children and...

 

Helping grandparents raise their grandchildren

I'm 73 years old, and after taking care of my five-year-old granddaughter Eliza for four hours, well, I'm ready for a nap. So I have nothing but deep respect and awe for grandparents raising their...

 

It's the season for Alaskan travel discounts

Fall in Alaska is to be treasured by Alaskans-no tourists, no tour buses clogging the roads, no sightseeing planes or helicopters flying overhead. Just the sound of the tree leaves floating through...

 

Winter nights bring dancing lights

Fall in Alaska comes with many perks - sightings of migratory birds and Alaskans heading to warmer climes, but best is the darkness that brings the awesome Aurora Borealis. Now Explore Fairbanks has...

 

Clinical trials and tribulations

I’ve been writing about the chance to participate in medical research by applying for clinical trials that could not only help oneself, but countless others. Being in the Chicago area, there are plenty of medical trials to choose from, so I decided...

 

Big bears, big trees beckon you

To get a taste of how lush Haida Gwaii in British Columbia is, once called Queen Charlotte Islands, think back on that Alaska Marine Highway ferry ride to Bellingham or Prince Rupert. Sailing past...

 

Alaska welcomes you to summer

While travel by car seems prohibitive with gas prices at an all-time high of $5.51 in June, a drive to a festival may be the cure for he several years of isolation due to the pandemic. Get out and mee...

 

You can help with reproductive cancer research

Since writing about clinical trials several editions back, I’ve earned about $40 in gift cards. Now I search for more. Participating in clinical studies can put a jingle in your pocket while contributing to medical science. Even my 5-year-old...

 
 By Dimitra Lavrakas    News    June 1, 2022

Assistance program aims to make internet more affordable

Low-income Alaskans now qualify for discounted or free internet access, thanks to an expanded federal program announced by the White House May 16. The White House estimates the program will cover 48 million households, or 40 percent of the country....

 
 By Dimitra Lavrakas    News    June 1, 2022

Alaska Natives to see new broadband effort

The $41.5 million provided by the federal Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program will make fast internet more affordable so rural residents can access telehealth appointments, and provide access for economic growth and remote learning. As is usual...

 

Museums statewide offer deals for seniors

Alaska has museums from Dutch Harbor, to Sitka, to tiny Anaktuvuk Pass in the middle of the Brooks Range. But the most striking-looking building in all of Juneau, and surely anywhere else in the...

 
 By Dimitra Lavrakas    Local    May 1, 2022

New annex brings seniors back together in Fairbanks

Knowing all too well the effects of social isolation on the health of seniors, both mental and physical, the Fairbanks Senior Center has temporarily pivoted to a new rented space at Shoppers Forum...

 
 By Dimitra Lavrakas    Travel    May 1, 2022

Airline mask mandate: It's all up to you now

On April 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the Transportation Security Administration had issued an extension of the mask mandate until May 3 after the CDC’s “close monitoring of the COVID-19 landscape in the Unite...

 

COVID restrictions lift and travelers are raring to go

The planes and ships want you back - desperately. But only you can decide if you feel safe enough to go. I ping-ponged back and forth from Alaska to the east coast three times between late summer and...

 

Canada drops COVID tests

On April Fool’s Day, no kidding, Canada will drop the requirement that travelers entering Canada either through airports or land borders prove they have a pre-arrival COVID-19 test result. But only for those fully vaccinated. This is a big sigh of...

 

Federal deadline for a REAL ID is next year

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established requirements...

 

Clinical trials in Alaska focus on colon cancer

Editor's note: This story has been updated, with corrections. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and there are ways you can help find a cure. We are at the age when we know of someone who is suffering or has died from colon cancer,...

 

Winter travel preparation could save your life

In early January, hundreds of travelers taking Interstate 95 through Fredericksburg, Virginia, ran into a winter storm and spent overnight in below-freezing temperatures. And in mid-November 2021,...

 

Travel is possible, but sometimes questionable

The recent COVID-19 variant Omicron is affecting travel as the pandemic shows no sign of waning. And for Alaskans, with winter coming on, the need for sun and fun as well as cultural stimulation...

 

Web, animal cams offer Alaskan escape

Chances are if you've lived in Alaska, you've resided in or traveled to different parts of the state. If not, well shame on you. But if you have and your life is not as mobile as it once was, there's...

 

Alaska's challenging travel is like 'Hotel California'

The big storm that blew through Southeast Alaska on Oct. 1 sure played havoc with my travel plans. On a Friday night the winds blew at storm force and it rained pell-mell all night long. Although I ch...

 

Supportive staff, programs at Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

When my mother lost her sight at the age of 85, it seemed sudden but in fact it was a gradual loss with providers ignoring her complaints of floaters, flashes and jaw pain. A rare autoimmune disease,...

 

Travel gets more complicated, more technical

I have prided myself over the years on learning new technology, starting in 1992 when I first encountered a Dell computer at work and figured it out. Then through the years, from Boston to Alaska, I...

 

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