Yes, that WAS a shaker

November 7th, 2013

Don’t forget, links to earthquake and volcano sites are active at!

Local Date: Wednesday November 6th, 2013
Local Time: 08:13 PM AKST
Universal Time: 11/07/2013 05:13:08.526 UTC
Magnitude: 4.52 ML
Latitude: 62.0382
Longitude: -150.5061
Depth: 27 miles (44 km)
Author: oa_opDbgMbMl

Dear Crabbie

October 24th, 2013

This column just arrived in the Alaska Pioneer Press e-mail box, so we’re passing it along:
“Dear Crabbie….”

Dear Crabbie: My wife wants me to take dance lessons. But I have all the grace of a wounded moose on the dance floor. What should I do? – Dancer without any stars
Dear Dancer: Choose a decent instructor: The Fred Astaire Dance Studio – excellent choice; The Miley Cyrus Grind and Groan Dance Academy – not so much.

Dear Crabbie: Can you please explain the difference between a misfortune and a calamity? – Synonym Challenged
Dear Syn: If a Congressman falls into the Potomac, that would be a misfortune. If someone pulls him out, that would be a calamity.

Dear Crabbie: I am recently married and discovered my new husband expects me to clean house regularly, keep the dishes and laundry washed, and always have a hot meal on the table when he arrives home from work. I mean, really? – Newly Wed and Dismayed
Dear Dismayed: My first hubby tried to pull this on me, too, shortly after marriage. But within a week the vision returned to his right eye, and his arm had healed enough so he could hold a broom or microwave a TV dinner on his own.

Dear Crabbie: I live in LA and believe I saw Lindsay Lohan driving down the street the other day. If I should see her on the road again, how could I get her attention? – LL fan
Dear LL fan: Don’t even try. Get off the street and seek shelter immediately.

Dear Crabbie: Apparently, the Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania is now the first hospital to treat Internet addiction. I’m thinking of going, but I live on the West Coast. Do you think it would be worth the trip?  – Virtually Addicted
Dear Addicted: I’d check first, to see if their therapy is available on-line.

Dear Crabbie: My family fights, cusses and abuses each other, has no talent or interests, half of them are divorced, and the other half are in jail.  What should we do to be noticed and picked up by a cable channel for a reality show? – Hopeful Star
Dear Hopeful: Not a thing. Several TV execs are on their way to sign you up right now.

Key Talkeetna levee to be cleared of brush, trees

August 20th, 2011
MAT-SU–A revetment — overgrown with alders and brush along the edge of Talkeetna in the Talkeetna River — will be cleared by the Borough at the request of the Dept. of the Army next week so the rock structure can be maintained. The 22-year-old levee protects the town from flooding along the riverbank beginning south of Second Street and ending just north of B
See photos and full news release at:

Christmas Program in Trapper Creek Pays Tribute to Military Families

December 17th, 2010
By Paul Thomas
Alaska Pioneer Press Correspondent
TRAPPER CREEK — The annual Christmas Program produced Dec. 16 by Trapper Creek’s elementary school focused on military families and how they might celebrate the season with a parent deployed overseas.
Music began the program when Debbie Filter’s guitar class, Grades 3 through 6, opened the show with a mix of traditional and holiday songs.  Michael Dean followed the guitar players with his interpretation of Jingle Bells on xylophone.  Then came the play which opened with the students and faculty singing the title song, All American Christmas.
The story followed the holiday activities of a regular family whose dad is in the military and deployed overseas.
Act one included a festive rendition of Over the River by the carolers, which served as a sendoff to Grandma’s home for the holidays. Act Two had the family arriving at Grandma’s condo in town.  Since Dad was away at the war, the family decided to celebrate Christmas with other service folks at the USO.  Before leaving Grandma’s, the carolers reappeared with an energetic interpretation of “Jingle Bells.”
Act Three opened at the USO where the soldiers were all wishing to be home for Christmas before breaking into their well choreographed version of “Roots.” Again the carolers livened up the room with “Here Comes Santa Claus.”  The family arrived and decorated the room just before Santa arrived to a “Yankee Doodle Santa,” after which he gave presents to soldiers and family members.  The carolers came back on stage where the entire cast sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to the audience.
The play was directed by Virginia Smith who co-wrote it with the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Graders.
Cast members included Venus “Ona” Crabtree as Grandmother, Danielle Gossett as Mother and Brandon Watkins as Santa.  The family children were played by Kaitlin Hughes, Davin Potter, Sophia Reyes and Alex Gossett.  The soldiers were portrayed by Briana Cebula, Samantha Smeltzer, Cole Cole, Rollie Stankowitz, Melanie Thomas and Sherry Thorn.  The carolers included Aleah Cole, Ally Dean, John Drako IV, Mike Dean, Anthony Gossett, Joe Lester, Darian Mathison, Bethany Robbins, Leira Sherman, Luther Stankowitz and Tabitha Watkins.
The evening ended with an appearance by the real Santa Claus, who gave all the good little boys and girls one final opportunity to submit their Christmas wish lists.

4.1 Quake Near Talkeetna Jolts Parts of Southcentral Alaska

December 14th, 2010

A 4.1 earthquake felt as far away as Wasilla shook the Southcentral region at 5:22 p.m. Some reported that the jolt sounded like a rumbling explosion. There were no immediate reports of damage. The quake was centered 7 miles west-northwest of Talkeetna.

The quake was felt by emergency dispatchers in Wasilla. It followed but was not necessarily related to two smaller quakes, a 2.11 at 4:58 p.m. centered 8 miles northeast of Healy, and a 2.38 centered 33 miles northwest of Talkeetna at 4:59 p.m.

Local Date: Monday December 13th, 2010
Local Time: 05:22 PM AKST
Universal Time: 12/14/2010 02:22:38.675 UTC
Magnitude: 4.13 ML
Latitude: 62.3484
Longitude: -150.3043
Depth: 11 miles (18 km)
Author: oa_opDbgMlMwp

30th Annual Talkeetna Bachelor Auction Returns Dec. 4

November 25th, 2010

The Alaska Pioneer Press blog is happy to pass along this update from Talkeetna’s bachelors about the upcoming Bachelor Auction and Wilderness Woman Contest:

“30th Annual Bachelor Auction and 25th Wilderness Woman Competition set for December 4

Mark your calendars! The 30th Annual Talkeetna Bachelor Auction and 25th Wilderness Woman competition will take place Saturday, Dec. 4,  in downtown Talkeetna. Once again, Talkeetna’s most eligible single men will put themselves on the auction block to benefit women and children facing domestic violence in our community.

This year, 40 bachelors are available for “purchase” – successful bidders are guaranteed a drink and a dance with their bachelor, anything else is up to you – all unmarried women are invited to our annual auction this year.  The auction begins at 7 p.m. at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar in downtown Talkeetna. The door and bar opens at 6 p.m., giving attendees some time to socialize and meet the local gentlemen.

This high-energy night draws women from throughout the country every year and is a highlight of the winter season for locals and visitors alike. The Auction will be followed by the annual Bachelor Ball at the Fairview Inn, with Jared Woods and his band Woodrow keeping the dance floor full into the wee hours.

The auction will once again be hosted by Marne Gunderson, with Nick Condon joining us as auctioneer this year.  Gunderson is a local actress, musician, and community leader who for years has given her time to the Bachelor Society.  Condon is new to the auctioneer role for the Bachelors, though he has been an auctioneer for other charities in the community, as well as putting himself on the block in years past.  He is a well-known actor and director both within Talkeetna and Outside.

The Wilderness Woman Competition is in its 25th year and is a chance for unmarried women to prove their mettle in a variety of outdoor skills.  Challenges include hunting, water hauling, fishing, splitting wood, and of course building a sandwich for the man in her life.  A true Alaskan Wilderness Woman can do it all.  Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Fairview Inn in Downtown Talkeetna.  The competition begins at noon on Main Street.  Whatever the weather, the Wilderness Woman Competition always draws a large crowd of onlookers and, often, international press.

Those attending from out of town need to book a place to stay soon; accommodations are already filling up.  A listing of local hotels and B&Bs are available from the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce at www.
A limited number of press passes are available for the media.  For press passes and more information, please contact Amanda Randles at 907-733-3473,  or  We will be happy to put you in contact with members of the society for interviews at your convenience.

Early Thanksgiving Break for Mat-Su, Anchorage and Fairbanks Schools

November 23rd, 2010

MAT-SU — Mat-Su schools are joining neighboring districts in closing campuses Wedensday and declaring an early Thanksgiving break.

“Because of the continued weather and the road conditions, particularly the side roads, Mat-Su schools are all closed tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 24,” said district spokesperson Catherine Esary. “As planned and on the calendar, schools are also closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving break”
Fairbanks announced earlier that they are closed, and Anchorage is announcing simultaneously with Mat-Su that they are closed tomorrow, she said.

All after-school activities are also canceled. If parents, families, or employees need more information, please log on to the District website at”

For more information, call 746-9200

Woman Dies After Explosion, Fire in Home

November 17th, 2010

A 42-year-old woman died following an explosion and fire at a home in the Caswell Lakes area on Nov. 16.

One person escaped the 3,000-square-foot residence and reported that Julia Weber of Talkeetna did not make it out of the structure. Firefighters found her remains in the home after the fire was contained.

No foul play is suspected in connection with the explosion, which Troopers believe happened before the fire began.

A family dog also died in the blaze. Weber’s next-of-kin was the person who escaped the fire.

The fire was reported at 10:45 a.m. High winds made it hard for firefighters to stop the fire. The home and its outbuildings were a total loss.

4.7 Magnitude Saturday Night Quake Rattles Region

November 14th, 2010

If the warm spell today didn’t loosen ice from area roofs, a long rolling quake should have done the trick.

Magnitude 4.7
Location 63.199°N, 150.596°W
Depth 126.2 km (78.4 miles)
  • 87 km (54 miles) WSW (257°) from Cantwell, AK
  • 90 km (56 miles) NNW (343°) from Chase, AK
  • 92 km (57 miles) N (5°) from Petersville, AK
  • 227 km (141 miles) N (349°) from Anchorage, AK
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.4 km (0.2 miles); depth +/- 0.1 km (0.1 miles)
Parameters NST= 63, Nph= 0, Dmin=31.9 km, Rmss=0.47 sec, Gp= 36°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=2
Event ID ak10120017
Magnitude 4.9 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within  minutes)
  • Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 04:59:49 UTC
  • Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 07:59:49 PM at epicenter
Location 63.200°N, 150.591°
Depth 130 km (80.8 miles) set by location program
  • 87 km (54 miles) WSW (257°) from Cantwell, AK
  • 90 km (56 miles) NNW (343°) from Chase, AK
  • 92 km (57 miles) N (5°) from Petersville, AK
  • 227 km (141 miles) N (349°) from Anchorage, AK
Location Uncertainty Error estimate not available
Parameters NST= 25, Nph= 25, Dmin=101.8 km, Rmss=0.54 sec, Gp= 94°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=1
Event ID at00971079

Below is the first notice from the Tsunami Center, which says the good news is that no Tsunami’s will occur due to the event:

At 8:00 PM Alaskan Standard Time on November 13, an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 4.9 occurred 65 miles/105 Km southwest of Denali Park Hdqts., Alaska .

The magnitude is such that a tsunami WILL NOT be generated. This will be the only WCATWC message issued for this event.

The location and magnitude are based on preliminary information. Further information will be issued by the United States Geological Survey or the appropriate regional seismic network.

Troopers: Fire Didn’t Kill All Four Found Dead in Caswell Trailer

November 11th, 2010

Azrealle C.D. Stewart is among those troopers believe was killed.

Alaska State Troopers said today that not all of the four people who were found dead Tuesday  inside a burned-out trailer home in Caswell died from the fire, but are releasing no further details except their suspected  identities. Troopers believe the four are two parents who were going through a divorce and their two young children.

Alaska State Court of Appeals records indicate that a man with the same unique  name as the father was convicted of kidnapping and torturing a different woman, his common law wife, in the presence of that couple’s two children. He also threatened to shoot and burn the children and himself if she ever left him.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation (BIA)  “is investigating the cause and manner of their deaths,” said Trooper Spokesperson Megan Peters in a prepared release.

“The deceased are tentatively identified as 43-year-old Vannaphone Soundara, 23-year-old Azrealle C.D. Stewart, 4-year-old Akson S.T. Soundara and 1-year-old Kayson J.L. Soundara,” Peters said. “The State Medical Examiner’s office is working to positively ID the remains of the individuals. Not all of the individuals died as a result of the fire.”

“No further information regarding the investigation is being released at this time,” Peters said in the prepared press release. An investigator told the Alaska Pioneer Press on Friday, Nov. 12, that it may be a week or more before more information can be released.

BIA investigators visited the Talkeetna home where the mother and children lived  to gather DNA evidence from personal possessions, items that troopers hope may help with positive identifications. Troopers are also seeking photos that show the husband’s tattoos. Call 733-2256 to give troopers additional information about the case.

Azrealle Stewart, one of the managers at the Tesoro gas station in Sunshine, moved to Talkeetna in September with her two children after separating from Vannaphone Soundara. Court documents indicate that a divorce was in process. The couple sometimes shared child care duties.

The trailer in which they were found, on the property where the husband lived, was reported ablaze at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning by a passing motorist. It was fully-involved when the first emergency responder arrived. Stewart was seen in the company of a man who matches her husband’s basic description at her home in Talkeetna on Sunday evening and neighbors did not see evidence of her return to her Talkeetna home on Monday evening. Her car was in the shop, and the light-colored vehicle parked in her driveway Sunday night appeared to be the same as the one that was in front of the Caswell trailer after the fire.

A man named Vannaphone Soundara was convicted in Anchorage of torturing and threatening to kill another woman, who was his common-law wife, in 2000. The woman  said she was leaving him to move to California, according to documents filed with the Alaska Court of Appeals. He was convicted of  kidnapping, assault and other offenses, according to court records. He lost an appeal in 2006.

Below is a graphic recounting of the 2000 attack found in the appellate court case filing for Soundara vs. State. (The Pioneer Press has redacted the initials of the victim and cautions that the events described may be upsetting, particularly to those who knew the victims.)

“… On the  night  of May 6th, Soundara bound –s hands and feet  with  speaker wire.  For the next  six  or  seven hours,  Soundara  beat — intermittently  while  the couples two small children cried in a nearby bedroom. According  to  the States evidence,  Soundara whipped  — with speaker wire, hitting her more  than 30  times and leaving cuts and bruises over half of her body.  During  the  course of the hours-long  assault, Soundara strangled –  (again, with the speaker wire), he  struck  her with a knife handle and with  the  dull edge of  the knife blade, and he struck her  with  the butt of a gun.  At one point, Soundara pointed the  gun between  –s  eyes and threatened to shoot  her.  He also threatened to slice –s thigh with the knife and to  rub  salt into the wound.  And Soundara  told  — that  if she left him after this, he would shoot  their children,  set  fire  to them, and then  kill  himself. Finally, around five oclock in the morning on May  7th, Soundara released –.”