Gold Star Standing

I am a Gold Star Widow. My husband was a SSGT who was stationed on JBER at the time of his death eight years ago. I miss him every day. I carry him with me through my mundane daily tasks and my grandest adventures. When I see something grandiose, and awe-inspiring, my inner voice quietly whispers “Did you see that, T?”Recently, someone else has been doing things to keep the memories alive. Every Gold Star family member has their own ways to remember loved ones. Some quietly, some publicly, and some go far beyond. In the case of Kirk Alkire, it was going big. Kirk’s passion, dedication, drive, and persistence have officially paid off in one of the biggest ways possible.A previously unnamed peak in the Chugach Mountains beside Mount POW/MIA is now Gold Star Peak. What an accomplishment.

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Good People Doing Great Things: Tracy Hupe

The ECHO and Alaska Massage Clinic have returned this month to present the Good People Doing Great Things award. This month’s recipient is long-time Boys and Girls Club Director Tracy Hupe. Tracy has her fingerprints all over good works throughout the Eagle River community.

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The pursuit of happiness: A chance to change history

If I could go back in time and choose a moment to sit down with Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, I would choose June 30, 1776. I would tell him straight up, “Tom, let’s tweak this thing a little bit more.” “You’re going to put Americans in a tizzy if you write the word ‘pursuit’ in our Declaration of Independence.” You see, we American’s have forged into our hearts from that founding document a divine destiny, “the pursuit of happiness,” that keeps us asking: What’s next?

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Running Toward the Future

Everyone knows a runner. Ask just about anyone, and they’ll be able to point to that person in their life - be it a friend, significant other or work colleague - who fits the profile. Mileage stickers on their car, ridiculously timed pre-dawn workouts and a selection of sweaty Instagram selfies are tell-tale signs. Whether you find them endearing or annoying, you may have found yourself skeptical of their claims that they “love” running and couldn’t live without it. For many runners, their activity of choice can be seen as a luxury. In today’s world, it’s not a survival necessity in a strict life-or-death sense. Most people can get through their day with minimal walking, let alone running for miles. But devout runners know there’s something more to it. Hiland Mountain Correctional Center might be the last place you would expect to find dedicated runners.

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Adventures in Juneau

Few Alaskans bother to visit our state capital city where elected officials pass laws and conduct state business. Being a product of Southcentral Alaska myself, as a young man I wondered about what Juneau was like, and on two previous occasions I had traveled to Juneau by plane and ferried a senator’s car, before my first drive there alone--777 miles through White Pass from Costco Gas to Haines. At Haines, I took the ferry ride to the Juneau/Auke Bay Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) terminal.

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Good People Doing Great Things

Alaska Massage Clinic and the ECHO News have teamed up to give back to some good people doing great things. Each month we present one of these people with a check for $500. This month our winner is Gail Patarini. Gail Patarini is a good person who does great things. Not for the pat on the back, not for fanfare and thanks, but just because it’s in her nature.

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Just How Smart is a Smart Home?

Despite my Luddite tendencies, I find the range of offerings in the new smart home category intriguing and, dare I say, somewhat inspiring. From cameras to lightbulbs to lawnmowers, having control and insight into the goings-on in my home - whether I’m there or not - offers many distinct benefits.

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Bound By Hope of a Common Future

We’re living in a world where each of us fits the truth into our own box of understanding. In other words, we’ve been lied to so much that we are skeptical of what we hear anew. Let me give you an example. Today in America, when you hear the word “immigrant” does its image turn into a politically colored label in your mind? If not, then you truly are an American saint. For all the rest of us, the idea of immigrants coming to America has been so roughed over by the tracks of political bulldozers these past few years that it’s just not the same as it was.

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Choices, Chances and Changes How I got here from there

There comes a time in every person’s life when one must decide if where they are going is leading to where they want to be. Perhaps you have sought opportunities that are not now fulfilling. Can you dare to change direction? For me the question arose while I was in Juneau. I had already enjoyed a couple of interesting career moves from my original home in Anchorage.

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An American Christmas Story

As we enter this wintry season, one remarkable Christmas story comes to mind that I believe every American should remember. It was a different Christmas. A wartime Christmas. A Christmas when secrecy was the wrapping paper, and the gift was yet unknown. This Christmas story is written by the frostbit fingers of stalwart revolutionary soldiers marching to Trenton in toe-numbing cold on the evening of December 25, 1776.

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