Summer cruises provide amazing views

Several cruise ships will dock this year in Anchorage, disgorging thousands of passengers onto the streets for a quick glimpse of the 49th State. Others tie up at Seward or Whittier, where passengers are taken by bus or train to the big city. Some Alaska tours are limited to Southeast, round-tripping from Vancouver or Seattle.

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Bingle Camp at Harding Lake popular youth spot

A number of summer camps can be found in Alaska. Kings Lake Camp at Wasilla is operated by the Salvation Army and has been in operation since about 1940. Information can be found at www.kingslakecamp.salvationarmy.org.

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May marks Attu Battle’s 75th anniversary

On May 30, 1943, a frenzied Banzai charge by Japanese troops was repulsed by U.S. and Canadian troops to end a battle begun 19 days earlier. It was to be the second bloodiest struggle in the Pacific Theater during World War II. It had the distinction of being the only battle with a foreign army to take place on American soil since the War of 1812.The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Attu has been observed this month, including reunions of Attu survivors and veterans who took part in the engagement. A national historic landmark has been created on Attu; a Peace Monument was erected by Japanese citizens to commemorate the place where some 2,900 soldiers, 2,100 of them Japanese, died.

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U.S., Alaska Newspapers have interesting history

As someone whose blood was infused with printer’s ink at age 3 when the tips of his fingers were caught in the jaws of a platen press, the trade has long been of interest. The struggles overcome by early newspaper publishers—and the glories they accomplished as a result—are mighty. Front pages of three early efforts appear above.

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Alaska vs. Texas bragging rights review

Since time immemorial—well, since 1867 anyway—Alaskans have boasted that their home is bigger than Texas. It was a feather our neighbors in the Lower 48 did not like having plucked from their Stetsons. Texans did live under six flags while Alaskans flew but four. That, of course, presumes that our indigenous forebears did not raise national banners. Neither the Aztecs nor the Alaska Natives were asked permission for the invading foreigners to cross their borders, but that’s not part of this discussion.

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Preserving Alaska’s military history a good thing

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal to create a military museum is potentially a good idea. Several museums now in place attest to the widespread interest in preserving the history of the military’s vital part in developing and protecting this American spot at the “Top of the World.”How to go about creating a major museum, however, is yet to be determined. Whether and in what manner the existing museums will be included is of concern to these all-volunteer organizations.

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Knik Little League opens season this weekend

Fifty-four years ago, four teams played Knik Little League’s first games ever. On Saturday, May 6, local fans will hear the call of “Play Ball!” Players, officials, coaches and fans from dozens of teams will gather at Eagle River Lions Park at 6:30 p.m. on Friday for opening ceremonies.

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Alaska is perfect spot for tall-tale tellers

Recently, this space had a column on Geritt “Heinie” Snider, an old-timer and former legislator who homesteaded at Lake Lucille. The Hollander who became an Alaska State Senator had the opportunity to actually know some of the sourdoughs this writer can only read about. Coming to Alaska in 1910, he caught the tail-end of the Klondike heyday. He crossed the border and did some mining before migrating to the Matanuska Valley.

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What’s there NOT to love about Alaska

When he joined the Army in December of 1947, Alaska was the last place in the world this writer wanted to be sent. In fact, each of the 12 times he went through processing, he responded to the question of his preference of overseas assignments with, “Anyplace but Alaska.” You see, he was born and raised in Alabama. Just the thought of below-freezing weather was enough to make him shiver.

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Wasilla’s ‘Heinie’ Snider: famed teller of tall tales

A park on the shores of Lake Lucille in Wasilla is named for Gerrit “Heinie” Snider, a well-known pioneer from the Matanuska Valley. His nickname was given due to the Dutchman’s accent. A miner, railroad section foreman, author, iceman, community benefactor, mink rancher, newspaper columnist and politician, Snider published his “100 Stories of Alaska” for the 1967 Purchase Centennial.The foreword to the book was written by U.S. Sen. E. L. “Bob Bartlett who wrote, “I know of no teller of tales, tall or otherwise, better equipped to relate Centennial stories about Alaska and Alaskans.”

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