People with higher credentials than those possessed by this writer have certified that there actually is a disease related to winter cabin fever. They call it “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or, very appropriately by its initials: SAD.
With Valentine’s Day looming, and spring coming closer, the topic of romance is ripe for exploration. It was this month in 1951 when a 20-year-old soldier stopped at Lu’s Café for his usual dinner of chicken-fried steak. There he found the girl he would marry.
Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous had its beginnings in 1935 and continues today, suspended during World War II and revived in 1946. According to Elmer Rasmuson’s Memoirs in Volume II of Banking on Alaska, the event now known affectionately as “Rondy” was inspired by the winter carnival in Fairbanks. Plans were formed by three men during their return by train to Anchorage.
The second session of the 30th Legislature opens Jan. 16 in Juneau. It is scheduled to end April 15 under the constitutional limit of 90 days. Of the 20 members of the Senate, Chugiak-Eagle River has two, with two more in the 40-member House of Representatives. They are Senators Shelley Hughes and Anna McKinnon and Representatives Dan Saddler and Lora Reinbold. They have deep footprints to follow, from a long list of dedicated public servants who preceded them.
Chugiak-Eagle River residents were looking at only a thin scattering of snow as the Yuletide approached, but the weather gods cooperated a bit with six days to spare. That brought to mind the year when lack of the white stuff raised concerns for a white Christmas. With only days to go, the ground was bare. When this writer crafted an editorial capped by a big “THINK SNOW” headline, it prompted a call from BBC in London. Our English friends had been dumped upon in record-shattering terms. The on-air trans-Atlantic conversation was hearty with offers of exchange that could only be fulfilled in fantasy. “Cheerio” sounded hollow and fell on deaf ears.
Even though this writer recognizes that not everyone is a believer in the One whose birth we celebrate this month he will never apologize for saying, “Merry Christmas.” Even a non-believer can enjoy the colored lights that brighten the darkest month of the year. The decorations are pretty and people are smiling despite their frantic shopping forays. The practice of giving and sharing love for our neighbors can be enjoyed by all—and well should be. He and the girl who became his bride 65 years ago have for many seasons celebrated the holiday by driving around to look at the decorated homes. We have noted the continuous growth of subdivisions and appreciate those who go all out to make their homes and yards festive. It’s not easy to forget the early years when the population was much smaller compared to today’s numbers. Even though smaller, the holiday spirit was evident throughout.
Seventy-six years ago Americans learned that United States forces had been attacked that Sunday morning by Japan. Aircraft from the Japanese carrier fleet flew over the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, dropping bombs and torpedoes on ships peacefully tied up at Pearl Harbor. Eight battleships and several other vessels were either sunk or heavily damaged. More than 2,400 military personnel and many civilians lost their lives in the attack. Timed to hit at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, the attack caught many of the sailors still asleep or relaxing in their quarters. The action came as diplomatic negotiations between our two countries were ongoing.
While Chugiak-Eagle River’s population is far more diverse today than a century ago, in the beginning only the Russian Orthodox faith was represented. Priests at St. Nicholas Church served the Native village, teaching of the birth of Jesus Christ. While most of us observe December 25 as the birthday of Jesus, Christmas for the Orthodox is celebrated each year on January 7. When Chugiak was founded in 1947 by a group of homesteaders who proved up on small tracts as well as larger parcels, those settlers primarily were Christian Protestants. Three houses of worship existing in 1953 were Chugiak Chapel, Chugiak Methodist Church and Immanuel Gospel Church. They soon were followed by others affiliated with various denominations, most faiths currently represented.
The Chugiak High School Mustangs came close to making it to the football state championship finals this season, being edged in the semi-finals by Bartlett in a high-scoring contest. They did win back-to-back championships in the Railbelt Conference where they were recently placed in an apparent effort to balance competition.