Sunrise was briefly Alaska’s largest city

The Crow Creek Mining Co. was founded on Jan. 1, 1898, which became one of the largest mines in the Sunrise Mining District.

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Summer activities bring schedule-juggling woes

We all welcome summertime and the chance to get outdoors. At the same time, the variety of activities being offered bring with it the stress of fitting everything into our busy schedules. Salmon are running, the wilderness bids us to venture out and explore, the backyard hammock beckons on a sunny evening, and summer sports are in full sway.

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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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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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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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First legislature passed 84 bills in 59-day session

Passage by Congress of the Second Organic Act on Aug. 24, 1912, changed Alaska from a District to a Territory, giving it the ability to elect a legislature. Voters did just that in November, sending 24 residents to Juneau, which had been designated as the capital. The session started March 3. Legislators’ remuneration: $15 per day with 15 cents reimbursement for travel mileage.

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