Anastasiia Heath didn’t plan on moving to Wasilla, Alaska. But like a lot of things in life, change can happen in an instant or in this case love and war. Anastasiia came here along with her daughter as an immigrant almost three years ago from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. She married Jesse Heath and were settling in nicely except for one thing, Anastasiia had to leave her best friend behind, in a country and a city currently under siege from the Russians. That friend was her Rottweiler Roxy. Her mother was feeding and watering the dog along with help from the neighbor. After several failed attempts to get Roxy to America, covid hit and all the travel restrictions that came with it. In that time, Anistasiia’ Mother was able to come to America as a refugee, leaving Roxy all alone at the mercy of bombings and being fed by a neighbor. So last month Jesse decided it was time to get his wife’s beloved pet to America. He made lots and lots of phone calls and finally got in contact with a man who hired a pair of paramilitary soldiers to go get the Roxy. A twenty-four-hour bus ride to Poland, a two week stay in Poland and a long flight to Chicago later. Roxy was in America and on November 4th, 2022, Roxy landed in Anchorage and Anistasiia and her best friend were finally reunited. Here's their Allgood News.
Hairdresser Teresa Olorunlowo of Anchorage was dying of anemia. She needed a hysterectomy but what was holding her back wasn’t a lack of doctors or surgeons here in Anchorage, it was a lack of money. Even after a 30-year career, she still couldn’t afford health insurance. After a near-death experience while on a camping trip, she was preparing for the worst. The mother and grandmother had resigned herself that she couldn’t get the care she needed, she just couldn’t afford it. But thanks to her primary care doctor, Teresa was put in touch with Anchorage Project Access, a non-profit that connects people in need of surgeries and dental care with doctors who will provide those services for free. Teresa has always worked and is still working, so she made too much money for Medicare but not enough to afford insurance. It’s a crack millions of Americans and Alaskans fall into when it comes to trying to afford healthcare. She’s doing great today thanks to Anchorage Project Access and says she would not be here today if not for their generosity.
Sheryl and Doug Tollerud have been married for 45 years and have served in the Salvation Army for almost 40 years, together! Most of that time right here in Alaska. The couple has devoted their life to the service of others and to each other. With retirement just about seven months away, here in Alaska, I wanted to meet this wonderfully happy couple and see how it all began. They are both Lt. Colonels in the Salvation Army and in addition to their amazing career, they are parents to three wonderful children and 6 grandchildren.
Todd Rector rescued what he thought was a very sweet cat from animal control. He named the cat 'Mao'. Mao was fine until he met Todd's other cats. Mao would battle the other cats and stalk them and even had Todd’s three dogs on edge. Todd loves animals and tried to do everything to help Mao out, even posting about his troubles on the 'Nextdoor app, trying to find another 'solo' home for mao or possibly the owner. In the meantime, his other five animals were living in fear of a very ‘stalky’ cat! In an odd twist, the owner recognized Mao on Nextdoor as a her cat she had lost months earlier and Mao’s real name? Godzilla! The aptly named feline was returned to its owner and Todd and his menagerie of animals have since tried returning to normal, his remaining cats a bit wounded physically and emotionally. Todd says he’s never in his 50 years seen a cat so sweet and territorially aggressive!
Alaska Seeds of Change is growing food and minds in their innovative hydroponic nursery that offers up life skills and self-worth. Program Manager Cole Murphy guides and directs a youthful program that is sprouting delicious greens for sale and promoting responsibility in young minds. The program, which is just six years old, offers skills, internships and room to grow.
Alaska Aquarian Girl Scout Troop 436 are working toward their 'Bronze Award'. They sold enough lip balm packs to buy items for more than a 100 'Homeless Kits'. Some of the items included gloves, socks, handwarmers and more. The Allgood News asked the 10-member troop if they understood what 'homelessness" is? And the answers were a positive hope for our future and a unique insight to young minds and their view of a complicated world they are inheriting.
Beverly Moore is a 92-year-old former Navy nurse who served during the Korean War. While visiting the Alaska Veterans Museum here in Anchorage, she spotted a nurse’s uniform on display, exactly like the one she used to wear, and the memories of her time in the Navy rushed back to her full wave right there in the museum. She perked up and checked out the uniform as if it was her own. The curator of the museum, Jann Sherrill was blown away. She immediately talked to Moore about her time in the service, and because of that dress she had just put out, she had found another Korean War Veteran living right here in Anchorage. Thanks to Sherrill and that dress, Moore was recently honored with the 'Ambassador for Peace" medal from the Korean Consulate. Along with several dignitaries and military personnel, the governor of Alaska, Mike Dunleavy was in attendance. And all of this wouldn’t have been possible if not for an earthquake near the storage unit where military memorabilia is kept. The quake shook all the items from their shelves and Sherrill just happened to pick up a garment bag containing the World War II/Korean War Navy nurse's uniform. She had no plans before that to display an item she didn’t even know she had! So a war, a nurse's uniform and an earthquake — and a caring curator — all combined to get Moore recognized, 70 years after the fact, for her service in the Navy as a nurse during the Korean War.
Bob Parsons is a renaissance man. The guitar player and sign artist is an enigma and at age 70, he's just beginning to figure it 'ALL' out. Bob can be seen and heard playing his unique guitar style at the Farmer's Market at Bell's Nursery on Weekends. But there's more to Bob than picking a guitar. He uses his talented hands to produce signs, hand painted signs, which are a rarity these days. You can see Bob in action on YouTube by simply looking up 'Bob Parsons Artist' in your search browser. Talent comes in all forms, the former truck driver discovered his talent when he had to, to provide for his family and then proceeded to pursue a childhood dream of playing the guitar.
Suraj Holzwarth lost her daughter, Sierra Parker, 10 months ago to the disease of alcoholism. Last week at Seeds of Change here in Anchorage, she held a posthumous art exhibit of her daughter’s large body of work, called 'Sierra's Designs', to remember and honor her contribution to life, and to raise money for Seeds of Change, an organization dedicated to helping young adults develop the skills to be successful adults. Nothing can replace the pain of losing a child, but the event was filled with friends and collegues, punctuated with lots of hugs and Suraj's Daugher, Sierra Parker, art work. Suraj says she wants to bring awareness to younger people that alcoholism just isn't the disease of older people.
The Alaska Humane Society’s Adopt-a-Cat Shelter in Anchorage currently has about 100 cats available for adoption. They have had up to almost 500 cats at their peak. The no-kill shelter is a safe and loving place run by volunteers, who clean and do cat adoptions because they simply love animals — felines in general. The Humane Society, started back in 1988, has adopted out thousands of cats since its inception and will keep cats that don’t get adopted for the duration of their life if needed. If you’re interested in adopting a cat, simply go to adopt-a-cat.org for information on hours, adoption rates and how to safely drop off a stray or unwanted cat.
Mike Mosesian founded Bell's Nursery almost 50 years ago here in Anchorage. His path to love, tomatoes and now vineyards all have a theme. Alaska and overcoming the challenges that growing up here offers. Ten years ago, Mike decided to plant grapes in a lot of his greenhouses and now those vineyards are producing, and Mike can now lay claim to the only wine producing vineyard in Alaska. But his labor of love is now without the love of his life, who passed away in 2020. Mike now channels his energy into his new passion, grapes and cultivating his Alaskan wines.
'Read on the Fly' kiosks can be found throughout Ted Stevens International Airport. Erin Kirkland started distributing her son's childhood books back in 2016. Her passion was born there and grew and grew. Erin started collecting books from all over Anchorage and teaming up with book partners. Now she has her own office/library donation center in the airport and every week she heads up to the gates and distributes free books and restocks the kiosks. A labor of love she enlists the help of friends, family and some pretty awesome local sponsors like the United Way and Kaladi Brothers Coffee, it started in Anchorage, but thanks to the folks at the airport here, she has gained support in airports statewide. Erin is a hyper-local Alaskan who loves her state and trying to make it a better place, one book and kid at a time.
Read on the Fly depends on donations to stay in operation, so if people would like to donate books for kids birth to age 18, they can drop them off at a Kaladi Brothers store, or, if they have a large number of books, they can Email Erin at email@example.com
Fright Night Haunted House bills itself as one of the top 50 scariest haunted houses in the country. So, the Allgood News suited up and headed over to see for ourselves. Dave and 'intern' Ian took a trip through the haunting maze. And Fright Night did not disappoint, with crawling people, loud, disconcerting screams and moans and creepy clowns! Dave and Ian bonded in their fear. Here's their story.
When it comes to thinking outside the box, Wild Scoops of Alaska is thinking outside the coffin! Their unique, vampire slayer ice cream has vampires heading back to their cozy caskets to avoid the sweet repellant treat! Mixing garlic and cream is just another unique holiday creation is just another innovative and tasty tool in the flavor and holiday toolbox of the local company. Dave Allgood headed over to the ice cream parlor to slay his curiosity and get a few reactions to the garlicky menu item.
A delivery driver for Mad Chad's Pizza in Palmer knew one of his regular customers was having a bad day, so he surprised him and his wife with a free pizza, some beer and a hand-written note inside the pizza box, it read "every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day." Christopher Bowman and his wife, Megan were so moved by the kindness of Raff, they posted it on Facebook on the 'Palmer Buzz' page and it blew up with almost 300-plus likes. The two, Raff the delivery driver and Christopher met up at Mad Chad’s Pizza to relive the moment and that evening and to thank each other for a wonderful pizza and uplifting note.
David Jensen works at Providence Hospital in Anchorage and loves to ride his bike being with his dogs, so he had to figure out his work/life balance. He commenced to join the things he loved and it has been a head-turning success. It all happened when he built a specially designed bike to carry his dog Salt and purchased some pretty groovy dog goggles. He's been getting his workout and dog-time in, but he's also become known as that guy that pedals around that cool dog in the blue goggles. Dave is fine with playing second fiddle to his beloved retriever. He does say his commute times have become longer because of people wanting to stop and take pictures of Salt and his 'doggles'. They have another dog named Pepper who also wears goggles, but she took this day off. Here is Dave and Salt's Allgood News.
An Anchorage woman was having a bad day, so she sat down on a bench outside her office and looked down and saw one of those painted rocks people leave around as inspiration, on the back of the rock was a bible verse saying… and just for a moment, the woman, Kathy Zahnow was able to take a moment and breathe and realize that the bad day wouldn't last. She told her friend, Shannon Beatty about the rock and her friend posted the story on the Nexdoor app, and because of the rock? The two long-time co-workers found out they have a family history together in Washington state they never knew about, all because of a random rock left at a bench outside a grocery store.
Big Jet TV is a worldwide phenomenon! Creator, presenter and owner, Jerry Dyer, goes to airports all around the world livestreaming planes taking off and landing, and people love it, especially his subscribers. He was here in Anchorage a few weeks ago and photojournalist Mike Nederbrock and Dave Allgood went out and interviewed him while he was treating his audience to colorful commentary of the takeoffs and landings at the Airport. His British accent paired with his infectious enthusiasm for all that is aviation is palpable, and he calls the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport "aviation heaven” because of all the jumbo jets and wide variety of aircraft and planes that use the airport. He started almost six years ago and now it’s become his full-time job and passion.
Brittani Clancey had a dream to open her own thrift store and be an active part of her Anchorage community, the town where she was born and raised. So after getting married at age 18, having four wonderful children, attending college and getting her bachelor's degree in Business Management and getting her last child into kindergarten, she made her move. Her thrift store, FashionPact was finally realized in July 2021 with the goal to give back forty percent of every sale to a charity of your choice. That means exactly what it says: when a customer pays for an item they can instantly pick which charity they want their money to go to. Fast forward 14 months and Brittani and her little store have raised a whopping $100,000 for local charities all in the Anchorage area. Brittani has yet to pay herself or turn a profit, but what motivates her is the community and the prospect of a brighter future. It just goes to show how one person can make a difference by just being persistent, having a plan, a dream and a supportive family.
It started out as an idea, play a little music in the hallway during lunch hour and then it just grew to a forty-minute concert every day. West Anchorage High School Teachers David Souza, Will Kimball, Elliot Stutzer and Mr. Ross hit the hallways last September and have been a hit ever since. They call themselves the ‘Hall Monitors’ and like clockwork, they roll into the hallways at lunch time and play 3-6 songs everyday for their captive audience. They’ve gotten so good that they’re now playing paying gigs on the weekends. Dave Allgood went to one of their ‘concerts’ and has the latest in this edition of the Allgood News
Joseph and Andrea Nassuk decided to go bone hunting after the big storms of last month stirred up the coastline. It’s a good thing they did, because they stumbled upon a bone that is going to change their financial future. The young couple has 4 young kids and a dog, and currently live in a small apartment--but that all soon could change thanks to a ‘mammoth’ find. Dave has the story in this edition of the Allgood News.
Struggling with personal weight ups and downs can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be. An organization called TOPS or taking off pounds sensibly, has been in the weight support business for more than 70 years. And it’s a Kenai woman who has finally garnered the title of TOPS weight loss queen. After more than fifty years, Frances Kilfoyle is finally atop her goals of losing weight and reaching her goal! The program along with a support from family and members has been key to her success.
A little church in Chugiak is making big waves in the grant department, helping Alaskans across the state. It was just an idea almost 10 years ago: recycle and reuse and raise money for needy causes. Kay Abrams and her United Methodist Church in Chugiak are pioneers in setting up an amazing fundraising machine for their church’s missions. It all started with the idea of raising money for the church, but that idea was trumped for a better one: raising money for worthy causes. Abrams, along with lots of volunteers and support from her pastors, has taken the simple idea of yard selling to the next level, using what would be discarded items and reselling them with no price tag! The idea has been a winner for the church and charity causes across the state.
Mike Jipping started with a dream of just making a tasty ginger beer, a non-alcoholic drink with a kick. That was 5 years ago. Today? Mike has a loyal crew dedicated to his vision of not only a variety of healthy and delicious soda alternatives, but also his popular, locally-sourced juices. The sky's the limit for this former brewer and commercial fisherman who has combined his knowledge and strong work ethic with getting his Jipping Ginger Beer on store shelves and in the bellies of Alaskans thirsty for a beverage with a bold taste.
To say Darcy Moxon is environmentally friendly would be an understatement. The eco-friendly furniture store co-owner in Anchorage, Alaska walks the walk. She gave up her car to be more kind to the atmosphere and when the idea of being thrifty while thrift shopping presented itself, Darcy flew into action organizing bus schedules, a shopping route and brewpubs stops all along the Anchorage bus route. How’s it go? There were steals and deals and beers and cheers, a resounding success. So much so, Darcy is planning another thrift adventure next spring.
Jim Shannon of Anchorage is no stranger to cameras or recording things, he’s made a living as a communications specialist with oil companies and with his own production company. So, when an assortment of wildlife started using his backyard as a playground and fruit buffet, he started doing what he does best, shooting video of the wonderful creatures just being themselves. The reluctant wildlife photographer, Jim is proud of his footage and has even edited some ‘National Geographic – like’ videos for friends and family.
The Alaska Zoo held their annual Big Cat Jubilee this past weekend and the Allgood News was there to capture the sights and sounds of the park. From the amazing tigers to the rare snow leopards, the Zoo features them in their natural habitat for all zoo visitors to observe and enjoy. The event is also a fundraiser and awareness event for small cat awareness and adoption services with Clear Creek Cat Rescue services. The felines and the humans offered up a lot of entertainment in this edition of the Allgood News.
Anchorage deaf awareness week is just that, a time to bring to the forefront the shining abilities and wonderful gifts that are abound within the hard of hearing community. Sharon Miranda is the Coordinator of Deaf Supports at Hope Community Resources in Anchorage and says “the only difference between deaf people and hearing people is that deaf people hear with their eyes, not their ears.”
The pandemic may have made people take time off from gathering, but it didn’t stop quilters from creating their unique crafts. The Great Alaska Quilt Show was back this weekend after 24 months off. And the crowds and the amazing quilt displays was a testament to how ready everyone was to get back out and showcase their stitching and fiber skills. The Allgood News caught up and chatted with the people that create the art and the pageantry of quilting.
Kelly Shrein knew from a young age she wanted to be a teacher. She not only followed in the footsteps of her mother, a career teacher in Anchorage, but with just ten years under her belt Kelly became the 2021 ‘Alaska Teacher of the Year’! It’s been an exciting and enlightening year for the wife and mother of three. For Kelly, teaching is not just a profession, it’s a passion and it’s all about love and kindness. In this edition of the Allgood News, we visited Kelly’s classroom and spoke to her and some of her 3rd graders.
It's not often you can see brown bears, bison, reindeer and black bears all within walking distance of each other and in their natural habitat. But, at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, that's exactly the case. But, as Dave found out, it's just not the animals that are intriguing but the humans who come to watch them. the Allgood News ran into some locals and tourists who were in their natural habitat, being human!
Mike Carpenter didn’t set out to have a store that carries just about everything from beaver skulls, totem poles, fuses and motor oil, but that’s exactly what his store, Wal-Mike’s has become. The Trapper Creek landmark is a destination for Alaskans as well as those on their vacation. Mike moved to Trapper Creek in 1964 after he graduated from Anchorage High School and never looked back. Now days at age 77 he says his store has just ‘evolved’ into a hodgepodge of everything. He and his store have been featured in national magazines and television shows but, Mike says all that attention hasn’t changed him and he’s the same 18-year-old man that headed north, curious for adventure. These days Mike is happily married and his son and grandchildren live close by. Visits are daily and the store? He says it’s not going anywhere soon. Here’s Mike Carpenter’s Allgood News.
Marybeth Holleman didn’t start out to be a poet, but she found her voice through the medium and is now celebrating her first collection of works called "tender gravity." I sat down with Holleman to have her read a few excerpts of her work and to expound on the virtues and rewards of writing and creating what comes from the mind and the world around us.
There are so many loving pets waiting for adoption at shelters across our great state and then there are the ones that may never get adopted. The elderly, those older dogs with health issues... But those are exactly the pets that Sue Mayo loves and adopts.
He went to go get his moose skull and antlers from his dad’s house, and they weren’t there! Anchorage native, Jacob Lawrence was surprised to find his bull moose trophy gone from just beyond the front door of his father’s house. Apparently, a thief had made off with the unique set of antlers and Jacob? He said he was shocked and dismayed that somebody would come up on his father’s front porch and make off with a massive set of rotting skull and antlers. If there is an upside, its that Jacob has a sense of humor and he does have the pictures to prove he shot a massive bull!
Some moms and dads and daughters and sons really do look a like. Others not so much. But at the Alaska State Fair its about the entire package; clothes, hair, shirts and even bear ears and tattoos! Dave Allgood visited the popular annual 'parent-child' lookalike contest to get a better look at what it takes to win a contest that is all about family tradition.
After his son's bike was stolen, a father took to the social media app, Nextdoor to post the video and a warning to his fellow neighbors. The outpouring of support he received was, in his words, "amazing." And just a week later, thanks to an anonymous donor, his son Antoine had a new bike.
In a world filled with so much technology, social interaction often comes second to social media. And you never even know who your neighbors are, unless, like my new neighbor, they yell out: "hello neighbor!" That's how I met Will Bennett and his unique house. Well, it was just too good to keep to myself.
For the first time in 3 years, Alyeska welcomed back the Blueberry Festival! But more than that? The blueberry pie-eating contest is also a part of the big show! For "It's All Good," Dave Allgood covered the action to see what it takes to be a participant and the pitfalls and lofty peaks of being a pie king or queen! Spoiler alert, it was messy!