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Jeff Landfield is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Alaska Landmine Blog and podcast. In a world where traditional local media is on the verge of extinction, independent bloggers and podcasters have had to fill the void. Since its founding in 2017, The Alaska Landmine has done that with important investigative stories and through close coverag…
 
On the 80th anniversary of the completion of the Alaska-Canada highway, we talk with author Christine McClure, who with her late husband Dennis, wrote two books about the construction of the Al-Can. The first, We Fought the Road was a more general history of the three African-American regiments that were instrumental in the building of that 1600 mi…
 
Alaska Climate Scientist Dr. Brian Brettschneider discusses his background, how he ended up in Anchorage, and the 4th National climate assessment from 2018; he is currently helping edit the Fifth National Climate Assessment which has not yet been published. We also discuss his very popular Twitter account (almost 37,000 followers) and whether or no…
 
Award-winning Fairbanks author Dan O’Neill's 2004 Book The Last Giant of Beringia: The Mystery of the Bering Land Bridge not only tells the story of the historic land bridge that connected Siberia to Alaska, but also of the scientists, in particular geologist Dave Hopkins, who worked so hard to synthesize the evidence that has led to our current un…
 
Lifelong Democrat Pat Chesbro moved to Palmer, Alaska, in 1974. She taught at Palmer High School for 15 years before becoming principal for nine more. She eventually became the superintendent of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District. She came out of retirement to join the Education Department at the University of Alaska Anchorage. After pla…
 
Fairbanks Author Dan O’Neill has been enamored with the upper Yukon between Dawson City and Circle for decades. In 2006 he published his travel memoir entitled: A Land Gone Lonesome: An Inland Voyage Along the Yukon River. The book was awarded the Outstanding Alaskana Award by the Alaska Library Association, was named an “Editor’s Choice” by The Ne…
 
City planners have to be experts on a wide variety of issues; yet, because they are not elected officials, their well-informed advice is not always followed. Victor Fischer, a previous podcast guest, was Anchorage's first city planner in the 1950s. So much of the city was a blank slate then that it's easier to imagine the utility of the planner: th…
 
Carolyn "Care" Clift was the Libertarian Party of Alaska's candidate for governor in 2014, their lieutenant governor candidate in 2018, and AK senate candidate in 2020. She is the current chair of the Libertarian Party of Alaska's Platform Committee, and today we discuss that document. Although Libertarians seem like a fringe party, they have thoro…
 
Wigi Tozzi's first experience as a campaign manager was for a North Star Borough Assembly candidate in 1994. Since then he has managed many campaigns at the local and statewide level. He discusses the value of volunteers and gives specific advice for how they can have the most impact on a campaign. He pays particular attention to social media.…
 
The 1500 mile Alaska-Canada Highway from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Delta Junction, Alaska, was initially constructed in 8 months in 1942. The story of the difficult conditions experienced by the 10,000 Army soldiers and 6,000 contractors is a compelling one, but the experience of the 3600 African-American soldiers who were segregated and e…
 
Heather Lende, the Alaska State Writer Laureate for 2021, is the author of a number of best-selling memoirs about her life in Haines. Her most recent book is 2020’s Of Bears and Ballots: an Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics, which tells the story of her time serving on the Haines Borough Assembly, where shortly after her election, a recall p…
 
KL Marshall, while working on her PhD in Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, became enthralled with the influence of oil money on Christian Fundamentalism in Alaska. She moved to the MatSu Valley to research her 2020 book, Faith & Oil: How the Alaska Pipeline Shaped America’s Religious Right. Her doctoral thesis was on Jerry Falwell who starte…
 
Michael Wolverton did not come from a family of attorneys or judges; his parents were educators and that was what he planned to do. However, while doing his student teaching, he realized it wasn't the right path. He went to the University of Minnesota Law School and after a stint in the Peace Corp found himself in Alaska. Like so many, he had only …
 
Jason Grenn is the executive director of Alaskans for Better Elections, an organization that lobbied for Ranked Choice Voting in Alaska and, now that we have it, is working to educate the electorate about it. After years as a registered Republican, he changed his registration to Independent just prior to running for the Alaska House of Representati…
 
Reverend Lise Adams Sherry was chosen to be the permanent minister of the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in March 2022. She grew up in a small town in Oregon as a regular church-goer thanks to her grandmother. As a teen, she questioned the central tenets of the Christian faith, and moved away from organized religion until stumbling int…
 
On this special July 4th episode, Andrew interviews Jasmin Smith: lifelong Alaskan, entrepreneur, and community organizer. From her youth in Eagle River to her leadership on the Mountain View Community council; from the formation of her landmark company, Baby Vend, to her heading up the most recent Juneteenth celebrations on the Delaney Park Strip,…
 
Michael Burke grew up in upstate New York and first moved to Anchorage in the 1980s. He has been the senior pastor of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in midtown for over 20 years. 2009 in Anchorage is colloquially known as “the summer of hate.” That year an equal rights ordinance was proposed by the Anchorage Assembly and conservatives came from near a…
 
Jim Obergefell and John Arthur embarked upon a life together when they were in their early 20s in Cincinnati. Twenty years later, when John was dying of ALS, they began a battle with the state of Ohio to have Jim recognized on John's impending death certificate as his surviving spouse. That case made it's way to the US Supreme Court, and in the lan…
 
Caitlin Shortell was born and raised in Anchorage. She returned home after earning her law degree at Northeastern University in Boston and worked as an Assistant Public Defender at the Alaska Public Defender Agency (2003); as an Assistant Attorney General at the Alaska Attorney General's Office (2004-2008); and as Human Rights Advocate at the Alask…
 
In 2014 marriage equality was achieved in Alaska thanks to a case called Hamby vs Parnell. Although there were 5 couples involved, it was named after Matt Hamby who is our guest today along with his husband Chris Sheldon. They discuss their lives, the case, and the future of marriage equality in Alaska.…
 
Anchorage Attorney Scott Kendall served as Sen. Lisa Murkowski's campaign attorney in 2010 and her 2016 campaign coordinator. He then served as chief of staff for Governor Bill Walker. In the last month he represented Alaska Redistricting Board members Melanie Bahnke and Nicole Borromeo in action against the Alaska Redistricting Board itself. Today…
 
Kameron Perez-Verdia, Assembly member for west Anchorage, spoke persuasively at the Assembly meeting on May 10, 2022, about why he couldn’t vote to fund Mayor Dave Bronson’s planned emergency shelter at Elmore and Tudor, but then he changed his mind at the last moment voting in support of that funding. His vote was decisive ensuring that the fundin…
 
The Alaska-based Twitter handle “Hrrrl Scouts” started in Fairbanks in 2016 as a group effort, but has been just one person in Anchorage since Spring 2020. From their frank sexuality to their in-depth Twitter threads of municipal government, Hrrrl Scouts has become an important asset to the Anchorage left; however, they are definitively not a Democ…
 
In 1970 Alaska repealed its abortion law making abortion legal here three years prior to Roe vs Wade. One Alaskan senator who voted to legalize abortion – three separate times as he will point out -- was Joe Josephson. That same year he lost the democratic primary for the senate race to replace Bob Bartlett who had died in office; Republican Ted St…
 
Former acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson was Anchorage's leader for an extremely turbulent eight months. The decision to go into public service in today’s political environment is a fraught one, but imagine taking over as mayor during a pandemic after a scandal took down the previous mayor. That was what Austin Quinn-Davidson did on October 23, 20…
 
Newly re-elected Midtown Assembly Member Meg Zaletel has been through the wringer. After surviving a recall election last fall while she was sponsoring Covid mitigation mandates which led to the most vicious Assembly meetings in Anchorage history, she was named the interim director of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH). We talk abou…
 
Lying above Latvia, Estonia is the northern most Baltic country. Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn, is a short ferry ride from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. From 2001 - 2003, I lived in Tallinn. I have watched the war in Ukraine with particular alarm given so many of my friends live so close to the conflict. In this episode, I speak with two of t…
 
In December 2021, the East Anchorage Book Club held a Zoom event with Rabbi Abram Goodstein of Congregation Beth Shalom and Reverend Matthew Schultz of First Presbyterian Church. These two local progressive clergy co-host a podcast together called “What Divines Us.” After months of holding Zoom events that were not recorded, we experimented with re…
 
Homelessness has been front and center in Anchorage politics for years, but particularly during the covid pandemic with the conversion of the Sullivan Arena into an emergency mass shelter. The debate has been dominated by those of us who have never been homeless; in fact, few of us have ever had a meaningful interaction with a homeless person. Toda…
 
Eitan Hersh is a political science professor at Tufts University in Boston where he focuses on US elections, civic participation, and voting rights. In 2020 he published his second book, Politics is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change. That book led to the start of this podcast, so it is a great honor…
 
Vanessa Stephens is a third-generation Chugiak resident running to represent district 2 on the Anchorage Assembly. She happens to be transgender but is adamant that this is not an important aspect of her campaign. Much of her advocacy focuses on making Chugiak-Eagle River more compliant with the Americans for Disabilities Act, as she has been using…
 
Save Anchorage is a powerful far-right propaganda machine that exerts a strong influence on our current mayoral administration and is informally led by Eagle River Assembly woman Jamie Allard. Today we are joined by community organizer and early member of the Save Anchorage Facebook Group, Yarrow Silvers . We are also joined by the anonymous Blogge…
 
Many of us think of Eagle River-Chugiak as a conservative stronghold where an independent non-partisan candidate wouldn’t have a chance. However, the truth is that Eagle River-Chugiak, like most parts of Alaska, is a heterogeneous community with many different voices. Assembly Candidate Gretchen Wehmhoff is counting on that diverse population takin…
 
Here in the Anchorage School District our student body is over 60% students of color while less than 15% of our teachers identify as non-white. Today we sit down with Danyelle Kimp and Rozlyn Grady Wyche, founders of the Alaska Coalition of Black, Indigenous and People of Color Educators (ACBE) who advocate for better hiring practices that address …
 
This is the first part of our exploration of the private Facebook group Save Anchorage. These staunch Bronson supporters dominated the mask debate last Fall and are currently fielding viable candidates in our upcoming local elections. Here to talk about it is independent reporter for the Midnight Sun Blog Matt Buxton. He is one of the most prolific…
 
On this special bonus episode we debunk an inflammatory story about Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance. The inaccurate article was authored by Suzanne Downing, a widely read right-wing blogger. For Anchorage residents who have been watching Suzanne LaFrance chair the assembly this past year, the story seemed farfetched. LaFrance does not present herse…
 
The first two openly gay Anchorage Assembly members, vice-chair Christopher Constant and former chair Felix Rivera, talk about their experiences growing up, what their lives were like in Anchorage prior to politics, and what their lives have been like since joining the Assembly in 2017; we also discuss conflict with the mayor's office. This intervi…
 
Longtime East Anchorage resident Donna Mears recently announced her candidacy for the new senate seat which pairs East Anchorage with South Eagle River. The incumbent senator is far right Republican Lora Reinbold, and Ms. Mears, a progressive Democrat, provides a dramatically different alternative to Senator Reinbold. Ms. Mears is a civil engineer …
 
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, our guest is Celeste Hodge Growden who discusses the brutal racism she experienced as an Anchorage municipal employee during the 1980s and '90s. The discrimination she faced inspired her to civil rights work, and she was elected president of the Anchorage branch of the NAACP in 1993, an office she would …
 
Michael Patterson is an outspoken communist, community organizer, and one of the founders of Anchorage’s “pre-branch” of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, (PSL). He discusses growing up in East Anchorage, his time in the army, his political awakening, and the socialist movement here in Alaska.Oleh Andrew Gray
 
Today we celebrate 63 years of Alaskan Statehood by continuing our conversation with Victor Fischer, the last living signer of the our State’s Constitution. We discuss Alaska in the 1950s when he was both a territorial legislator and a delegate to the 1955 constitutional convention. We also talk about the Great 1964 Earthquake when Mr. Fischer was …
 
Melanie Bahnke, president of Kawerak, the nonprofit tribal consortium representing 20 Alaska Native tribes in the Bering Strait Region, talks about her childhood in the remote western Alaskan village of Savoonga where she grew up speaking St Lawrence Island Yupik. We also discuss her contentious time this past year serving as one of the 5 members o…
 
Victor Fischer, the last living signer of the Alaska state constitution, was born in Berlin to a Russian mother and an American father in 1924. Today he recounts his childhood growing up in both Germany as Hitler took power and Russia under Josef Stalin. He discusses the atrocities that he experienced firsthand before his dramatic escape to America…
 
The politician who avoids the extremes of either the right or the left is an increasingly rare breed, but former Anchorage Assembly member and recent mayoral candidate Bill Evans is that politician. We will discuss the difficulties of walking that middle road and the political peril that lies along that path. We will also talk about his time on the…
 
Leslie Gonsette, M.D., a hospitalist at Providence Alaska Medical Center, gave prominent testimony at two Anchorage Assembly meetings in favor of Covid mitigation. We discuss her experiences in the hospital and in the assembly chambers. Robin Ninefeldt, M.D., who owns her own medical practice, also testified in favor of the Covid mitigation ordinan…
 
Former Anchorage Assembly member Heather Flynn is a political juggernaut once described by the Anchorage Daily News as “Velvet and Razor Blades.” After challenging a draconian pregnancy policy while teaching at Romig Middle school in 1971, she went on to dominate the political landscape of Anchorage, serving on the Anchorage Assembly and school boa…
 
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