Monday, October 26, 2009

University of Alaska Anchorage

This is the newest building at the University of Alaska Anchorage, compliments of ConocoPhillips, and formally named the Integrated Science Building (CPISB). Recently opened this fall, it is eco-friendly, with State-of-the-Art construction, dedicated to similar instruction, research, and interdisciplinary science.

The public was invited to the opening program, and were overwhelmed by this 120,000-square-foot facility. In addition to the three modules, or wings, adjacent to the glass atrium is a 64-seat digital planetarium, with a 33 foot dome that projects a seamless image over the entire dome surface, with a sound system to match.

ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. pledged $15 million to support science and engineering programs at UAA, and it was named in honor of the generous oil company. Over the years, the University has become a real showpiece. My blog a few months ago talks about the Foucault Pendulum at the beautiful new library, which is the closest building to this science building, and the arts building houses three theatres that have a vibrant arts season. I don't know what's coming next, but each new building is exciting to visit for the public, and inspirational to the student.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alaska Native Convention

Anchorage is hosting the annual Federation of Natives Convention this week, headquartered at the Dena'ina* Convention Center. These beautiful ladies, pictured above are Alissa Joseph of Delta, and Alice Oksoktaruk, from McGrath. They are wearing Parkas and headpieces, handcrafted by natives. These skills have been passed down thru the years, and during the year, it is a treat to visit the Native Hospital and browse thru their gift shop. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art also has a fine collection, but of course, they are not for sale. For the readers who are interested in native culture, goto ADN news. I also suggest googling Alaska Natives, as I would do as, I am not privy to their meetings either. I will add they are a boon to the municipality's economy, too.
*Footnote: the pronounciation of Dena'ina appears to be "Deena-eena", which I love the sound of, but it's wrong! Correctly, you would say "Dee-9-a" . . . this is beautiful convention center about 2 years old now, that most of us voted against, but now that it's here, we are happy to have it, and have changed our vote. It has made the downtown area user friendly, as they have also put in heated sidewalks to connect it with the Center for Performing Arts. A new parking garage, and lot helps, too, so locals are encouraged to go downtown again.

I just had to include another image taken from our local paper, the Anchorage Daily News, as this whale hunt shows the real Alaska, and part of the subsistance of the natives.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winter Wildlife in Anchorage

It's not winter yet. . . in fact, it remains more like summer here, as it's still warm and sunny in Anchorage, which is most unusual. . . especially, watching weather reports on the lower states that show early snowfall in several states. The city visitors include the bears, out of hibernation, moose, and other smaller critter. My friend took this shot, and the subjects never even noticed!

Indoor sports have filled the calendar, with football games on TV more than Monday Night football, and we just had our annual fall cribbage tournament. I did finish respectably this year, but it's a long way to the top. Ah, but you don't want to hear news of my personal life, so I look to events to attract the tourist.

We have a very active theatre season. The main series are offered by the Anchorage Concert Association, the Anchorage Symphony, and the Anchorage Opera. There are a multitude of local productions by the Out North Theatre, Anchorage Community Theatre, Alaska Dance Company (their recital is called Mobius), Alaska Magic Circle, and more. . . fairs and shows are almost weekly at the Sullivan Arena, and now, at the new Dean'ina Center, and these include the Sports Show, Women's Show, Made in Alaska Show, Holiday Bazaar, etc.
The University of Alaska Anchorage also has a full schedule of sports teams (everything but football) and the schools have a full program that does include football.

There's much more going on that what I'm writing here, and I'll review our sports programs in a coming blog. You just have to view our Coastal Trail to see the popularity of running, walking, etc. and the destination 15 miles south if often Kinkaid Park, which was a former homestead just south of the airport, and right on the Inlet. It's a great site, and attracts national athletes to races year round. This is a great place to visit, and I'm sorry that so many visitors arrive from their cruises, fishing lodges, etc., and leave the city of Anchorage the next day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Anchorage Grows Up

The most visible event in Anchorage this month has been The Lion King. It is a super big production, and received only good reviews.

Autumn has taken over the summer scene, and termination dust has creeped down the mountain range to the east of town. (For newbies, this means snow) Golf season, fishing, etc. have given way to hunting, football (both High School and our Wild semi-pro team), and soccer. This year we have The Dome so the schools rent space for their sports activities.

Through the years, we have added most franchises from the lower states, ie. Walgreens, Target, Kohl's, TGIFridays, Golden Corral, Appleby's, Outback, etc. and some of us are anxious for the Olive Garden to come. But for the most part, we have just about everything we want and downtown Anchorage is more accessible than most cities' downtowns.

So Anchorage is still a good place to visit, even in the fall, and all of Alaska extends greetings to our visitors.